Humbly, I feel we all need reminding that Patagonia’s ubiquitous Baggies are not the only short out there. And in my experience, they’re not even that great a short. A couple of months ago, inspired by the many times we’ve featured them, I bought a pair for myself to see what all the noise was about. I was underwhelmed — the nylon fabric was rough and had no stretch, the cut wasn’t flattering at all, and I found the inner lining (as a few men also griped to the Cut about this week) itchy and tight feeling whenever I sat down for an extended period of time. As for the excited chatter about how you can swim in them: well, no shit. They have the exact (in my opinion, charmless) texture and sand-trapping lining of regular swimming shorts.
All that’s to say I soon returned my pair. Not long after, I happened to be sent a pair of Banks shorts, by Vuori — a brand fitness guys have raved to us about for its comfortable, durable, and “not too flashy” athleticwear — to test. After a few weeks, I can say with confidence that these shorts are everything my Baggies were not. (Like the Baggies, they come in a wide range of colors, but that’s where the similarities end.) For one thing, these are insanely stretchy in the crotch, which makes both working out and stretching out on the couch afterward a joy. Their recycled-polyester fabric features four-way-stretch technology (a polarizing, newish innovation popularized by brands like Lululemon and Athleta, that uses materials capable of stretching both horizontally and vertically).
The fit (true to size) and cut of the short is also flattering, according to my girlfriend, and, because it sits well above the knee, it’s fashionable, too, making it an option for all your picnic, drive-in and outdoor-dining needs. That’s a notable improvement from the pair I was using before, Lululemon’s nine-inch, linerless T.H.E. short, which remains great for exercising but is too athletic-looking for social occasions.
Last Sunday, in a matter of hours, these Vuori shorts went from a dip in the ocean at New York City’s Rockaway Beach, to a (masked, socially distanced) appointment at a jewelry store in Manhattan, to a workout that included an amount of lunges I’m still walking weirdly from. Like the shorts-chameleons they are, these felt perfectly appropriate in each environment — somehow entirely casual enough for the beach and entirely structured enough for the city.
So that’s my speech. With it, I’m joining the 1,125 reviewers who have given the shorts a five-star rating. And should you order a pair only to find it isn’t for you, just as the Baggies weren’t for me, Vuori has a “Happiness Guarantee” offering free return shipping and your money back if you aren’t completely satisfied. Somehow, I doubt that department gets many calls.
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