Introducing the Roga: fearless leader of the running short revolution

by Meghan Bruce

Rewind back to five years ago. Take a look at the female running scene: from high school and college cross country team practices to social running clubs to the starting line of races. There are key apparel pieces that you are bound to see among all of these subgroups. Let’s focus on the shorts. For one, we’ve got the popular Nike Tempo Short, in an abundance of color combinations and patterns. Nike Pro shorts are the norm if the women are sporting spandex shorts. Regardless of the brand or length, you can bet that the waistbands are rolled down once and that is the thing that is most adjusted pre-race. Nobody wants an uncooperative waistband before mile one. Fast-forward a year or so, and brands such as Lululemon have introduced yoga-inspired, spandex shorts to the field, sometimes adorned with no-slip grip features and internal pockets to specifically market these pieces to runners.

Oiselle was born in 2007, and has seemed to find its stride in recent years thanks to a strong following on social media, its sponsored athletes, and expansion to more vendors. Oiselle hit our doors (at the Running Companies in New Jersey) this fall, and it has been flying off the walls…no pun intended, as Oiselle is named after the French  word for “bird,” and inspired by the feeling of flight when one takes off running. Sally Bergesen, Oiselle founder and CEO, created the clothing company in part due to her frustration with the lack of flattering and comfortable women’s running apparel. One of Oiselle’s signature pieces that represents exactly the opposite of her not-so-satisfying muses is the Roga Short. Now available in regular (4″) and long (6″) inseams, the Roga is a fan favorite because it combines the comfy, no-nonsense yoga pant-like waistband with the traditional fitted, but not tight, running short legs.

After months and months of seeing people rave about the Roga on Twitter and blogs, and picking out several women wearing rogas at races, I decided it was about time I see what all the buzz was about. The indigo “Diamond Roga” had caught my eye since the moment I first saw it online, so when it was actually in my possession I…well, I really hoped it would live up to my expectations. I put on the shorts for an easy five mile run. It was about sixty degrees and humid, so it would definitely be put to the chafe test: the most honest of test runs, right? Observations….

  • The waistband was awesome. I could tell it would definitely be flattering year-round, meaning with or without a shirt when the temps heat up.
  • The liner was great; I had no complaints. It felt like the perfect size for the short. Sometimes I have issues with the liner feeling like it was made for a short that is a size bigger, which can make or break the way I feel about wearing a short for long runs or fast workouts…but this liner was just right!
  • Pockets…I didn’t use any pockets for this run, but there is an off-center zip pocket in the back, and I think it would be great for carrying a gel without feeling its presence each step.
  • Length: I think the 4-inch inseam is a happy medium for a lot of runners. I know a lot of women who wouldn’t like it if it were shorter or longer, so I think Oiselle chose the 4″ inseam right for their standard roga length. Personally, I think it would be an even better short if it had a 3″ or 3.5″ inseam, because the ends did fold over on themselves a little on their own without me noticing. I heard rumors that a shorter roga is on its way though….
  • Results from the chafe test: A+, no chafing! However, I will have to take them on a much longer run to officially make that declaration. And I can assure you, I most certainly will.


If you are still fidgeting with your shorts on the reg, I definitely would recommend you invest in a pair of Oiselle roga shorts. The worst that can happen? You’ll look good. That’s all.

Gray Roga short.

Roga short in graphite.

More Oiselle apparel in the store!

More Oiselle apparel in the store!

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