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Running Apparel • May 31, 2023

Patagonia Trail Shorts Review: Wild Summer Vibes

patagonia trail short cover

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What You Need To Know

Patterns, patterns, patterns

We’re gettin’ Parrothead vibes from Patagonia’s latest

Goldilocks length

Emily is partial to the 5.5-inch inseam

Gettin' creative

When you run out of pockets, there’s always a way to make more pockets

The Intro

EMILY: Anyone who has been outside in the last few decades is probably familiar with Patagonia’s indestructible, crunchy-cool, multifunctional gear and clothing for any and all soul-enhancing outdoor adventures. And, like many well-established rugged apparel enterprises, the thoughtful folks at Patagonia are going the distance with their commitment to eco-friendly practices. In fact, virtually all of the products sold by the Ventura, CA-based company incorporate Fairtrade Certified fabrics and material recycled from recovered plastic ocean waste sourced from at-risk coastal communities and certified by OceanCycle. Package that up with an ironclad guarantee for serious performance, and you’ve got yourself some friends for life. Let’s take a look at some Patagonia trail shorts.

Patagonia Funhoggers – 4-inch inseam

patagonia trail short funhogger

EMILY: With colors and patterns that could inspire Jimmy Buffet concertgoers to start crafting between cocktails, these baggies were exploding with comfort and color. Makes sense — the name suggests that no fun is to be had by anyone but the person lucky enough to be wearing them. My husband seems to think these would feel most at home at a farmers market or visual arts campus, and I agree wholeheartedly. But I’d also dive into the Funhoggers post-spring/summer long run or even for a short hike on the trails — just not for any serious distance.

While I love the funky patterns printed on naturally dyed cotton fiber, these bonafide Fairtrade bottoms were a little large and in charge. Their very generous 4-inch inseam ended up landing a little lower than expected at just above my knee — not a bad thing, just an observation. And the poof — so much poof, so don’t even think about these if you want thigh-hugging shorts. In fact, the women’s small was pretty close to a medium in similar REI shorts, but a tidy drawstring and flannel-soft elastic waistband make for so much comfort. Who cares if you get some Mary Poppins-style drift with every strong gust of wind? May even be a good thing after crushing that trail Ultra that’s been calling your name.

PRICE: $69

Shop Patagonia Funhoggers - Women

Patagonia Multi Trails Short – 5.5-inch inseam

patagonia multi trails

EMILY: Patagonia is simply brilliant at taking its winning classics and reinventing them with even more functional, eco-friendly attributes. That’s why the women’s 5.5-inch Multi Trails Short is easily one of my favorite options for long runs, long hikes, and long days — basically for any sweaty athletic pursuit that requires you to spend time with and in something for more than a few hours.

I rocked these on multiple humid trail runs — so they were inundated with low-lying spider webs, mud scrambles, water crossings, random rain showers, and a few excursions off the beaten path to chase the occasional unicorn. They offer a flattering fit, leveraging a breathable blend of 90% recycled polyester/10% spandex to effectively wick moisture like a saltine cracker while delivering oh-so-nice 4-way stretch. This translates to a feather-light feel bolstered by a comfortable brief liner which I tend to prefer, especially when sharing narrower trails with my 4 legged running partner whose oversized enthusiasm (and head) often pass by unannounced and send me flying into the bushes.

It’s pretty comforting to have a brief liner while sitting in the dirt feeling somewhat bewildered. It’s also nice to have a mid-rise, non-chafing elastic waistband- no bunching and no slurping of the draw cord back into the waistband.

If I haven’t conveyed it clearly enough already, I think these are the goldilocks length for comfort, performance, and appearance. The sriracha on top is an exemplary pocket game with two zippered front pockets — think wrappers, nutrition, or wipes and one back snap pocket for smaller items on the go, like chapstick or magic beans. I didn’t even think to use this back pocket for its alternative use — the inverted pack and stuff. Watch out, Houdini.

PRICE: $69

Shop Patagonia Multi Trails - Women

Patagonia Trailfarer Shorts – 4.5-inch inseam

patagonia trail short trailfarer

EMILY: These Patagonia Trail Shorts are similar to their 5.5-inch cousins in most ways, except that they’ve traded in the moisture-wicking brief liner and the side pockets for a barely-there movement experience making them the ideal crossover baggies from roads to trails and beyond.

Despite the shorter inseam, they sit higher up on the waist (above the navel), so leave a little more room between the bottom hem and the top of your knee. And despite the minimal pocket space, they still do that nifty thing where they stuff into themselves, so I can’t help but think of foldable courier bikes, marsupials, and the movie Inception.

Clearly crafted with the hotter season in mind, the Patagonia Trailfarer 4.5-inch shorts will destroy moisture and move with you through your athletic pursuits up and over the rocks, beneath the trees, at the gym, or near the sea. Plus, they are feathery enough to layer under pants on cooler mornings and baggie enough to wear over spandex biking shorts when the time comes.

PRICE: $59

Shop Patagonia Trailfarer - Women

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Emily Hanson
Mid-Atlantic Trail Reviewer

Born and raised in Smaltimore (Baltimore), Emily relishes running for hours in the woods. It’s where she works out the kinks in her approach to being a mother, partner, writer, and a better human being.

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