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An Ode to the Wide Waistband in Running Shorts

by Meghann on September 28, 2012

I’m a runner who lives in Florida, where it’s acceptable to run outside in shorts 12 months out of the year. I own approximately fifteen pairs of running shorts and exactly one pair of running tights. I know my shorts. I know what I like, what works, and what’s comfortable. (for me)

And if you were to line all of my favorite shorts next to each other, there’s one thing that would stand out – the wide and flat waistband.


You see, I’m sort of obsessed with it. Shorts that have gathered waistbands with ridges dig into me and make running in them very uncomfortable.The wide and flat waistbands are comfortable, smooth, and often make me forget I’m wearing them. I don’t even buy shorts without one anymore.


(From back to front: Sugoi Women’s Moxi Skirt, Moving Comfort Momentum Shorts, Brooks Women’s PR Mesh Skort, Lululemon Run Speed Shorts, Lululemon Running Skirt)   

They’re also a little more flattering. Want to get rid of that “poof” at the top of the shorts? Try the wide waist band.


See the difference?


How about here?

P9280007.JPG P9280010.JPG

The wide waistband hugs my curves instead of squeezing them.

Other things I look for in shorts?

  • length – I like them a little shorter
  • fit – they should be loose, not tight, around the thighs
  • material – light and airy
  • pockets – always a bonus
  • feel – they should feel good, simple as that

Oh! And they should work with my favorite shirt.


(wrinkles are hot!)

I run in comfort. The Champion C9 Seamless Cami Tops (from Target!) – ROCK!!!! I own one in every color (all paid for out of my own pocket). Seriously the most comfortable shirt you will ever run in (I wish I owned more – I could really use a lime green or bright orange in my collection πŸ˜‰ )


Put it all together….


You get a bad-ass racer who’s not worrying about her belly showing or any “poofing” around her hips.


Thank you to whoever started adding wide waistbands to running shorts. I know this runner who does not have six-pack abs – and, instead, has a little jiggle – appreciates it!

What’s the #1 feature you look for in running shorts? Why?

Lunch was a little funny today. I basically combined last night’s leftover broccoli and chicken buffalo burger and heated them both up on the stove top with a little more buffalo sauce. I had the last roll/bun on the side.



1 Brittany @Berries and Barbells September 28, 2012 at 4:13 pm

I am all about the pockets. I’m not too picky when it comes to running shorts but I want a pocket for my iPod. I hate those arm band thingys.
Brittany @Berries and Barbells recently posted..Almost There

2 Courtney @ Journey of a Dreamer September 28, 2012 at 4:27 pm

I looove wide wastebands, it does make you look tons slimmer. and I need that top! I don’t know that i’ve seen it in my target I’ll have to look online!
Courtney @ Journey of a Dreamer recently posted..Coffee Date: Vlog is back!

3 Lindsey @ ChickFlickChic September 28, 2012 at 4:28 pm

omg i totally feel you with the wide waistband! i recently got my first pair and i was like ” i see the light!” my favorite are nike but they only sell them at the outlets… which is fine by me because they’re like $19!

4 Megan September 28, 2012 at 4:29 pm

I don’t have any with the wide waist band…I don’t think I’ve even tried any on like that. My running capris do, though. I’m not picky at all with shorts…basically if they are a good price I will get them.

Iam hoping to find your face shirt on sale sometime. I Check to see every time i go to target! Hopefully since fall is here I will find some!

5 Chelsie @ Balance, Not Scale September 28, 2012 at 4:34 pm

I’m all about the wide waist band too. Anything with a drawstring I find really uncomfortable because all the weight of the short hangs from that one spot — I find it (1) makes the shorts “feel” heavier, and (2) presses into my stomach awkwardly (like you mentioned). I also find that shorts with drawstring waists are more likely to start falling down by the end of my run. Not a fan.
I need to invest in a few more pairs (I look for lightness, short legs, not too tight, and not so much fabric that they bounce up and down when I run) — but I think I’ll wait until next summer. Need to start pulling out the long pants up here!!
Chelsie @ Balance, Not Scale recently posted..Banana Dessert + Future Friday

6 RunInBoise September 28, 2012 at 4:38 pm

I usually wear skirts, but I have a pair of spandex shorts that I love to wear because they are the right length. I am loving zippered pockets in everything, including shirts. I am going to have to make a trip to Target tonight. I am looking for a perfect black tank & yours looks comfy.
RunInBoise recently posted..Almost Had It Done!

7 natalie @ will jog for food September 28, 2012 at 4:39 pm

I’m so with you on the wide waistband!! Much better than the crinkly type. I definitely need to look for those camis next time i’m in target. They are so cute πŸ™‚
natalie @ will jog for food recently posted..Crackaroni and Cheese

8 Dori September 28, 2012 at 4:43 pm

I’m with you on the waistband. The only shorts I run in are the Lululemon Run: Speed Shorts (also with you on all your other preferences on the list) and I also have a couple of running skirts I love too. I LOVE those Target C9 by Champion tops. I’ve tried on a few shirts there but they never fit me well, but I must have missed those tops. I will have to try next time even though the last thing I need is more workout gear.
Dori recently posted..Newport Liberty Half Marathon Recap

9 Carly Thurman September 28, 2012 at 4:43 pm

I love my wide band shorts! They are so flattering on everyone and ultra comfy!!
Carly Thurman recently posted..Forever and a Day: Jesse’s song

10 Karen @ Runner Girl Eats September 28, 2012 at 4:51 pm

I agree, wide band is the way to go. I am on the short side (5’3″) so I like a shorter short too. Target has an incredible selection of affordable work out gear.
Karen @ Runner Girl Eats recently posted..Friday Favorites

11 Krissy @ Shiawase Life September 28, 2012 at 4:53 pm

I love that wide waistband too, and I love POCKETS! πŸ˜€

Fun post, Meghann!!
Krissy @ Shiawase Life recently posted..Happy Jealousy.

12 Krissy @ Shiawase Life September 28, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Oiselle Rogas are a great wide waistband short as well – wish the worked for me (they are a little long for my 5’2″ self) but for those a smidge taller, I’d highly recommend these:
Krissy @ Shiawase Life recently posted..Happy Jealousy.

13 Sana September 28, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Gotta love yoga pants for the wide waistband πŸ™‚
Sana recently posted..Tense Runner+RunKeeper App

14 Hillary September 28, 2012 at 5:10 pm

I love shorts that have that little inner pocket—great for carrying my key!
Hillary recently posted..Yes!

15 Jena September 28, 2012 at 5:19 pm

I wear the nike pro compression shorts pretty much exclusively. I hate a whole lot of material – the nike pro shorts are the best.
Jena recently posted..goals: readjusting & regrouping

16 Annette @FitnessPerks September 28, 2012 at 5:31 pm

I don’t know if I care what the waistband looks like?! Hah. I just like shorts that fit ME. But drawstrings are annoying, for sure. I love inner pockets for a key holder πŸ™‚
Annette @FitnessPerks recently posted..Friday Fall Survey

17 Kelly September 28, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Awesome discussion. As a (slightly insane) runner who is uncomfortable in running with anything covering my knees, I run in shorts year round. Even when the February temperatures in DC reach a balmy 20 degrees. Though, at that point, I do tend to pull out my compression socks and pull them up to just below my knee. It’s a super hot look.

The three biggest things I look for in shorts: fun/bright colors, loose and short (but not so short that there is a butt cleavage thing happening), and pockets. Specifically, pockets in the back and NOT the front because I run during lunch most days, and I need someplace to store the access card to my office building. If the pocket is in the front, I usually end up with my hip bone all chafed up from it. No problems when its in the back though (the silver lining of having a little extra padding back there?).

Now I just need to find a pair like that with a wide waistband. I’ve only ever worn the Nike tempo shorts, but you may have convinced me to try something new with your figure-flattering argument!

18 mary @ minutes per mile September 28, 2012 at 5:40 pm

oh man, this reminds me of my tribute to tempo shorts post! i look for wideness in the actual short (not too wide, or else i flash people as i run) and a good yet small pocket for keys. IMO, nike tempos are yet to be beat.
mary @ minutes per mile recently posted..chicken fingers

19 BroccoliHut September 28, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Aha! I love this! I have the “poof” problem so now I know to look for the wide waistband shorts.

20 Emily September 28, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Great post!!!!

21 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More September 28, 2012 at 6:27 pm

LOVE wide waistbands. It’s one of my favorite things about yoga pants so WHY have I not sought out running shorts with that?! I’ve had a revelation. Please excuse me as I have some shopping to do… πŸ˜‰
Katie @ Talk Less, Say More recently posted..Fitness Friday // Achievements!

22 Katie @ running4cupcakes September 28, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Totally agree! Just got my first pair of lulu shorts last week… Can’t believe I waited so long to get a pair!!!!
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23 Ali September 28, 2012 at 6:48 pm

If you don’t mind me asking, what size are your target c9 tops? Im about to order some online but they don’t have size chart and I figured I could gauge it based on yours =) thanks!

24 Meghann September 28, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Small πŸ™‚

25 ct cupcake September 28, 2012 at 7:13 pm

I’m not a shorts person, but I love love love my running skirts from lululemon + athleta. pockets are must have!

I wanted so badly to love those target tops but the straps were weirdly too long on me and showed way to much cleavage for working out! I have 2 from a few years ago that have a higher rise.
ct cupcake recently posted..Yoga Journal

26 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats September 28, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Ah I wish I hadn’t read this just a week before the marathon! I’ve been wondering where to get a shirt like that! I also should try out some wide band shorts, I only own Nike shorts (norts as I call them), which I love but aren’t as flattering at times like now when I’m up a few lbs and a little curvier.
Katie @ Peace Love & Oats recently posted..Race Mantras

27 Callie @ The Wannabe Athlete September 28, 2012 at 7:51 pm

I can’t help but think that these are many of the same reasons I love maternity clothes…:)
Callie @ The Wannabe Athlete recently posted..A Coaching Injury

28 Hayley September 28, 2012 at 7:53 pm

After reading this post and seeing those C9 shirts from Target, I went and got one in every color!! I have been looking for a running shirt that is loose in the stomach area for SO long. It seems like they are all too tight and short and I end up wearing a loose old tank top every time (so not cute). Thank you so much for this post, they are the first cute running top I’ve tried on and LOVED! I will definitely be rocking one in my upcoming half marathon πŸ™‚

29 Rebecca September 28, 2012 at 8:02 pm

We pretty much wear the same thing! The Lululemon Run: Speed short is my all-time favorite. I bought three pairs and then was told they’re discontinued :(.
I adore that Champion top! I love that they don’t cling. I only have one, though, and I’ll be honest…I don’t wash it between each run. Can I use the excuse that I’m a college student so I’m allowed to wear gross clothes? πŸ˜‰ I should really buy more.

30 Suzanne @ Fit Minded Mom September 28, 2012 at 9:41 pm

How funny, I just went shopping for running shorts today and the wide waistband was a must because I hate the muffin top that the cinched elastic waist gives me. Also, I cannot STAND the built in panty in shorts either. I just can’t handle them….they chafe me if I am being honest, lol!!
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31 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles September 28, 2012 at 11:27 pm

Definitely prefer the wider waistband and the shorter length on running shorts! Now I just need to work on finding some tops that don’t ride up – I think everyone at the gym has probably seen about enough of my belly.
Sam @ Better With Sprinkles recently posted..Double Happiness + Taking The Stairs.

32 Kathy September 29, 2012 at 6:57 am

Honestly since I am newer to the running thing and really haven’t worn shorts in the past couple of years (b/c I have hated my veiny/jiggley thighs) that…..I didn’t even know they had wide waist band shorts like this! LOVE!

This summer for the first time I purchased 2 pair of Champion shorts from Target…with the undies inside…isn’t that great! But, they have the “normal” waist band…I may be on the look out for the wide ones now…especially since I am a bit more comfortable wearing shorts running now that the thighs have firmed up a little more. πŸ˜‰

33 Erica September 29, 2012 at 7:06 am

The shirt is totally cute! I’m picking one up!! I like running in skirts. Something about the airflow really works for me πŸ™‚
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34 Sara @my less serious life September 29, 2012 at 8:03 am

wow i haven’t even ever worn a pair of running shorts like this. for as much as i run – maybe i’m really missing out on something!

35 Kaitlyn September 29, 2012 at 8:45 am

Ahhh I’ve never even tried on wide waistband shorts!!! I remember seeing your racing shorts that you wore for Flying Pig and I thought…they are so cute! Why do running shorts always seem awful on me?…now I know your secret πŸ™‚ Thanks for the tip!

36 Becca September 29, 2012 at 9:53 am

Thanks! I hate running shorts, but these are some good tips.

37 Jessica @ Keeping Mommy Sane September 29, 2012 at 10:52 am

I couldn’t agree with you more! I feel the exact same way, especially about the lulu skirt (I think I have the same one). Maybe its me, but I seem to have a better run when I feel confident (and comfortable) with how I look. I will have to check out the Brooks skirt – I am a Brooks Glycerin gal πŸ™‚
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38 Hannah September 29, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Loved this post! Long time reader but infrequent commenter πŸ™‚ this topic made me smile. Love me a wide waistband especially in a cute color a la lululemon. Thanks!

39 Rachel Knudsen September 29, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Love this post!

40 Lindsey @ Goldilocks and the 3 Bodies September 29, 2012 at 9:11 pm

I must be the weirdo- wide waistbands don’t work on me! I also like my shorts longer if that makes sense. At the moment, thigh rub (UGH) is an issue and that helps solve it.

The tank top is adorable! I usually hate tank tops because they ride up, are too short or are too much boob, but that one looks awesome! I’ll have to look out for it.
Lindsey @ Goldilocks and the 3 Bodies recently posted..Pick the Latest Book for the Binge Free Book Club!

41 Danielle @ A Sense of Balance September 29, 2012 at 9:18 pm

How have I never realized a wide waist band was the solution to that pinch over the elastic band?? I hate it,especially because I’m so particular about shirts to workout in – tight, ribbed cotton tanks only (no idea why) and they highlight the squeezed skin/pudge! I might have to go in search of some wide band shorts tomorrow. πŸ™‚
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42 Kristy @Kristy's Health Revolution September 30, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Ha! I’m so glad I’ve started following your blog, Meghann! Great post!

43 Emily N October 1, 2012 at 12:07 pm

I still have not found the perfect running shorts. The lulu turbo run short is close. I bought those moving comfort ones like you wore for the Pig (PS – my training partner ALSO wore them for the Pig!) when they were on sale on road runner sports (if you love them, go buy a few more pairs!) and they ride up LESS than most shorts, but they do still ride up. Not in the waist – I agree about the wide band! – but in the crotch. One of my Bourbon teammates has suggested trying split shorts, so that is next.
Emily N recently posted..Bourbon Chase 2012 – Part I

44 Jessica October 2, 2012 at 1:34 pm

You know I don’t know why I haven’t tried short with a thicker waistband yet. I need to get to it. I hate running shorts that give me a muffin top!
Jessica recently posted..Paying it Forward

45 Terie February 4, 2013 at 1:22 pm

I totally see the difference and concur with you on the wide bands. I am in search of that AND shorts that don’t ride up between my legs… after a few miles I start to feel the chaffing and the burn, it’s not pretty, even with a glide stick. Any suggestions? Preparing and training for the Disney Pricess 1/2 in 3 weeks!!!
Terie recently posted..Exercising: It’s all in your mind

46 kathy May 27, 2014 at 2:08 pm

way late to the dance on this one, but googling got me here. πŸ™‚ just found out about these. i’ve been folding over the waist on my Nike Tempos (using the same ones going on 4 years and itching to change) but this (from 2 years ago) is amazing! now i need to find the cheap ones. πŸ™‚ thanks so much for this (old) post!
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