Shorts, for many they are like socks. Forgotten, not a big consideration and often worn till they are falling apart. We spend lots of time looking at hardshells, trail shoes, packs and nutrition; however a good pair of shorts can make or break a run.
I mean come on…… chaffage is a bitch!
I searched for sometime before settling on my Race Elites. I like my shorts short, perhaps something which comes from a childhood of rugby, but I also like an under short. I’m not fussed about compression, my motives are purely comfort.
Shorts without means wearing underwear and I have yet to find a pair which cope with running, and the y-front style liners are down right restrictive.
If you can run chafe free and comfortable it will do wonders for your running.
So the Race Elites. As with all things Inov-8, the number refers to the weight of the item, and in this case it is 140g. They are neither heavy of super light, but what they are is durable. I have run in this pair, almost exclusively for the past year. The branding is peeling off and some stitching is loosening, but they are still going strong.
With a 4-way Stretch DWR body, they move with your leg, rather than fight it and have just enough stretch to give you that bit extra when required. The DWR worked ok initially, but realistically for it to have any effect now it would require some sort of reproofing. But really, you aren’t buying the shorts to shed rain, if anything it’s a bonus.
Now the boxer liner. It’s soft, comfortable and has never caused an issue. When I recently ran 5 trail marathons in 5 days, other participants were using Body Glide, Vaseline and Chamois cream to lubricate their tackle, fighting abrasions. Not once did I feel the need to use any of the above and came through without a niggle, testament to the liner.
The reflective detailing is great and instead of boring stripes or blocks, the slanted branding is in fact the reflective area. Now, on the negative side it HAS started to peel off which will cancel out this feature, however this may be due to a obstacle course marathon where they were dragged through miles of mud, over walls; all the while soaked through.
At this stage, they sound like most normal exercise shorts on the market, so why move to a trail brand I hear you ask? One word, pockets. Whereas most normal shorts have at most a rear zippered pocket, these have more. As well as a spacious rear pocket which can fit several gels, iPod and keys, there is also a side gel pocket. Now, my gripe. I don’t feel this has much use for gels, as I have yet to fit one in whilst on the move. The most I have been able to use it for is empty wrappers, but that is after I have fought the pocket for a minute getting it in. Once in, it is very secure, but really it could do with great width or a more spacious opening.
The Race Elite dry reasonably fast and the materials are air permeable, meaning you won’t run hot. The draw cords could do with having less stretch as I find they offer next to no benefit.
I opted for a medium pair. I’m 5ft 7” with a 29” inseam, and this is an issue. Clothing designers, and this goes beyond Inov-8, just because I am short does not mean I have thin legs. My true waist fits a small pair of shorts, however I struggle to ever fit them over the base of my quads. Wearing a medium is not a problem, unless the shorts are soaked, where they begin to fall down.
I have purchased a pair of 125 Trail shorts in small and the fit is better, however they are like short shorts on legs and my arse does hang out the back of the inner liner. . .
Please designers, bear us short stockier builds in mind next time.
But negatives aside. Time and time again this year, the Inov-8 Race Elite 140 Trail shorts have been my go to short. I have since bought other brands, and haven’t worn them once. These are my old faithful’s. They have survived races, obstacle courses, ultras; anything thrown in their path. Increase the pockets and alter the fit and I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase several pairs for years to come.
Don’t overlook shorts, they carry you (literally) through a run.