We recently featured the North Face Flight Series Vent Jacket on Gearist [LINK], a super lightweight running jacket. The Vent shorts are another part of this unisex running line, and they’re a super comfortable and ideal training or racing short for the summer.
The Flight Series Vent Shorts have 3 main parts: the liner, the waistband, and the short itself. Let’s start with the liner. The knit brief is a soft black polyester, nylon and spandex mix with a double layer at the gusset. It has a fairly firm seam, but the smart designers at the North Face faced the smooth side of the seam toward the inside. I imagine this is meant to reduce discomfort or chafing from the brief. Similar to the Vent Jacket, the outer and bottom half of the Vent Shorts have a 100% polyester construction. This fabric is soft and very lightweight. It has a hash pattern with dotted holes or openings along the way that are the essential part that makes this polyester fabric breathable, but not to worry, these holes are nearly microscopic so you have to look very closely to see them. The second vent characteristic are the side cuts: on the sides of the leg holes the fabric cuts up two 2 inches below the wide waistband. Three inches below this is a contact point where the fabric is sewn back together so as not to expose your entire side leg. Even if you stretch your leg as far as it can go, you don’t expose any skin. Along this opening is a reflective overlay. I should also note that the seams throughout this section of the shorts, including at the leg holes, are very flat and soft, which greatly help to reduce any chafing.
The waistband of the Flight Series Vent shorts is about 4 inches wide and is made from a much denser polyester fabric. It is both stretchy and soft. The waistband itself can be cinched at the top by pulling and tying a drawstring. What’s neat about this design is that the cinching is done not from the inside, but from the outside. The tabs of the drawstring tuck into a little pouch on the outside right side of the short. This pocket is not big enough to fit a phone but it can hold a credit card and some cash. You could put a key here as well, but I’d recommend tucking that away in the zippered pocket on the backside of the shorts. This one’s big enough to hold your smart phone as well. This pocket is made with a somewhat stretchy mesh fabric. This mesh extends several inches farther out on either side of the pocket, almost to the side of the hips, and creates a “tunnel,” if you will, behind the zippered pocket. Diagonally-cut openings make it possible to tuck away gels or other nutrition in this larger mesh pouch, but you could even get away with stuffing a lightweight running jacket in there to take with you on your run.
The Flight Series Vent shorts perform like they’re marketed to. The knitted brief is breathable while the short really does wick and then dry well.
Unfortunately, as can often happen with well-wicking lightweight shorts that are themselves on the short side, I found the shorts creeping upwards between my thighs. The resulting scrunching up of the material there left me with some chafing, even after just 4 miles. This was on a particularly warm and humid day but it’s a problem I typically don’t face until roughly an hour into a run. Nevertheless, I am confident in assuming that many athletes wouldn’t face this problem with the Flight Series Vent shorts.
The Flight Series Vent shorts are definitely on the short side but when it comes to comfort, they hit it out of the park. The wide waistband creates a really comfortable, flat and smooth transition from the abdomen to the short so it doesn’t cut in anywhere. The brief itself goes essentially unnoticed with it’s smooth seams. I have anything but slim thighs and the leg openings to both the brief and the short itself were perfectly sized. If you’ve got wider hips, you will find that the splits on either side of the shorts force the shorts to stick out a little bit, which is mostly just a small eye sore. Nevertheless, the shorts extend far enough down the back that I felt perfectly comfortable wearing them in public.
The North Face did a sizable job with their Flight Series running line. The Vent shorts, just like the Vent jacket, are not limited to running: there’s a host of activities you can use both pieces for. Not to mention, they hold their own when it comes to style. The Flight Series Vent shorts are available for $…….. Given the price and the special style and cut of the Vent shorts, it’s probably not a bad idea to try them on before you make the purchase. Still, these comfortable and cute shorts will not disappoint.
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Born in Colorado, Tanya was raised in both the US and Switzerland. She’s a biologist who loves playing in the water and up in the mountains. Tanya now lives with her husband, Ben, and dog, Angel, in Lucerne, Switzerland.