Outlier has been making their core shorts, the New Way Shorts (and New Way Longs) for a while now. They are made out of the same fabric as the Futureworks (our review), my favorite business casual pants. Outlier didn’t simply make short Futureworks, however, the New Ways are a different cut with other various features to allow them to be used as swim trunk as well.
Outlier uses their F. Cloth, a 97% nylon, 3% elastane blend canvas. They claim a 35% two-way stretch, but like we’ve found the Strongtwill as well, the stretch isn’t noticeable. Since the fabric is made with air texturized nylon (Cordura grade), it has significantly less sheen than you might expect from a mostly nylon fabric. While it doesn’t look completely “normal”, it certainly doesn’t scream “technical”.
The 200 gsm weight of the fabric makes it heavier than many performance shorts, but doesn’t detract from the performance at all. The F. Cloth fabric breathes well in any heat and dries quickly.
Comfort and Performance
While the heavier fabric with non-obvious stretch may seem like it would make for a less comfortable short, the New Way Longs are my favorite short (the only difference between the New Ways and the Longs are the inseam — 8” vs. 11”). The combination between the slightly looser cut and the fabric helps them to move with your body. While they certainly could go for a hike, I prefer something with a more pronounced four-way stretch (and a shorter length) to make sure they really stay out of the way when I’m out on the trail.
The F. Cloth and DWR treatment help these shorts stay dry, and when they do get wet, they dry quickly.
The inclusion of a paracord drawstring (with excellent knots on the end) eliminates the need for a belt. This has become one of my favorite feature on any short, and are a must-have for me now.
All the pockets have a flow through mesh at the bottom, greatly improving the shorts if you decide to get in the water (no more pockets full of water). The mesh seems just as sturdy as the pocketing material, so no need to worry about a key catching and making a hole. The front pockets are extra deep, so they do a great job keeping whatever you are carrying in place with no threat of sliding out.
The only thing I find missing is at least one back pocket with a closure. Since the shorts target active wear, it would be nice to know that your wallet had a safe home.
Since these shorts are tailored to fit like a dress pant, and have a proper button waistband and a working zipper fly, they fit any situation where shorts are appropriate. They could go from the beach to dinner. The nice custom made slot button attached with webbing adds a nice finish and Outlier touch.
The Outlier New Way Shorts and New Way Longs are the best looking and most versatile shorts I’ve seen. With the two inseam options, everyone should be able to find the right fit. They look as close to “normal” as you will find and are cut like a chino short to fit into any situation. If you are looking for one pair of shorts to wear all summer, these are it.
I’ve owned two pairs of these now (had to size down after losing weight) and they are amazing. I’ve swam with them in all sort of pools with no ill effects. They don’t dry as fast as proper swim trunks, but they can trim down your packing if swim trunks would be a maybe.
I have the non-long version and I work out in them, hike in them, and they are generally my go to short whenever the weather permits. I agree with everything Steve says here, and for about 8 months they were actually the only shorts I owned. These are great.