Rowers choose from a variety of specialty gear, including technical attire constructed from state-of-the-art materials, such as polypropylene and Lycra. Gloves, shirts and shorts designed for rowing provide advantages over their everyday counterparts. Rowing shorts offer comfort and breathability and are designed for sitting on a sliding rowing seat.
Rowing shorts are form-fitting and never go down the leg farther than mid-thigh. The shorter length and tightness mean your shorts won't become caught in the sliding-seat mechanisms of a rowboat. Many bicycling shorts are similarly made and can substitute for rowing shorts.
Breathability, softness and stretchiness are features to look for in all rowing attire, including shorts. Beyond functionality, rowing shorts are available in a variety of colors and styles. Some manufacturers allow you to customize your shorts with a team name or logo.
Polypropylene, Drywick and Shield are a few of the high-tech fabrics available for rowing shorts. These materials are usually constructed of synthetic blends, including spandex, Lycra and polyester. Polypropylene is durable and repels water, while Drywick is designed to wick away sweat. Shield fabric, a combination of polyester and Lycra, is a more compact fabric that offers extra durability.
Designed for sitting on a hard rowing seat, rowing shorts often offer double-padding on the rear to provide cushioning. Some brands are equipped with a high back, reinforced seams and engineered compression. The latter feature helps keep your legs in place and may enhance blood flow and oxygen delivery to your muscles. One brand of rowing shorts removes the triangle-shaped convergence of seams at the crotch to avoid bunched layers in this sensitive area.