ADIDAS LITE FLEX SHORTS
TEST SERIES BY NANCY GRIFFITH
November 17, 2019
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Northern California, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
126 lb (57.20 kg)
My outdoor experience began in high school with a co-ed scout group which made a 10-day canoe voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since college in Pennsylvania. I have hiked 1/4 of the Appalachian Trail and 2/3 of the Pacific Crest Trail. My typical trip is in the Sierra Nevada from a few days to a few weeks long. My base weight is lightweight at 15 lb (6.8 kg) while still using a tent, stove and quilt. Longer mileage summer trips are now stoveless.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: adidas outdoor
Year of Manufacture: 2019
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.adidasoutdoor.com
MSRP: $59 US
Listed Weight: 4.4 oz (125 g)
Measured Weight: 5.5 oz (156 g) for size M
Measured Weight: 5.1 oz (145 g) for size S
Measured Weight: 4.9 oz (139 g) for size XS
Size Tested: S
Other Sizes Available: XS, M, L, XL
Color Tested: Black
Other Colors Available: Legend Ink
Made in Cambodia
The Lite Flex Shorts are made from a 69% nylon, 19% polyester and 12% elastic material blend which is designed to shed moisture and provide some stretch for easy movement. There is also a DWR (durable water-repellent) coating on the fabric to provide some water resistance.
There are two vertical front slip-in hand pockets along the sides and one zippered pocket on the back right hand. The interior of each pocket is mesh. There is an adidas TERREX logo above the rear pocket which is printed in black so it is subtle. The hem has a slit on the outside of each leg. The inseam length is 8.5 in (21.5 cm) and hits about mid-quadricep.
The fit is described as regular which is supposed to be a balance between loose and snug. The waist is elastic the entire way around but is flat in front and gathered at the back. There is a non-slip silicone bead around the inside front.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & TRYING THEM OUT
My initial impression was that the shorts looked really nice but quite large for me. I then tried them on and found them to be VERY large allowing me to pull them out several inches away from my stomach. I had searched on the website for a sizing chart to order the best fit and wasn't able to find a clear recommendation. So, I went with Medium which has been my size for a lifetime. Anyway, I called Customer Service to request an exchange for another size. They were very helpful and sent out new shorts that same day.
Next I noticed a silicone bead along the front inside of the shorts. That isn't a typical feature that I'm familiar with and I presume that it is designed to keep a shirt tucked in. I don't usually tuck shirts into my shorts, so I'll see how comfortable that band is on my skin.
When the smaller sizes arrived, I tried them on and found my fit to be squarely between a S and XS. I'm going with the S for this test. I could wear the XS which would fit slightly tight but fine with the elasticity of the fabric. As it is, the S fit slightly loose which I think will be nice for vigorous outdoor activity. I would say that the sizing runs 1 to 1-1/2 sizes larger than what I am used to.
When I weighed the shorts, I found even the smallest size to be slightly heavier than the listed weight. They are quite light though and are lighter than any other shorts that I own despite their moderately long length. The hem hit my leg mid-way and provide good coverage for some sun protection and for not riding up too high when sitting down.
The stretch in the fabric was noticeably comfortable. Even when I moved to my maximum extension, the shorts were able to accommodate without binding.
The pockets are fairly roomy. The front pockets really are just for hands since the open top wouldn't prevent something from falling out. The rear pocket barely fits my cell phone so I'll have to see what I use it for. I typically don't use shorts/pants pockets for hiking and backpacking since my pack hip belt would interfere. The front pockets are smooth but I'm curious whether the rear pocket zipper causes any discomfort with my pack.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The washing instructions say to wash in cold water with like colors. Detergent only is to be used without bleach or fabric softener. Then they should be tumbled dry on a low setting. If needed, a cool iron can be used but I should avoid the logo area. No dry cleaning is recommended.
The adidas Lite Flex Shorts are a well-constructed pair of shorts designed for athletic movement and outdoor conditions.
Balance between snug and loose fit
Great Customer Service
Sizing seems off (too large)
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
During the test period, I wore the shorts for eight day-hikes, four softball games, six morning runs, multiple walks and several games of disc golf.
Colorado National Monument, Western Colorado: 4 mi (6 km); 5,771 ft (1,759 m) elevation; 59 to 85 F (15 to 29 C); clear conditions
Daniel's Park, Douglas County, Colorado: 5 mi (8 km); 6,300 to 6,600 ft (1,900 to 2,000 m) elevation; 75 to 85 F (24 to 29 C); clear conditions
TNT Farm, Brooksville, Kentucky: 3 mi (5 km); 900 to 1,000 ft (270 to 300 m) elevation; 85 to 90 F (29 to 32 C); clear conditions
Two hikes on Appalachian Trail from Indian Grave Gap, Tennessee: 2 and 6.2 mi (3 and 10 km); 3,300 to 4,437 ft (1,006 to 1,352 m) elevation; 70 to 80 F (21 to 27 C); cloudy conditions
Lost Creek State Park, Montana: 3 mi (5 km); 6,164 to 6,350 ft (1,879 to 1,935 m) elevation; 38 to 46 F (3 to 8 C); cool damp conditions
Black Hills, South Dakota: 5 mi (8 km); 5,132 to 5,300 ft (1,564 to 1,615 m) elevation; 55 to 65 F (13 to 18 C); cloudy conditions
Devil's Tower, Wyoming: 3 mi (5 km);1,267 to 1,417 ft (386 to 432 m) elevation; 55 F (13 C); light rain
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
After wearing the size S a couple of times, I changed to the XS. I was having trouble with the S size falling down too much. If I carried my wallet or phone in the pocket, I was constantly trying to pull the waistband up. With no cinch or way to keep them up, the XS worked much better.
Since we were traveling on an extended road trip during this test period, I ended up wearing the shorts multiple times between washings. I probably washed the shorts 8 times by machine on the gentlest, coldest cycle and dried them by air or on the coolest setting. Since I was dealing with hotel and friends' washing machines and dryers, I had to do my best with the available options. I also washed them a few times by hand in the hotel sink using whatever shampoo I could find and drying them by hanging or lying flat.
The durability of the shorts has been great. There were many times that I snagged the shorts on a tree or bush or even on a chair but there didn't seem to be any lasting effect or damage caused. The silicone strip inside the waistband is still holding and the rear pocket zipper is sliding easily.
I love having the zippered rear pocket for carrying my wallet securely. My phone fits comfortably in a front pocket if I needed to carry it in the shorts as opposed to in my pack. The length is just perfect for outdoor activities. They are long enough to not ride up and provide some sun coverage to my vulnerable upper thigh. Yet they are short enough to be stylish and cool (allowing for air flow).
The fabric is flexible for exaggerated movements and is so lightweight that it dries out easily when I washed the shorts in the hotel sink. I was able to leave them out in the car for a few hours and they'd be dry. They also got wet on a few hikes and dried easily from just the warmth of my legs once the rain stopped.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
With the onset of cooler weather, I didn't get to wear shorts nearly as often but was still able to wear them quite a bit. I wore them for eight softball games, a couple of mountain bike rides, a few lower-elevation hikes, indoor pickleball and walks.
Gerle Loop, Auburn Recreation Area, California: 2.5 to 3.5 mi (4 to 5.6 km); 500 to 1,500 ft (150 to 450 m) elevation; 65 to 72 F (18 to 22 C); mostly dirt with some rocky patches
Johnny Cash Trail, Folsom, California: 7.1 mi (11.4 km); 80 F (27 C); 220 to 480 ft (67 to 146 m) elevation
El Dorado Trail, Sierra Nevada Foothills, California: 11 mi (18 km); 60 F (15 C); 1,827 to 3,033 ft (557 to 924 m) elevation
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The shorts continued to perform flawlessly over the final test period. I found that these were my go-to pair of shorts for all kinds of activity. I loved them for softball since the stretch allows for maximum flex without falling down, riding up or restricting movement in any way. I especially loved them for mountain biking since they flex. I hadn't realized until I wore these that my official 'bike shorts' don't have a stretch fabric! Well, there is no way I'll wear those again now that I have the Lite Flex.
With the cooler temperatures, I wasn't able to wear the shorts for fall mountain activities like backpacking, hiking and fishing. I was able to wear them for short lower-elevation hikes but nothing extreme.
I noticed one small snag on the back of the left leg and remembered sitting in a wooden chair that had a sharp nail head exposed during the Field Report period. The nail snagged on the shorts and made a small defect, but it isn't really a big deal at all. The fabric seemed to hold up well considering that some of my other shorts would've been torn or otherwise ruined by a similar treatment. I tried to get a photo of the snag but it only looks like a small piece of lint. Amazing!
The durability has been outstanding. My final photos look so similar to the new photos despite a LOT of wear and tear. I absolutely love these shorts! The only 'negative' that I can find is that finding the correct fit to start with is crucial since there is no adjustment to help hold them up if they are a little too large.
Overall, I have really enjoyed wearing these shorts all summer and fall! They are excellent for outdoor athletic activity but also look great for wearing around town.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.
Cool and lightweight
No cinch makes it crucial to get the right size fit
This concludes my Long-Term Report and this test series. Thanks to adidas and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test these shorts.
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