Brooks Element Shorts Review

For our current favorite running shorts, take a look at our best running shorts for men guide. Brooks Element Shorts Review […]

By on August 1, 2008 | Comments

For our current favorite running shorts, take a look at our best running shorts for men guide.

Brooks Element Shorts Review

Brooks Element short menSince I picked up my first pair of Brooks Element shorts sometime in the Fall of 2006, these shorts have been my favorite. In fact, unless it’s cold enough that I need to wear tights, the Element short is the only thing I’ve worn. Despite one unfortunate chafing incident, these were the best running shorts I’d encountered in a decade and a half of running! After a year of running in the 2006 model of these shorts, I’ve now had a chance to run in the 2007-08 model that Brooks provided in response to my feedback on the 2006 model. (Review of Brooks Customer Service)

The following features common to both the 2006 and 2007 models are what make the Element shorts my favorite:

  • A great split side design that allows for full range of motion. This minimizes the likelihood that the shorts will ride up.
  • Heavy fabric that’s not stiff. This also minimizes the likelihood that the shorts will ride up – a frequent problem with shorts for a stout legged runner like myself.
  • A generous key pocket. Why any running shorts wouldn’t have a key pocket is beyond me.
  • Two rear, external pockets.

Brooks Element short womenThe two small pockets, which open on the outside of each hip with their contents situated towards the rear, are the distinguishing feature of these shorts. I’ve yet to encounter a running-oriented (as opposed to hiking or adventure racing oriented) short that better incorporates external pockets. These pockets which are each big enough to hold two gel packets. Those pockets are quite handy in racing and training for ultramarathons. I imagine the shorts would be ideal for marathons, too.

The biggest improvement between the 2006 version and the 2007 was the a change to the liner. The old liner was mesh, which was great for breathability. However, although very rare, the mesh had the potential to chafe very unpleasantly … and that’s all I’ll say. The new liner is a silky material that still breathes, but with a much lower chafing index.

All in all, the Brooks Element Short is a great pair of running shorts!

What do you guys think of the Brooks Element Short? Any suggestions for other split side shorts?

You can get the Brooks Element Short (Men’sBrook's Element Men's Short or Women’sBrooks Element Women's Short) from

Bryon Powell

Bryon Powell is the Founding Editor of iRunFar. He’s been writing about trail running, ultrarunning, and running gear for more than 15 years. Aside from iRunFar, he’s authored the books Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running, been a contributing editor at Trail Runner magazine, written for publications including Outside, Sierra, and Running Times, and coached ultrarunners of all abilities. Based in Silverton, Colorado, Bryon is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner who competes in events from the Hardrock 100 Mile just out his front door to races long and short around the world, that is, when he’s not fly fishing or tending to his garden.