Punish Stuff: All-Purpose Shorts


• Price: $60
• Pros: stretchy, quick drying, durable, no cargo pockets
• Cons: women’s version is girly (is that a con?); pricey?
• Website: www.hurley.com
IT’S MAY. It’s been shorts season for a solid month now. Last year, in April, I visited San Diego and only brought one pair of shorts. My wife went to a local surf shop and picked up these Hurley Phantom Walkshorts.

These are not bike shorts! They’re just “walking shorts.” And they are hands down, the best shorts I’ve ever had.

Here’s why I love them:
COMFY: These shorts are made from a stretchy poly blend with 85% poly and 15% spandex. So they’re just silly comfortable and stretchy wonderful. I wear them almost every day in the summer. I can cycle in them for hours a day over many days with no bunching or binding or other weirdness.

NORMAL LOOKING: I’m really tired of the cargo pant thing. It seems that most shorts today have cargo pockets, and I don’t want them or need them. These shorts are a welcome change from the cargo style: they have normal “trouser” style pockets and straight legs.

Generally, these shorts are SoCal in their styling, which happens to suit me just fine. I like the clean lines and sort of fuddy-duddy, almost-but-not-quite Bermuda short vibe. Even though they’re “spandex’y,” they hang nicely and don’t feel or look form fitting.

They even have normal belt loops, instead of the ubiquitous internal webbing belt thing that so many shorts now include. Style-wise, they seem like shorts my father would’ve worn growing up in Downey, California, in the early 60s.

DURABILITY: I’ve had my initial pair for over a year now. I’ve ridden at least 1,000 miles in them. I’ve swam in them. I’ve camped in them. They are well-used and abused. They show very little wear. Most shorts that I ride a full summer in usually start thinning or tearing at the seat bones, but these shorts are holding up fine. There are no loose threads and no tears or rips.

It’s worth noting that I’ve blown out many shorts and pants over the years in much less saddle time. In fact, aside from bike-specific shorts, I can’t think of another pair of pants or shorts that have held up as well as these Hurley shorts have in the sit bones.
DRY QUICK: In the summer, I try to plan rides around swimming destinations. I don’t want to swap between riding shorts and swimming shorts, so I always try to find a good short that works well for riding and hopefully dries reasonably quick. I tend to just wear the same shorts all day while riding and swimming—and if I’m camping, I’ll just keep wearing them to bed. These shorts work well for this scenario because they dry in an hour or so.


Both of these cons are questionable. The first has to do with the women’s version of this short. Men are allowed to be fuddy-duddy. And in this case, there is sort of a cool ironic element to that fuddy-duddiness. To be clear, the authority a dorky 40-year-old white dude like me wields in the realm of “cool” and “ironic” are highly-suspect. That fact is not lost on me. That said, I find the women’s version of these shorts to be equally “SoCal” in their styling. I like them, but with their low-back, short-short cuts, they’re not at all similar to the men’s version in styling. I have to wonder how versatile they’d be to wear all day while riding and swimming. If it’s not clear so far, one huge benefit I see to these shorts is the fact that I rarely take them off.

The final con is the price. Which is silly. Yes: you can buy shorts way cheaper. But you can also spend a bunch more on much less durable shorts. And I have. These shorts are a value if you buy them to wear them all the time.


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