Thursday, July 9, 2020
Spartan Race

T8 Sherpa Shorts review – running shorts and waist belt in one

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Julie Bassett
Julie Bassett
Julie is the editor of Run Deep and a keen runner. Taking part in everything from parkrun to ultramarathons, Julie lives, breathes and writes about running. Usually found getting lost on a trail or footpath somewhere in Dorset.

Running clothing brand T8 is best known for its running underwear, which I have previously reviewed. However, its product range also includes a t-shirt and trucker-style hat. But the bit of kit I most wanted to try out was its unique shorts, which are designed with a built-in waist belt to carry everything you need. Here is my T8 Sherpa Shorts review. 

Buying T8 Sherpa Shorts

One thing I do love about T8 is the speed of delivery. When I tried its Commandos running underwear last year, they were on my doorstep in a ridiculously quick time. In usual circumstances, T8 ships anywhere in the world for free and dispatch is within 24 hours

I ordered the Sherpa Shorts earlier this year, unfortunately just as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was impacting China. Given T8 is based in Hong Kong, it did take a little longer to get to me, understandably. Shipping is still available to the UK right now, but it will take longer and there is a shipping fee. The full details of its special shipping arrangements for COVID-19 can be seen on the website. This doesn’t impact on this T8 Sherpa Shorts review; just giving you the current information in case you want to order.

A couple of other key points about buying from T8. First, you will see the prices in GBP but you will be charged in HKD. Cards and PayPal are both accepted, and the conversion rate is roughly £1 GBP to $9.70 HKD.

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Second, the kit is made according to Asian sizing. This is very important to note and sizing information is clearly given on the website. I’m normally about a UK 8-10 in running shorts, and I have what I shall describe as ‘runner’s thighs’. I took the advice to size up and opted for the Medium in the Sherpa Shorts.

Technical features

I got the Women’s Sherpa Shorts, which are quite short. Not hot pants short or in any way obscene. I tend to wear these looser style shorts with compression longer-line shorts underneath anyway. But if you are a female runner and want a longer fit, you can always try the Men’s Sherpa Shorts – this is a recommendation from the website itself.

In the main, the men’s and women’s versions are the same. They are just cut differently, with the women’s ones tailored specifically to fit a female body.

  • Hyper-stretch mesh holds up to 2L or 1kg with minimal bounce
  • Four pockets to stay organised
  • Super lightweight 78gsm fabric with 4-way stretch and DWR coating
  • Reflective detailing for safer night-time running
  • Reversible drawstring holes
  • Composition – 80% nylon, 20% elastane

Design wise, you’re looking at a really lightweight black fabric. You have the T8 logo on the thigh, its arrows icons to the side and the phrase ‘Mind over Mountain’ on the back of one leg. I like them a lot – I’m not one for super colourful kit. These are subtle, dark and look professional. Plus, the blue matches my club vest and my trainers.

They don’t have an inner lining, so are designed to be paired with the T8 Commandos underwear, or your own choice of running pants. Full disclosure, this is not an image of me wearing them. Sadly.

T8 Sherpa Shorts running
T8 Sherpa Shorts with T8 Commandos running pants underneath

The Sherpa bit

The website explains the ‘Sherpa’ link more eloquently than I could, so here it is:

“While colloquially known as elite mountaineer guides, Sherpas are more accurately a major ethnic group in the eastern regions of Nepal. We believe in giving back so 1% of gross profits from Sherpa Shorts sales will be donated to the Himalayan Trust Nepal to support their fabulous work. HTN was established in 1960 by Sir Edmund Hillary and provides holistic community-led sustainable development in the Solukhumbu district, with a particular focus on healthcare, education and earthquake rebuilding.”

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The shorts are designed to carry your essential kit while you hit the trails. Without having to take a separate waist belt. The super-wide waistband of the shorts has four mesh pockets built into it. They are pretty deep and I had no trouble at all packing my iPhone Xs into one of the pockets. You can also carry gels and water bottles (T8 do compatible bottles but any soft flask will be fine). The pockets are not zipped, so you might not want to stick a loose key in them, but otherwise, you can carry a surprising amount.

The website suggests that you pull the waistband up high to your belly button, tie the drawstring and then pull down to your hips. This gives you the best fit and makes sure that nothing bounces when you run. It’s definitely worth paying heed to this advice. Trust me on this – my first run out I had to stop to adjust the belt; my second run, when I’d actually read these instructions, I was far more comfortable.

T8 Sherpa Shorts flatlay

T8 Sherpa Shorts on the run

These shorts are a great fit for me (thank goodness for sizing up though!). They are a tad short for my preference, but actually no different to any other short loose style from other brands. It’s just my own personal hang-up. For long runs I tend to pair with tight compression shorts anyway (which stops my thighs chafing), but I’ve also tried with my T8 Commandos and that works well too.

They are so lightweight that I barely notice them on. It allows for a lot of air flow on a hot day! The belt part really surprised me. Initially, I worried that everything would come spilling out, especially on rocky terrain or bumpy trails. But it really doesn’t! I packed in two small soft flasks, a couple of gels and my phone. It really didn’t feel any different to wearing my normal waist belt.

I’m not sure I could fit enough in for a really long run, but I’d happily combine them with a hydration vest. The pockets on the shorts are so accessible that they are great for quick access to things on the go. I’d be first to admit that I have a somewhat unhealthy love affair with pockets on all my clothes, so these shorts were always going to please.

As a small plus point, I love the fact you can opt to have the drawstring coming out the outer or inner of the shorts. By default they are on the outside, which I prefer, but it’s easy to swap over if you’d rather have the drawstring hidden away inside the shorts.

T8 Sherpa Shorts back

Final verdict

Overall I am really happy with these T8 Sherpa Shorts. They are comfortable and lightweight. The pockets work brilliantly and keep your kit snug on the run.

By way of balance, there are a couple of potential niggles. First, while I don’t mind the lack of inner lining, many other running shorts do offer this. If you prefer to have a lining and not have to layer up with running pants or tight shorts, these might not be right for you.

Second, they are not cheap. You’re looking at £50 (approximately, depending on the conversion rate at the time of purchase) for a pair of running shorts. That’s in line with some other popular brands, and higher than some too. I feel they are worth it for the quality, but they are an investment.

Browse the full T8 range online here: https://t8.run/

*These Sherpa Shorts were gifted to us for the purpose of this review, but we haven’t been paid to write it and all the opinions here are entirely our own*

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