Nike’s Run Speed shorts are a race-day bottom that won’t restrict a long stride for those looking to go fast. The super lightweight shorts have a built-in brief as well as perforation and aeration wherever possible. If you’d want to be any less restricted, you would have to race in your birthday suit.
Nike’s Dri-Fit fabric is a lightweight wicking fabric the company has integrated into most of their athletic apparel. The body of the Run Speed shorts is 86% polyester and 14% spandex and the briefs inside are 81% nylon, 19% spandex.
Let’s work our way from the inside out of the Run Speed shorts. The soft and stretchy brief fabric reminds of a bathing suit, not in thickness but in texture. Instead of this fabric, the brief has a roughly 2 inch wide section of mesh that runs along the upper back of the brief and extends to the front of the hip bones. The brief is attached to the stretchy but sturdy waistband via some strong but flat seams. The 2 inch wide waistband is a stretchy fabric with a seamless top. A flat band runs through the bottom inch of the waistband, where it can be cinched at the front. The waistband is stretchy enough that you’ll most likely have no need to cinch the waist.
The remainder of the shorts is mostly polyester that is a lot more stretchy than you’d think at first. The only major seams are those connecting the two leg holes together. Along the side of the shorts and at the leg openings the fabric is heat-banded so you have no seams at all. The shorts cut up along the sides of the legs to the waistband itself. However, three sturdy seam snippets along the side legt keep the cut a bit closed. This is where you’ll also find reflective overlays. Finally, to continue to the breathable and vented design of these performance Run Speed shorts, the fabric is perforated in four locations along the leg openings.
No short is complete without storage space. On the inside of the front right leg is a little key pouch that’s about 2 by 3 inches. On the outside back of the short is a larger zippered pocket with a more plastic polyester lining. So, if you’re inclined to store your phone there on a run, you don’t need to worry about your sweat seeping through and drenching your phone. This is a small detail, albeit one that is very useful.
Given the performance design of the Nike Run Speed shorts, we had two reviewers (myself included) test these bottoms to feature two views from physically different runners. We differ significantly in the build or proportion of our lower body.
First and foremost, both of us found the Run Speed Shorts very comfortable overall. It goes without saying that race shorts are cut differently than most training shorts. Given this fact, shorts with a side leg split just aren’t everybody’s cup of tea. Nike designed these shorts to increase the unrestricted range of motion and to help reduce chafing, and that’s what they do, probably for many runners. As a girl with pretty muscular thighs, it can be difficult for me to find shorts with this design comfortable during long runs. I often find my inner thighs chafing when I wear shorter shorts that have loose fabric. Our other reviewer didn’t have this issue and found the shorts really smooth. Both of us can attest to the fact that the Run Speed Shorts absorb sweat and dry very quickly.
However, we honestly also found the shorts a bit too far on the short side, especially with the leg cuts on either side. However, if you’re looking for a pair to keep you fast during a race, the Nike Run Speed Shorts are really a great option.
Unfortunately, after just two washes the heat-sealed hem of the leg openings stated fraying. While this shouldn’t impact the overall performance of the shorts, it would be great to see Nike finding a way to better seal the hem.
There’s no doubt that Nike is known as a bit of trend setter in the industry for flashy apparel. Despite the fairly abbreviated length of the Nike Run Speed Shorts, they look good and are most definitely comfortable. These bottoms usually go for $80 but luckily you can catch these shorts on sale for $64.97. Given this price tag, I would suggest finding a store where you can try the shorts on before purchasing them. Overall, for a pair of race shorts, the Run Speed Shorts can definitely hold their own in a test with other similar performance bottoms.
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Born in Colorado, Tanya was raised in both the US and Switzerland. She’s a biologist who loves playing in the water and up in the mountains. Tanya now lives with her husband, Ben, and dog, Angel, in Lucerne, Switzerland.