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Running shorts are designed to facilitate comfort and free movement during exercise. Their materials are lightweight and hard-wearing. Many running shorts include an inner lining that acts as underwear, so wearing separate underwear is not necessary. Polyester is a common fabric in running shorts.
Many running shorts have a seam cut up the side of each leg to enable freer movement. Manufacturers define running shorts according to the length of the leg which is not cut. For example, a 3/4 seam means that 1/4 of the length is cut.
- 1/2 split seam shorts are the shortest.
- 3/4 split seam shorts are short, but not as short as 1/2 split seam shorts.
- Square leg shorts have no split at all.
Longer shorts are not ideal for running. A runner's stride may pull up the shorts' fabric, which can cause discomfort. Nonetheless, some runners prefer longer shorts because they cover a greater portion of their legs.
Some runners use athletic hot pants as running shorts. Like 1/2 split seam shorts, hot pants do not encumber leg movement.
Lycra running shorts are an alternative to conventional, polyester-based shorts. In most cases, they reach the mid-thigh. They are skin-tight, so they allow for more flexible, unencumbered movement.
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