Running Capris: The New Wardrobe Essential
The Capri Takes on the Short
The run apparel industry has expanded dramatically over the past couple decades, and it is continuing to venture into new corners of every runner’s wardrobe. No longer is the race day outfit limited to lightweight shorts and a tee (or split shorts and a singlet, more specifically). These days, you are just as likely to see people running in skirts, brightly colored knee socks, and shrugs. One relatively recent run apparel phenomenon has been the embracement of the capri – a versatile, technical and rather fashionable replacement for the classic short.
Not only has this category of technical apparel blossomed in popularity; it has also expanded in scope of features. Running capris are now offered in a variety of fabrics, fits, and features, and there are even a few flashy prints on the market these days. The influence of fashion-forward female runners has not compromised the performance and inherent versatility of run capris, however. In fact, such designers have merely increased the breadth of options for both female and male runners alike. (“Man-pris”, as they’ve been called, have sold surprisingly well, offering better cold-weather coverage and a high-mobility fit.)
Women on the lookout for reliable capris can hone in on a few key differentiators including fabric feel, aesthetics and performance details. The breakdown below reviews the features that might affect your buying decision, and gives examples of capris that highlight these features.
The Fabric Story
Fabric on run capris can be thick, thin, soft or smooth, and often the fabric you choose can make all the difference in your comfort level as you run. While all running-specific capris usually compose of a moisture-wicking poly-elastane blend, the fabrics’ hand can vary greatly. Some provide a luxurious soft experience, while others have a more substantial compressive feel. The Asics Thermopolis LT Capri, for example, stands out because of its light and amazingly soft fabric.
The Aesthetics Breakdown: Waistbands and Color Splicing
Traditional running capris, like shorts, feature thin elastic bands with drawstrings. These waistbands are notorious for digging into the waistline area of a woman’s body. Run apparel designers have recognized waistline comfort matters just as much as other features for women, so designers spurred the revolution of the waistband from a 1” wide unforgiving band to a 3” wide hip-hugging alternative. In the process, they’ve tapped into a style trend that likely isn’t disappearing. The Nike Low Rise Capri is a great example of this feature. It has weightier fabric and a flattering wide waistband, making it a top pick for those who purchase apparel based primarily on how it looks on the body.
Color splicing is another fun addition to the running capri style selection, and it’s popularity has been gaining momentum. Contrast stitching and colorful panels take technical and make it a whole lot more in the Pearl Izumi Aurora Splice Knicker, a great choice when performance is key but aesthetic flair still counts.
What Your Capri Can Do For You: Breathability
Soft fabric and cute, slimming waistbands are great, but capris must compete with running shorts on more than that. Many brands now offer capris with strategic mesh paneling (often behind the knees and on the back of the waistline). Rapid moisture-transfer fabric and ventilation panels allow you to run without the accumulation of heat and moisture on the garment. The Craft Active Run Capri is a prime example of a capri that works for you. It has a thin, silky fabric that provides excellent moisture management and soft stretch mesh to release excess body heat.
Bringing it all together
On the spectrum between fashionable and functional, many of today’s running capris seem to blur the two, providing versatility and good looks for all of your running endeavors. The Zoot Pulse Capri blends many of the features together; it has mesh splicing, a flattering waistband and quality fabric. With all these options, it’s no wonder that running women are grabbing their capris just as often as their favorite shorts.