this thing's incredible

I Only Climb Apartment Stairs, But I Still Wear These Climbing Shorts Everywhere

Photo: Courtesy of the author

I know I’m not alone when I say that these days in lockdown, I’ve become less concerned about how I look and more about how I feel. With summer came a newfound aversion to clingy garments, so while many have ditched their quarantine sweats for bike shorts, I sought out a breezier bottom.

In May, a friend introduced me to these Gramicci climbing shorts. She and her fiancé are both avid climbers. I, on the other hand, can’t remember the last time I scaled any surface other than my apartment stairs. Even so, the shorts met every requirement on my list. They’re made of a durable stretch twill that’s surprisingly soft (read: excellent for naps), come in a forgiving length that’s not-too-thirsty, not-too-long, and feature a distinct diamond gusset that prevents any unwanted bunching down below.

I felt like I was let in on a secret no one else knew about, until my friend told me Gramicci has been around since the ’80s and practically everyone in the climbing, surf, and skate community owns a pair. As unassuming as they look, the shorts, which fall somewhere between dad chinos and a camp-counselor’s hand-me-downs, have a low-key cult following among a cool cohort of adventurous Brooklynites, often recognizable by their signature built-in nylon belt. This knowledge probably made me a smidge biased going in, but as soon as I bought a pair, I knew there was no going back to my restrictive jean cutoffs.

It’s not just that they’re comfortable enough to handle a day of working from bed. In a flattering mid-rise and ever-so-slightly billowy fit, the Gramiccis look great with everything I own. I wear them with my Everlane clogs and Docs on socially distanced walks, with my Tevas to the beach, and even wear them to workout classes at the park. They do start to loosen after a few wears, but I’ve found the baggier they get, the better they look. And thanks to the adjustable belt, you can tighten as you please.

Though it’s doubtful I’ll ever take them scrambling over a bunch of boulders or rappelling down the Dawn Wall, they have a sporty energy that makes me feel like I could. And after wearing them every day for weeks, I can confirm they’re well worth the 78 bucks. In fact, seeing as I’ll be WFH for the foreseeable future, I’m already planning to buy the pants version for winter.

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I Wear These Climbing Shorts Everywhere