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I test running shorts for a living — and the best pair for summer is 50% off now

a photo of the Lululemon Fast and Free running shorts on a model, and on our fitness editor
(Image credit: Lululemon/Jane McGuire)

As a marathon runner and a fitness editor, I hate a bad pair of running shorts, and believe me, I’ve tested a lot of them. There are the pairs that ride up as you move, the ones that leave your thighs exposed and cause painful chafing, and the shorts that slip from your waist as you run, forcing you to pull them up at every stop light. 

After more than five years of testing women’s running shorts for a living, I’ve landed on the perfect pair — the Lululemon Fast and Free running shorts. If you’re the type of runner who wears the best gym leggings all year round for fear of chafing, I’ve got good news — the best running shorts for summer running are here, and they are on sale. 

Right now the Lululemeon Fast and Free Shorts are just $34 (opens in new tab), which is 50% off and a great deal ahead of Prime Day

Lululemon Fast and Free Shorts 8”: was $68 now $34 @lululemon
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The Lululemon Fast and Free running shorts come in two different leg lengths — an eight-inch and a ten-inch. At the time of writing, both are on sale (you can shop the 10-inch here (opens in new tab)) in a number of different colors and sizes.

I’ve been wearing the Lululemon Fast and Free running shorts for the past four years — I've worn them for four different marathons and over hundreds of training miles and never had any complaints. The shorts have a cycling-style cut, which is designed to sit tight against the skin like the best lululemon leggings do. They have a comfortable high waistband, which sits just above the belly button, and a continuous drawcord, which allows you to really pull the waistband tight against your stomach to prevent the shorts from slipping, but won’t disappear into the shorts in the washing machine. 

Every female runner will know the importance of pockets on a decent pair of running shorts. Good pockets will allow you to leave your running phone holder at home and head out on the run undistracted. The Fast and Free shorts have seven pockets — a large, drop-in pocket on each leg which is big enough for most smartphones (I have an iPhone 11 and it fits fine) and a gel or two, and then five pockets on the waistband.

None of the waistband pockets have zips, but unless you’re planning on somersaulting mid-run (hey, you do you), you should be fine. I often slip my keys, credit card, and an SPF lip balm in the waistband pockets, and have never had any issue with anything slipping out of my pockets when running. The only issue pocket-wise is that, as there are so many, I have a tendency to overfill them, which has left me looking like a donkey with saddlebags in my race photos, but then nobody looks good in those, right? 

At the time of writing, the shorts come in two different leg lengths — an eight inch and a 10-inch. Lululemon has definitely made a six-inch before, as at five foot nothing, they are my go-to, although the eight-inch sits at the lower end of my thigh, just above my knee, which is handy on really sweaty runs to prevent thigh chafing. The fabric is buttery-soft against the skin, and wicks sweat away from the body well, so you’ll never be left feeling overly soggy on the run. The shorts are fully squat-proof, so you can wear them in the gym or to a HIIT class without worrying. 

Even if your size isn’t on sale, these are well worth the investment for this summer’s training and next — I’ve been wearing the same pair for years and they haven’t bobbled, gone see-through, or got that awful gym kit stink. My relationship with these running shorts has lasted longer than some boyfriends, and like any good relationship, I have complete trust in the Fast and Free shorts — I know I can focus on setting a new marathon PR, not whether or not my shorts are riding up my thighs.

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past four years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.