Today marks six months since I decided to only wear Birddogs shorts. This was made possible by the option to work from home, an unseasonably warm March, and the fact that I have one pair of these shorts for each day of the week.
I don’t see this as an accomplishment and I only recently realized that I was approaching some type of milestone. I have long held the opinion that lined athletic shorts are simply a joy to wear. The last six months have indeed been joyous.
I’m going to provide an in-depth review of the shorts and before that, I’ll provide a summary of what I spend my time doing as well as more specifics about my body.
I’m into endurance sports. In an average week, I spend between 2-3 hours running outdoors and 2-3 hours cycling indoors. As far as weight lifting goes, I perform a lot of basic circuits and sets with free weights spread around the day, but very little dedicated time doing heavy lifting. I also swim and golf about once per week. In the winter, I try to ski 12 days. Sometimes I use Birddogs for my base layer.
I spend a minimum of 9 hours each day sitting on my ass staring at a computer screen. On average, this number is closer to 12 hours.
I am lanky, 151lb at 6’0″ with a 29″ waist. I would describe my legs and posterior as very lean. My physique is inching closer to distance runner from an early 2020 dad bod. At the start of this period, I was about 167lb, still six feet tall, with a 31″ waist.
I must mention one anomaly about my sweat production and how it affects my clothing rotation. I produce typical amounts of perspiration but am a very clean sweater. I can re-use dri-fit socks run after run with virtually no odor. I can reuse shorts after heavy activity without them being offensive to others but do so very rarely. I regularly do re-use clothing after cycling indoors with a fan blasting.
Cycling / Rowing Machine
These two activities are basically the same when it comes to evaluating apparel. You’re performing slightly awkward but high power movements over many repetitions, probably on an uncomfortable seat at the gym. Some people, like me, are so thin that spending too much time sitting on seats on these machines causes numbness. I’ve found the Birddogs’ thickness, compared to generic running shorts, to really help with this. For example, in flimsy Nike running shorts, I’d be numb after 20 minutes. With Birddogs, I only start to feel numb after twice that amount of time.
The shorts hold up well for generic gym activity. The comfortable length and supple thickness are preferable to many other shorts. Moisture gets locked in especially if the liner recedes depending on the pitch of your legs, but this isn’t a huge problem. On an actual road bike with an actual road bike seat, unless you have a really large posterior, you need padded shorts anyway.
With heavy repetitions, the shorts are heavy enough that they will rub the hair off your legs. This is something that happens gradually over time and probably occurs with most alternatives aside from paper-thin fabric.
Running / Hiking
Can you run in these shorts? Yes!
Have I run hundreds of miles in these shorts? Yes!
Are they the best-in-class running shorts? Not really. But this isn’t a surprise.
Where the shorts’ quality and toughness puts them in elite company as gym apparel and casual wear, they don’t compare to fit-for-purpose split running shorts. Birddogs are a one-pair-quiver. You really can do anything. Most running shorts I’m comparing them to weight half as much and, if you’re skinny, make your junk stick out awkwardly. So using wearing them to spin class or Whole Foods would be bizarre. Wearing them near a playground or an elementary school would be viewed with suspicion.
With the thicker outer material and liner, Birddogs don’t vent well. Very swampy. After a run, I’m dying to peel them off. Granted, I’ve never found a “perfect” pair of shorts in this regard, and these get the job done. On occasion, when I run, I find myself wishing I was a little less constricted.
Swimming / Getting Wet
These are phenomenal for vacations to places where there’s water. Wear em on the plane then leave them on when you take a dip in the jacuzzi. Then wear them on the plane back. Maybe.
Birddogs are acceptable for casual aquatic wear, but they have a major flaw. They take forever to dry. My old Nike shorts which I wore until they disintegrated could be totally dry by the end of my run if I hopped in a watering hole halfway. This was possible because the outer layer was flimsy and the liner wasn’t the brief style of Birddogs. Less fabric, way less drying time.
Birddogs are rendered waterlogged for a fair amount of time after getting wet.
When it comes to swimming, they cause a lot of drag, and though I have swum laps in them, there are many better choices.
Listen, I don’t know shit about golf. I show up to the driving range and whack balls until it’s time to go home. When I wear these shorts, I hit 15yd farther with each stroke.
Adding to their robustness, Birddogs are acceptable to use as a skiing base layer on warmer days. Their thickness helps with insulation but you can also remain somewhat vented compared to layering a bunch of thermal-ware made for old people.
Here’s where Birddogs are the “category killer,” so to speak. Face it, the majority of this target market spends a ton of time in computer chairs and running menial errands. These shorts are just so damn comfortable, better than any of the comfort-forward underwear that retailers are pedaling now. The liner is extremely soft and plush.
The styling is commendable and the colorways–the more neutral ones, at least–go well with pretty much anything. I pair the shorts almost exclusively with Lululemon shirts and there is rarely a bad match.
If you’re going to spend $60 on shorts, they should be durable. This isn’t a top price point, but it’s enough to make you stop and think, for sure. Anything vaguely athletic is going to be going through somewhere between 1 and 3 wash cycles per week, and it had better hold up.
All of my Birddogs shorts have held up flawlessly. No stretch or disfigurement in the waistband, very little discoloration (any is likely from chlorine), no loose threads. They’re great shorts. Of course, as time goes on, the liners have become looser, but minimally. I have no complaints about the durability of these shorts.
When running on tight, technical trails, more flimsy shorts do tend to get snagged and ripped by different types of bushes and weeds. These are thick enough that I’ve never had that problem.
Birddogs shorts are best-in-class all-around athletic shorts. They check all the boxes and are available at a price point that makes it viable to stock a drawer full of them. I take them for granted now, but the difference in comfort and function is striking. I don’t think everyone should have 7 pairs of them. But if you’re “athletic” in 2020, you should have an opinion on these shorts by now. They cannot be ignored.