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Kitting yourself up for any outdoor sport is a game of careful consideration. Many runners, hikers, mountain bikers, and skiers are likely familiar with the balancing act: wearing all the technical gear you need to stay comfortable, protected, warm, and dry, while channeling just enough nonchalance to let people know that you don’t really care. Enter: jorts. Once a homegrown cultural phenomenon, the denim-shorts trend has recently gone mainstream. This got our gear editors into a heated instant message debate: are jorts really jorts if they’re performance-tuned specifically for outdoor sports?
Will Taylor, gear director: What is the perfect length of short?
Kelly Klein, associate gear editor: Like right now?
WT: Whenever you’re ready, Kelly
KK: ^5-inch inseam for women, debate settled
WT: OK, I love a 5-inch inseam but inappropriate for guys at work?
Ben Tepler, gear editor: I’m an advocate for outrageous fashion choices, so I say totally appropriate. Except when it’s Micah wearing jorts
WT:“Why I Hate Jorts,” by Ben Tepler. Why DO you hate Jorts, Ben?
BT: Look, I will admit that I have a grudge against jorts
KK: Maybe you’re not wearing the right jorts Ben!!! Have you taken the Riptons for a spin?
Ariella Gintzler, associate gear director: Hot take: Riptons are not jorts[ed. note: Many Outside editors swear by Riptons, which are in fact performance denim, though the act of buying a pair of bespoke jorts has a different energy than ripping the legs off of a pair of thrifted jeans in a parking lot. ]
BT: I think I watched Wet Hot American Summer one too many times in high school
Wet Hot American Summer is an argument FOR jorts
Micah Abrams, VP of content, adventure sports: Riptons are for posers
WT: Shots fired
WT: Have we tried Riptons, Micah?
MA: My only shorts are cutoffs. End stop. I would turn Riptons into cutoffs[ed note: Many Riptons are, in fact, cutoffs.]
WT: They haven’t tried Riptons, Kelly. That’s all I’m hearing
KK: I am 100% pro Riptons!!! Look good, feel good
WT: Just reinforcing Kelly’s point. Paul Rudd deserved an Oscar for that role
BT: Jorts are tearing this family apart
AG: Jorts is a way of being you guys. If they didn’t come from your old jeans from 11th grade, or from a thrift store, they’re not jorts.
KK: OK fair point, BUT. What if you want to participate in this way of life but you can’t because you have terrible sweating issues???
WT: … and like being comfortable while you PERFORM
KK: (no i don’t have terrible sweating issues………)
AG: OK I hear that. To be clear, I think performance denim shorts are a great thing. I’d probably wear them all the time if I had them! I just wouldn’t call them jorts
KK: They’re fjorts. fake jorts
WT: So bound by the rules
BT: Open your MIND
MA: Levis worked for cowboys — THE ORIGINAL EXTREME ATHLETES
BT: He said “fin,” Micah