“These are the best for running but I also really like these for cross-fit,” the friendly ambivalent salesman at a big-named store in yoga told me.
“Great! Which ones are best for yoga?” I asked, reiterating why I was there.
“Well, they all are!” he sarcastically replied.
Thus, my quest began. Why have big name corporations and brands chosen to ignore the male demographic of the yoga population? The estimates now put us in upwards of 10 million practitioners. I feel like we deserve better options than standard issue cross functional shorts. Surely, there are others out there that feel the same way. I continued my search.
It was literally a dark and stormy night when I was online shopping for yoga shorts. Out of frustration I told my wife, “There’s nothing here. I should make my own.” She responded laughing, “You really don’t like your job, do you?’ She then looked at me and said something that changed the course of my life forever, “You should make a men’s yoga line. Call it Warrior Wear!” I like to imagine a lightning bolt crashing down at the very same moment. Our eyes locked as we wondered whether the idea was really possible. The next day I purchased the domain and six months later I left my job. It was the day before my wedding.
Without any design background, I knew this would be a challenge. I didn’t know how to build men’s yoga shorts (let alone what to build?)! All I had was a plan and some experience building teams. First, I wanted to identify the “pain points” of all the shorts I’ve worn and ask as many yogis as possible what they didn’t like about theirs. Second, I wanted to present my ideas locally for feedback and ask for help. My research turned up consistent responses about the malfunctions of traditional shorts. It also turned-up positive aspects of specialty shorts that many guys opted for (like bike shorts and board shorts). My network turned up a community of support that my idea wasn’t crazy. It also turned up a host of people offering to help, including our lead designer.
Throughout our initial meetings on design, we confirmed two things. One, most guys aren’t happy about their selection. Two, not every short out there is “best” for yoga. Don’t get me wrong, you can practice in anything! The most important thing isn’t wearing a pair of Warrior Wear shorts. The most important thing is shifting the western narrative of male practitioners to help and grow the community. I believe that a core component to that process is creating an ideal product designed specifically for men with an authentic brand. Yes, cross functional shorts are great for casual wear and trips to the gym. If I am participating in an activity which involves my body to be contorted in non-conventional ways though, I want a short that’s optimized by design. I don’t run in bike shorts. I don’t play basketball in board shorts. Why should I practice yoga in an everyday short for the masses?
For us to construct the “perfect” yoga shorts (yes, I realize my giant expectations are a huge source of anxiety); there are a couple of things that I wanted to solve for. I didn’t want excess bunching when I lunged forward. I didn’t want shorts falling up when I inverted. I didn’t want the top of my buttocks revealed when I folded-forward. And, I definitely didn’t want a skin-tight profile of my crotch visible when I entered the room. In addition, there were several features that I wanted to incorporate. The fabric had to be heavy enough to feel durable, yet light enough to feel breathable. It had to be moisture wicking and anti-bacterial, but not with chemical treatments that dissolved after one wash. Oh yeah, they had to be comfortable…like really comfortable.
Our response after a year of design and sampling was to create a loose fit compression short with a flat front, snug hips, a wide waist band, tapered legs, a low profile crotch, and a mid-rise fit. The taper would prevent riding, the flat front would prevent bunching, the wide waist would prevent your behind from sneaking out, and the low profile would prevent your crotch from over-exposure. Combine all of that with some tough “man” stitching for durability, fabric selection for breath-ability, a double ply material for concealment and feel; and we had the perfect yoga shorts! Okay -maybe they’re not perfect; but they’re pretty darn good and certainly my favorites!
I hope they become your favorites, too! If not, feel free to share why. I promise to search, to improve, to adjust, and to listen. Everything that’s been curated has been modeled off the experience of myself and the others I’ve worked with. We sampled many, many, times and I promise to keep sampling. If you’ve made it this far into the post, you should probably try a pair (heck, you just read 1000 words on men’s yoga shorts)! If you’re not fully satisfied, I’d be happy to help you return them. To borrow a line from one of my favorite emulators circa 1897; Clinton C. Filson, “Your satisfaction is the sole purpose of our transaction.” Thank you for your interest! As always, feel free to reach out. Until our next time, stay present.