Top positive review
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Comfortable, stylish -- but with a caveat for skinny guys
on February 26, 2013
I bought the black swim short, which features white stitching. The look is quite smart (not "loud") and stylish for the beach. The overall fit and construction is very comfortable, but with the caveat that the drawstring has a *minimum* size. (More on that below.)
-- LOOK --
The white stitching (particularly around the faux fly area) tends to make them stand out as being swim shorts rather regular shorts, even if you're wearing a T-shirt that covers the external draw cord.
I wore them on a recent (tropical) vacation while we drove around various outdoor sightseeing sites. They were passable as ultra-casual shorts in those areas where casual dress was not a problem, but if you're likely to venture anywhere away from the beach that requires a more respectable look (smarter restaurants, places of worship, etc.) you might find the white stitching makes you feel a little under-dressed since it'll be obvious you're wearing swim shorts and "going commando" beneath. ;) For the hotel swimming pool, beach and beachside attractions (cafes and casual beach restaurants, etc.), though, they're perfect.
-- FIT --
The fit is fairly straight and not too voluminous while out of the water, while still leaving plenty of room for unrestricted movement while swimming. The legs and backside are relatively slim -- not hugely baggy -- but not skinny. So if you're like me, with skinny legs and small backside, you're not going to look completely absurd like you're lost inside a huge black sack, which is the case with really baggy swim shorts. The hem of the Small size fell just above the knee on me (at 5'11").
The mesh interior is a little closer-fitting than on some other swim shorts I've tried but I actually found I appreciated it, as it kept everything "under control" while swimming and (importantly) moving in/out of the water! The mesh is perfectly comfortable -- particularly the edges, which are well finished -- so no risk of chafing or rubbing despite the close fit. All in all, you won't even notice the mesh after wearing them for a couple of minutes.
-- PRACTICALITY --
The material has a soft hand. It is soft and completely flexible, not stiff or "crinkly". This mean it moves well while you're swimming, and falls well when you're out of the water. It's also soft in terms of the texture, with a very slight "velvet-y" feel to the surface. A benefit of all this softness is not only the comfort, but the fact that it's quiet when you walk. (Some swim shorts with stiffer, coarser fabrics tend to give you an obnoxious "swish" noise with every step, as the fabric of the legs rubs against itself -- not the case here.)
The hip pockets are sufficiently deep to accommodate your whole hand -- not those shallow "half pocket" deals -- so there's plenty of room to hold cash or small documents if you're walking around on vacation. The mesh of the pockets isn't sewn to the fabric all the way around, meaning the pockets do move a little when you sit or swim (This is a good thing: the pockets fall to follow gravity, so your change and other items don't pour out of the pockets when you sit down. Similarly, it means stuff is less likely to fall/float out of your pockets while you're swimming, since the pockets will twist slightly to "seal" themselves.) The leg pocket has strong velcro and is sufficiently large to accommodate a typical glasses case or wallet. I had no qualms about the velcro keeping those larger items completely secure while buzzing around on a motorcycle. However, the velcro doesn't cover the entire top of the pocket -- probably only 50-60% of the top edge -- so I wouldn't recommend relying on it to keep smaller items in place (it certainly won't stop loose change from rolling right out of the pocket when you sit).
-- CAVEAT : WAIST FIT--
My one and only complaint about the construction of these shorts: the draw cord design. It's a little difficult to see in the product images (try zooming in on the waistband of the Classic Blue image), but the cord exits the waistband from two "flaps" that stick out from the waistband itself, situated a couple of inches apart. The cord draws these two flaps together, but once the flaps are pulled as close together as possible, you literally *cannot* get the waistband any tighter. It's not a simple cord that goes right around your waist and can be pulled tighter and tighter -- there is actually a MINIMUM waist size for each size of these shorts.
I usually wear a 30"-31" waist. I chose the Small shorts (smallest size available), and they were just *barely* holding onto my hips sufficiently when tied as tight as possible. While swimming, I definitely felt that more water than necessary was flowing down the small of my back and under the band of the shorts -- I could feel the drag. While it was fine for goofing around in the sea and snorkelling, I wouldn't want to wear these to do laps of the pool and I *definitely* wouldn't risk diving into the water!
If you wear less than a 30"-31" pant waist, these shorts will not work for you, period. Sorry. There is no way around this. (Unless you're a bit of a seamstress and actually want to take in the entire the waistband circumference yourself.)
For everyone else, if you're borderline between sizes and aren't sure which to get, opt for the smaller size. Better to have them slightly closer-fitting than to have them getting dragged off your hips while swimming.
-- OVERALL --
I'd absolutely recommend these swim shorts for comfort, practicality and flexibility. Again, my only reservation is that they're completely unsuitable for anyone with <30" waist. Docked 1 star for that, otherwise they'd be a 5-star product.