Gear Review: Ibex Balance Runner Shorts

Worn as underwear, or solo, these "runner shorts" are a versatile bottom base layer.

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"Don't let the name fool you," says our Oregon tester. "These are way more versatile than 'Runner' implies. In fact, I've never worn a more comfortable, versatile bottom layer." After months of use, she says it's the ideal undergarment in every season, under shorts, skirts, or ski pants, or worn solo on warm-weather hikes or runs.

The superfine, 17.5-micron merino shorts have a snug fit (like boxer briefs) and a seamless construction that never binds or chafes. The wide elastic waistband is undetectable under other layers or a pack hipbelt, and the material doesn't shrink in the wash or sag after multiple days of wear. It wicks, dries relatively fast, and never stinks. $45; 3.7 oz. (w's medium); men's and women's S-XL; ibexwear.com