The first time I wore A3 shorts (the blue and Orange ones) I wondered what Andy Baxter was on about! Aid Climbing in these babies- no way! (see below) I must admit that I started climbing in the 80’s and did at one point own a pair of tights so the A3 colourway was not the issue. I stuck out like a sore thumb amoung my climbing pals who were all dressed in cotton khaki shorts. Anyway my A3’s stayed in the back of my cupboard for a very long time! But that was before I started trail running.
Now I own 8 pairs of A3’s in various vintages and colour combinations. My favourite being the all black version (yes us runners are conservative if you have not noticed). So when I got a call that a pair of updated A3’s were waiting for me to test out I was psyched! It did not take long for me to choose the monotone blue ones (to go with my Acsis VOB vest you know).
The size is the same as the previous style. Waist and leg length are exactly the same! I had to measure this because the new ones do feel roomier somehow. They still ride relatively high (around the narrowest part of your waist). I like to wear my running shorts slightly lower. (As a result I get no support from the inner. For runs lasting longer than an hour I will wear Falke briefs– yes they do look dorky but I have not found anything that supports nearly the same.)
The inner comes up higher on the inside. I assume CAPESTORM did this to avoid chafing although I must admit I have not heard of anybody who had that problem.
Materials and reflectivity:
CAPESTORM still uses their trusted VO2Max Breathable material. Lightweight, breathable, dries quickly.
Instead of having the four little sewn in reflective tabs on the front the boys and girls at the lab have printed reflective logos etc on the front and back(!) of the shorts. Nice improvement!
This is where the New A3’s are radically different!
Two zip pockets– enough space to keep gels, Helium jackets and empty water sachets. My one concern here is that the pullers on these zips will disappear making opening the pockets a real pain.
Key Pocket in the back- What was wrong with the little key pocket on the inside of previous models? Having said that I like this new pocket for road runs and shorter events where I am not wearing a bum bag or hydration pack. I am afraid I just don’t trust that little zip and zipper not chafing me in that scenario. For those events I will fall back on one of my older pairs. Good thing they last forever!
+ two front zip pockets
+ reflective material on front and back
+-rear key pocket (I really like this feature but am not sure it is chafe proof)
-zip pullers on front pockets
So would I buy the new A3’s over the old one’s? If I was buying a new pair of active wear shorts, yes certainly but I would try to find another solution for longer runs where I am wearing a pack or bum bag.
Oh A3 has nothing to do with Aid climbing it stands for Active/Aeobic/Aquatic!