The Inov-8 Race Elite 5-inch Short is the best on test and guarantees comfort and performance even on long road and trail runs

These Inov-8 Race Elite 5-inch running shorts might be designed for racing but they’re also an excellent, versatile choice for moving fast on roads and trails, in races and in training. They’re some of the best running shorts that are even suitable for leg drills in the gym. 

Men’s Fitness verdict

The Inov-8 Race Elite proved to be not only the best of our 5-inch shorts but the best running shorts overall. They are the most versatile, comfortable and high-performing shorts we’re tested.
  • Chafe-free boxer liners
  • Soft-lined waistband
  • Well ventilated
  • Could do with more storage

How we test the best running shorts

Our reviewers tested each pair of running shorts over a wide range of distances – from 5km to half-marathon – and during treadmill and outdoor training sessions as well as competitive events, to bring you the best of the best.

The waistband is wide, soft and one of the comfiest we’ve tested – and has an internal draw string

Inov-8 Race Elite 5-Inch Short design

The outer shorts are made from a soft and light blend of recycled polyester and elastane. They fit, hang and maintain their shape well – striking a good balance between a lightweight, barely-there fast feel and reliable coverage. There are small side splits to aid movement, too, and perforated panels on the hips and in the gusset help with airflow and cooling.  

Underneath the lightweight outer, there’s a set of thin, silky-soft fabric liners with a boxer cut. Flat seams help reduce the risk of chafing and ensure reliable comfort over the longer miles. If you’re thinking of shorts for racing a trail ultra, these perform better than some shorts with the classic pant-style briefs.   

Inov-8 Race Elite 5-Inch Short performance

The shorts are lacking a little where storage is concerned. There’s one zippered rear pocket that’ll hold a larger smartphone without too much bounce. Or it’ll fit three or four regular-sized gels at a squeeze. There’s a key loop in there too, though no separation to stop those from scratching your phone screen if you need to carry both. 

Overall, these are well made, durable shorts that will keep you comfortable on your long efforts on road or trail. We appreciate the wide waistband with its soft lining – which won’t roll up or dig in however long you wear them. The Inov-8 Race Elite 5-Inch comes in five sizes from XS to XL and two colours – black and blue. 


Materials:Recycled polyester / elastane
Details:Integrated boxer liner, rear zipped pocket with key loop
Sizes:XS – XL
Colours:Black, navy