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Entries in shorts (2)

Saturday
May052012

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... 

Thursday
May032012

When hobbies collide - the shorts project

I am struggling to find running shorts that fit and don't ride up and that I like.

I've tried a few different pairs of shorts now. I have a pair of Pearl Izumi shorts that I bought cheap in desperation, but they are too high waisted to be comfy. I have a pair of Adidas ones which are ok but ride up a bit. I have a pair of knee-length lycra capris that give me two rubbed spots on my bottom after surprisingly few miles, and a pair of Asics lycra shorts that give me rubbed patches after around 10 miles. The two pairs of Ron Hills I have both have serious issues for me.

I have run most of my races in my Harlot Houlihan shorts, which are actually designed for cycling. They have no seam in the crotch, just a stretchy panel. They do not look like 'proper' running shorts, which I like because otherwise people might assume I'm taking this seriously or that I might be quick or something. They aren't lycra. I don't like going out in skin tight clothes. I'm told it doesn't look too bad, but there's only so many times you can get called 'Camel toe' by a man carrying a brace of poached rabbits before you think better of it. (Turns out my limit is once. I tried not to let it ruin the run, but it wasn't exactly happy-making.)

DSC_0797
The only problem with those shorts is that they are quite heavy material, so if we ever get any warm weather they are too hot. Plus I need more than one pair, and they are quite expensive. That's my problem with experimenting with new pairs too. Each new pair is a minimum of £20, often more, and it's not like you can take them for a run then take them back if they don't work.

So, I've been thinking: sewing is becoming another hobby of mine. So can I make my ideal pair of shorts? If I can, I can then make as many as I like. If I can work out what makes the shorts ride up, I should be able to engineer it out (and since not all shorts do it can't just be that my thighs rub and there's no hope).

I've chosen to start from a cheap pair of board shorts. I figure the material ought to be quick drying at the very least. I've started by trying to copy the shape of the Harlot shorts, and put a stretchy panel under the crotch and moved the crotch up a lot. The riding up seems to happen when the shorts move up my leg when I raise it and doesn't move down again after. Having a tighter crotch means the short leg can't move up so much, so shouldn't ruck so much. I'm going to do some further analysis on what makes my other shorts ruck up as well because I think there's something to do with the shape/give around the top. At the moment the stretchy panel is some fleece I had hanging around, but I may buy a metre of something more suitable once I've got something workable.

Shorts surgery
Not sure these will ever be perfect, as the shaped around the top with the elastic isn't quite perfect on me. But they'll be a good proof of concept at least!