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Boardshorts aren’t designed to be eco-friendly.
Their stretchy/quick-drying materials come from raw polyester and nylon. The production of these fabrics accounts for an estimated 2.9 billion gallons of oil each year. Not to mention a production process that releases methane gas into our atmosphere (310x worse than Co2).
Patagonia’s answer to this problem is the Light & Variable boardshorts, comprised of 100% recycled polyester.
Patagonia’s recycled polyester comes from its Japanese textile partner, Teijin Frontier. Through their Eco Circle Fibers production, Teijin is able to break down plastic bottles into polyester with the same qualities and performance of the virgin polyester derived from oil.
Like their Nano Puff jacket, these shorts are coated with a durable water repellent (DWR) treatment. The chemicals from the DWR eventually wash-off and interfere with the environment. Patagonia is completely transparent about their use of DWR and is investing heavily in an alternative we look forward to seeing.
Patagonia’s stretchy/above the knee design kept the shorts from catching our knees and restricting our legs while sitting, paddling, or standing up. This makes them ideal for anyone that takes notice of the grip some boardshorts have when popping up on waves. They were lightweight in the water and unnoticeable on the turns, stalls, and head ducks of the summer surf we tested them in.
The Light and Variables do hold water, but less than that of other boardshorts. The DWR treatment causes water to bead-up and roll-off of the shorts rather than go straight to soaking. This gives them a quick dry time that’s ideal for the days you forget your towel!
These shorts aren’t for bigger builds, especially when wet. Some of our broader team members pointed out that these shorts hugged too tight and revealed more than they’d like when wet. Who do we classify as broad?
-Murray (5’11 @200lbs) taking the shorts for a dive
Outside of the water, they double as great walking/workout shorts. We enjoyed their stretchy and lightweight feel during runs and workouts. One thing that we’d like to see improve on these shorts is a larger pocket. An iPhone 7 can barely fit into the pocket, leaving no room for a wallet.
100% recycled polyester that will go the distance. After our teams 20+ trips in the ocean and countless hours baking in the sun, the shorts feel and perform like new. If by chance they do get damaged, we’ll be using Patagonia’s Worn Wear site to fix them!
Worn Wear is dedicated to keeping Patagonia products out of landfills through repair and trading. Here you’ll find repair instructions from outerwear to travel luggage.