Patagonia Nine Trails Shorts Review

  • The reflective branding on the left leg of the Patagonia Nine Trails.
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8.0 score
[Editors rating (8.0)] = (WalkJogRun) score (8.0)/10


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Editor rating: 8.0 / 10
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Patagonia is a company founded by a climber and it is no surprise their success has reached such great heights. They have always intended to use their brand as an opportunity to spur environmental change but the quality of their product still comes first. The newest edition of the Nine Trails short is a runner’s dream. It comes equipped with everything you need on a run, regardless of their preferred terrain. The Nine Trails’ is irresistible with its secure pockets and moisture wicking.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Durable Water Repellent
  • Three Full Pockets
  • Zipped Pocket Closures
  • Polygiene Odor Control
  • MiDori BioSoft
Cons
  • Little Reflectivity
  • Not Versatile In Style

Boxer Brief Liner

Liners can make care and comfort both slightly difficult when it comes to athletic or sports shorts. Not only can they hold on to unpleasant smells but they can sometimes cause chafing and discomfort from unforgiving construction. This liner avoids both of those pitfalls beautifully. Utilizing special technologies and attention to detail Patagonia makes a soft, stretchy, and comfortable brief that will feel barely there, while still adding additional security to your workout. Their odor control ensures that you will stay stink-free, even if you stash them in your gym bag and forget about them for a day or two. Though sweat does not have an odor or color, it can help to breed bacteria, which can be the source for both of the former problems. The fabric that Patagonia uses in the Nine trails achieves these things without additional harm done to the environment. In addition to reducing their impact, they are truly creating better clothing for you to explore in.

Breathability

A running short is lacking if it doesn’t breathe when you most need it to. Patagonia recommends this short be used for trail running and hiking. Its durable fabric is best in its element when wicking sweat and keeping you cool during those intense moments in the wild. The build is made of recycled materials, but it doesn’t forget to keep moisture out and cool air in when attempting to make the most environmentally-conscious decisions possible. The Nine Trails doesn’t have specific breathability features besides the fabric used, which is enough for these sports shorts by the brand but may not be enough for everyone. If you work up some serious heat, there are lighter options you can take on the trail to be as comfortable as possible. Brands that have made lines specifically designed to tackle the heat, but for a nice fall or spring option, Patagonia will have you covered with this pair.

Fit

Adjustable fits are key in athletic wear. Whether you’re slimming down during training or bulking up a bit in the offseason, weight and body type aren’t always as controlled as we’d like them to be. There is no shame in putting on a couple of pounds or trimming up and you want clothes that won’t stress those tiny fluctuations. The Nine Trails has a wonderfully stretchy waistband. Not only is their polyester blend fabric durable even with the maximum amount of adjustments possible but it will fit like a glove with just a cinch of the drawcord. The thinner waistband might be a bother to some people depending on their style preference since a thicker band can be more effective in holding and keeping up pants.

Reflective Detail

One thing that should always come first when it comes to workout gear is the safety of the wearer. Reflective details aren’t only welcomed but necessary when it comes to being seen outside of daylight hours. The Patagonia Nine Trails do incorporate a small detail. Their logo is reflective on the bottom of the leg for some visibility. This isn’t going to be sufficient for road runners and still is lacking even for those who do their exercising in more coverage around fewer motorists. More reflectivity is safest in all circumstances, so it doesn’t fare well for outdoor wear when it includes so little of it. Reflective material isn’t just for those who take to the streets and that needs to be considered when shopping for the ideal wear that’s right for you. Patagonia may be a longer name but just the reflectivity on the name alone is nowhere near enough to provide the correct amount of visibility in the dark.

Storage Features

Running shorts for men frequently have waistband pockets or something similar that allow you to easily squirrel away your necessities. The Nine Trails one-ups its predecessors with not one, but three pockets. This is amazing for storage and frees you up to hold everything you need when hitting the outdoors with zero limitations. The rear of the short has a pocket on the right side. It is large enough for a cell phone and your wallet, or other essentials. In addition to this extra storage, it is also more secure, as it is a zippered pocket to keep your items safe and sound. In addition to this back pocket, two hand pockets are on either side of the front of the short. These allow for very quick access and they also zip for supreme security. Small pull tabs make these a cinch to grab even with sweaty hands and clumsy fingers. Ideal for energy gels or other pick-me-ups during a workout, these can hold your headphones or a nutritious boost for when you need a little bit of added pep in your step. More pockets mean more possibilities when it comes to your workout gear and that isn’t hard to remember when you are stocked with storage.

Style

Patagonia is more focused on function than fashion. Their catalog is extensive and performance-centric, which is no negative when it comes to a brand looking to outfit the practical. This is a straightforward looking short with little frill, which definitely has its benefits. It is a relatively neutral article of clothing that will match with a whole plethora of different types of athletic tops and shoes. That being said, there is very little else you can wear these shorts with. If you appreciate seamless transitions from the gym to the grocery store, shorts that can easily pair with less athletic clothes are the preferred workout wear. While some people will bring a whole change of clothing with them when they go for a workout, when the outdoors is your gym, it can be difficult to prepare to face the world without a locker room, showers, and full mirrors to ensure you’re looking presentable. When shorts are styled to look more like casual wear, this is no problem, but these are very clearly athletic shorts, from their material to their design with the fully enclosed pockets. A sports bottom through and through, the Nine Trails won’t be fooling anyone if you wear it off the hiking trail. As far as the overall appearance, it isn’t unattractive, it is streamlined and clean, but it definitely doesn’t camouflage into everyday clothing seamlessly. That is unless you’re a career athlete who frequently wears athletic gear.

Sustainability

Any brand committed to the outdoors is equally as committed to helping sustain the environment and the world they get so much enjoyment from. Ninety-one percent of these shorts are made from recycled polyester materials, with the other nine percent comprising of spandex to give that perfect four-way stretch that is so comfortable. Recycled materials reduce overall emissions and fabrication costs thanks to expanding material from one time use. Fabricating products often is the end of a materials life, which is damaging to the environment and uses unnecessary resources when we can repurpose previous materials or plastics. Polyester is primarily made from plastic and mass production of single-use plastics has contributed to a laundry list of the environmental problems we have today. Being able to create a product made almost entirely from recycled materials is a large step towards a healthier world. Patagonia was one of the first brands ever to work with Bluesign to create safer materials for their customers to love. The goal is to not only resist environmental impact but also keep the skin and body safe from hazardous chemicals or transfer that happens when wearing clothes.

Technology

Patagonia can put a lot of their focus into the technology of the products they create. Due to their focus being mainly athletics, their development of effective technologies is at the forefront of their minds. The Nine Trails has a few great technologies that help elevate this running, climbing, or hiking short to the next level. Capilene is used in the boxer brief to get that light and breathable feel with every step. In that boxer brief Patagonia also uses Polygiene, which is a treatment that repels bacteria and inhibits its growth in all circumstances imaginable. This treatment is extremely important if you are trying to keep your attire fresh even when they aren’t right out of the wash. MiDori bioSoft increases the ability to wick away moisture in your bottoms even when you’re hitting the trail especially hard on any given day, no matter how hot. The addition of these features adds an ease of use that is missing from gear made for the more casual wearer.

Water Resistance

Moisture wicking is one thing, moisture resistance is another. If you have ever been hiking or trail running early in the morning, you have most likely run into fresh dew. It accumulates on the flora around you and transfers onto yourself and your clothing. This can mean your clothes end up being pretty damp by the end of your outing. This isn’t only uncomfortable at face value, but it makes the fabric stick to you creating further discomfort for you when attempting to continue running. On the Nine Trails, there is a DWR or durable water repellent that intercepts the water and wicks it away before being absorbed by the pant’s material. Dry runs are key when it comes to a comfortable workout. Shorts that stick to your legs or cling to the attached brief are not only uncomfortable but restricting, which is enough to put a serious damper on your favorite activities. It is easy to feel discouraged from getting active if you’re just getting back into the swing of things or exhausted from a full week. A great way to avoid that kind of loss of motivation is by having gear fully prepare for anything the trail throws at you, including moisture of any kind.

Weight

Trail runners are constantly trying to strip back down to basics to make the most of every single run. This pair of bottoms by Patagonia may have a lot of pockets, but that certainly doesn’t mean that they encourage anyone to weigh themselves down. The boxer brief style of lining is incredibly lightweight and breezy. Moisture-wicking technology in both the brief and the outer fabric keep you dry and cozy, but its incredible weightless feel is most appealing. At 6.4 ounces, this pair by Patagonia will still be light even with your running essentials. You need a light short to offset the heavier items carried on trail running excursions, such as a phone or GPS. Luckily, the Nine Trails is just the option to do so. It won’t add any more bulk since your clothing alone won’t contribute to you being weighed down.

Bottom Line

Trail runners and hikers alike will love the convenience of the pockets on the Patagonia Nine Trails shorts. Wicking away moisture with a chafe-proof and soft boxer brief lining, this Bluesign approved material is as good for your body as it is for the environment. Their style may be specifically sporty and their reflective detail is lacking but these shorts have so much to appreciate beyond appearance alone. Water-resistant coating and fully-secured storage are major selling points for these shorts, especially for those who don’t want to stay out of the woods, regardless of weather conditions.