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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.
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Price:  $70 List | $30.98 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
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


RANKED
#9 of 12
  • 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.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award   Best Buy Award 
Price $30.98 at Backcountry
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$70 List$19.98 at Amazon$21.59 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Anti-odor, moisture wicking, quick dryingTrendy, comfortable, lightweightComfortable, breathable, versatileComfortable, stretchy, longAffordable, water resistant, breathable
Cons Expensive, runs large, not ideal for inclineShorter inseam, no water resistanceStretches out, wrinkles easilyOnly one pocket, not the most flatteringUnnecessary belt, small cargo pockets
Bottom Line A more conservative pair of shorts that are ideal for flat trails and tourism.A highly comfortable, performance-based hiking short.Pure comfort and high function with subtle style.Boldly athletic, these shorts are lengthy and comfortable.Functional and fun, these shorts cover all the basics.
Rating Categories Sol Cool Nomad Short Aphrodite 2.0 Short Prana Revenna Back Beauty Long Sport Sandy River Cargo
Comfort And Mobility (35%)
10
0
5
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Venting And Breathability (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
9
Versatility (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
5
Water Resistance (15%)
10
0
9
10
0
5
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
7
Features (15%)
10
0
9
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
6
Specs Sol Cool Nomad Short Aphrodite 2.0 Short Prana Revenna Back Beauty Long... Sandy River Cargo
Weight (in oz) 4.9 oz 4.4 oz 5.2 oz 5.4 oz 5.1 oz
Material 100% nylon 95% nylon, 5% elastane 95% Nylon, 5% Spandex OMNI-SHADE and OMNI-SHIELD 89% polyester, 11% elastane Max Lite double weave OMNI SHADE 100% nylon Perfecta Plus II
Water Resistance Sol Cool Jade quick-dry None (Flashdry-XD quick-dry) DWR treatment Omni-Shield repellency Perfecta Plus II quick-dry
Sizing (waist, length options) 2 - 16 XS - XXL, 4" or 6" inseam 0 - 14, 5" or 7" inseam XS - XL XS - XL
Sun Protection Yes, UPF 50 No Yes, UPF 50 Yes, UPF 50 Yes, UPF 30
Convertible, or option available? No No No No No
Pockets 5 3 4 1 4
Waist Strap/Fasten Two metal snaps and zipper fly Elastic waistband with drawstring Two metal snaps, zipper fly, internal drawstring Elastic waistband Elastic waistband with plastic snap and zipper fly, optional belt
Other Features SILVADUR coating in fabric activates silver ions to reduce odor, zip stash pockets, tricot-lined waistband, belt loops Flashdry-XD quick-dry fabric, triple needle stitch for durability, zip stash pocket Ripstop fabric, one pocket with zipper, belt loops Elastic, athetic, contoured fit, one stash pocket Zip cargo stash-pocket, quick-dry nylon fabric
Warranty One Year Warranty Limited Lifetime Warranty One Year Warranty One Year Good Faith Guarantee One Year Good Faith Guarantee

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.

Performance Comparison


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.

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.
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.

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.

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

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.

Versatility


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

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. The nylon dried quickly thanks to its thin and technical nature. Being able to brush off a spill so effortlessly is a true highlight.

The results of our water resistance test. These shorts were exceptionally resistant.
The results of our water resistance test. These shorts were exceptionally resistant.

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 shorts truly shine.
Accessory pockets and material features are where the Sol Cool Nomad shorts truly shine.

Value


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.

These shorts are utilitarian and soft to the touch.
These shorts are utilitarian and soft to the touch.

Conclusion


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