Lockdown has given me plenty of time to review some of the best trail running apparel and shoes on the market. This is the first, of a series of reviews, to help you choose the right kit to suit your needs.
1. HAGLOFS L.I.M TEMPO SHORTS
PRICE: RRP £49.99
SIZE GUIDE: 4 (FITS LARGER)
If you’re looking for a comfortable pair of lightweight running shorts, then look no further, because the L.I.M (Less Is More) range from Haglofs feels absolutely sublime.
Admittedly, they are a longer and looser fit than I would usually prefer to wear, but the feel and comfort of the material makes them the perfect choice for both performance and leisure. It’s worth mentioning that this ‘feel good’ material from Haglofs stretches way beyond just the shorts, so expect more positive reviews on the rest of their apparel, especially the base layers.
In terms of sizing, I tested a medium, but I think a small might have been a slightly better choice for me (I do prefer to wear clothes that fit a little more tightly). I would say these shorts are more suited to runners of a bigger build – roomier than your standard running shorts and with plenty of leg room.
1.Firstly the elasticated waistband ensures that they fit comfortably and the looped drawstring means you won’t lose one end through the end of the hole in the material at the front.
2. The zipped pocket on the front of the right thigh. It’s roomy and perfect for storing small items that you don’t want to lose, like small keys, money and empty doggy bags. However, beware of carrying anything heavier, like a mobile phone, as it will only annoy you by swinging around awkwardly when you run. It’s perhaps the only drawback of these shorts, especially if you’re someone who’s used to carrying your phone in your shorts when you exercise.
3. They’re super-comfy, built to last and it’s a guarantee that you’ll wear these for more than just running.
2. SALOMON exo twinskin shorts
PRICE: RRP £129.99
SIZE GUIDE: 1 (FITS SMALL)
Salomon have set the benchmark for running apparel over the last decade, in terms of lightweight performance and stunning design. The new Exo twin-skin shorts are no exception. For a start, they look and feel incredible. They’re also the lightest pair of shorts I’ve ever worn, the outer layer is made of a super-thin tissue material and the exo-layer underneath provides the perfect mix of comfort and compression.
I think what I like the most about this pair of the shorts is not only the style, but the fit. They move as you move, specifically designed for high-level lightweight performance. In terms of sizing, they are a very small fit. The pair I’ve tested are a medium and they are a snug fit. If in doubt, order a slightly bigger size.
1. The outer layer of thin material has a V-shaped slit at each side, which allows for superb comfort and breathability during movement and exercise.
2. There is storage for small items inside the waistband, a pouch at the front and a zipped pocket at the back. A mobile phone could easily be carried in the back of the shorts, without too much movement during exercise.
3. Top quality design with exceptional lightweight performance.
3. INOV-8 RACE ELITE 7″ shorts
PRICE: RRP £64.99
SIZE GUIDE: 4 (FITS LARGER)
I’ve been wearing inov-8 clothing for many years and I’m pleased to say that the quality and design of this season’s apparel has continued to make significant improvements.
Personally, the fit is perfect for me, much different from the old ATC style, the cut of the material is far more streamline in comparison. The outer shell is lightweight, with a triangular section of breathable stretch material at either side of the outside leg, complete with a small slit at the bottom of the shorts to allow for movement. The inner material is soft and stretchy, whilst providing just the right amount of compression during exercise. These shorts perform well in all kind of weather, especially in the rain. Even when they become wet, they never lose their fit and shape.
In terms of sizing, these shorts fit quite large. I’m always a small in inov-8 shorts, compared to the medium sizing of other comparable brands, like Salomon for example – something worth knowing before you order!
1.The deep waistband, made from a stretchy, elasticated material, provides tons of support and comfort during exercise. It really improves the fit and feel of these shorts. There is also a red adjustable drawcord at the front of the waistband to provide a more secure and personalised fit.
2. Like the Salomon Exo, this pair of shorts also has a zipped pocket at the back of the waistband, very secure and perfect for a mobile phone or other small items.
3. The triangular mesh strips down either side of the outside are a great feature, allowing for increased comfort and ventilation during exercise.
4. The logo on the front on the shorts is reflective and higher visible in low light conditions, especially to oncoming motorists and cyclists.
I judge shorts entirely on price, comfort, design and performance. For me, the inov-8 race elite 7” shorts tick every box and they’re currently my favourite go-to pair for both racing and training.
4. SCOTT RC RUN HYBRID SHORTS
PRICE: RRP £59.99
SIZE GUIDE: 2 (FITS SMALLER)
Scott have produced a winning design with this pair of hybrid running shorts, combining the perfect blend of comfort, style and performance.
I love these shorts – they look great and feel fantastic. They’re extremely comfortable to wear, perfectly suited to all distances and ideal for both training and racing. Especially the latter, as the super-lightweight material means they weigh next to nothing.
Comparable to the inov-8 race elite shorts (reviewed above), these shorts really impressed me during testing and were my other favourite design.
In terms of sizing, a medium fit me perfectly – a small would have been far too tight.
1. A deep waistband, made from a stretchy, elasticated material, provides tons of support and comfort during exercise. It really improves the fit and feel of these shorts.
2. The material of the inner compression layer is both soft and stretchy and feels extremely comfortable against the skin.
3. There is ample storage at the front and back of the shorts. An open pouch at the front is split into three small compartments and ideal for carrying small loose items like energy gels. At the back of the waistband is another, larger open pocket, which has a button clasp. It would easily hold a mobile phone, but be aware that it doesn’t have a zip.
4. The shorts also come with a Scott branded waterproof storage pouch, perfect for a mobile phone and other small items.
5. The logos on the front and reverse of the shorts are reflective and highly visible in low light conditions.
5. RONHILL INFINITY MARATHON TWIN SHORTS
PRICE: RRP £49.99
SIZE GUIDE: 4 (FITS LARGER)
The Ronhill Infinity Marathon Twin Shorts are both comfortable and supportive, with a relaxed fit. Although slightly heavier than other comparable models, they feel great against the skin and the stretchy fabric allows for plenty of movement during exercise.
In terms of sizing, they are comparable to the Haglofs L.I.M shorts, with ample room. The outer material has a slightly larger and looser fit than models like the Salomon and Scott designs. Like the Haglofs, I would say these shorts are more suited to runners of a bigger build.
If you’re looking for a pair of comfortable shorts, for all-round performance, at a competitive price, then these would be a great choice.
1. A large zipped pocket on the reverse of the shorts, will keep a mobile phone and other small items completely safe and secure. There are also two smaller pockets either side, which are ideal for storing energy gels.
2. A comfortable, supportive and relaxed fit.