Gear Review: Nike Womens Dry Academy21 KPZ Pant


  • Material: Polyester 100% 
  • Fit: Semi Fitted
  • Pockets: 2 hip pockets, zip-up
  • Waistband: elastic + internal drawcord
  • Lightweight, sweat-wicking, versatile and flattering

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Friends, I’ve been looking for the right exercise pants for weeks. Months, even. See, I have problems fitting clothes right (honestly, don’t we all?) I’m short and an hourglass shape; I also have a bit of a sway back. Waistbands have a tendency to be too loose. Hips are too tight. Trouser legs are comically long. I steer away from anything low-rise, as tops have a tendency to ride up into the small of my back.

All told, sizing is a menace.

Sure, I’d found exercise pants before. Too-long pants. Too tight or too loose pants. Pants that could be a second skin, or pants I could’ve used for a sail on a windy day. My last decent pair, now well & truly paint-splattered and consigned to the “Odd Job Saturdays” bin, did the job okay; but they were still too low in the waist, too baggy, and rustled louder than a tarpaulin when I walked.

Anywhere I looked, there seemed to only be two options:
Baggy trackies? Nah.
Clingy yoga pants? Uhhhh… nope.

But something in the middle? Fitted enough to be flattering, but not tight? A leg length that, while not perfect (I’ve long since given up there), could be acceptable? A high waist that wouldn’t have me hitching at a perilously sliding waistband every five minutes?

It seemed such a thing simply didn’t exist. Not in New Zealand.

I despaired of finding them.

Until today*. Because today, my friends, I found these pants. Lightweight, breathable, flattering… they are everything I thought I would never find in town-tidy exercise pants.


They have a high waistband, elasticated, with a tuck-away internal drawcord for easy adjustment. It isn’t too tight, nor too loose. I’m in no danger of losing this waistband to gravity. Neither will I find it riding up awkwardly. It stays where I set it, snug and comfortable, whether I’m meeting a friend for coffee or clambering over rocks on the beach.

The leg length is as near perfect as I could hope for. This is partly due to the zip ankles, a sleek design for easy-on easy-off over running shorts or sports shoes. The shape in the leg is surprisingly tidy: tapered enough to be flattering, but roomy and with enough stretch that I never once feel hampered or self-conscious in them.

I love the stripe of high-vis white across the back of the calf. It’s a nice wee point of difference from the usual all-black fare, and I have to admit it feels safer when out walking on an overcast winter’s evening!

And of course there’s the pockets. Yes, they have pockets! Not the tiny token pockets that barely fit a few coins, either. There are two hip pockets big enough to fit a mobile phone, and what’s more… they zip up. No more double- and triple-checking; whatever’s in your pockets will stay in your pockets.

So all up, these are fantastic exercise pants. If there’s a downside, it’s that the lightweight material is, well, lightweight. It also seems to pick up fluff and dirt quite easily. If I was doing a full daywalk or anything with some rougher terrain, I’d go for a pair of outdoor trousers.

But for exercising around town or heading off on a coastal ramble, these do a great job, thanks.

*At the time of writing this. I pre-schedule these posts, sometimes more than a month in advance. Life gets busy, you know?

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