Patagonia Nine Trails Shorts
The regular fit Nine Trails shorts from Patagonia are designed for trail running, but don’t let that stop you from using them on the streets or track. They quickly became my go-to shorts in my rotation after just a couple workouts in the hottest and most humid month of the year. The differentiating feature is the pockets: two large front pockets and one large right rear pocket all secured with zippers. The rear pocket is just large enough to accommodate an iPhone X in a minimal case (vertically) while still being able to close the zipper – however, this is not a terribly comfortable option on long runs. The front pockets are also deep and will hold all the usual running accoutrement: keys, cash, credit cards, gels, bandana, or even a light jacket stuffsack. Even if I’m not utilizing the pockets at the beginning of a run, I find it reassuring to have them available; many times during longer/hotter runs I find myself wanting to remove my wedding band or ear buds, and these shorts offer a safe place to slip them in, zip up, and keep moving without breaking stride.
The integrated boxer-brief liner is another plus with these shorts. I personally prefer the boxer-brief to the standard brief liner, and the liner in these Patagonia Nine Trails shorts is superior to others I’ve experienced. Simply put, they are very lightweight, not too loose or tight, wicking, and breathable. Boxer-brief liners in other shorts can often be “suffocating”: too thick, too tight, and become heavy with moisture after a few miles – which in turn causes chaffing. None of these are issues with the Patagonia Nine Trails shorts. The shorts have a slight stretch to them due to the recycled polyester and spandex construction, have a DWR finish on the exterior to shed light precipitation and sweat, and are treated with HeIQ Fresh for odor control. I tested the latter by using the shorts for multiple summer workouts over the course of a week without washing, and the odor control worked about as well as could be expected. As its name implies, it helps control odors – not eliminate them.
I was initially apprehensive about the comparatively longer inseam of the Patagonia Nine Trails shorts being an annoyance, but the materials are so comfortable I never even noticed it. I’m 6’1” with a 33” waist, and the size large hits right above the knee. The drawstring cinches on the outside of the waistband (another personal preference).
These shorts are recommended for those longer and/or easier runs when you could use some extra cargo space and don’t mind the (slightly) extra weight. I’ll definitely be buying more of these shorts in the coming years. MSRP $65
Patagonia Strider Shorts
The regular fit Patagonia Strider shorts are made for days when you want to run fast or long. These ultra-light shorts have a 7” inseam, weigh in at a mere 3.7oz and are a breeze to run in. Like the Nine Trails shorts, the Strider shorts are also constructed of recycled polyester and treated with both HeIQ Fresh (odor control) and DWR for water resistance. Both left and right sides of the shorts have full-length panels of lighter and more breathable polyester/spandex material to allow for better ventilation and comfort on hot days. The integrated drawstring secures on the inside of the waistband. While this is not my personal preference, it’s not an issue on these shorts as I experienced no discomfort or irritation. I’m 6’1” with a 33” waist, and the large size fits me perfectly.
I’ve been using the spring 2017 model of the Patagonia Strider shorts for a couple years now, and as you would expect, the 2019 version has been updated. The liner has been changed from a traditional brief to a boxer-brief. The new liner feels more supportive and certainly more breathable. The pocket location remains the same, but where the 2017 pocket had a traditional zipper closure and the pocket material was the same as rest of the shorts, the 2019 Patagonia Strider shorts have a semi-secure closure (read: no zipper, only stitching at the upper midpoint of the pocket) and the pocket itself is a lighter mesh material stitched to the exterior of the shorts.
Seemingly done to eliminate weight from the product, I was initially concerned about the modified functionality of the pocket – especially when trying to manipulate contents mid-run. As life teaches us to do, though, I was able to quickly adapt to the change and came to actually prefer this new pocket design. I can squeeze in my iPhone X with minimal case, and it sits pretty comfortably against the waist without much excess movement (especially at faster paces). One caveat is that it’s slightly more difficult to remove the phone once it’s inside the pocket – you’ll need two hands and probably won’t want to do it while on the move. I pushed the limits of the pocket during a 10K race cramming in my phone, car key fob, Clif Bloks, and cash. The 2017 version of these shorts would not even hold the phone. While I was still able to PR while carrying all these contents, it apparently did stretch and/or irritate the mesh fabric beyond its limits and left a smallish hole in the material. The following image shows both the liner as well as the rear pocket (white paper inserted to highlight the difference in material).
So, my verdict on the 2019 Patagonia Strider shorts pocket redesign is “nice improvement with better capacity…to a point”.
I’ve come to reach for the Patagonia Strider shorts on my fast days: track workouts, tempo runs, and certainly on race day. The lightweight materials, the ventilation and wicking ability of the shorts and liner, the flexibility of the pocket, and an updated modern cut all add up to a superior product ideal for speed and endurance events alike. MSRP $59
Patagonia Long-Sleeved Capilene Cool Lightweight Shirt
The slim fit Patagonia Long-Sleeved Capilene Cool Lightweight shirt is a versatile technical tee designed for performing in a range of conditions from cool to hot. Like many Patagonia products, this tee is constructed of recycled polyester and is treated with HeIQ Fresh for odor control. It weighs a scant 3.3oz, so light that you will forget you’re wearing a long-sleeved shirt. Other basic features include crew neck design, longer than average sleeves, and a slightly dropped tail to provide additional coverage in the rear.
Cool, breezy mornings or evenings are ideal times for me to pull the Patagonia Long-Sleeved Capilene Cool Lightweight shirt on for a run. The sleeves provide a little extra warmth and cut down on the wind just enough. If the sun unexpectedly pops out and you get too hot, just push up the sleeves – they remain in place even during strenuous movement thanks to the stretch in the wrist & fabric. Honestly, though, the superior wicking ability of the Patagonia Long-Sleeved Capilene Cool Lightweight shirt helps to keep you cool even on those hot, sunny days. You may be just as comfortable leaving the sleeves down…plus it provides some extra protection from the sun.
Along with several mundane workouts, I tested the Patagonia Long-Sleeved Capilene Cool Lightweight shirt in high-output road race conditions. This was the first time I ran an August race in long sleeves, and I had zero complaints with this gear: the shirt kept me cool and comfortable at peak output for 45 minutes. Surprisingly I was not drenched with sweat at the finish line as the shirt helped wick and evaporate much of it during the activity. I have several short-sleeved technical tees that do not perform to that degree. In addition to using it for workouts, I found the Patagonia Long-Sleeved Capilene Cool Lightweight shirt to be a refreshing top to change into post-workout; its excellent wicking ability helps cool you down that much faster.
If you’re looking to add a long-sleeved shirt to your gear rotation, look no further than the Patagonia Long-Sleeved Capilene Cool Lightweight shirt – it will serve you well in many conditions. MSRP $55
For more information on any of these products please visit www.patagonia.com.