Columbia Men’s Titan Ultra II shorts review: freedom of movement for trail running

When it comes to trail running, Columbia Men’s Titan Ultra II shorts are highly featured, well-designed and versatile enough to take on the rough stuff

Man wearing Columbia Men’s Titan Ultra II Shorts
(Image: © Pat Kinsella)

Advnture Verdict

Well featured and designed to offer a perfect mixture of support, protection and freedom of movement, Columbia Men’s Titan Ultra II Shorts are excellent for trail running over medium to long distances, whether you’re training or racing.


  • +

    Supportive, tights-style inner

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    Zipped pocket and gel pouches

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    Reflective features

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  • -

    Heavier than others on test

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    Limited colorways

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Columbia Men’s Titan Ultra II shorts: first impressions

Columbia Men’s Titan Ultra II shorts are well-designed for medium to long days on the trails, with a tight-fitting and supportive compression-style inner short, overlaid by a loose outer short that provides plenty of ventilation and freedom of movement, along with all the features you need to help you keep going. All of which earn the Titan Ultra IIs a place in our best trail-running shorts buying guide.


• List price: $60 (US) / £45 (UK)
• Inseam length: 13cm / 5in
• Sizes available: S-XXL
• Weight (large): 208g / 7.4oz
• Materials: shell polyester (86%), elastane (14%); inner polyester (81%), elastane (19%)
• Colors: Black

The shorts boast a zipped pocket (for important things), centrally located on the rear waistband, plus two mesh pouches on either side, which are great for carrying running gels. The elasticated waistband is broad and comfortable, and there is a draw cord for extra security and adjustment. 

The inseam length of the shell layer is quite short (so it doesn’t interfere with leg movement) while the tights-style inner extends much further down the thigh, offering support and protection. 

The moisture-wicking and breathable inner has been given an antimicrobial treatment (with an active biocidal substance called pyrithione zinc) to inhibit bacterial growth, and the lightweight, quick-drying outer shell has a mesh strip along the thigh for venting and air flow. There are reflective flourishes on the front and back of these shorts, to help you with running safely at night, but the color choice is limited. 

My first impressions of the Columbia Montrail Men’s Titan Ultra II Shorts were good, but how did they fare when I took them out for an extended period of trail testing?

Columbia Men’s Titan Ultra II shorts: on the trails

Man wearing Columbia Men’s Titan Ultra II Shorts

The shell layer of the Columbia Men’s Titan Ultra II Shorts is quite short but the inner, tights-style layer extends much further down the leg (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

I’ve been testing the Columbia Men’s Titan Ultra II shorts on trails for the last 12 months, running all sorts of distances across a massive variety of terrain. During that time I’ve found them so supportive and well-featured that they are one of the first shorts I reach for, whether I’m doing a training run or an event. 

In my experience, tackling technical terrain is no issue in these shorts, because you can raise your legs as high as your fitness and flexibility will allow, without the material restricting you in the slightest.

The rear of the Columbia Men’s Titan Ultra II Shorts on grass

Columbia Men’s Titan Ultra II Shorts have plenty of storage capacity at the rear (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

I find the carry capacity of these shorts is just about right for runs of between 10k and 40km, as you can fit three or four gels in the two mesh pouches, plus essentials such as an emergency credit card/cash/house or car keys in the zipped pocket. The rear pocket isn’t quite large enough for bigger smartphones, which might bother some people (but personally it doesn’t worry me – I can happily live without my phone while I’m running trails).

In the height of summer, I do get a little too warm at times in these shorts, as the inner obviously isn’t as breathable as a mesh liner would be, but I appreciate the support offered by the tight-fitting elastane material during longer runs, and in the colder months the thermal protection they offer is excellent.

Man wearing Columbia Men’s Titan Ultra II Shorts

Because Columbia Men’s Titan Ultra II Shorts don’t have mesh inners, you may find yourself getting a little warm in them on really hot days (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)
Pat Kinsella

Author of Caving, Canyoning, Coasteering…, a recently released book about all kinds of outdoor adventures around Britain, Pat has spent 20 years pursuing stories involving boots, bikes, boats, beers and bruises. En route he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked through the Norwegian Alps, run an ultra across the roof of Mauritius, and set short-lived records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s Great Walks. He’s authored walking guides to Devon and Dorset, and once wrote a whole book about Toilets for Lonely Planet. Follow Pat’s escapades on Strava here and Instagram here.