Gear Guide: Oiselle Vela Shorts

Running gear can really get expensive. But sometimes it makes the most sense to suck it up and buy the new things. Like…

  • when your 1 year old favorite spandex shorts seem to have grown spikes on the inner thigh section, shredding the adjacent skin into a chafed mess -OR-
  • when your Kinvaras with 250 miles on them start smelling like a decomposing body. (Shoes are expensive; they’re getting 400 miles whether they smell like roses or not.)

These examples are purely hypothetical, of course. I can’t imagine who would ever have these problems.

The problem is that a) the best deals seem to be found online, and b) there is an apparent dearth of pertinent information for the online consumer who may not have free return shipping. I buy gear for my personal use from time to time, so I figure I can write a quick post and give the Internet the information that I suspect it so desperately wants.

I’m calling these posts a “guide” rather than a “review,” because running gear, especially apparel, is pretty individual to one’s shape and personal taste. My goal is to provide information rather than a recommendation.

The Product: Oiselle Vela Shorts

During my hypothetical quest for a new favorite pair of non-chafing spandex shorts, the Oiselle Friends & Family Sale happened. I found the Vela shorts: nice-looking, seamless, black spandex running shorts that were on the longer side. Sounds like a good start to avoid the dreaded inner-thigh-chafe. These shorts also claim to have an anti-odor treatment, and while I don’t know how or if it works, I like the idea, given my current issue with stinky shoes.

Photo credit: Oiselle


  • Price: $38
  • Inseam: 4″ per the Oiselle website; my pair measured 5″
  • Size ordered: Small
  • My measurements:
    • Waist: 28″
    • Hips: 38″
    • Inseam: 30.5″
    • Pants sizes: 2 in J.Crew; 6 in Theory
  • Size chart measurements for size small:
    • Waist: 25″-28″
    • Hips: 35″-38″

Initial impressions

Out of the box, the Vela shorts were comfortable and soft. They were long enough to cover the meatiest (read: most chafe-prone) parts of my thighs. Although my measurements were on upper end of the size chart for a size small, there was nothing snug in the initial fit. These shorts don’t have any pockets.

On the run

I took my Vela shorts straight out of the washer and dryer for a sweaty 8 mile run with a couple miles at tempo pace and some short repeats at 5k pace. I didn’t notice the shorts at all on the run, nor did I experience any chafing or riding up.

Other observations

The fit of the Vela shorts around the waist was a bit peculiar on my body type. The waist on these shorts is quite high, and if I let it sit at a point that feels comfortable for me, the fabric from the waist to the crotch gets wrinkly (see photos).


If I pull up the waist of the shorts to smooth the ripply fabric, the front of the shorts sits much higher on my waist than the back. The waist of the shorts is also not completely snug in the back. I suspect this style may have been designed for people with more petite bottoms than mine.

I’ll wear these shorts with a tank, so the odd-fitting waist won’t be very visible. The fit issues I experienced did not affect the performance of the shorts (like I said above, I barely noticed them on an 8 mile run including multiple paces), and the fit issues were outweighed by the comfort of the shorts and complete lack of chafing.

Have you ever tried these shorts or a similar style? Tell me about your experience in the comments: likes/dislikes/etc.

Note:  I received no free stuff nor compensation in exchange for this post. In fact, no one but me had any idea that I planned to write this post. I think it’s safe to say that all opinions and observations in this post are my own.


6 thoughts on “Gear Guide: Oiselle Vela Shorts

  1. Interesting post. Thanks for sharing. The Oiselle shorts are too short for me. I don’t like anything shorter than a 6″ inseam and i like a 7″-8″ better. I have a pair of the long flyte shorts. If they were a little longer they would have been perfect. I still wear them but not as often as I would have liked!! The waist was good. They ride up just a bit but after a mile or 2 then they stay put! I hate my legs and it has taken me a long time to actually wear shorts!! I wish they would make at least one short “longer” and I would buy them. I realize that most runners that are wearing Oiselle don’t want long and that is why they don’t make them! šŸ™‚


  2. I think I bought those a while back too. I forget the names on a lot of the Oiselle gear I buy. But the spandex-no-pockets thing is definitely one I have. I think you’re right about the high waist aspect. I didn’t realize I had this line where I didn’t want shorts to sit until I started wearing them. I guess I like lower slung shorts/tights. The Stride Shorts felt way better with all those considerations. Have you tried those yet? Price is always an issue too so I tend to wait for sales on their site too (unless I’m desperate). Does the no-pockets thing bother you or does it not matter? I love the iPhone-fitting pockets on the Long Roga shorts.


  3. Yeah! I have a pair of Stride Shorts too. For me, they present the same problem as my Saucony spandex shorts – hours of thigh rubbing on the seams have caused some threads to stick out and become a chafing nightmare. They’re kind of old so maybe I should try a new pair next time they’re on sale (totally agree about price; I can’t justify paying full price on a lot of their stuff). I do really like shorts with pockets; unfortunately I hate the way the long Rogas look on my body. Ah vanity. They look really great on the models on the Oiselle website.


  4. Pingback: Gear Guide: Brooks PureProject Seamless Capri | Racing Oprah

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