Can You Wear Basketball Shorts for Running?

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Basketball players run while wearing shorts designed for their sport, and the loose fit helps them keep cool during frequent stops while giving them free range of motion to dodge oncoming opponents. If you run occasionally as part of your exercise routine or only for short distances, basketball shorts might work for you, just as they do for basketball players. When you're a serious runner who hits the track daily or trains for marathons, stick to running shorts instead. Basketball shorts can slow you down and lead to painful chafing.

Running Shorts Options

While basketball shorts are loose and comfortable, this can be a problem rather than an asset as you run long distances. The loose fabric can bunch up or rub areas in your groin and thighs, leading to chafing. They also require you to wear separate underwear, which is often cotton that doesn't handle sweat well. Running shorts, whether the short, hip-length variety or longer, tighter compression versions, typically have a built-in liner designed to replace underwear and help wick sweat away from your body. Baggy basketball shorts, which often are heavier than running shorts, don't offer much in the way of aerodynamics, creating drag when you're trying to shave seconds off your time.