Truewerk T1 Werkshort — the advantages of engineered fabrics and garments
The Truewerk T1 Werkshort is a great example of why synthetic materials are replacing traditional ones in construction and trades clothing. As much as I like tradition, and even traditional denim, cotton, and canvas work clothes when the weather is unpleasant synthetics get my vote. Also, there’s no denying that modern, purpose-designed synthetic workwear for the construction trades is generally more comfortable, although the degree of that will vary from person to person.
Truewerk T1 Werkshort – Why Shorts?
The trite – and true – saying about New England is, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute.” We get it all here: minus 20F isn’t unusual a few days of the year, and neither is 100F and very humid…plus everything in between. During the hot weather, I wear shorts as much as I can because 1) I get hot, and 2) I like the feel of the sun on my skin. I’ve been wearing the lightest-weight canvas shorts that I could find, but they always wound up getting wet with sweat, particularly around the belt line. Wet with sweat is not only uncomfortable but a recipe for rashes. Also, if I was working with water at all, they got soaked and uncomfortable.
Scott over at ToolBoxBuzz was happy with his T1 Werkpant, so I was glad to be able to try the Truewerk T1 Werkshort. While they make versions of this short for both men and women, obviously I tried the men’s. BLUF: I’m impressed.
Before I get into the shorts themselves, let me tell you why I care so much about workwear that, well, works for me. Here’s a question: what tool do you use the most often? Many of us would say a tape measure; some of you may have a different answer. But the correct answer for all of us is the clothes we wear. They are in use on the job literally every second we are there. If they are uncomfortable, don’t perform, don’t support our work style (I’m thinking mostly pocket layout here), or have some other characteristic that isn’t right for us, they become a constant, continual irritation all throughout the workday, no matter what kind of trades skills type you are. Therefore I’m not anywhere as concerned with longevity in my work clothes as I am with how functional they are for me.
But I don’t think longevity is going to be an issue with the Truewerk T1 Werkshort in any case, as I explain below.
Specs and Features
- Made from 70D, 85% Nylon/15% Spandex
- Eight pockets: right thigh phone pocket (two – one zip and one open), small right hip zip pocket, left thigh utility pocket with insert flap, hand pockets (two) and rear pockets (two)
- Pencil pocket
- Two-button front closure
- Four-way stretch fabric
- Fast drying
- Abrasion and tear-resistant
- Double stitched seams
- 2¼-inch belt loops
- Gusseted crotch
The Truewerk T1 Werkshort in Use
The 85% nylon/15% Spandex material is lightweight but with a bit of body. It’s very comfortable. The material really does stretch (slightly) in all directions. This, along with the full cut and gusseted crotch, makes for a garment that doesn’t bind or restrict your movement at all. I measure an 8½-inch inseam on my 36-waist short, which is just about perfect – shorts that hit the back of the knee all day long are bothersome to me.
The two-button closure (the thing that closes the waistband above the fly) is a really nice touch. They prevent the waistband from rolling over there which can be a problem with single point-of-closure designs (which is most of them). The wide belt loops (there are seven of them) will accommodate any width work belt.
The material really is abrasion and tear-resistant. I set one layer of the shorts on a workbench and tried to get the material to tear using the sharp point of a drywall screw. It had no effect at all!
The Truewerk T1 Werkshorts don’t take on water easily, either from the rain or the job, or from sweat. When they do, they dry quickly. I didn’t experience any sweat intrusion into the waistband (under the belt). These features, along with a full cut that facilitates airflow, make for a work short that simply doesn’t get uncomfortably wet.
They did not shrink after washing and drying at high temperature – I don’t baby my work wear.
It’s all About the Pockets!
Of all the things I like about the Truewerk T1 Werkshort, perhaps the pocket layout is my favorite. Truewerk really thought this out. I don’t understand “work” pants that have only one or two pockets on the side of the leg – after all, this is where you want to carry your most commonly used tools (for me, a cell phone, pencil, and a couple of hand tools). Remember that many times we’re not working out of a tool belt, but a tool bag or off of a bench or other surface. Therefore, appropriate side pockets are critical. Cargo pockets are usually too big and sloppy for efficient tool carry.
The right side of the Truewerk T1 Werkshort has an open-top cell phone size pocket and a pencil slot. If you want to use that open-top pocket for a tool, right underneath it is a zip pocket that can hold your cell phone.
The left side of the Truewerk T1 Werkshort has a non-bellowing cargo-style pocket. If you want to secure items here, the hook-and-loop closure will let you. But the flap of this pocket isn’t wider than the pocket itself, which allows you to fold it into the pocket and create an open-top pocket. Thus, you have a choice of pocket style that you can change anytime.
While this pocket arrangement is set up more for a right-hander, a southpaw can also make it work. To my way of working this is the ideal pocket setup. It holds the tools I usually want to carry on my sides (see above) and it stows them where I want them. I don’t think I could have designed it better!
The rear pockets are (as they should be) open-top. You can slide a tool into them easily. I grew up carrying a pair of linemans and a screwdriver in my right rear pocket, and still do when I’m doing electrical work.
There are fabric loops at 11-, 1-, and 6-o’clock for suspenders, which is a nice acknowledgement that many tradies use them. You can see the rear loop in the image above.
Finally, there’s the small zip pocket above the right front pocket. I’m not sure what Truewerk’s intention was here (I’m sure they had a good reason), but it reminds me of the watch pockets that you find on jeans and older work pants. My dad, like many tradesmen, didn’t wear a wristwatch on the job because it got in the way and was easily damaged. Instead, he carried a pocket watch in his pants’ watch pocket all his working life.
In terms of sizing, the Truewerk website and all the online reviews say they run “true to size”. I actually don’t know what that means since few manufacturers’, say size 36 pants, have a true 36-inch (inside) circumference. Manufacturers do this for a reason. A little more circumference accommodates tucked-in shirts, allows for shrinkage, provides vanity sizing, and so on. What I found on the pair that was sent to me for review was that my size 36-marked shorts were actually 38 inches in inside circumference. That was an easy fix for my wife, but these days it’s also easy enough to simply exchange them. I may have gotten an odd piece.
That aside, is there anything I genuinely didn’t like about the Truewerk T1 Werkshort? Well…only that they didn’t look as good on me as they do on the model in the manufacturer’s images above. Seriously, I can’t think of anything I wasn’t happy with. These are keepers. Currently $69 at Amazon.