Montane 2SK Trail Short ReviewOctober 24, 2017
- Wind blocking
- Heavy duty
- Leg grip overkill
- Waistband sag
The Montane 2SK Trail Short is a twin skin tight short combo that reflects the more Euro approach to running shorts. They are close to two different garments, with the shell offering protection and the liner a mix of compression and comfort. These shorts fit into Montane’s VIA Trail Series, which are built for higher altitude trails. In other words, these are made to protect against inclement weather in cooler temps, rather than dumping any and all heat.
The 9-inch inseam puts the liner close to knee, and extending an inch or so below the shell. A unique feature is that the shell is attached to the liner just inside the front of each leg, which removed the potential for the shell flapping between the legs. The liner fit like cycling shorts; with 15 percent elastane for compression, a long inseam that extended below the shell and silicon grip inside the leg cuffs. Noting that, one tester wore these on a (short) bike ride to the trailhead. The drawstring often stayed tied higher and above the waistband, which could sag. In the back, that looser fit enabled sweat to collect.
On cooler, windy starts, the shell blocked wind well. The soft hand feel was a non-factor since it stayed out of the way. The Quartz Skin liner compression felt tighter and heavier than any of the other shorts tested with one tester describing them as “intense.” The leg grip pulled leg hairs, but prevented the liner from riding up on the thigh – though the compression seemed tight enough to prevent that already. There were no complaints with the seams. A little nitpick is the waistband and drawstrings seemed to compete for space and pushed the drawstring up.
While not the most breathable, the shorts pulled sweat away from the usual hot spots and dried out quickly. The shell is windproof, so even on breezy days, these relied on the bellows action of running to move air. But the shell also stops at the panel inside the legs, which is the most common hot spot. Despite the heavy feel of the liner shorts, which didn’t help them breathe, these competed in the wicking category with more mesh-like competitors. In warmer temps these were quicker to start collecting sweat, but in cooler temps of higher altitude runs, the liner’s Quartz Skin fabric dispersed moisture from the inseam and legs, quickly drying out hot spots after high-output efforts. These, like all the others, would eventually get pool sweat, but even then the wicking of the materials pushed that sweat around to air out the shorts.
These were the most race-ready of the shorts we tested, with two elasticized hip pockets for gels, and a key stash pocket inside the waistband. The two-way stretch shell is windproof, and we’ll call that design to keep the shell away from the inner thighs a feature, too. The silicon grip inside the legs ensured the shorts did not ride up. The wide, loose waistband prevented cutting into the hips. The shorts are treated with Polygiene odor control and provide UPF +50 protection.
These were the sturdiest shorts we tested. The shell’s abrasion-resistant polyester withstood sandpaper scrapes with only the slightest thinning of the material. The liner was similarly resistant to abrasion. The seams and fabric showed no fraying or thinning from our testing. The Polygiene treatment should add lifespan, too, as odor was not an issue during our testing.
Test runs varied from cool morning 15-milers at 9,000 feet to hot midday 5Ks at 5,000 feet. Late spring and early morning runs around Denver began in the mid-40s and crept into the 60s, with shade and exposure to sun and wind as extra variables common in trail running. Denver’s summer put temperatures into the 90s and even offered up moderate humidity to better test the breathability. A few runs in Central Texas weather, in particular the mornings with 80 percent humidity, guaranteed we sweat through even the most breathable pair of shorts. In all we ran over 600 miles in these shorts; between 75-150 miles in each pair.