Arc'teryx Sabria Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Sabria material is what Arc'teryx labels as Fortius DW 1.0, which is 87% nylon and 13% elastane; it's thin and ultralight but durable. With a mid-rise design, the elastic waistband has an internal drawstring, and nothing else, meaning the intention is to pull them on like leggings. Erring on the simple side of the spectrum, they are performance-driven and rugged. Ranking near the top, they are surprisingly difficult to critique.
Landing only above-average scores in the two most important metrics (comfort and breathability), they thankfully make up for it with high technical features and versatility.
Comfort and Mobility
We found the material to be so flexible that the length never became a hindrance. With an 8.75-inch inseam for the size 2 we tested, the pair weighs an astoundingly low 4.4 ounces. They take us almost no space in the pant drawer. The thin material contours with our bodies and provides reliable comfort for all-day wear. High-stepping and climbing are fluid. We can stretch out on the floor, do yoga, and, of course, hike steep trails in them. Even though they are notable on their own, when compared to the others in the group, the comfort aspect just isn't the highest. The material isn't the softest, nor is it the quietest, either.
The most significant setback is in the waistband. Since we have to pull on and off the shorts, as there is no zipper or buttons, the main obstacle is always our hips. Unfortunately, the waistband isn't as stretchy as we hoped, and it is rather difficult to slide the waistband over our butts. Once they are on, the fit is perfect for us (smaller waist, curvier hips). There's ample room for the thighs, and the waistband hugs our abdomen gently. If only the waistband stretched more readily! We won't be able to lament this enough. This makes us assume that this particular model runs a bit small, as sizing up might eliminate the waistband issue all-together.
Venting and Breathability
Not the top-scorer for this metric, this competitor is still exceptionally breathable, and the fabric is thin enough to vent easily. On windier days, we definitely feel how thin they are. When wet, they dry quickly. Simply put, they are excellent for hot and sweaty ventures.
The main differences between this pair and the top-scorers are the inseam length and the bagginess of the leg design. The more open the leg circumference, the more airflow; since these have a trim cut around the thighs and a longer inseam, airflow isn't as much of a given. The diameter of the leg openings for the pair we reviewed measures at 19 inches, which is generous enough to help the venting process.
Sporty in design, the fashion-sense is still appealing to us. Not as urban-trendy as some of the shorter options, their strength for this metric resides in how well they transfer between athletic endeavors. They're long and stretchy enough to climb in, bike, hike, etcetera. They slide easily into a climbing harness, and wear comfortably under a backpack hip belt. We are also more likely to use them on colder days, utilizing the added coverage over the thighs to insulate, which makes them more versatile in the shoulder seasons. Keep in mind, however, how breathable they are — high winds will blow right through their length.
Ranking at the top for this metric, the Sabria is one of the most functional. Intended for outdoor use, the appeal to wear them indoors isn't as high, but the color we reviewed is unique and flattering enough for the casual lunch-date. It seems that longer shorts are harder to style, but we feel that these are one of the better long-shorts we've come across in this regard.
Just a hair below the top-scorers for this metric, the water resistance is nonetheless exceptional. Adding to their technicality and versatility in the outdoors, water beads slightly before soaking in.
Even then, the fabric is thin and breathable, which expedites drying time. During brief summer thunderstorms, we knew these shorts would still fare well against the rain and keep us comfortable. It's difficult to balance resistance and breathability, but we feel this competitor does an amazing job.
Simple and streamlined, they are featured enough to warrant yet another high mark. Designed with a gusseted crotch (always a plus), inherent sun protection, and quick-drying material, they don't come with a ton of bells and whistles. Keeping it simple, however, is often best. We are pleased to see pockets on this minimalist pair, one of each thigh. We are used to hand pockets, admittedly, so we found ourselves searching for a place to stick our hands. The thigh pockets are decently sized, have zippers, and a flap of fabric that hides the zippers. For each zipper pull-tab, there is cordelette attached to better aid your fingers in grabbing them. The pockets aren't the easiest to fumble with, but we can put our phones more than halfway in, which is sufficient for casual outings.
Reiterating the notion that these shorts run small, the waistband has an internal drawstring. We imagine that, if we were to size up, we can see how the drawstring would be functional. For the size we reviewed, we didn't use the drawstring at all (which can be seen as a plus, we guess). We appreciate how the drawstring sits flat against the abdomen.
Characteristic of Arc'teryx apparel, the Sabria is relatively expensive. Numerous options are much more affordable and are of similar quality, and similar length. Still, this is a pair of hiking shorts that our testers repeatedly wanted to wear. If you're in for a technical pair of great hiking shorts, these shorts might have a bit of added value.
From an early morning bike ride through town to a strenuous hike on an exposed ridgeline, the Sabria is truly performance-based. Not the cutest thing out there, they still pack a durable punch and go way beyond our most basic hiking standards.
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