Alright, after hearing Scotty profess his love for the Better Than Naked shorts every few weeks, I finally got myself some to try out.
In this review, I wore two different styles for about 50 miles each. I tried the “regular” BTN shorts (the 3″ inseam…there’s also a 5″ version available) as well as the new “Long Haul” version. Each version will be in stores mid-January 2014, according to TheNorthFace.
In full disclosure, both pair were provided to me by TheNorthFace with zero expectation of a positive review. The thought are all my own.
The BTN shorts feel like a traditional pair of split shorts (emphasis on short.) Oooh, but look,
The Long Haul shorts remind me of the Pearl Izumi Ultra Short I reviewed this summer. They’ve got a few pockets up top, a liner, but cool! There are some pockets stitched into the liner down on the thighs. Great idea.
Both versions have a wider elastic band than most, allowing for small pockets to be stitched/welded into the garment that keep tight against the hips and are bounce-free. The band is more narrow than that on the Pearl Izumi short, and that’s fine, as it allows me to carry my Simple bottle whereas I couldn’t with the PIs.
The shorts also feature TNF’s FlashDry material. I don’t what all the marketing mumbo jumbo says, but the material is very lightweight and it seems to not retain moisture at all. Through sweat and rain, the shorts stay dry.
The Long Haul fit well, too. The liners fit snug on the legs and I’ve had no issue with chafing or rubbing at all. The TNF designers did a good job accommodating men with the liner, ifyaknowwhatImean. The longest I’ve run in the Long Hauls is a 50k and there was no undercarriage chafing.
The “shorts” extend beyond the liner with the Long Hauls, allowing for a more traditional look.
The BTN shorts have a small pocket on each hip that easily fit 2-3 gels, a car key, and some cash. There is also a zippered pocket right on the tailbone that fits an iPhone (with a protective case) snuggly.
The Long Haul shorts have largely the same pocket pattern, but where each of the BTN’s pockets are split into two (not the pocket itself, just the pocket opening), the Long Haul pockets are not separated. They also feature the zippered tailbone pocket. I am able to cram my Mountain Hardware jacket (review here) into the right pocket, which is awesome convenient on morning runs.
But what separates the Long Hauls are the extra pockets attached to the liner. Right on the side of the thigh (of each leg), there are small elastic pockets stitched onto the garment. The left leg has three small, individual pockets that easily fit one gel each, while the right leg has one large pocket that I found to be useful for trash and used wrappers. On particularly cold days, I put my gels in theleg pockets and they warm up within a few minutes.
The traditional Better Than Naked 3″ shorts run $55 while the Long Hauls come in at $65. Spend the extra $10 and get the Long Hauls.
The BetterThanNaked shorts are great for every day running or racing. They feel great, they’re light, and they provide some extra storage. I’m not sure the price is justified by the few extra pockets, but shorts are generally something that last a few years, so maybe a splurge is worth it.
The Long Haul shorts are perfect for someone who needs a little extra storage and are well worth the extra coin. I love the fact I can go out without a pack and still have my phone, key, 6 gels, room for my jacket or sleeves, and my water bottle. Pretty awesome.
Alright, Scotty was right. Now go out and run.