Since we got a rowing machine for our home, I’ve been on the workout gear hunt.
Recently I rowed in some capri leggings and felt like I was going to die from the heat and sweat trapped inside, which is how I learned I prefer shorts for this activity. Initially I’d been wearing the Girlfriend Collective classic-rise run shorts that I purchased to wear as swim bottoms at the beach (v multi-purpose) but have since added to my workout arsenal a pair of Senita 5”-inseam Baseline shorts. Neither are perfect, but I still like both.
The Girlfriend Collective shorts are so short that they tend to bunch up above the tops of my thigh chub, which isn’t necessarily the end of the world, but worth noting because they are definitely more like a hotpant than a short. Also, they would be terrible for actually running because of inevitable chaffing! With rowing they are OK because your thighs aren’t really rubbing for this activity.
The GF classic rise actually fits me more like a high rise, but I think they are phasing out this style in favor of everything high. Overall these haven’t been the most practical for actually working out, but then that’s not why I bought them. I love the colors GF offers, but the lack of pockets is a bummer.
The Senita shorts I’m really loving, but they come with caveats too.
I have the Senita Baseline shorts in a 5” inseam (size Small), so they are long enough to still look and function like actual shorts even when they start bunching up above my thigh chub, which they will do after any kind of stretchy movement. I’m pretty sure the riding up will happen with every pair of legging-shorts I try, because that’s just how spandex wants to squeeze my legs.
The fabric is a poly-blend which is nice and smooth and resists cat hair. The high rise is the perfect height on my short torso and doesn’t cut in at my waist. AND pockets! There are pockets on nearly every bottom Senita offers — deep pockets on each thigh. For the life of me, I do not understand why all athletic gear can’t have pockets like this! Those little key pockets inside the waistband are not enough.
Technically they aren’t perfect (because the legs ride up), but I like how they feel and fit outside of this so much that I don’t mind.
Here’s how the Senita shorts fared during a variety of activities:
With rowing, the hem on one or the other of the legs tends to roll up. It must be something about the rowing movement — stretched out legs, then scrunched up legs, over and over. It’s not a dealbreaker though, because my thighs don’t actually touch or rub during a rowing session.
First of all I hate running, it is the worst, but somehow I decided to join my husband for a run one evening recently (and regretted it for days afterward). The shorts rode up on my thighs as I would have expected. While I did not experience any problems with chaffing this go-round, that may be because I pooped out after only a couple miles. If you are a marathoner, be warned.
The shorts were pretty good for yoga! I wore them for an outdoor summer solstice class, and I was glad to not be suffocating in full-length leggings. As has been noted, there will be a bit of riding up, but not to a point of discomfort or loss of function. They were very comfortable for all the stretching poses.
In practice, the aforementioned riding-up shaves off an inch or two of inseam length, rendering these less than ideal for a long bike ride where you’ll want some protection between the saddle and the thighs.
It seems like the issue with these shorts is that they are just a little too short.
I reached out to Senita customer service about whether or not the Baseline shorts (which are poly/spandex) would be offered in the 7” inseam option like their Rio shorts (which are nylon/spandex and not as nice of a feel in my opinion), and they said no, but that the 7” inseam Rios would be offered in a “lux” fabric, a poly/spandex like the Baseline shorts.
I did also try a pair of the Senita Rios when I tried the Baseline shorts, but I didn’t like the fit as much. The waist felt like it wasn’t quite as high, and the nylon fabric was not as smooth as the poly blend. So I’m looking forward to trying out the lux fabric 7” Rios when they are available, because they seem like they’d be a little more forgiving, and the longer inseam might be just the right length to eliminate the rolling and riding-up I’m experiencing with the 5” inseam.
While I was corresponding with the Senita rep, I also asked if they’d be transitioning to recycled polyester fiber for manufacturing, like Girlfriend Collective uses, and they gave a pretty stock answer:
…while we don’t validate that our products use organic or recycled materials, we do strive to limit waste, and to provide fair and honest working conditions for our immediate employees as well as our manufacturers overseas.
So, kind of a non-answer. To me it feels like a no-brainer — if the ability to use recycled fiber is there, then why not do it? Or at least offer it as an option? The market for this kind of thing is only growing, and it seems like a missed opportunity to not go that direction when there are competitors doing just that and making it a selling point, no less.
Overall I’m happy to see athletic legging-shorts become more popular. They are nice and streamlined and if you put some pockets on them, they are basically all you need to leave the house besides shoes and a shirt.
More colors please! More pockets please! Longer inseams please!
What’s your favorite workout bottom?