Springtime is when we put away the long running pants and break out the shorts – but if there’s still some chill in the air, it’s nice to have longer coverage to keep you warm.  The North Face Agility shorts provide the comfort and freedom of shorts with full coverage if conditions get cold or windy.

The North Face Agility Shorts Features:

  • Body fabric: 120 g/m² 85% polyester, 15% elastane woven
  • Panel fabric: 141 g/m² 100% polyester knit mesh
  • Liner fabric: 87 g/m² 100% polyester crepe knit jersey
  • Weight: 6.4 oz (men’s size L, 9” inseam)
  • Mesh-ventilation panels
  • Internal drawcord
  • Secure side pocket with media port
  • Reflective logo
  • 7” or 9” inseam lengths available
  • MSRP $45.00

north face agility shorts running

Extra Coverage and Performance

Long running shorts offer advantages for both spring and summer: in cool weather, they keep your thighs insulated, and on hot days, they give you more sun protection on long trail outings.  9” inseam shorts are also popular among taller runners who want complete coverage on hot or cold days.  The trick is to find long shorts that don’t compromise comfort or performance.

The North Face Agility shorts have been ideal for cool spring mornings, and they’ve performed extremely well from a comfort standpoint during about 100 miles of testing.  Our longest run was a 25-miler in 35-40 degree weather, and they handled thermoregulation very well without any chafing or irritation.  We tested the 9” inseam version, but if the long style isn’t your thing, they are also available in a 7’ version with otherwise identical design and construction.

north face agility shorts main panels

Stretch polyester main panels; blue ventilated mesh side panels

Fit of the Agility shorts is somewhat trim, but stretch fabric in the body of the shorts allows full range of motion in all directions.  The exterior panels are thin and don’t feel weighty against the skin, even with the long inseam.  They are also durable enough to rub against branches or bushes on the trail without concern for tearing.  Mesh ventilation panels (the blue in our sample pair) enhance breathability of the panels, and the polyester crepe liner is super soft and holds its shape well on high-mileage outings.  An internal drawcord holds the waistband securely in place, and the length of the drawcord is just right: not too long or too short.

northface agility shorts pockets

Hand pocket, zip media pocket, and pass-through loop

Dual side hand pockets are deep enough to place your entire hand inside, which is good for storage (or just keeping your fingers warm) before or after a run.  These pockets aren’t secured, so there’s a risk of items potentially bouncing out, but small things like gels or gloves sit far enough down in the pocket that we never had problems with them getting ejected.

The right side hand pocket also has a smaller zip pocket with media pass-through for a music player; this pocket is too small for most smart phone and iPods, but a Nano or something of comparable size works well here.  There are no pockets across the back of the shorts, making the Agility well-suited for floor exercises like sit-ups or other abdominal work you do on your backside.

The Good

  • Soft, comfortable material
  • Options for long coverage or standard trail inseam length
  • Trim fit with full range of motion

The Bad

  • Media pocket is too small

Bottom Line:  The North Face Agility Shorts

It’s nice to have inseam options in a pair of comfortable high-performance trail shorts, which makes the Agility a strong choice for a wide variety of runners.  Use a 9” version for cool spring or fall days, and use the 7” version in summertime; you get dependable quality and performance from each.

Buy Now: Available at Backcountry.com

About Author

Donald is a physical therapist, ultrarunner, barefoot aficionado, and father of three with more than 20 years of experience in endurance sports. When he's not training for ultramarathons, he enjoys hiking or slacklining with his family in Monterey County, CA.

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