Review: Vuori’s Banks Shorts Improve on an Already-Stellar Formula

Dig the best-selling Kore Short? You're gonna love these.

July 19, 2023 12:23 pm
a collage of the Vuori Banks Short on a blue tonal background
Spoiler alert: the Vuori Banks Short is just as exceptional as it's predecessors.
Vuori/Getty Images

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Here at InsideHook, we relish in strong opinions. It’s this passion that makes us, we’d like to think, discerning and knowledgable arbiters of taste for you, our faithful readers. Why else would you even be here?

These opinions are far-ranging — they include a complex intrigue with regional baseball teams and genuine concern surrounding running best practices. And, of course, sniffing out the best shorts we possibly can for the everyday guy with thigh to display and a little cash to burn.

I’ll Be Spending My Entire Summer in Vuori’s Kore Shorts
I’ve tried and tested countless pairs of athletic shorts — these are my unexpected favorite

This same commitment has led us to rave about California-base Vuori in the past; you might remember our review praising their best-selling Kore Short as an underdog daily favorite among the Patagonia Baggies and Lululemon 5-incher giants of men’s shorts. In general, the priority on function and tangible sustainability — all of Vuori’s garb comes complete with not only the label’s patented good-vibe aesthetic but a pledge to offset 100% of carbon emissions and to abide by the brand’s ethical manufacturing guidelines — has earned them big ol’ InsideHook cosign.

In the spirit of due diligence and serious product journalism, we’ve tracked down, tested and seriously considered another one of Vuori’s short styles, the Banks Short, with complete neutrality, to see if the young athleisure brand truly holds up. Below, exactly what we thought of Vuori’s hybrid Banks Short.

Vuori Banks Short, at a Glance

Material: 45% Recycled Polyester, 45% Polyester, 10% Elastane | Sizes: XS-XXL | Inseams: 5″, 7.5″ | Internal Liner: Unlined | Colors: 7

-Fined-tuned features like a scalloped hem make for an optimal summer shorts experience
-A combo of four zip and mesh pocket cover all your storage bases
-VCycled four-way-stretch fabric offers improved everyday movement
-7.5″ inseam model proved noticeably less functional than 5″ counterpart through testing
-The price tag, while fair, could be considered expensive by some

How We Tested:

In order to properly evaluate the Vuori Banks Shorts, we put the two models of the bottoms — the 5″ inseam version and the 7.5″ inseam version — through a battery of physical tests over the course of two weeks, including running, lifting, swimming and, of course, walking dogs. The shorts (and the editor in question) faced a variety of conditions withing this timeframe: torrents of rain, excessive NYC heat and even a SkinnyPop-fueled The Bear marathon viewing.

Editor’s Note: Tester is 5’9″, 145 lbs. and typically wears a size S.

The Good: Top-Tier Performance and Fine-Tuned Finishings

a close up of a model using a zipper on the Vuori Banks Short
The Vuori Banks Short’s details, like a front-zip key pocket, are fine-tuned to perfection.

The blend of casualness and performance materials takes the cake.

Unlike many of its direct competitors, Vuori’s Banks Short mirrors the Kore Short in its everyday appeal: that is, they look and feel as much like a pair of causal shorts as they do a pair of sweat-wicking gym shorts. While a blend of recycled polyester and elastane gives the bottoms all the four-way stretch properties of proper athleticwear, the fabric feels akin brushed cotton, finished smooth and cool to the touch.

Beyond its comfortable blend, the specs of the Banks Shorts are top-tier: UPF 30+ protection pocketed anti-odor technology and a metal-tipped elastic waistband. This last feature is an often overlooked and very important element — it makes adjusting on the go a breeze and ensures that the shorts don’t swallow your drawstrings during a hard run or wash cycle.

The detailing is *chef’s kiss*.

We were ultimately most impressed by the Banks Shorts not because of the fast-drying properties and solid fit, but because of the short’s pockets. Rarely have we come across a combo as good as Vuori’s quartet — a zip back pocket, a zip front key pocket, and two standard mesh side pockets. It makes any type of running or lifting with a phone and accessories far more secure than with a standard short — in particular, we utilized the front zip pocket for credit cards and keys far more than we thought we would — without sacrificing the convenience of a regular drop pocket.

Likewise, we were thoroughly intrigued by the scalloped hem of the shorts; beyond ergonomics, it just looked really cool, providing a retro look in tandem with the side stripping that we don’t often see in athleisure and simply cannot get enough of. Up close and person, the shorts genuinely do deliver that laid-back surfer vibe Vuori swears by.

In a pinch, they’re a solid hybrid short.

For an unlined casual short, we are incredibly impressed by the Banks Shorts water fairing capabilities. Thanks to some torrential rain and a blistering beach day, we discovered that the bottoms retain shape in soggy conditions and dry much like other industry-standard hybrid shorts. There’s little to no droopage, and best of all, they don’t bloat when waterlogged. Take that, Baggies!

The Bad: Fit Preferences and Price Tag Precautions

Right off the bat, we noticed some slight differences between the 5″ and 7.5″ models in fit. While we had no problem running or squatting with our phone and keys in the shorter model, we noticed more bouncing and even the occasional dropped phone while seriously moving in the 7.5″ model. There was also an audible “swish” in the 7.5″ model, presumably due to the legs of the shorts rubbing as we walked.

While it might seem counterintuitive, our testing seems to indicate that the specs of the shorts lend themselves to the overall shape of the 5″ model, a bummer for the guys who crave a longer inseam. We don’t personally mind (we’re firmly in the teeny tiny inseam camp), and we’ll also highlight the fact that we were testing in a size S, so results may vary for XL+ sizing.

a model in a pair of Vuori Banks Shorts
The Vuori Banks Short is optimized for the short 5″ inseam.

Somewhat surprisingly, they’re unlined.

Again, this is less of an outright bad, but we’re somewhat miffed at the lack of liner in Vuori’s Banks Shorts, especially given their exceptional multi-use capabilities across a plethora of activities. We fully understand that the short is designed as an everyday pull-on, but can’t help but imagine a model with a built-in liner for even more locked performance. Maybe one day.

The price is not for everyone.

Though this point lands in the bad section, we will readily point out that our modern perception of clothing prices is decidedly skewed, with unfair labor practices and poor environmental standards driving price tags to unrealistic lows. Given their aforementioned commitments to both fair manufacturing and quality materials, we feel that the price tag on the Banks Short — $68, the same price as similar products from Alo Yoga and lululemon — is reflective of both the quality and practices that went into making the bottoms.

That being said, the unfortunate reality of the athleisure market puts Vuori’s hybird shorts in a premium tier, and one that can feel excessive for a pair of shorts to sweat in. Especially considering their intended use as a daily short, frugal shoppers have been forewarned.

The Verdict: Are the Vuori Banks Shorts Worth It?

While its proclivities make it a preference-driven purchase, we fully recommend the Banks Short as a daily counterpart to the sporty Kore Short. Frankly, it feels almost unfair to label it as casual short: between its multitude of performance factors and general good looks, the Banks Shorts is chock full of the versatility that inspired our love for Vuori in the first place. Watch out, Kore Short — you’ve finally got some competition.

Material: 45% Recycled Polyester, 45% Polyester, 10% Elastane | Sizes: XS-XXL | Inseams: 5″, 7.5″ | Internal Liner: Unlined | Colors: 7

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