I’d already been thinking about buying new running shorts when the email about Rhone landed in my inbox. The shorts I use for my near-daily runs — some GapFit training shorts I got at one of their perpetual sales — were okay, but not ideal. The thick mesh material would get weighed down after a sweaty jog, and (this is gross) smell musty after being thrown into a gym bag. I appreciated their side pockets but hardly used them on runs because they couldn’t be secured with a zipper. I have also worn Under Armour and Nike running shorts, neither of which I found that compelling (though I haven’t tried the ones recommended by my colleague Alan).
So when Rhone — a men’s-active-apparel line founded in 2014 — reached out with an offer to try some shorts, I was intrigued. I chose two pairs — the Swift 7” lined shorts (which has 51 mostly glowing reviews as of this writing) and the Guru 7” unlined shorts, which were designed for everything from yoga to weight-lifting and seemed just fine for after-work three-mile runs. And they were! They were just fine — nice and lightweight and buttery-feeling (they’re made of a nylon-polyester-spandex blend that made my GapFit shorts feel like jagged earth). They dried quickly and felt practically weightless. But for $78, I want them to be, I don’t know, spun from gold.
The Swift lined shorts, though, were a revelation. This is so obvious that it’s embarrassing, but it’s an amazing feeling when you use something to do exactly what it was made to do. The Swift shorts feel just like the Gurus, only with the addition of a game-changing liner. I am not a liner guy (the shorts come not with a Speedo-esque insert like I’d imagined, but with something akin to a pair of boxer-briefs built inside; you’re meant to wear them without underwear), but this lining feels incredible. As you run and sweat, there’s no chafing or rubbing or discomfort — you don’t forget the lining is there, but you do feel like you’re secured in the most sacred of places by a firm-yet-gentle force. It made running eight miles in Prospect Park a breeze. The zipper side pockets even fit my iPhone 8 Plus. It’s two pieces of clothing in one (think of the laundry savings).
There’s something else I should say about the Swift shorts. Wearing them means that I will no longer get those mysterious holes in the crotches of my Calvin Kleins. Turns out, running 30 miles a week in boxer-briefs is not a good idea, for reasons having to do with not only chafing but also underwear maintenance. If I were to spend my own cash, that would be enough to justify the $88 price tag. (Incidentally, the shorts would make a great holiday gift for the runner in your life.) Now, I pack my unlined Guru shorts in a workout bag for post-work runs at the gym and save my Swift lined shorts for longer weekend runs. If I were a different person (the kind who freely took his pants and underwear off in locker rooms), I’d wear my Swift shorts every day. I like them, but not that much.
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