62 miles has a way of exposing the weaknesses of certain items; they might prove to be irritating, flimsy, or inconvenient to use over the course of a long day.  So when something passes such a test with flying colors, it’s a reason to celebrate – and right now I want to throw a party for Patagonia’s Nine Trails shorts.

Patagonia Nine Trails Shorts Features:

  • 75-denier 91% polyester/9% spandex material construction
  • Deluge Durable Water Repellant (DWR) finish
  • 8” inseam
  • Built-in microfiber moisture-wicking liner
  • Internal drawcord
  • 2 front drop-in pockets, 1 rear zipper pocket
  • Recyclable through Common Threads recycling program
  • Weight: 184g (6.5 oz)
  • MSRP $59.99

Patagonia Nine Trails Shorts Review

It not always a good thing when I have high expectations for a piece of gear; more often than not, it just leaves me disappointed once I actually test it out.  That’s why I’m happy to say that with the Nine Trails shorts, my lofty expectations were completely satisfied.

The Nine Trails have been a longtime staple of Patagonia’s trail running catalog; indeed, they were one of the company’s first products specifically designed for that activity.  They offer a nice combination of comfort, breatheability, and durability that ultrarunners appreciate – and I experienced these benefits first hand during this month’s Miwok 100K race in Northern California.

Finishing the Miwok 100K

One of the most impressive aspects of the shorts is its fabric construction, featuring a highly breatheable stretch-woven polyester fabric (made from recycled plastics) with a 4-way stretch component from a small dose of spandex.  The material feels extremely light and comfortable against my legs, but has 75-denier toughness for resisting snags and tearing.  Its thin microfiber liner is extremely soft, and assists the outer layer with highly effective moisture management.  The outer surface has Patagonia’s patented DWR water-resistant finish to help keep moisture off your skin as well.

With any shorts, the most friction and heat comes in the crotch area; on the Nine Trails, Patagonia combats this by using a fast-drying Air Flow polyester mesh fabric to vent excess heat and eliminate chafing.  During my 100K, I had no chafing issues whatsoever from these shorts, even after 12 hours in hot and windy conditions.

Inseam area with Air Flow mesh

Other features include 2 front pockets that work well for stashing gels or tissue paper, and a rear zip pocket to secure your car key or a small map.  An interior drawcord helps customize the fit, and the logos on front and back are reflective for a small element of safety.

Inseam length on the Nine Trails is 8”, which is right in my wheelhouse.  I tend to be partial to longer inseam lengths (7” to 9”) for trail running, because I’m a bit taller than average (6’2”) and I like the extra coverage for long days in the sun.  There isn’t a shorter option, however, so if you’re working on a higher tan line this summer, you’ll need to look for a different model.

Good Nine Trails

  • Extremely comfortable
  • Outstanding breathability and moisture management
  • No chafing even with multi-hour use
  • Convenient pocket storage

Bad Nine Trails

  • Longer inseam than traditional trail shorts

Bottom Line: Patagonia Nine Trails Shorts

Super comfortable and highly durable, Patagonia’s Nine Trails shorts will be my go-to apparel for the rest of my ultras this season; coming from a  dedicated trail runner, this is probably the highest praise you’ll ever hear.

Buy Now: Search for Patagonia Nine Trails 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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