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PATH projects SYKES PX 5" Running Shorts Review

The problem with a lot of running shorts today are that they're probably designed by people who don't run or have instructions to update a short for no other reason than it's a "new season".

Enter PATH projects, a company born from the founder's love of trail running and realization that there were no shorts on the market that were functionally meeting the needs of the trail runner.

Their core philosophy behind their shorts is the following:

Shorts and liners should always be separate to match them to specific needs.

It almost makes too much sense given that a person's needs do change depending on the running conditions they are in and there is not fabric that handles all conditions perfectly.

With this in mind, let's take a look at their signature short, the Sykes PX 5".

What Is It?

The Sykes PX 5" Short PATH project's signature "classic" running short. Like all PATH projects shorts, the Sykes is liner-less so you can pair the right type of liner for the conditions that you're running in. PATH projects makes base liners for all-weather (Tahoe CL in 3,5, and 8" lengths), warm weather (Torch FX in 3 and 5" lengths), cool weather (Shasta HX in 8"), and a full length all season model (Tahoe CL). Of course, you can use your own briefs, tights, or other with them.

The shorts operate independently of the liners so that there is less chance of chafing and the weight of the loaded shorts don't affect the base liner.

The shorts feature a large center pocket which fits most phones (unless they have gigantic cases), two smaller back side pockets large enough to hold a wallet and a couple of gels, and a front key pocket. The back pockets are all zippered while the key pocket has a fold over design to keep your key from falling out.

Zippered pockets for securely storing everything you need. image

Zippered pockets for securely storing everything you need.

Sykes PX shown with the optional Tahoe CL liner.  image

Sykes PX shown with the optional Tahoe CL liner.

The inner waistband is smooth and doesn't chafe. image

The inner waistband is smooth and doesn't chafe.

Outer drawstring to secure the shorts. image

Outer drawstring to secure the shorts.

Two of these zippered pockets allow for a wallet or multiple gels. image

Two of these zippered pockets allow for a wallet or multiple gels.

Lastly, the shorts are made out of Toray Primeflex™, a special type of spiral yarn that allows the fabric to mechanically stretch in every direction without using Spandex. This fabric is soft to the touch, breathable, durable, and dries quickly. A DWR coating is added to repel light moisture.

The elastic waist band also has an exterior draw cord for dialing in the fit.

Why Did I Get It?

I'll admit it. I was socially influenced by the fine folks at Trail Runner Nation (https://trailrunnernation.com/) who kept raving about PATH projects and their shorts. Also, I was super dissatisfied with shorts marketed as "trail shorts" with either not enough pockets or only pockets in the front. I know some people will disagree with me but deep front pockets are GARBAGE and make no sense for running. No one wants their keys or whatever they bring along on a trail run to bounce on their quads.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the Sykes PX not only had lots of pockets but they were all secure and smartly placed. Since I have to drive to trails, I always need the key pocket, a pocket for my phone for photos (and safety), and pockets for nutrition and other miscellaneous items. Yes, I could wear a belt or vest but I like the fact that I don't have to with these shorts at least for shorter efforts or routes that have hydration spots.

How Has It Worked Out?

In actual usage, the shorts are fantastic. They do exactly what they're supposed to do and they probably have the best phone pocket in the business. On me, the pocket is perfectly nestled at the bottom of my lower back/top buttocks area and it barely registers a bounce. I often have to double check that my phone is there. I should note that the pockets are low profile in general so if you're not using them then you barely notice they are there.

In warm weather or windy conditions, the shorts do dry very quickly. It cool conditions with a constant stream of back sweat they can get saturated like any other shorts; however, because the fabric is relatively light the soggy weight isn't terrible.

Sykes PX + Tahoe CL during a 25K trail race. image

Sykes PX + Tahoe CL during a 25K trail race.

PR'd in the Sykes PX! image

PR'd in the Sykes PX!

Sykes PX in Frost Grey image

Sykes PX in Frost Grey

Always great on the trails. image

Always great on the trails.

Sykes PX are made for adventure. image

Sykes PX are made for adventure.

I don't use them exclusively for trails either as they are just good running shorts in general. While I typically do pair them with PATH projects base liners, on hotter days I may use running briefs and on recovery days I may use my favorite compression tights underneath. That's the beauty of the design because I can still where the shorts and get all the functionality.

Also, thanks to their modern styling and subtle colors, they also work as everyday shorts as well since I can easily carry wallet, keys, and phone.

Is It Worth It?

YES! If you need pockets then these are the shorts you're looking for. Heck, if you're simply market for a great pair of running shorts then you should consider these. Whenever I wear them I never "wish" some thing about them was "better". They're light and comfortable, they dry quickly, and they're super functional! I like them so much that I own multiple pairs now!

Don't forget your base liner. I recommend starting with Tahoe CL as it has the best balance. Lastly, because PATH projects offers a direct to consumer model, their shorts are reasonably priced when compared to other shorts with built-in liners that are less functional and less timeless.

Product Info
Does it just work?
Is it well-made?
Does it deliver?
Is it worth it?
Final Score

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