Lululemon Speed Up Shorts vs. Speed Shorts: What’s the Difference?

Lululemon caused quite a stir with rumors that the company would discontinue Speed Shorts. I set up a head-to-head Speed Up Shorts vs. Speed Shorts match up in response.

First, before I head into the Speed Up Shorts vs. Speed Shorts comparison, I will say this: I am a Speed Short devotee. I have a beautiful rainbow of them in my workout wear rotation. Whether I’m headed to the box or for a run, it doesn’t matter. Speed Shorts are there for me. They move with me, make my legs look longer, and have the zipper pocket for my key on runs (or wedding ring, on a toes-to-bar or pull-up day). Since I live in Houston, I can wear Speed Shorts 10 months out of the year.

When I heard that Lululemon was quietly phasing out the Speed Shorts, I wanted to cry. I love these dang shorts. Information received from various sources offered conflicting intelligence: one Lululemon source said, no, Speed Shorts are not in danger. Another said they were. Still, another said Speed Up Shorts were their replacement. There was only one thing left to do: buy some new Speed Shorts before they went the way of the dinosaurs – and snag a pair of Speed Up Shorts, for science, of course.

I real-life tested Lululemon's Speed Up Shorts vs. Speed Shorts. As a Speed Short devotee, I needed to make sure I'd have an acceptable replacement. This is how they stacked up.

Speed Up Shorts vs. Speed Shorts Match-Up

I studied the labels of both the Speed Up Shorts and the Speed Shorts carefully. The main differences, according to the labels, are:

  • The Speed Up Shorts have a new lightweight waistband, and the pocket system is flexible.
  • The Speed Up Shorts have added Lycra for more stretch and shape retention.
  • The Speed Up Shorts are low-rise, instead of the Speed Shorts’ medium rise.
Looking at the Speed Up Shorts vs. the Speed Shorts by placing the tags side by side.
The tags are different. Are the shorts?

Both pairs of shorts have the continuous drawcord and a 2.5″ inseam.

If you look at the picture of the waistband below (the Speed Up Shorts are on the bottom), you can see that the Speed Up Shorts are sewn differently. For the Speed Up Shorts, Lululemon designed the front inner waistband pockets as one big pocket with two entry points. This lets you slide in larger items like GU. I like this new waistband a lot.

Comparing the Lululemon Speed Up Shorts vs. Speed Shorts at the waistband. Note the Speed Up Shorts have different stitching.
The new waistband hides one long pocket.

One other difference in the Lululemon Speed Up Shorts vs. Speed Shorts match-up: the sides of the Speed Up Shorts are cut shorter. This isn’t really a problem for me, but it might be unsettling to those who are used to the slight bit of more coverage from Speed Shorts. Keep in mind that I’m 5’1″ and that my legs are my favorite body part.

Lululemon Speed Up Shorts vs. Speed Shorts: Speed Up Shorts are shorter.
The Speed Up Shorts are layered on top of Speed Shorts.

Speed Up Shorts vs. Speed Shorts: Performance

With those small differences laid out, the Speed Up Shorts perform exactly the same as the Speed Shorts. The liner stays in place, and the shorts move well during WODs and runs. I didn’t have a problem with the Speed Up Shorts. In fact, I actually liked the Speed Up Shorts a little better in terms of looks. The higher side cut means my legs look longer. (This is a good thing for those of us with short little legs.) And for some reason, the rear view is just better in the Speed Up Shorts.

My final verdict: Speed Up Shorts are a more-than-acceptable replacement for the Speed Shorts, if you’re of smaller stature and like your legs. Granted, Lululemon could handle the transition better by actually putting out a consistent message. However, if you’re very attached to the Speed Shorts, stock up now. As with my beloved and extinct All Sport Shorts, they will only exist in your dreams or on resale sites for ridiculous amounts of money.