capsule review

Nike+ Featherweight Shorts (men's)

At a Glance
  • Nike + Featherweight Shorts (men's)

When Nike released the Nike+iPod Sport Kit (also reviewed here on Playlist), the company also released a line of workout clothes specifically designed for use with the iPod nano (and, presumably, the Sport Kit transmitter that connects to the nano's dock-connector port).

The Nike+ Featherweight Short is a very lightweight, loose-fitting running short available only in black with a thin, reflective stripe that goes up one leg, across the back, and down the other side. Made of a Nike's Dri-Fit polyester/spandex blend (86/14 percent, respectively) with a polyester lining, the shorts are comfortable and, like the Loose S/S Shirt we tested, does a good job of wicking away sweat. A line of twelve 3/8-inch ventilation holes runs down each side, and an elastic waistband with drawstring lets you adjust the fit.

In terms of iPod-nano integration, the Featherweight Short features a form-fitting iPod nano pocket on the right hip. You pull back the top flap and slide your nano, top-down, into the pocket -- a procedure that can be a big tricky, as the pocket's opening is quite snug and the pocket itself fits the nano like a glove. The pocket does accommodate the Nike+iPod Sport Kit transmitter when connected to your nano, and your headphone cable snakes out of the top of the pocket.

When I first saw the Featherweight Short, I thought it might be irritating to run with an iPod nano in the pocket; my first impression is that the nano would bounce around too much. However, in my testing, the location of the pocket just below the hip bone was much more stable than I had expected. On the other hand, the pocket places your nano in prime "impact area" if you happen to take a fall during your run -- trail runners beware. And although you can control your iPod through the pocket's fabric, like the Nike+ Sport Armband there's no window to view your iPod's screen while in the pocket -- you're basically controlling blind, and you can't see the Nike+iPod Sport Kit's workout feedback.

One other quirk, which I also mentioned in my review of the Nike+ Loose S/S Shirt: The Loose S/S Shirt is designed to be used with Nike+ running shorts such as the Featherweight Short. However, on the Featherweight Short, the iPod nano pocket is on the right side, whereas the Loose S/S Shirt's cable eyelets are on the left side -- meaning your headphone cable will have to be strung across your body. I don't know if other Nike+ shorts have the pocket on the left, but that would seem to be a more logical position for use with the Loose S/S Shirt (or, conversely, for the shirt to have its cable eyelets on the right).

If you don't mind not being able to see your nano's screen, Nike's Featherweight Short is comfortable and holds your iPod securely. However, as with the Loose S/S Shirt, the price is somewhat expensive; you can get similar shorts -- even ones from Nike -- without the iPod pocket for a lot less.
--Dan Frakes

At a Glance
  • Running shorts with pouch for iPod nano.

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