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Arc'teryx Creston - Women's Review

Cute, lightweight, and practical for both trail and town
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $89 List | $89.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Fashionable, water resistant, lightweight
Cons:  Not as breathable, not as versatile
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
By Sara Aranda ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 7, 2020
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#4 of 9
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 7
  • Venting and Breathability - 20% 6
  • Versatility - 15% 7
  • Water Resistance - 15% 9
  • Features - 15% 7

Our Verdict

The Arc'teryx Creston is fun, cute, and lightweight. Functional on the trail as well as in town, the wardrobe versatility is a huge bonus. Having such a short inseam, however, limits our desire to use them for anything other than hiking, walking, or the casual bike ride. Scoring above average across the board (except for the near-perfect mark in water-resistance), means the Creston is of notable quality, but the competition is fierce. Best suited for the summer months and for casual to moderate use, we highly recommend these shorts for their added fashion, which is why they've earned a Top Pick Award for combining Style and Function.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Constructed out of Abron, which is 90% nylon and 10% elastane, the warp-stretch-weave fabric looks and feels slick. The material is also noisier than many of the others we've recently tested. The 4.5-inch inseam is at that threshold length, in our opinion; anything shorter and versatility becomes all the more limited and cheeky. Built to be durable and lightweight, we applaud their streamlined and stylish design.

Performance Comparison

The blue color we tested is fun and the material moves well with the body.
The blue color we tested is fun and the material moves well with the body.

Comfort and Mobility

The leg openings have a 22.5-inch diameter for the size 2 we reviewed, which provides ample space for our athletic thighs. We've had issues in the past with Arc'teryx shorts not being flexible enough, and we are delighted to report that these have exceeded previous expectations. When climbing stairs or hiking steeper trails, we have nothing to gripe about.

True to size, the material is fluid and comfortable. Scoring above average for this metric, the all-day wear aspect just isn't as superb as some of the others, as the material isn't particularly soft. But, they are nonetheless pleasant in and of themselves. Weighing only 4.7 ounces, they are incredibly lightweight, easy to pack, and overall, are a functional joy to wear.

While the shorter inseam allows for more venting  the material itself didn't breathe as well for us  as compared to others in our group.
While the shorter inseam allows for more venting, the material itself didn't breathe as well for us, as compared to others in our group.

Venting and Breathability

Despite manufacturer claims of high breathability, we feel they are actually fairly average for a pair of hiking shorts. The material is stiffer than many of the others, and we found our skin to pool sweat much more than the top performers in this category. Still suitable for hot days in general, we aren't as comfortable when things get ultra sweaty, particularly around the waistband.

Our lead tester discovered that when carrying her phone in either of the back pockets, her sweat would eventually drench the phone. To mitigate this from happening, she had to continually switch pockets on longer hikes if it was hot out. This is somewhat normal for other shorts, too, but the Creston's material doesn't seem to ventilate or absorb much of the moisture, leaving more for the phone (or whatever items you're carrying) to sit next to over time. This could be due to the excellent nature of the pair's water resistance, which does affect the material's ability to breathe.

Trendy enough for the city  these athletic shorts provide great versatility.
Trendy enough for the city, these athletic shorts provide great versatility.


Style points are high for this competitor, one of the best in our opinion. They're cute and colorful (though make sure to refer to the manufacturer's website for the latest color options). Their modern design provides a confident flow from the outdoors to the indoors for us. Throw on a cute top, and you're ready for your summer BBQ or a casual ladies' night in town.

Cross-activity or shoulder-season applications aren't as much of a given, but they still work well for casual cycling, lowkey gym workouts, and light scrambling. Functional for summer only, the shorter inseam isn't as optimal a choice for colder temperatures, for unpredictable weather scenarios in the backcountry, or for the random situation you find yourself bushwhacking. Still, they are athletic enough for even the most technical and strenuous of trails. Our lead tester wore them to summit a few peaks in Boulder, CO with well over 2,000 feet of elevation gain.

One of the best for water-resistance  the water beads and rolls.
One of the best for water-resistance, the water beads and rolls.

Water Resistance

This is the one metric in which the Creston out-performs the majority of others in the group. When splashed, water beads beautifully and very little absorbs, even if we leave the water there for nearly half-an-hour. The beads roll-off and the amount that did soak in dries within minutes. This makes the pair all the more appealing as a reliable backwoods companion, which is why this feature gets its own weighted score. We believe the technical advantage of water resistance is worth noting, even if it detracts from breathability (but hopefully not too much).

We appreciate the thoughtful design accents in the stitching and belt loops  which help the shorts sit flatter against our silhouette.
We appreciate the thoughtful design accents in the stitching and belt loops, which help the shorts sit flatter against our silhouette.


This Arc'teryx model comes with five pockets: two in front and two in back with a mini stash pocket embedded into one of the front pockets. Just large enough to comfortably fit our hands and phones, the front two pockets are little tight to get our hands into since the material lacks a bit of stretch. Other features for this model include the quick drying time, a gusseted crotch, and belt loops. The metal snap for the waistband is sturdy and easy to operate.

The material, while very water-resistant, seems to stain easily, however. Even after washing, we still often find some grime embedded into the fabric, sadly, which might take some intentional scrubbing to remove. Too, there doesn't seem to be any added sun protection beyond what is inherent with wearing nylon-based clothing. Overall, this model is fairly minimal when it comes to extra add-ons, but that doesn't mean they aren't technical and well-suited for adventure.

Certainly reliable on the trail  we can't get over how bright and cute they are.
Certainly reliable on the trail, we can't get over how bright and cute they are.


We aren't surprised to find high quality and high price for a piece of Arc'teryx apparel. Known as a very technical and performance-oriented brand, if you can foot the bill, we feel that you won't be disappointed. The unique combination of fit, style, and function is worthwhile. The Creston is made in Myanmar (Burma) and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.


As one of the cutest pairs of athletic shorts we've had the pleasure of testing recently, it's easy to overlook the relatively average performance, but at least they are consistent. For all intensive hiking purposes, they are durable, athletic, and comfortable enough for a long summer of both outdoor expression and indoor fun. We happily award them Top Pick for Style and Function.

Sara Aranda