Published on May 12, 2014
Top Trail Shorts
Not all shorts are created equal and when it comes to picking a pair specifically for off-road and trail there is an almost bewildering number of options. In general Trail Shorts are cut longer (7+ inches) to protect the legs from trail hazards and often feature tougher construction and more substantial ‘inners’ for added support and comfort. If you’re ‘going long’ on the trail it’s always advisable to look for an option with plenty of storage for gels, bars and other essentials and make sure that comfort levels are going to see you through the tougher distances. Here then are RunningMonkey’s current top picks for trail shorts…
Although marketed as having ‘ an integrated compression liner’ don’t expect the kind of techie, quality squeeze on offer from dedicated compression shorts; rather the Better Than Naked (great name) Long Haul Shorts add just a dash of stability with the hugely comfortable longer leg inners that are held nicely in place by a series of silicon dot pads at the thigh. Both the knit jersey inners and the outer shell do a good job of wicking sweat and repelling water with the use of ‘FlashDry’ particles for overall moisture management – whilst temperature is regulated through well placed venting. Dspite a relatively heavy feel (55 g/m²) these stayed really comfortable even on our longest runs and what really sets these apart is the near embarrassment of storage options with a zipped rear pocket, two gel pockets and mesh pockets integrated in the liners too – not the most comfortable place to stash an energy ber but when you’re tackling really long trails every little helps.
Men’s specific Better Than Naked Long Haul Shorts are available in s, m, l and xl and retail at £55. Further details at thenorthface.co.uk
There’s plenty on offer for the trails from Ronhill and whilst the Trail Cargo Contour Shorts, with their high elastane mix and silicon grippers impress, we really like the more stripped back, but still technically excellent, Trail Cargo Short – not least as they double as an excellent road option too. The inner is a shorter ‘brief’ style, but still remarkably comfortable and the shell breathes well and repels water admirably thanks to a special material coating; not quite enough to hold back a torrential downpour, but excellent at battling the watery spring back from branches and undergrowth. The Ronhill Trail Cargo Short, available in both men’s and women’s cuts, offers lots of storage potential: the secure zipped rear pocket is perfect for keys and coins but big enough for an MP3 player, four open mesh pockets (two on each side) are big enough for gels and bars and two additional elasticated gel loops at the rear bring the stash total up to at least six gels. If all that’s not enough there are two further open pockets at the front – even fully laden they remained really comfortable.
The Ronhill Trail Cargo Short is available on men’s sizes s, m, l and xl and women’s 8-16, RRP £32 – further details at ronhill.com
The Race Elite 210 Trail shorts have been our apparel of choice for the last few months. An excellent longer cut (8inch) with stretch meshed side panels that are perfect for big strides and climbs, they feature a full-length inner Lycra short that stretches and moves in perfect harmony with the gait, adds a layer of warmth on colder runs and supports the ‘gentlemen’s areas’ for better ball control. The waistband is wide, semi-elasticated and adjustable with a drawstring and the inner seams are exceptionally comfortable. Despite the extra heat retention with the inner shorts, both breathability and the wicking away of sweat are more than up to the job. They’re admittedly not over-generous with pockets, just a rear zipped one big enough for a bar or an MP3 and a single rear gel meshed option. They are however perfect in almost every other respect, even including a good dash of reflective detailing.
The inov-8 Race Elite 210 Trail Short are men’s only (the women’s near-equivalent is the shorter, 6inch, Race Elite 180), available in xs, s, m, l and xl. RRP £55, further details at inov-8.com
The Refresher Trail Shorts from Crewroom are beautifully styled (nice to see someone is paying attention to aesthetics) and add a really good dash of colour to the mix. Beyond looks they also stack up brilliantly in all technical aspects with a superb super-soft inner lining which wicks moisture away with a charcoal impregnation that also combats bacterial build-up to extend the shorts life. The hem-to-waist side splits are meshed so that the experience of long-stride speed is balanced by decency and the continuous-loop drawstring means that you’ll never have to go digging around in the waistband for wayward ends. The Refreshers don’t offer much in the way of storage, just a rear zipped pocket (barely big enough for a gel) and an inner flap-pocket with a security loop for safely attaching a key. The length is well-judged for protection from trail hazards and at a mere £29 they represent excellent value for money. The fluorescent colour options and side reflectives add a little safety to darker runs, but something in the way or rear reflection would be a welcome addition.
Crewroom Refresher Trail Shorts are available in men’s s, m, l, xl in either all-black, black/orange or black/red/yellow and women’s xs, s, m, l, xl with all-black, or two different black/yellow/purple colour combinations. Further details at crewroom.biz
A pair of shorts as packed with features as the name is packed with words; it’s safe to say that CompresSport is a brand that doesn’t do things by half, and if you’re looking for a true compression short to see you safely across those trails (and have a spare £99) we think these could be the ones. Unisex and available in red or black the Pro Racing shorts combine true compression for muscle stabilisation with exceptional comfort and details such as reflectives, silicone grips and superb attention to detail when it comes to comfort from waist to lower quad all adding to the mix. The fabric is water repellent, wicking sweat quickly and preventing soaking even in relatively heavy rainfall. The price tag is undeniably steep, but CompresSport offer both a 30-day money back guarantee if you simply don’t like them and a full 2-year replacement guarantee.
The CompresSport Pro Racing Trail-Running Shorts are available in four sizes graded T1-T4, which are determined by measuring both the top and base of the quad. Further details at compressport.uk