Nike Rival Running Shorts Review

A major improvement on the Tempo style shorts, the Nike Rival Shorts are one of my favorite running shorts.

These shorts were my first introduction to the wide, soft yoga-style waistband on running shorts. Once you try this style waistband, there’s no going back to the elastic-y crinkled style. I bought these shorts in black last year at the Nike Store and realized I needed another pair ASAP. I was constantly doing laundry just to have these shorts to run in. So I added a navy blue pair (I’m not very exciting with running short colors).


My one gripe with the 2013 Rival Shorts is that there are 2 front large hand pockets that are not functional. Usually running shorts don’t have pockets on the side of the shorts. I did put a gel in these pockets once and it flew out at some point during my run. The pockets also make my hips look big while running. WELL, Nike must have listened to its runners because the 2014 Rivals don’t have the useless pockets! So now they are basically the perfect running short!

What I love about these shorts:

The thick, soft yoga-style waistband smooths your waist for a flattering, no muffin top look. Also, you avoid the uncomfortable indentations from the crinkly elastic waistbands.

The 4” is not too long, not too short. The shorts do also come in 2” and 6”.

Leg Opening
Great range of motion! I’ve become really picky about this because I want plenty of room for my legs to move and not feel restricted.

The Dri-Fit fabric is light and soft. It also dries very quickly!

Low rise
Especially for people who have stomach issues like me, this is a great feature! I hate having shorts tight around my stomach while I’m running. These shorts sit very low, right above the hips. However, there’s a string in the waistband to cinch it a bit, if necessary.

There’s the perfect amount of spandex to allow some stretch.

Although I’ve only had my black pair for about 1.5 years, I’ve washed them A LOT and they still look brand new.

Key/Gel Pocket
The shorts have a small hidden pocket in the back, inside the waistband to easily fit a Gel or a key.

Key/Gel Pocket

Key/Gel Pocket

Although my absolute favorite shorts are the Lululemon Pace Shorts (no longer being made). Lululemon Pace Shorts also have a nice cut on the leg bottom that’s flattering and comfortable, rather than cut straight across. However, the Nike Rivals are in a very close second. The 2014 Rival shorts without pockets may bump them up to my ultimate favorite short. I’d highly recommend these shorts for not just running but as a lightweight, workout short.



  1. […] an extremely picky running shorts person. I’ve previously reviewed Nike Rival shorts and Athleta Pulse shorts, favorites of mine. My ultimate favorite shorts, Lululemon Pace shorts, […]

  2. […] I have broken a marathon rule. I bought a new shirt this week and a new pair of long pants last weekend. The first time I wear both will be for the Richmond Marathon. An Arctic Chill will be hitting the East Coast this week, beginning around Thursday and lasting through the weekend. The low in Richmond on Saturday is predicted to be 29 degrees and the high 49 degrees. COLD. I have never run 26.2 miles in temperatures like that. I really don’t like running in pants but I think I’m going to have to. I had figured I’d just wear my capris if the weather was going to be cold. But this is too cold for capris, at least for me! My Under Armour running pants from 2010 desperately needed to be retired. Last weekend, I bought a pair of Nike Epic run tights at Potomac River Running, with one of the gift cards I need to use before we move. Perfect! The only running pants I’ve ever tried on have been my UA pants. But these Nike pants are awesome! I’ll be sure to do a review after the marathon. They are extremely comfortable, soft and warm. It almost feels like I’m not wearing pants! Also, I LOVE that the waistband is thick and low, like waistband on my favorite Nike Rival shorts. […]

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