When opting for a new running kit, comfort and breathability are always tops on the list. Craft is no stranger to performance apparel and their latest Essential 5-inch Running Shorts and RN SS Shirt are a good combination for warm days on the trails.

Essential 5″ Shorts and RN SS Shirt Features:

  • Straight-cut leg openings
  • Jersey-lined waistband
  • Zippered back pocket
  • Mesh side panels
  • Brief-style liner
  • Shirt features essential fabric and regular fit
  • MSRP: $44.99 (shorts), $29.99 (shirt)
Craft Essential 5" Run Shorts

Wishing for a better liner, but the shorts run well. That white shirt though.

Classic running kit = Essential

With the latest Essential shorts and shirts, Craft has delivered a classic, affordable kit for road or trail running. Going with the 5″ length, you get enough coverage to not be too uncomfortable in public situations while at the same time staying completely out of your way on he trails.

Critical to a good pair of shorts these days is a rear pocket that’s capable of carrying more than just a set of keys. I was pleasantly surprised that the rear pocket can swallow an iPhone 7 with aplomb. And, not only can it fit in the zippered pocket, the phone pretty much disappears while running. As phones have increased in size, it’s been more and more difficult to find a place to stash them while running and the Craft Essential 5-inch shorts have nailed it.

Craft Essential 5" Run Shorts

Good kit for trail running on warm days. Shirt could be more streamlined.

Outside of the good-sized rear pocket, the Essential shorts have a built-in liner (nothing innovative). Most shorts these days feature a compression-style liner, but these are classic brief-style and the cut is a little skimpy, in my opinion. The liner works and keeps my junk in place, but it’s a far cry from the awesome liners you’ll find in The North Face Better Than Naked Shorts.

Both the waistband and liner are made from soft, jersey material for good next-to-skin comfort. Reflective touches round things out.

As far as the Essential RN SS shirt goes, it’s a pretty simple tee. The fabric is the same throughout instead of mixing in more breathable mesh. And, it features traditional-cut sleeves. The cut is generous as the size large features a near-flowy fit. After a good run, the fabric gets saturated and takes a long time to dry.

The Good

  • 5″ shorts are a good overall length
  • Rear zippered pocket can handily carry an iPhone 7
  • Shorts have excellent breathability
  • Reflective touches for added breathability

The Bad

  • Shirt takes a long time to dry
  • Liner is cut a little skimpy on the backside

The Bottom Line: Craft Essential Run Shorts/Shirt

Craft aptly calls the line “Essential” for a reason. These are staple running shorts and a shirt that are good options that won’t break the bank. For well under $100, you can freshen up your running kit. Just be aware that the liner is a little skimpy and the shirt is pretty basic.

Buy Now: Essential Shorts | Essential RN SS Shirt

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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