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A theory of shorts

This post may feature the least flattering photo of me I'm ever likely to post. Still, there we are. 

shorts riding up

This is three shots of me in my Ron Hill shorts, which are the shorts that (on me) suffer most from the riding up problem. (They don't really seem the right shape for me full stop, but I bought them online so that happens occasionally.) The top one is the shorts in their rightful position, middle is what happens when I lift up a leg (and is not a flattering photo!), and bottom demonstrates that the right leg has ridden up maybe an inch and a half with that movement.

The shorts move up when I lift my leg. The fabric gets tight across the thigh and shifts upwards, then when I put my leg down the fabric doesn't move down again. I think that bit is caused by my thighs rubbing - if they didn't touch the fabric could fall back down easily - but I think the problem really is that the shorts move up so far in the first place. I don't think I could solve the problem by losing weight either. At my fittest when I was cycling around 70-100 miles per week and was comfortably a UK size 8 my thighs still touched!

I'm blogging this theory (including the unflattering pictures) because I haven't found much advice on the problem online. Lots of people complaining about it, but not a lot of analysis about why it happens. In fact, the most common response is to recommend skorts/running shorts. But I think if you can find a cut of short where a) the crotch is in the right place for you and b) the size, shape and length of the leg is right, you can get a short that won't move up when you lift your leg, so won't ruck.

So, what I'm trying is putting a stretch panel down the inside of the leg (which allows the shorts material to stretch rather than roll back up the leg), moving the crotch up (which stops bunching), and getting the length right. The shorts I'm playing with at the moment seem to ride up a little at mid-thigh now rather than right up in the crotch, so I think if I shorten them a little that might go away too. The other thing I can do is put a split in the outside seam to allow a little more give, but I'm going to try not doing that to start with. There's going to be a little more trial and error before I can say for sure I've cracked it, but I think at least I understand better now what to look for in a pair of running (or in fact any) shorts.

The experiment continues... 

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Reader Comments (1)

Ah yes, I'm familiar with this problem.

Happens with most of my regular sport shorts as well. A bit awkward while doing squats too - I have to intentionally hitch them up a little to that "riding" position in order to provide a bit of give when I squat down.

The solution as you suggest is split sides seams. I have some good running shorts that are very lightweight and airy, with long splits up the side seams. That way there's no material to cling to your leg when you lift it or squat.

Something like this,

To be honest they took a bit of getting used to and some guts to wear as they do feel really skimpy. Then again, running in public wearing skin-tight lycra shorts also took ... if you'll excuse the pun ... balls.

May 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGareth R. White

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