The best walking shorts for women

Trail-ready trends: Our pick of the walking shorts that'll go the distance.

A woman wearing a pair of the best walking shorts for women stepping over a brook

by Gemma Lavers |
Updated on

There's something quite blissful about stepping out into the world with nothing but the open road ahead, just you, your water bottle, your pals, and oh, a pair of the best walking shorts for women. If you're out walking in the summer months, you're going to want a pair of breezy shorts to keep you company.

Walk this way: The best walking shorts for women, at a glance

• Best overall walking shorts for women: Columbia Women's Saturday Trail Long Shorts - View now on Columbia
• Best women's walking shorts for mountain use: RAB Women's Torque Mountain Shorts - View now on RAB Equipment
• Best waterproof walking shorts for women: Sprayaway Escape Short - View now on Sprayaway

Many hikers opt for walking shorts over trousers - for their gym clothes and walking clothes - because of their freedom of movement. Shorts offer a breezy design and a liberating fit, so much so that you might even find yourself embracing the spontaneity of exploration with newfound excitement. Plus, let's not forget to mention that shorter hems mean less fabric to weigh you down and potentially overheat in the summer months that are hopefully well on their way.

So if you're feeling like swapping your walking trousers for walking shorts, here are some of our favourites.

SHOP: The best walking shorts for women

Please note: All prices are correct at the time of writing. Prices, stock and deals are subject to change without notice.

Best overall walking shorts for women

Columbia's Saturday Trail shorts are celebrated for their lightweight design and straight-leg cut, featuring standout technology - Omni-Shield repellence, made to ward off water and stains. This means liquids don't soak into the fabric, helping your shorts stay clean and looking brand new, even after adventures on challenging terrains. Oh, and they also come in a variety of different colours, from spice red to fig to city grey.


  • Water and stain repellent thanks to Omni-Shield technology
  • Lightweight design
  • Straight leg flattering fit


  • Some reviewers found these shorts run a little small

Best women's walking shorts for mountain use

RAB Women's Torque Mountain ShortsRAB Equipment

Rab's Torque Mountain Shorts are the dynamic companion to their best-selling mountain trousers. Made from a double-weave nylon fabric, these shorts offer unparalleled freedom of movement, mirroring the lightness of a bird in flight. Despite their slight heft at 215.5g, their comfort and functionality place them among our top picks for mountain adventurers. They feature a semi-elastic waist, dual snap closures, and four YKK zippered pockets for secure storage whether you're a light-packer or a not-so-light packer.


  • Double weave stretch fabric for great freedom of movement and durability
  • Part elasticated waistband with double snap closure and YKK zip fly
  • Fast-drying


  • Heavy material - 215.5g (in a women's size 10)

Best waterproof walking shorts for women

Sprayaway Escape ShortSprayaway

The Sprayway Compass shorts offer a slightly cheaper alternative to other options on our list but still perform just as impressively. These shorts boast great mobility due to their unique fabric, called TecWEAVE. This fabric ensures unrestricted movement, whether you're jumping, crouching, or running (hopefully not at the same time). While the fit is on the tighter side, this provides a sleek look that some love and others don't. But, the semi-elastic waistband with tricot lining guarantees comfort and dryness, thanks to its water-repellent finish.


  • Features TecWEAVE stretch polyamide fabric with WR finish
  • Two zipped hand pockets, with one zipped security pocket
  • Semi-elasticated waist with belt looks and tricot lining for wicking comfort


  • Slim fit might not be to everyone's taste

Best women's walking shorts with zippered pockets

Fjallraven High Coast Relaxed ShortsFjallraven

The Fjallraven Relaxed shorts are cool and quick-drying, perfect for outdoor activities like hiking or a kayak trip. The best part of these shorts is the extremely handy zippered pockets, which can be used to store all your little essentials like gels and snacks - and as you might know if you've been searching for a pair of walking shorts - zippered pockets are hard to come by. Plus, these Relaxed shorts are lightweight and easily packable for travelling.


  • Elastic waist with inside drawcord adjustment
  • Quick-drying stretch fabric with recycled polyamide
  • Zippered hand pockets


  • Can't be tumble-dried

Best women's walking shorts for intense hikes

The North Face Women's 2-in-1 ShortsThe North Face

Gear up to conquer challenging paths in style with the 2-in-1 shorts from The North Face. Made from partly recycled materials and engineered with FlashDry technology, say goodbye to sweat woes as moisture disappears in the blink of an eye. Seek ultimate comfort with the inner short leggings that hug your legs. And, with stretch fabric that moves with your every stride, you'll feel unstoppable, climbing every mountain and hill with ease.


  • Light reflection detailing helps you stay visible in low-light conditions
  • Durable water-repellent finish gives protection against light moisture and fabric saturation
  • Made with some recycled materials


  • Waistband adjuster at the front isn't to everyone's taste

Best women's walking shorts for quick-drying

Helly Hansen Women's Quick-Dry Cargo ShortsHelly Hansen

These Helly Hansen shorts are made for the modern explorer, crafted from quick-drying stretch material to stop any chafing post-dip. There's a variety of three colours: grey fog, ebony and navy, so you can match your shorts to the rest of your outfit. In addition, other great features include a YKK zipper, cargo pockets, belt loops and front fly with button closure. Ultimately, whether you're tackling rugged trails or strolling through the city, these durable yet lightweight shorts make sure that you are completely comfortable without compromising on durability.


  • Two-way stretch Ripstop fabric
  • Gusset in the crotch for freedom of movement
  • Quick-drying fabric


  • Legs are slightly oversized, so if you prefer a tighter fit, these might not be the shorts for you

Best windproof walking shorts for women

Berghaus Women's Wandermoor Wind ShortBerghaus

The Berghaus Wandermoor shorts ensure you can brave any weather conditions with confidence, thanks to their wind-resistant fabric. With an elasticated waistband and a four-way stretch, these shorts offer a customisable fit that moves with you as you tackle new trails and embark on new journeys. Plus, we love zipped pockets in walking shorts, and this Berghaus one has a back pocket with a concealed zip for small essentials.


  • Two open hand pockets and one secure back pocket with zip
  • Elasticated drawcord loop on the waistband so you can hook things onto it
  • Wind-resistant


  • Slightly heavier than other shorts on our list

Best budget walking shorts for women

Mountain Warehouse Lakeside II Women's ShortsAmazon
Price: $22.99

If you're looking for walking shorts on a budget, this pair of Mountain Warehouse Warehouse Lakeside shorts are cheap and on Amazon. Available in two colourful shades, dark pink and petrol blue, these shorts are made from 100% cotton with natural fibres, making them breathable, cool and airy. As for the pockets, although they're not zippered, there are multiple of them for secure and safe storage.


  • Lightweight and easy to pack
  • Multiple pockets
  • Great selection of colours


  • Slightly short in the leg

The best women's walking shorts: FAQs

Are spandex shorts good for hiking?

Spandex shorts are usually great for exercise - but are they just as good for walking? In short, the answer is that spandex and Lycra shorts reduce chafing while walking long distances, and they're great at allowing unrestricted movement. But, they're not for everyone. One reason why some individuals prefer polyester or cotton walking shorts is because spandex doesn't provide enough insulation if you're hiking in colder climates. Another reason to choose shorts that aren't made of spandex is because spandex isn't sweat-wicking nor quick-drying. These are two handy traits to have in your walking shorts in case you get caught in the rain.

Ultimately, it's up to you, would you rather opt for a pair of shorts that offer you freedom of movement, or sweat-wicking properties? If it's the first, choose spandex shorts, if it's the latter go for a more traditional pair of walking shorts.

What is the best material for walking shorts?

Walking shorts come in a range of materials, some more popular than others. One of the most popular materials is polyester because of its moisture-wicking properties and durable nature. This makes polyester shorts a great choice for rigorous hikes and long strolls.

Another popular material is nylon, which is lightweight and quick-drying, important for adventures where agility is key - like when you need a good pair of shorts to run in. There's always cotton too, which is perfect for the days where you want comfort but not necessarily moisture wicking as cotton isn't the best for that.

Gemma Lavers is a Health & Fitness Writer for What's The Best. From understanding nutrition to practising yoga and Pilates to delving into the psychology of motivation. She enjoys demystifying the latest fitness trends and staying on top of the dynamic health landscape, whether that's the best gym leggings, fitness trackers or the benefits of yoga.

When Gemma’s not writing, she can be found attending Pilates, yoga and Zumba classes. She’s also a bit of a home workout aficionado, constantly trying out new ways to keep her moving at home. Between writing, exercising and shopping, there’s nothing she loves more than hopping on a plane and exploring new cultures.

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