Should You Buy Used Running Shorts?

Ebay - search used running shorts
It was one of our more philosophical discussions: if a crotch sweats on some pricey running shorts but you weren’t there to see it, and then you buy those same shorts for a very low price on eBay, did the crotch sweat ever really happen? What if you wash the sweated-on shorts twice before you wear them? Three times?

In other words, would you buy used running shorts? How low does the price of used name-brand or “designer” running shorts have to be to make you even consider putting them on?

Ok, so it wasn’t our pithiest existential question, but some of the answers were succinct AF: “Ew,” “No,” and “eh I’m cheap, I just wash ’em” were the top three.

It's the liner, Jerry!In the “ew no” camp, the main objection is the liner. It’s like wearing used underwear! Nobody is a clothing snob and we’ve all done plenty of eBay and thrift-store shopping, but some of us are simply, um, hard liners when it comes to the built-in running shorts liner.

In the “eh, whatever” camp, others are just not that bothered about theoretical, old, washed-off sweat. Plus, have you seen how much new running gear costs? That shit’s expensive! Sign us up for the $1.50 Lulus.

Oh, except: If you’re wondering what sparked this debate, it all started when I was putting a bunch of old stuff up on ebay and decided to throw in some running gear I don’t wear very often, including a pair of gently sweated-upon Lululemon Speed Shorts that are apparently not made anymore. I wasn’t looking to make a killing on my old spandex stuff, just to find a new home for some things I don’t use but still have a lot of wear left in them. Imagine my shock when I did a search and found that people are asking โ‚ฌ60 for this particular model of used Lululemon shorts! I mean, they’re fine shorts … they just about cover your butt and are nice and light for summer running. But as our fervently anti-used-shorts-brigade would argue, so are a lot of other shorts. Shorts that don’t cost โ‚ฌ60 or have pre-contact with someone else’s crotch.

Me, I’m all for the used clothing market. There’s way too much crap in the world. (Also, I will happily provide my PayPal address to anyone who wants to pay โ‚ฌ60 for my old shorts. Don’t be shy!) That said, have I ever actually bought used shorts? No! In fact, it never occurred to me, though I have bought jackets and shoes through eBay before. But if there were a model I especially loved, and it were either prohibitively expensive or no longer made … Ya know? Yeah! I would buy them used if the price were right. That’s what washing machines and sanitizing laundry detergents are for.

Enough about us, we want to hear from you! Used running shorts, yes or no?


I'm a 43-year-old living in Berlin, Germany and currently training for the 2020 Berlin Marathon.

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  1. I am 110% in the buying used running shorts camp – no need to make running more expensive than it already is. I guess I just don’t find other people’s sweat all that gross?? Some of my favorite running shorts were ones I bought used from Savers/Goodwill/Ebay. I’ve seen lots of thrift store running shorts and they all seem to be in decent condition (no stains, odors, etc). I did buy a Nike Wind Runner jacket used (for $25 – a steal!) that smelled pretty funky for the first 3 or so wash cycles, but as someone who could pretty much never afford a brand new Wind Runner jacket, it was well worth it to me. I’m not kidding, let me know what good-quality shorts you are looking to get rid of and I might actually buy!

    1. Yes to saving money!! And the shorts were lululemon speed shorts; I can now officially report that someone bought them for โ‚ฌ13,50!

        1. Yeah, I hear you. On a realistic/practical level i just assume most nasty things cannot live outside the human body for all that long and will die anyway in a hot wash with sanitizing detergent (is this just a German thing? You can buy detergent that claims to kill bacteria, fungi etc).

  2. Ha! I have a bad Varage Sale/consignment store habit, spurred on because Lululemon no longer makes Speed Shorts the way they used to, and I am forever searching in vain for the perfect pair like I had and lost in 2009. The liner doesn’t phase me because I always wear something underneath, liner or not. Then again, just because -I- do, doesn’t mean others do the same… so nevermind! Either way, I have such a hard time paying $50+ for a pair of shorts that will be washed and worn a million times and not kept in very good shape, when I can find them used for $10-$30.

    My dream — that I am taking absolutely no steps towards realizing — is to be able to sew my own pair of perfect running shorts that have all the best elements of the Lululemon, Oiselle, and Rabbit shorts.

    1. Thats amazing, Karen! I think that’s how Sally started Oiselle, isn’t it? Dream big. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I liked the speed shorts too, and have the new “speed up” shorts and they’re just fine … I don’t really see the difference much. In fact, I think I like the new ones better, but I thought it was because I like the print I have. Am I crazy?

  3. If they seem relatively new (i.e., someone hasn’t worn them for the past 5 years) and the price is good … I’d buy ’em. A friend got a pair of Oiselle Portmans off ThreadUP and I was pissed she found them before me. I have a pair of Nike shorts in my ThreadUP cart atm. Also if you’re like, oh what’s ThreadUP please DM me on some platform so I can send you my referral code because #noshame.

    1. I’ve heard great things about Threadup! Agree that with the used shorts, there’s a level of used beyond which I’d prefer not to wear them. Like if they’re at the permastink phase. No thanks.

  4. I’ve bought AND sold used shorts, sports bras, pants, shirts….everything except undies lol. To me, if it’s in “gently” used condition then after a wash or two it’s good as new to me. And I would only re-sell or buy something that’s clean and in good condition so I think it’s not all that bad to save a ton and buy used. I know some people who refuse to shop goodwill or thrift because it’s gross to them but I like a good bargain hunt.