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Inov-8 Race Elite 7-inch Shorts 2.0 review: lean, mean running machines

The well-featured Inov-8 Race Elite 7-inch Shorts 2.0 offer off-road runners stong support and a dynamic liner

Inov-8 Race Elite 7-inch Shorts 2.0
(Image: © Inov-8)

Our Verdict

Well-designed shorts for racing and training on the trails. The addition of some extra gel pouches would make them perfect.

For

  • Supportive inner liner
  • Zipped rear pocket
  • Reflective elements

Against

  • Relatively expensive
  • Only available in black

Inov-8 Race Elite 7-inch Shorts 2.0: first impressions

These Inov-8 Race Elite 7-inch Shorts 2.0 let you know they’re designed for those who take their taking running seriously as soon as you put them on. There isn’t any excess material here, and they almost force you to put your race face on. 

There is a superb integrated, breathable and moisture-wicking inner on these shorts, which extends further down the thigh than the outer shell and works well to prevent chafing.

The outer is lightweight and features mesh panels along the thigh to help with venting and airflow. It has also been treated with a water-resistant DWR finish (see What is DWR? Durable water repellency explained) on the outer fabric, which helps keep you dry (but if they do get soaked, they dry quickly). 

Specifications

• RRP: $75 (US) / £65 (UK)
• Inseam length: 18cm / 7in
• Sizes available: XS–XL
• Weight (large): 153g / 5.4oz
• Materials: Outer short Polyester (100%) Inner short Polyester (63%) and elastane (37%)
• Colors: Black

Inov-8 Race Elite 7-inch Shorts 2.0: on the trails

Inov-8 Race Elite 7-inch Shorts 2.0

There’s no wasted material on these Inov-8 Race Elite 7-inch Shorts 2.0 (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

There is a larger element of elastane (37%) in these shorts than any others on we have tested recently (see best trail running shorts), and they are very stretchy. We found this really came into play when leaping over obstacles on the trail and tackling steep and technical slopes. 

The Race Elite feature a wide waistband, which kept them firmly in place even when we wore them beneath a hydration pack, but there is a ribbon-style draw cord too, for extra tightening if required. 

There is just one pocket, but it is intelligently located in the centre of the rear waistband. It zips shut, so you can place things in there without fear of losing them mid run, and there’s a cord for looping around car keys for extra security in case you forget to do the zip up. 

Unfortunately, there are no additional pouches for gels, which we found a frustrating omission – especially in shorts designed for racing. Hopefully Inov-8 will look at this in the future.

The front-located logo and a couple of side stripes are reflective, for safety when running where there are vehicles in poor light, but an extra reflective flourish on the back would have made them more effective in this regard.