I was just going through my drawer of running clothes this morning and decided finally to toss out a pair that I bought back in 2003. They were short--as in, split up the side, the sort people used to wear back in the 80s and 90s. I think they'd be called 3" inseam, although I can't remember anybody ever talking about them in terms of that measurement.
The other day I went to a new Dick's sporting goods here in Oxford, MS and asked the clerk to point me towards men's running shorts. He narrowed his eyes: "As in.....?" He didn't seem to realize that there is something called men's running shorts.
I finally found a few. They had a 7" inseam. To my late-50s eyes, they looked like a cross between running shorts and basketball shorts. I bought them, just to buy something, but they're really just too damned long.
For the past 5 years or so, I've been running in more contemporary shorts, or what WERE considered contemporary men's running shorts, which have 5" inseams.
Meanwhile, the women who run around here have been wearing less and less. The current uniform is butt-hugging shorts with no inseam at all--I'm sure they've got a technical name--and jogbras, or what women of my age used to call JogBras. (For what it's worth, Dick's had rows and rows of 3" inseam women's running shorts. "Women runners don't wear them," the store manager told me. "They're huge with the sorority girls." And that's true.
The male XC runners at Ole Miss seem to prefer fairly short running shorts, old-school, in the 4-5" inseam range. But your average Joe Jogger type seems to prefer bigger and baggier; longer. Phase shifted towards contemporary basketball gear.
I'm finding all of this very confusing. I'm obviously just an aging runner who needs to be put out to pasture.