sub 2268 hiking

Salomon S-Lab Exo Twinskin Shorts

with 5 comments

Myself and Jacob Dinardi, from HikeItLikeIt.Com after the 2014 GGG in Central California.

Myself and Jacob Dinardi, from HikeItLikeIt.Com, after the 2014 GGG in Central California.

The “Salomon S-Lab Exo Twinskin Shorts” are a pair of shorts I have spent a lot of time wearing. When folks ask me what they are I typically respond with “the stupidly expensive ‘Salomon S-Lab Exo Twinskin Shorts’“, because when it comes to a pair of shorts, these truly are over-the-top expensive.

The question I have had to ask myself, having now used them for a couple of seasons is, “were they worth it?

I think the answer to that question is “no“.

I do not think any pair of shorts should have a MSRP of $175 – regardless of how cutting edge they might be.

My favorite pair of shorts, the no-longer-available Golite ‘Mesa Trail 9″ Run Shorts’ cost me $45 directly from GoLite, and I thought that was expensive for a pair of shorts. Then there are the Montbell Dynamo Shorts, which will cost you $69 dollars, and the use of a scissors, and are the lightest pair of shorts I have been able to find (err: make), but still, a lot of money.

When it comes down to it, these shorts are basically compression shorts, with a typical pair of shorts attached onto them so they do not look overtly stupid – because compression shorts, I don’t care who you are, are just not cool looking – it is like wearing fishnet clothing… no matter how good they might perform, you just look dorky.

And really what you are paying for with these S-Lab shorts are that non-dorky look. We know this because there are other compression shorts on the market for 1/3rd the price of these. And hey, some people look really dang good wearing these!

So I suppose if you are wanting a pair of compression shorts and not look, well, dorky, than shelling out the extra money for these shorts might not be something you care about all that much.

Personally, I bought them because I had a bit of extra money and thought I would give them a try – and well, I didn’t want to look like an even bigger dork than I normally do wearing shorts >shrugs<

Salomon S-Lab Exo Twinskin Shorts (stock photo)

Salomon S-Lab Exo Twinskin Shorts (stock photo)

How I Have Used Them:

Ok, so moving on from price and looks… I want to talk about how I have used them, because they have turned out to be a bit more useful than initially expected.

The first, and obvious, use is while running. Street running and trail running.

As I rarely tend to push myself while street running, I have found I rarely need the compression aspects of these shorts.

I have found them to be more beneficial while trail running than while on the street. Trail running requires more muscle use, higher strain, and longer recovery.

I have also used them for hiking in areas where I know I would be doing a lot of elevation change, with more upper leg use and higher lactate/acidic/pyruvate issues, or in times when I am moving faster, such as my 400 mile, 12 day, sub 4 pound, NoBo hike(fastpacking?) of the Bigfoot Trail in early 2015, in which I wore the Salomon S-Lab Exo Twinskin Shorts every day.

I typically wear them with a pair of Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves (though I am likely to make the change to the Campressport Calf R2 Compression Sleeve here fairly soon) and for when I need more protection, I just slip on my Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants (of course).


The three big issues of any piece of lower garment.

Chafing: Over one thousand miles (1600+km) of running, hiking, fastpacking, and just out for walks, and zero chafing with these shorts. wooohoo!

Thermoregulation: So far I can say that there has not been a single time when I uhhh, got too hot down yonder.

Sweating: The only time I have notice sweating is when I was wearing a heavier pair of briefs, such as the ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go Boxer Briefs, my prefered next-to-skin lower wear, on a few days when it was F+100° — and I have since switched out to the adidas Men’s Sport Performance ClimaCool Boxers, recommended to me by doug i, on days when I am expecting it to be hot. The Salomon S-Lab Exo Twinskin Shorts can be used without a next-to-skin garment, but it is just something I prefer to not do, I have a few times, and did not like it.

What I Like:

Here are a few things that I really like about these shorts:

  1. Great feel, regardless of the activity.
  2. Upper leg compression
  3. Combined with a pair of calf compression sleeves they offer me excellent full leg compression with max flexibility
  4. They have lasted significantly longer than I expected, and without any rips, tears or even thread snags.

What I Do Not Like:

  1. Sizing can be a serious PITA. They either fit you really well or they do not fit you at all. Seems a lot of others complain about this same issue.
  2. They dry fairly good, but not as fast as I would like.
  3. I wish there was a way to tighten them, as they have to adjustment to them, a simple cord inside could fix this, obviously, and it amazes me they did not do this or add in some velcro – guess this is a follow-up to number one above.
  4. The fabric is really dark and thus provides for a lot of privacy, so one could (and I suspect most do) get away without wearing undergarments, but I just did not care for the feeling of the fabric, so I am stuck wearing two layers. Bummer.

In Closing:

I realize that the Salomon S-Lab Exo Twinskin Shorts are not going to be something that most of my usual readers care about, but I know there is a growing group of like-minded folks out there that have started, or have for a long time, gotten into trail running – dare I use the term fastpacking? As these shorts have proven to be exceptional for me while out trail running for the day, or for 12 days (the most I have used them) I felt it was worth writing up something about them for those that have been interested in them. I know of a least a dozen folks that have been wanting me to write up something the Salomon S-Lab Exo Twinskin Shorts, so, here ya go ladies and gents!!

Where To Buy:

The Salomon websiteAmazon.Com, and a whole lot of other places that sell running and cycling garments.

Thank you,
+John Abela

In accordance of USA Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255: I hereby declare that at the time this article is published that I am a sponsored hiker of Black Rock Gear, Montbell US, Suluk46, Sun Precautions.

Written by John B. Abela - HikeLighter.Com

July 13, 2015 at 5:59 am

Posted in Gear Reviews

5 Responses

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  1. Ya, a $175 pair of shorts is pretty over the top. You didn’t mention how much they weigh, so I’m not sure on that level. I always were some cheap compression shorts with the six-inch leg to negate chaffing and then put on a pair of hiking shorts.

    As always, your candor is appreciated. Keep up the good work and helping the vendors to figure out what hikers/trail runners need.

    Was cool to see you hosted Wired. A great thing about the long-distance community.


    July 13, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    • Hey Warren, thanks for the comment.

      Yes, I agree, $175 bucks is over the top expensive.

      Hmm, you are right, I did not get the weight included into the article.

      Mine, size large, are 209 grams / 7.37 ounces.

      I would tend to think that your approach is a much better approach – you could purchase two or three setups for the cost of one of these.

      John B. Abela

      July 13, 2015 at 8:29 pm

  2. The compression shorts I have are around 2.5 ounces and the nylon hiking shorts I have are all roughly 6.5-8.5 ounces. So fairly comparable weigh wise. And yes, three+ setups for the price. Thanks John.


    July 13, 2015 at 8:33 pm

  3. Hi, I’m 6′ 2″, 200lb, 36″ waist and usually wear L size in running shorts. What size would you recommend?
    L or XL ?


    March 28, 2016 at 4:08 pm

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