Prana Alana Review
Cons: Minimal water resistance, minimal features
Our Analysis and Test Results
Constructed with Bluesign-approved 95% recycled nylon and 5% spandex, the fabric looks and feels smooth. The 5-inch inseam is at that threshold length, in our opinion, where anything shorter and versatility becomes all the more limited and cheeky. But, as mentioned previously, this model also comes in a 7-inch inseam. Built to be durable and fairly lightweight, we applaud their streamlined and stylish design. Too, we celebrate their use of recycled nylon and Prana's efforts to become all the more sustainable.
Comfort and Mobility
The leg openings have a 22-inch circumference for the size 2 we reviewed, which provides ample space for the athletic thighs of our lead tester. The size is somewhat true, as the fit is slightly more snug about the waist than we think is traditional for Prana. This might be due to the relative rigidity of the fabric as compared to previous Prana models we've had experience with (that tend to stretch out over time). We are delighted to report that these do not have issues with stretching out over time and the overall comfort is high. Even the waistband, with belt loops and two-button snap closure with zipper fly, feels fairly low profile. We feel this allows for greater comfort beneath a pack, but we did notice ourselves adjusting the waistband here and there during all-day wear.
When climbing stairs or hiking steeper trails, our mobility isn't restricted, though the stretch of the fabric is on the lower end as compared to others in the group. Scoring high for this metric, this pair is all-around pleasant for how traditional the design is (traditional being with belt loops, thicker fabric, etc). Weighing in at 6.7 ounces, they are relatively lightweight, easy to move in, and overall, are a functional joy to wear.
Venting and Breathability
We feel these shorts offer only average breathability as compared to the rest of the group. This means they sit in the middle between the most breathable and the least. The material is a tad stiffer than the top performers, but they nonetheless offer enough breathability and venting to maintain comfort throughout long activities. Our lead tester even went on a long run in them during an 80-degree day and found that they were sufficiently cool (definitely not as ideal as traditional running shorts, but you get the idea). Still suitable for hot days in general, we are glad they are comfortable when things get ultra sweaty, even around the waistband. Being a shorter pair of shorts, our exposed legs felt well ventilated.
During our more lab-like testing, we were able to see some light through the fabric, which is good news for the allowance of airflow. Too, during our breath test, where we attempt to suck air through the fabric, we didn't feel overly restricted and these shorts ranked fourth overall in this specific test. Validating our experiences, we feel that despite their appearances, they actually breathe relatively well.
Style points are high for this competitor, one of the best in our opinion. They're cute and colorful. 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. Too, with two inseam lengths to choose from, we appreciate the option for those who prefer more coverage without sacrificing trendiness.
Cross-activity or shoulder-season applications aren't as much of a given with the 5-inch inseam, but they still work well for casual cycling, gym workouts, and climbing or scrambling. Preferable for summer only, the shorter inseam isn't the most optimal choice for colder temperatures, for unpredictable weather scenarios in the backcountry, or for the random situation you find yourself bushwhacking. If this type of versatility is important to you, we recommend purchasing the 7-inch inseam for more, albeit just a tad more, protection. Overall, they are athletic enough for the most technical and strenuous of trails while also being stylish enough for a post-adventure stop at the local watering hole.
This is the one metric in which the Alana under-performs when compared to many others in the group. During testing, water does not noticeably bead and absorbs rather instantly. There is no added DWR treatment to the fabric, which is why the water soaks in readily. But having water resistance isn't necessary for a comfortable or wholesome hiking experience. Having too much water resistance will actually detract from the fabric's ability to breathe. If there is no added resistance, then having a technical fabric that dries quickly becomes more important, which is discussed under the Features metric.
This Prana model comes with four pockets: two in front and two in back where one of the back ones has a zipper. Large enough to comfortably fit our hands and phones, we love how generous the front two pockets are. The back two are a little smaller aren't as easy to access due to a sewn flap that covers the openings. But the material has enough stretch to accommodate items and maintain comfort and fit around the hips and thighs. Other features for this model include UPF 50 sun protection, belt loops, a wide waistband, and wrinkle resistance, which we did notice a lack of wrinkling during our general use, but it wasn't necessarily something spectacular (hence, the word "resistant" as opposed to wrinkle-"proof").
The material is Bluesign approved, which means the manufacturing process included safer and more sustainable methods for the environment and the workers involved from factory to finished product. Too, this model utilizes recycled nylon, which we think is a huge plus for mitigating waste in the industry.
We aren't surprised to find high quality and somewhat high pricing for a piece of Prana apparel. Known as a comfort 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. If where things are made are important to you, the Alana is manufactured in Vietnam.
As one of the cutest pairs of athletic shorts we've had the pleasure of testing recently, it's easy to overlook some of the more average performances, but at least these shorts are consistent with comfort. For all intensive hiking purposes, they are durable, athletic, and versatile enough for a long summer of both outdoor expression and indoor fun. We think their hiking performance suffices for most folks, and recommend this pair for adding some style to your hiking kit.
— Sara Aranda
Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.Learn More