Review of Lululemon Running Shorts

It's no secret that I love Lululemon's running clothes. They have a lot of features and functionality that is hard to or impossible to find in other brands (for example, some of their running skirts and tights have five pockets, and I'm all about the pockets), they're durable and stand up well to years of constant washing, they're comfortable, they fit me well and are flattering, there are new styles and colors released every week instead of every month or season like other brands, and they're so stylish that I can wear them casually too. I credit Lululemon with enabling me to run comfortably outside all last winter during the -20 windchill days when most other runners took to the treadmills inside, and I count on my Lulu gear to keep me as cool and dry as possible on the hottest and most humid summer days. So when I first started experimenting with shorts this summer, I knew my best bet would be Lululemon.

I have larger legs and was never comfortable wearing shorts before this year (I wrote a post about it this past summer). So I knew I wanted an inseam of at least 4 inches, which eliminates many Lulu shorts styles. I've worn three different styles of Lulu shorts running. I know this review is late because most runners aren't looking to buy shorts now, but I thought I'd post it anyway, especially since shorts will likely be going on sale so this is a good time to get some deals for next summer.

1. Sculpt Shorts. I have two pair of these shorts that I bought on sale. (They are still available for sale on the Lulu website for $29). They're made of a seamless material with minimal seams, have a 6" inseam, and a high rise. While the website says that the fabric is lightweight, it isn't. I wore these running this summer and felt that they were extremely hot. In addition, the rise is so high that it made my tummy really hot while I was running. There is a lot of coverage on the thighs, and they did not ride up, but I found them too hot for running. Also, they have no pockets. I've found other uses for them, though--they're my after-work lounge shorts, and I've done yoga in them instead of crops this summer (my third-floor gym can get pretty warm). I also bring them to work and put them on under my skirts and dresses when I want to do stretching or yoga in my office at lunch.
Regal Plum Sculpt Shorts

Final verdict: Too hot for running, and when it gets cooler I'll want to wear crops or tights and not shorts.

2. Go the Distance Shorts. These are reversible, unlined, have a 5" inseam, very wide leg openings, reflective details, one zippered pocket, and the ability to roll them down or leave them higher. I've worn these many times on runs up to 6 miles. I was initially really excited about these because they were long enough to cover the largest parts of my thighs when I run and stay down and don't ride up. However, they're not ideal. Because they're reversible, there are two pieces of fabric sewn together, making them heavier than the Tracker Shorts I mention below. These seem to run big, and I probably should have tried on the next size down, but I didn't so they're pretty big on me. That means that there's a lot of extra fabric, which makes it seem an even heavier short. Also, I have to cinch the drawstring pretty tightly because they're so big, which creates muffin top. Plus, the grey side shows sweat. Still, because they're reversible I basically get two shorts in one, and the zippered pocket can fit my key, a gel, and lip balm comfortably. I don't usually run with a phone so haven't tried to put my phone in.
Go the Distance Shorts, Slate Grey Side
Go the Distance Shorts, Mini Pop Black/Mink Berry Stripe side

Final verdict: Good for running but not for extremely hot and humid days.

3. Tracker Shorts. Okay, these shorts are the absolute best and were what made me confident enough to start wearing shorts in general. They are super lightweight--they feel like air--have a comfortable and breathable liner, a wide and comfortable waistband, one zippered side pocket large enough to fit my Samsung Galaxy phone, a 4" inseam, and wide leg openings. Plus they come in lots of cute colors and prints and are very attractive on--they don't give the diaper butt look that a lot of running shorts give. But how would they work for running? Well, a 4" inseam is NOT long enough to cover the largest parts of my thighs, so the first time I wore them for a short run, I was really uncomfortable. I recently wore them again on a very hot and humid 6-mile run, and I have to say that they are the BEST. I liked that there was much less fabric and that they are much more lightweight than the Go the Distance Shorts. It was like wearing nothing but at the same time was very comfortable. As far as coverage, the fabric does stay down and doesn't bunch up. I did not have to adjust them even once during any part of my 6-mile run. The biggest challenge with these was really mental and getting up the confidence to expose the largest parts of my thighs, but the heat and humidity helped me overcome the mental issues! It's just too hot to worry that my thighs are showing! I should say that running a lot has made my legs the leanest they've ever been, so I no longer really have to worry about them rubbing together. If they do rub together, I don't notice it. I do always wear Body Glide on my thighs in the summer, though, so that even if and when they do rub together, I don't chafe.
Black Tracker Shorts

Tracker Shorts in a print no longer available
Tracker Shorts in Pretty Purple

Final verdict: Best for running on extremely hot and humid days.

As for other Lulu shorts, the Run Times Shorts also has a 4" inseam, but I found them too narrow and tight on my thighs, even in a size up. And for those who want a LOT of coverage, the What the Sport Short Long has a 9" inseam. I tried them on in store and found them really unattractive because they came just above, and thus highlighted, my knees. If I want that much length, I'd rather have my knees covered and wear crops. But, that's just me. For those who want a lot of length but don't want their knees covered, they might be a good option.

Other Brands

This summer I did look into other brands. Based on my experience with the compressive Sculpt Short, I knew I didn't want a tight-fitting, compressive short because I thought it would be too hot. I wanted a loose-fitting, lightweight short. My other requirement was that shorts not look like men's soccer/basketball shorts, and I found three other options that are more stylish than basic long running shorts from popular running companies and are about the same price point as Lululemon.

1. Oiselle's Long Roga Shorts have a 6" inseam, so I ordered them to try this summer. Unfortunately, these were just awful in terms of fit. The shorts were too big but the liner was snug, causing weird bunching and creasing in the front crotch and the butt. It's a shame because they had two zippered pockets and the fabric was nice and lightweight. I've concluded that Oiselle clothes just do not fit me well so I won't be buying more, but it did make me wonder if it was just my body. In a Google images search, I've seen the same type of bunching/creasing on others, so I don't think it's just me.

Here's the hideousness:

2. Skirt Sports' Go Longer Shorts have a 6" inseam and one hidden key pocket. I haven't tried these because there aren't any colors/prints I like beside black, and I already have black.

3. Title Nine's Anti Run Shorts have a 7" inseam and side pockets. But they only come in black, so I never tried them.

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