Can I Run In Swim Shorts? (Shorts You Can Run In)

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Running can be classified into long-distance and short-distance races. Any race that falls between 3k and above is usually considered a long-distance race, and such races require maximum comfort for your leg muscles and every other part of your body in general.

Will your swim short meet the basic criteria needed to compete in a racing event be it short or long? You may probably want to ask yourself “Can I run in swim shorts?”

Well, the answer to this question will depend on two factors; the racing distance to be covered and the competitive nature of the race.

Racing distance to be covered

The distance to be covered in the race will determine if your swim short will do. As stated earlier, races in the range of 3k and above will require the maximum comfort to keep your leg muscles exercised for the entire duration, and as such, your swim shorts will not suffice especially when you bring in other factors such as chafing and the likes.

Swim shorts are water-resistant which also means they don’t allow air to escape from within – a development that wouldn’t go down well with your leg muscles. The leg muscles require the right amount of oxygen to perform to their best capacity during races, and when this isn’t achieved they tend to tire quickly which can result in muscle pulls if not managed effectively.

However, for short races that aren’t competitive, you can use your swim shorts as long it meets the minimum requirement for running shorts which includes wearing the right size and being sufficiently above the knee.

Read Also: Can You Swim In Running Shorts?

Competitive nature of the race

If you intend to participate in a competitive race – be it long or short distance – then I strongly suggest you get the right pair of shorts to avoid stories at the end.

Running shorts are designed to give athletes the competitive edge in any racing situation they are faced with, and the confidence in knowing that you are adorning the right apparel for the event is also a boost you are unlikely to get wearing swim shorts.

Which swim shorts can I run in?

If you see running as a hobby or necessity, then running in the following swim shorts should serve the purpose in the short term until you get proper running shorts.

Board shorts

Board shorts are one of the most common swim shorts you are likely to find around. They are slightly above the knee and are designed to have enough legroom to allow easy movement. However, you might have to remove the netting to avoid any form of chafing when running.

Swim trunks

Swim trunks will also serve you well for non-competitive running. They are also built to have enough legroom, but just like the board shorts, you might have to do away with the netting to prevent chaffing.

Other types of swimsuits such as brief speedos and square legs will be considered too short to run in, and will also leave your legs barely protected from any mayhem.

Read Also: Can You Wear Swim Shorts To The Gym?

Pros of running in swim shorts


One can easily jump into a pool of water without the stress of having to change into swim shorts since you just finished running in one. Since they are quick to dry as well, you wouldn’t have to wait a long time.


Thanks to their colours, early morning runners who run in swim shorts can be easily sported by a motorist, but this is mainly applicable to swim shorts with reflective write-ups and designs.


Most swim shorts are lightweight which can prove to be a useful asset to a runner. The lighter the short, the more freedom a runner gets in the leg region which can go a long way in achieving success for a set goal.

Cons of running in swim shorts

Lacks breathability

Although swim shorts are known to dry quickly when wet, they lack the required breathability to allow the easy passage of oxygen to the leg region. This fact alone means that the runner who runs with swim shorts is likely to easily get tired than the runner who runs in the right running shorts.

Not ideal for long-distance racing

Just as I rightly stated earlier, no athlete is advised to run a long-distance race in swim shorts due to the inconvenience they are likely to face in the process. For such limitations, running in the right pair of shorts only makes more sense.

Read Also: Can You Cut The Netting In Swim Trunks?

Types of running shorts

Running shorts come in different styles and design, but there are basically three styles of running shorts as I would be explaining below:

V-shaped shorts

The most mainstream way of running shorts, v‑notch shorts get their name starting from the upside v‑shaped pattern on the external leg creases beginning about a half-inch from the trim.

The v pattern empowers the sprinter to have a more prominent scope of development than if the design were sewn together right down.

The shorts highlight a facilitated, free fit, rather than the cosy attack of pressure shorts. Yet, similar to compression shorts explained below, Women’s v‑notch shorts will in general be a little more limited, however, the scope of inseams for Men’s styles begins the more limited side also to give the most adaptability and flexibility.

Read Also: Can You Wear Normal Shorts In A Swimming Pool?

Compression shorts

Designed to be tight-fitting and cosy to the body, pressure shorts are more like cycling chamois, with the only difference being the cushioning.

Due to the cosy fit, they’re hotter, give the most muscle support, and are the most durable with regards to preventing chafing. The stretch design of the fabric makes it very flexible which also makes it perfect for long-distance racing.

The length of these shorts largely depends on the Men’s and Women’s styles (Women’s frequently being on the more limited side with just 1″ inseams to mid-thigh length).

Read Also: Is It Weird For A Girl To Wear Swim Shorts?

Men’s styles normally fall between mid-thigh to knee-length and are frequently worn under a looser short. Leg seams may be different, however, since the adaptability of the short comes from its stretchy fit and tight design, the leg seam designed on compression shorts is principally a design decision based on different manufactures.

Split shorts

Split shorts and v‑notch shorts are quite similar, yet there is a distinction. While split shorts additionally highlight a free fit and the seams have a topsy-turvy v pattern at the base, instead of being essential for the leg crease, the shape is made by the front board covering the back—so the genuine leg seam can be pretty much as short as the belt.

The split leg style is unquestionably a more executive style, as it offers the best scope of movement to the sprinter, and inseams are commonly more limited, beginning at around 1″ for both the male and female gender.

Any shorts you have that fall into this category will do for running. Below are some factors you should consider before buying running shorts:

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Factors to consider before buying running shorts

The length of the shorts

Running shorts are customarily known to have three distinct lengths: three inches, five inches, and seven inches respectively. While choosing a length boils down to what you feel comfortable in, the various length options have a definite role they play in your performance overall.

  • The 3-inch length shortThese running shorts give the best ventilation and scope of movement, making them ideal for cutthroat sprinters. In other words, if you intend to go pro, then this should be your best bet.
  • The 5-inch length running short – Anyone who runs on the two tracks and trails will do well purchasing this length to serve both purposes equally. Running shorts with a five-inch inseam gives adaptability and are the most famous decision among sprinters – professionals and non-professionals alike.
  • The 7-inch length running shorts – These shorts are slightly above the knee region and are incredible for aiding trail sprinters to shield their legs from branches and creepy crawlies.

In other words, anyone running through mountain trails or bush paths should pick this length above the other two mentioned earlier, however, ensure the pair is anti-chafe like this one, especially as you are likely to run for long periods.

The material of the shorts

After considering the length of the shorts, the next thing to consider should be the material composition of the shorts.

Most running shorts are made with synthetic materials such as polyester and spandex, and unlike swim shorts, running shorts are designed to wick sweat or moisture away from the skin, and they also allow air to pass through easily. Take note of this feature whether you are shopping online or offline.

Linen or no linen?

The choice of having linen in a short is down to the comfort of the runner in question. Most running shorts are designed with linen to discourage runners from running in underwear which can cause chafing.

However, not all runners feel comfortable with this idea, and they would rather get athletic underwear and do away with the linen. Whatever your option is, pick the one you are most comfortable in.

Women should wear women running shorts and vice-versa

Running shorts may have unisex versions available, but if you intend to participate in something serious, then you should pick a short specifically designed for your sex.

Some females might feel the urge to run in their male partner short, however, they should understand that the male short is designed with the male body features in mind which might prove problematic for females who wear them quite often — except the shorts in question are designed for both sexes.

Read Also: Is It Bad To Sleep In A Swimsuit? (Find Out Plus Reasons)

The features of the shorts

Shorts come in different designs and colours, so you must pick the one that works best for you when it comes to things like pieces of stuff you carry on runs. Some of the features to look out for includes the following:


For runners who run during the early hours of the morning or late at night, it’s important to consider if the shorts you intend to purchase have reflective detailing to help protect you from oncoming drivers. Running shorts with bright colours help as well.


If you like to have little items with you when running such as candy, or your phone, then you should prioritize buying shorts that will accommodate your items in their pockets.

I’m not a big fan of eating while running, and I don’t really know the rule in place when it comes to eating during a professional marathon, however, for normal early morning joggers, prioritize shorts with pockets.

UPF Protection

This feature is essential for runners who run during the daytime. Running shorts or clothes that are designed with UPF protection will help protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun. It serves as a shield to keep your skin protected at all times.


Can you exercise in swim trunks?

Yes, you can exercise in swim trunks as long as it doesn’t involve anything serious. Swim trunks are ideal for weight lifting and other hand and chest exercises, but when it comes to leg workouts, you should consider wearing the appropriate gym shorts to prevent any form of chafing that might be caused as a result of the net linen included in the design of swim trunks.

Can you run in board shorts?

Yes, you can. Board shorts are known to be made with very lightweight material which makes them ideal to run in. The fact that they also double as swim shorts make them all the cooler, however, they are not recommended for competitive settings.

Can I use running trunks as swim trunks?

Yes, you can. As long as these shorts are made with material that dries very fast such as Lycra and spandex, you have nothing to worry about.

What do you wear under unlined board shorts?

For board shorts without lining, men prefer to wear normal underwear such as boxer shorts, briefs, and jockstraps. Others might just prefer to give the middle man a free rein. Any choice you decide to make is entirely up to you, as long as you feel comfortable.

Can I Run In Swim Shorts – Conclusion

Running in swim shorts may be the norm, but it’s important to strike the right balance between being normal and getting the right apparel for the proper event. Kindly drop your comments and observations in the comments section. I look forward to hearing from you. Cheers!!!

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