how to cut liner out of running shorts

How to Cut Liners Out of Running Shorts & Why You Should

If you’re wondering how to cut the liners out of running shorts because you think built-in underwear is inferior, then you’re not alone, and you’ve come to the right place! This article explains how to cut liners out of running shorts, and why you definitely should.

Built-in liner underwear is extremely trendy in the running-wear marketplace right now. On one hand, brands love adding liners because it increases the perceived value of their product, and forces an upsell disguised as a 2-for-1. On the other hand, brands are actually catering to a subset of the market who prefer lined shorts, which legitimizes and justifies their efforts.

Ultimately, what matters most is comfort. If you find lined shorts to be comfortable, more power to you – by all means continue using them and stop reading now. But if you, like us, dislike running shorts liners and are frustrated by having to pay for and then remove them, this article will justify your preferences and explain how to act on them. And if you’re undecided, we certainly hope to bring you into an anti-liner way of thinking.

How to Cut Liners Out of Running Shorts

  1. Find a sharp pair of scissors
  2. Invert the liners so they are sticking out above the waistband
  3. Fold the waistband over so it does not overlap the protruding liner
  4. Secure one end of the shorts and pull the liners taught
  5. Make a pilot cut to get your scissor in
  6. Proceed to cut the liner out, avoiding pockets
  7. Leave an extra ¼” to ½” of excess liner material as buffer

close up on removed liner underwear

Our Favorite Trail Running Shorts

This is an outdoors-focused website, and most of our running is on the trail. We prefer trail running shorts with zippered hand pockets because they’re the most versatile and can also be used for hiking. We’ve run, hiked, adventured, and otherwise vetted the following three pairs, all of which we recommend highly. Two of the three pairs have built-in liner underwear, which we recommend removing. Learn more about them in our guide to the best trail running shorts.

You make Adventure Alan & Co possible. When purchasing through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Here’s why you can trust us.

Patagonia Multi Trails Shorts

4.0 oz | $79 M’s | $69 W’s

We love the wearing the Patagonia Multi Trails Shorts because they offer the best blend of stretch, comfort, breathability, and zippered pocket security. This is a great all-purpose pair of shorts that’s particularly good for hiking, but also great for trail running and athleisure. Pro tip – cut the liners out and use your preferred underwear. Read our full-length Patagonia Multi-Trails Shorts Review.

Nike Trail Second Sunrise Shorts

6.0 oz | $75

Traditional outdoor brands beware, the Men’s Nike Trail Second Sunrise Shorts are an instant favorite of ours thanks to their secure zipper access hand pockets, side thigh pockets, and extremely stretchy-yet-durable fabric.  Learn more in our Nike Second Sunrise Shorts Review.

Janji Transit Tech Shorts

4.8 oz | $74

The Janji Transit Tech Shorts are our favorite trail running/multi-purpose shorts to use for hiking, as well as the author’s current favorite athleisure shorts. Compared to traditional hiking shorts material, they are lighter weight, more stretchy, comfier, more movement-friendly, and more breathable while still having sufficiently sized and secure zipper pocket storage. Learn more in our full-length Janji Transit Tech Shorts Review.

Why You Should Cut Liners Out Of Running Shorts

Built In Underwear is Statistically Unlikely to be the Best Option

By now you probably already have a preferred pair of running underwear. You found this pair through trial and error, perhaps over the course of many years. It is in your ideal inseam length. It gives you the exact perfect level of security and compression that suits your body best. It isn’t too tight. It isn’t too loose. It is definitely comfortable. And it guarantees you won’t chafe. These are your Goldilocks underwear. And you might even have multiple pairs of the same model.

Now ask yourself, what are the odds that any other random pair of underwear could fit and perform quite as well as your preferred pair of Goldilocks underwear. The answer is extremely low – like, even a 1% chance is generous. Therefore, we argue that it is extremely likely, almost guaranteed, that underwear you already own and run in will perform better than the built-in liners that happen to come with your running shorts. Cutting out the liners and using your Goldilocks underwear will improve your running experience and performance.

Removed liners vs preferred underwear

Liner Underwear is Economical, Not Best-In-Class

Take the Brooks men’s 7” Sherpa Shorts, for example. This pair of shorts is available with a built-in boxer brief liner for $72, or without a liner for $64. Therefore, we can assume the built-in liner underwear is roughly equivalent to an $8 pair of running underwear.

A quick scan of the marketplace tells us that premium running underwear costs anywhere from $20-$40 a pop. As such, we can infer that the built-in liner underwear is generally budget-grade, and severely compromises on quality, given that it is 2-4 times less expensive than top-of-the-line underwear. Why settle?

If you want the best possible performance, fit, compression level, fabric, and security, you should always choose premium underwear that does not come complimentary with your shorts. It will massively improve your running experience. For most runners, just having a few pairs of premium underwear means you never have to run with less than the best possible support, fit, inseam length, compressions, etc.

Built In Underwear Has No Mechanical Advantage

As far as we can tell, there is no mechanical or physical advantage to the shorts and underwear both being attached to the same elastic waistband. At best, one could argue that this helps keep your shorts around your waist, because the friction created by the underwear against your skin is added to the hold created by the elastic waistband. But this is entirely meaningless if, like most people, your running shorts don’t fall off while using them because the waistband fits and it has a drawstring.

However, if you have a loose fitting pair of liner underwear that gets soaked in sweat, the weight and sag of it may actually cause your shorts to slide down a bit, as it exerts extra pressure on the shared waistband.

close up on removed liner underwear front side

Liner Underwear Is Less Versatile

Running shorts with built-in liners are less versatile. If the worst should happen – you know what we mean – you can’t change your underwear without also changing your shorts. There may also be occasions when you wish to change out of shorts and into pants, but now you can’t because you would have to also take your underwear off in public. But this wouldn’t be a problem if you had separate shorts and underwear.


You Should Cut The Liners Out, Now You Know How And Why

We dislike running shorts with built-in liners because they are statistically unlikely to be your best underwear option, are budget-grade rather than premium, offer no real mechanical advantage, and decrease the garment’s versatility. Cutting the liners out of running shorts is the preferred option, it is easy, and all you need is a pair of scissors. We hope you enjoy your next run having removed the liners from your running shorts!

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