Exofficio Sol Cool Nomad Short - Women's Review
Cons: Expensive, runs large, not ideal for incline
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Our Analysis and Test Results
At first glance, these shorts have hiking written all over them. When it comes to pocket space and material perks, this piece of apparel shines. The fit runs large and sits baggy on the hips for us, which drastically impacts how this model ranks among the others tested.
Marking relatively low in the two most important metrics, the perks become more apparent as you dive into the technical aspects and features of the Sol Cool Nomad.
Comfort and Mobility
We appreciate the tricot-lined waistband on these shorts and how the Sol Cool Jade nylon is light and relatively soft to the touch. 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.
Venting and Breathability
Weighing in at 4.9 ounces for the size we tested, the material is moisture-wicking and lightweight. Having moisture-wicking qualities help regulate body temperature as you sweat. 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.
Style-wise, the Sol Cool Nomad is what we would call conservative. They have a traditional traveler look, which isn't as appealing to wear around town or to dress up for dinner in. 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. Their length does allow for more versatility across colder temperatures, which can be a huge plus.
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. The nylon dried quickly thanks to its thin and technical nature. Being able to brush off a spill so effortlessly is a true highlight.
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.
Made in China, these ExOfficio shorts retail for a hefty price, but have a one year warranty. While this is typical of the brand, you are definitely paying for all the neat features provided. 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.
We found that the basal function of these shorts is to provide a casual option for easy to moderate trails, notably for those wanting more leg coverage. They rank below the middle of the bunch, but depending on what you prioritize, these will nonetheless be a dependable choice.
— Sara Aranda