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Exofficio Sol Cool Nomad Short - Women's Review

A more conservative pair of shorts that are ideal for flat trails and tourism
Exofficio Sol Cool Nomad Short - Women's
Photo: Exofficio
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Price:  $70 List | $70.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Anti-odor, moisture wicking, quick drying
Cons:  Expensive, runs large, not ideal for incline
Manufacturer:   Exofficio
By Sara Aranda ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 21, 2019
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68
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 5
  • Venting and Breathability - 20% 7
  • Versatility - 15% 6
  • Water Resistance - 15% 9
  • Features - 15% 9

Our Verdict

The ExOfficio Sol Cool Nomad is a lightweight hiking short with a whole gamut of features. Casual, travel-inspired, and more conservative in style, the main setback resides with the fit. When compared to others we tested, comfort and mobility are simply outranked in our tests. In the end, sticking to the flats and partaking in casual travel is best for this model. Designed with the jet-setter in mind, hiking is certainly an aspect. Still, these shorts are best for those low-key endeavors that don't involve intense inclines. From spring to fall, they'll keep you cool and smelling fresh, thanks to their odor-resistant properties.

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


Our lead tester is shown hiking a climber's approach trail in Indian...
Our lead tester is shown hiking a climber's approach trail in Indian Creek, Utah. These trails steepen quickly, which means lots of high-stepping. Unfortunately, these shorts didn't fare well on the incline and became a nuisance with immobility.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Comfort and Mobility


We like the tricot-lined waistband and how the Sol Cool Jade nylon is feels lightweight yet soft. Yet, when it comes to mobility, they aren't nearly as flexible as the other shorts we recently tested. The fit is awkward for us: baggy around the hips but tight around the hemline. The legs taper, which isn't convenient for our curvier, athletic bodies, and becomes a true annoyance when we try to high-step or hike up a significant incline (like stairs, even). We had to continually pull up the shorts to move. Over time, the nylon stretches out a bit, as well; which is seen as both a pro and con. A benefit for mobility, but a detriment to style and fit.

A wider fit in the hips and a tapered leg makes for an awkward fit...
A wider fit in the hips and a tapered leg makes for an awkward fit in these shorts.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Venting and Breathability


Weighing in at 4.9 ounces for the size we tested, the material is moisture-wicking and lightweight. The tricot lining on the waistband helps prevent sweat build-up around the lower abdomen. Lastly, they vent well enough to stay cool despite their extended length, which is key during the summer. They certainly aren't as breezy as some of the other, shorter options, however.

Versatility


Style-wise, the Sol Cool Nomad is what we would call conservative. Our testers feel they have the distinct look of travel clothing. Activity-wise, these shorts fare well as a hiking short, as long as things stay relatively flat. Unfortunately, they aren't highly transferable to other activities such as rock climbing, cycling, or running.

These shorts aren't as versatile as some of the others we tested...
These shorts aren't as versatile as some of the others we tested, especially when it comes to needing flexibility.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Water Resistance


These shorts don't boast water resistance in their product description, yet they perform just as well as the DWR coated shorts. During our test, the water beaded nicely and barely absorbed into the fabric at all. After five minutes, the majority of the water easily rolled off. These shorts dry out quickly, too. Being able to brush off a spill so effortlessly is a true highlight.

The results of our water resistance test. These shorts were...
The results of our water resistance test. These shorts were exceptionally resistant.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Features


Much of the accessory features on a pair of tourist-oriented shorts are tailored to fit and protect items like passports. These shorts have five pockets, two of which have zippers. With a secure double snap closure and zip fly, tricot-lined waistband, anti-odor technology, UPF 50, and belt loops, these are the most featured shorts of the group we recently tested. Well-thought-out in this aspect, we wish the nylon had a lot more stretch.

Accessory pockets and material features are where the Sol Cool Nomad...
Accessory pockets and material features are where the Sol Cool Nomad shorts truly shine.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Value


We weren't blown away with the value this pair presents. Certainly not the most expensive pair in the group, they are a bit steep for our practical hiking purposes. Bottom line, if you can afford them and do travel via airplane often, they are a quality item.

These shorts are utilitarian and soft to the touch.
These shorts are utilitarian and soft to the touch.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Conclusion


These modest shorts are certainly functional, and we hiked plenty of successful days in them. We think there are better options at and below the price point of the ExOfficio Sol Cool Nomad Shorts. Still, if the longer length and travel-forward design appeals to you, we think you'll be happy with your purchase.

Sara Aranda