I'm generally a nervous runner, which means I stick religiously to the age-old rules of running: Never increase your mileage more than 3 percent each week, eat at least two hours before your next run and never ever try something new on race day. But as the 2023 Boston Marathon approached and I struggled to find a race-day kit I was content with, I took a last minute trip to Athleta that may have saved my race.
After years of reviewing running clothes and shoes and working in running retail, I've amounted quite the stock pile of gear, but I had yet to find a pair of shorts that would withstand the stresses of 26.2 miles. I knew I'd need something that was long enough not to ride up and high enough not to fall down, all while remaining comfortable when my GU energy gels and salt tabs jostled around in my stomach for hours. Enter: Athleta's Ultimate Stash 7 running shorts.
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Because I purchased these shorts so close to race day, I ended up toeing the line with new shorts and a prayer — no test run in sight. Risky as that may have been, my rash decisions left me rash-free, and led me to find my new go-to short for training and racing.
Features and Functionality
While there are a couple 7-inch shorts to choose from at Athleta, the Ultimate Stash 7 was truly made for runners. Unlike the more low-impact, yoga-oriented designs, this pair uses a slightly thicker, stretchier material that holds up better to consistent friction. Despite the thicker fabric however, I didn't feel hot at all and they did an excellent job wicking away my sweat — and the rain — away from my skin, which also kept me from catching a chill.
It's also clear that every inch of these shorts was designed with intention. They feature two deep side pockets and a small waistband pocket in the back. When I ran the Boston Marathon, I wore a Vooray fanny pack, which was unfortunately too small to fit all of my fuel plus my phone. Once again, the Ultimate Stash 7 shorts saved the day. I ran with my phone in my side pocket the entire 26.2 miles — except when I called up my spectator for a Fig Newton delivery half way through —and I barely noticed it was there.
Even with the added weight of my phone, the shorts didn't move an inch from my waist. They have a decently tall waistband that reached just above my belly button, and an internal tie that allows you to snug it up even more if you feel like you need a little more security.
In the past, I've also struggled to find shorts that are the right length. They either roll up or are too long and make me feel like I'm overheating. The 7 inches seems to be pretty perfect though — the shorts hit right at my mid thigh, which is long enough that it didn't get munched by my thighs, but not so long that I may as well have been wearing capris. I will note that I'm on the taller side at 5'7", so if you're shorter, you may find that they fit a bit longer on you.
The true shining feature of these shorts, however, was they left me completely chafe-free. I have always opted to run commando as I can't stand the feeling of layers of fabric bunching while I run, but running without underwear can also leave me more susceptible to chafing in the worst possible places. Because this was my first marathon — and my longest training run had been 12 miles (I do not recommend!) — I had expected to deal with a few variations of discomfort. To my surprise and delight, chafing was not one of them.
Get Your Own Pair of Athleta Ultimate Stash 7 Shorts
Though these shorts may have started as a last-minute impulse purchase, they have ended up as one of my most-reached-for pieces of gear. And while $69 price tag was a bit painful at the time of purchase, I have the opposite of buyer's remorse. Because of the length, they are truly a three-season short, which means you can get your wear out of them — and they make a great addition to a capsule wardrobe if you're trying to simplify your closet.