Columnist Susan Lacke bemoans the disappearance of inseams.


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Columnist Susan Lacke bemoans the disappearance of inseams.

Earlier this week, a running apparel company e-mailed me to see if I wanted to review some samples of their latest gear for women. Since my laundry pile is growing by the day and motivation to do said laundry diminishes by the hour, I obliged. After sending in my measurements, a box arrived on the doorstep yesterday filled with…


The tag claimed to be attached to running shorts, but I failed to see the distinction between the product and the skivvies I was wearing. These shorts were…short. As in “no inseam” short. As in “resembles a bikini bottom” short. As in “a length that would make a Hooters waitress blush” short.

I’m supposed to actually run in these? In public?

Over the years, I’ve noticed a decrease in the amount of material used to make women’s workout wear. Everything’s become shorter and tighter, and it makes me feel confused and frumpy.

I need a little bit of coverage, you know? I’m not overweight, but I also don’t have a thigh gap unless Photoshop is involved in some way. Wearing a pair of tiny, skin-tight bottoms may work for elite runners with zero percent body fat, but I’ve got the legs of someone who has an equal love for hill repeats and cupcakes. My thighs are so sexy, they can’t stop touching each other.

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I love my legs and what they do for me as an athlete, but (butt?) that doesn’t mean I want to display every inch of ‘em. Yet every time I go shopping for new running clothes, I can’t help but wince just walking through the aisles. All I can think of is the painful chafing just waiting to happen. Do inseams no longer exist in women’s running shorts?

It’s not just the hemlines that bother me. Last time I was in my local running store, my salesperson tried to convince me of the virtues of wearing—I kid you not—a running romper.

A freaking romper.

I actually laughed in the salesperson’s face when she suggested it, until I realized she was serious. Don’t you have to strip down in those to pee? What happens mid-race when you have to make a bathroom stop? Have these designers even been in a port-o-john at mile 15? It’s hard enough just to hover over the seat and get out quickly, much less wrangle in and out of my clothing without touching the remnants of the previous occupant’s GI distress.

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All I want is a decent pair of running shorts: something that puts function before fashion. I’d love something I can wear without requiring a pre-run Brazilian wax. I don’t need to be stylish or sleek or “on trend,” I’d just like to get through my long runs this summer with my dignity and inner-thigh skin intact. For that to happen, I need clothing designers to hear my plea:

Bring back the inseam.