Pants are just pants, right? Except when they’re not. The right pants for runners can make a huge difference to your running experience. This is especially true if you’re into long distances or starting to build up your monthly mileage.
Why? Well, we can answer that in one word: chafing. Chafing happens when there’s repetitive friction on one part of your skin, resulting in sore patches. Not nice anywhere on your body, but even more painful and inconvenient in the more, erm, sensitive areas. It’s a problem that can happen to anyone, male or female, beginner or experienced, and of any size. You can go some way to preventing the problem using a dedicated cream or rub (such as Runners Rub) on areas where you might chafe. This helps fabric glide over the skin instead of rubbing on it.
It’s also worth looking at what’s causing the friction in the first place, and it’s more than likely something you’re wearing. Everyday pants are not made for running for the most part. The material isn’t usually wicking, so any excess sweat is just going to cause dampness. Which in turn will increase the chance of chafing. Even without the rub factor, everyday pants just don’t move with your body when you run in the way that dedicated running pants do. They ride up and get caught in places you don’t really want to be extracting from mid-run.
The running pants solution
Many runners get around this problem by going commando… but for many of us, we actually need or want the support and coverage of some form of underwear. And so an industry of running pants has been born, and one of the newer players in the game is T8 – well, newer in UK terms at least.
T8 hails from Hong Kong, where the constant heat meant that a solution had to be found. When you’re running in 85% humidity and averages of 30°C for half the year, running gear has to work extra hard to dry out and keep you cool. The two creators, are ultrarunners with a lot of experience between them, who saw a gap in the market for super lightweight, chafe-free running underwear.
Super lightweight is an understatement. When these dropped through my door (with impressive speed from ordering on the website), it felt like I’d been sent an empty envelope. The tiny brown envelope that apparently encased my Women’s Commandos Running Underwear claimed to be ‘Probably the world’s lightest anti-chafe running underwear’. I did wonder for a moment whether it was in fact empty and running truly commando was the best solution after all! Which for £14 would be pretty disappointing.
That still seems a lot for pants though, right? There’s a lot of engineering in here for your hard-earned cash. The first thing I noticed was that they seemed entirely seamless – that’s not actually true, but the ‘barely there’ seam feel was living up to its claim.
Fit and feel
It all comes down to the fit, feel and performance. I felt a little self-conscious putting them on at first, as they are sheer. But as I wear capris, no one is ever actually likely to see my running pants! They’re not even actually that sheer when they’re on and they slip on like a dream.
I went for the S size. They fit really well, although maybe a tad snug on my thighs where there is a bonded leg seam to prevent the boyshorts from riding up. I could possibly have gone up a size. The website does say they use Asian sizing, so for Western sizing you may need to size up.
But these are running pants, so they only way to test them is to run. Which I did. Many times. It’s no exaggeration to say that I couldn’t feel them at all. Honestly, I may as well have been actually going commando! I never once felt them ride up or chafe, so they definitely live up to their claims.
Generally, I don’t suffer too much from chafing on my everyday runs. But on ultras, I’ve had those painful rubs that leave you wincing every time you go to the loo afterwards. (Sorry, is that TMI? It is a blog about pants…) And yet, I had no marks or rubs at all in these. I didn’t run an ultra in them, but I feel confident that I could, given they were fine on my longer runs. However, it is reassuring to note there is a 100% refund if you do experience chafing, no questions asked. If on my next ultra I do find that not to be the case, I’ll of course update this.
And I do plan on wearing these in my next long race. I think for the price you’re getting a lot of design engineering and they worth the money. But for me they’d be saved for race day and very long training runs. I run at least 5 times a week normally, so I just couldn’t justify having that many pairs! But I can see them becoming part of my ultra must-have kit.
I’ve also got my eye on the company’s Sherpa Shorts (£48) – basically shorts and a running belt in one! And I love a good pocket.
The Men’s Commandos running pants are of the same design and features, but both have been engineered to fit each sex’s unique needs.
EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT CODE! Use Code 50-RUNDEEP#20 at checkout and you will save HKD$50 (when we tested the code, that was about £5, but it will depend on the conversion rate at the time of purchase) on any purchase, with free shipping, valid until July 2020. Checkout is in HKD$ but you can see the UK£ price when shopping, and delivery has been super-fast in our experience.
**Run Deep was supplied with a free pair of pants for the purposes of this review, but we have been completely honest in our blog and all comments are the writer’s own**