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Creating the Perfect Capri

17 Dec , 2014,
Heidi Kumm
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I may have gone on a short tirade last night about brands refusing to make clothing that fit tall people. I was [a teeny tiny bit] irrationally upset that a pair of fantastically colorful capris fit so poorly I could not justify the purchase, but as my active clothing wardrobe has grown it’s become apparent that 90% of the brands out there have NO idea how to make clothing that fit someone with slightly longer arms/legs than the “average” human. This is insanely frustrating!

But, rather than focus on all the things brand do WRONG with gear, let’s focus on something a little more exciting…like all the awesome things about capris! Maybe, just maybe, by focusing on all the great things about various capris we can come up with the perfect design and convince a brand to pick up the design… #agirlcandream

Paula may be the only person I know that crushes on capris more than I do…

I own 5 pairs of legitimate capris from 4 brands, plus a few leggings I’ll make into make-shift capris if necessary. Each brand has some genius design ideas and functions, but each brand also has something little that makes me half crazy [the other half of me is already crazy!]. So, let’s break them all down by feature, then we’ll add a list of other awesome things required in the perfect carpi!

Wide Waistband = Versatility!

In my [very humble] opinion I believe capris should be required to have a wide waistband. This makes them more versatile and functional for a wider range of people. I have friends who like their waistbands to ride above the hips, which is great for them. I, however, can’t stand it if the waistband on anything is above my hip bones. Don’t blame me, blame the lowrise generation I grew up with. The day you see me in “mom jeans” is the day I completely gave up on myself. Anyway, with wide waistbands I can easily fold a high waist down into a comfortable hip hugger waist! Boom, winning a life!

Brooks Infiniti Capri – B+ – Yes! This pair of capris has a wide colorful waistband that was literally made for the fold over feel! The band does roll a bit but it never bothers me while I run or hike…it only gets in the way when I’m laying down to stretch or when I wear them to yoga.

Helly Hansen Pace Mesh Capri - A – Another yes! This pair of capris was basically designed for the fold over with a very defined, wide band of elastic! This makes me happy because the waistband never wiggles around or bother my lower back if I’m laying down to stretch.

Zensah Compression Capri – D – Not even a little yes. The Zensah carpis has a very high waist with a very narrow waist band. On the plus side, the narrow waistband flows right into the compression of the capris so it’s easy enough to do a deep fold and keep the modified hip hugger fit in place.

Saucony Bullet Capri – B – You betcha! The Saucony waistband is only slightly less defined than the Brooks waistband so it rides well when folded. Like the Brooks Infinit waistband it does roll a bit when stretching or doing yoga.

No Drooping!

Yes, I know it is still sort of cool to be a gangsta skater boy with droopy drawers but I’d much rather take on the persona of a think-I-am-hotter-than-I-really-am runner chick who rocks properly fitting tights. Not only do droopy carpis crotches look silly they are incredibly annoying to run around in! No one actually wants to spend 93% of their run yanking up their pants! That said, you don’t want capris so suffocatingly tight that nothing is left to the imagination, no one wants that, trust me.


Brooks Infiniti Capri – A - I have owned [and regularly worn] a pair of these capris for two full years, they still stay in place and fit snug in all the right places. I notice that I do occasionally tug on the older pair but only after I compared them to my newer pair [only ~9months old]. Even so, these capris have covered many miles of running and hiking over two years – that counts as incredibly durable!

Helly Hansen Pace Mesh Capri – C- – While the material of these Helly Hansen capris feels awesome it doesn’t quite hold itself in place as well as I’d like. It’s fine for shorter runs but after about an hour of movement the capris start to shift around and require more yanking than ideal. So far washing has not had any negative affects on the first hours of wear.

Zensah Compression Capri - A+ - These are fully blown compression leggings…they don’t move an inch! Whether I’m taking them on a multiple hour run or layering them under long pants for a cold hike and they stay put!

Saucony Bullet Capri – B+ - I haven’t taken these capris on an excessively long run yet but based up on my experience with them so far I think they’d stay where they belong. The material doesn’t lose it’s tight fit so I have high hopes for longer runs.

Keep ‘em capris…NOT long shorts!
[or “high water” pants!]

This seems pretty straight forward, but since this is what brought on this entire post we should probably address it. Capris need to be capri length. And what, exactly, does that mean? It means they need to be long enough [or short enough!] to fall somewhere along that 6 inch “sweet spot” on everyone’s calf – a perfect balance between knee length shorts and too-short-legings. And they need to fit over the muscle of a strong runner’s calf! Is that too much to ask?! I mean, I think I’m being a little generous with that 6 inch gap but I’m trying to be accommodating.

How do you know capris are NOT actually capri length?! A few ways… 1: They stop mid-knee on tall people. 2: They hit the ankle bones of short people. 3: They initially fit over the calf and hit the sweet spot but immediately roll up into the “knee pit” once the calf muscle is engaged. The third one is a bonus requirement, made just for the crazies out there with calf muscles the size of my thigh!

Brooks Infiniti Capri – A - These land smack dab in the middle of the sweet spot! And bonus points for a leg opening that doesn’t wiggle around while I run! Or yoga. Or stretch. Or hike. Or…you get the point!

Helly Hansen Pace Mesh Capri – B - Just the right length. But…the elastic band is almost too forgiving here as even my semi-beefy calf muscles have about an inch of extra space. Great for massive calves, ticklish on need-to-do-more-calf-raises calves.

Zensah Compression Capri – A- - Another perfect fit in length! These capris also get props for being tight compression leggings that do NOT make my legs look like stuffed sausages. Although the leg opening does scrunch up a bit when I start running, then settles into place, comfortably.

Saucony Bullet Capri – A- - At first you’ll think “oh, heck no” when you hold these capris up to your legs. But don’t judge…try them on! They are made of crazy stretchy material that fit perfectly once you stretch them over legs! The bottom band of elastic is secure, but not blood stopping.

Storage, for all the things.

The storage pockets seem to be really important to a lot of people, so I’m including it, even though I really couldn’t care less. More often than not I’m running with a SPIBelt or one of my Ultimate Direction packs which give me plenty of room to stash things. Worst case scenario my sports bra doubles as a storage space for the bare essentials. But I always see people pumped up about storage space build into clothing, so I’ll share my experience with the rather creative storage pockets added to these capris.

Brooks Infiniti Capri – A - This Brooks capris have a small zipper pocket built into the back of the waistband. After all that I-never-use-them ranting about storage pockets I will admit it…I’ve used this pocket on many occasions. It’s the perfect fit for a credit card/ID and keys. My only complaint is about how painful it is to lay out for a stretch when you’ve left your keys in this pocket!

Helly Hansen Pace Mesh Capri – B - These capris have a hip pocket that is lined with “sweat proof” material. A great concept, but in a weird place. There is room for a credit card/ID and keys but I’ve only used it once – getting the necessities in/out of my sports bra is just easier. The pocket also feels weirdly stiff, although this has no affect on your running.

Zensah Compression Capri – C - There is a layered fold pocket [no zipper] just below the waistband at the back of these capris. And I’ve never used it…because it’s completely inaccessible when I wide fold the waistband down. Even if I did wear the capris without a waist fold this pocket would land high on my mid-back, presumably a bouncy place for keys.

Saucony Bullet Capri – A - Apparently these capris were made for the storage loving runners out there! There is a zippered waistband pocket at your lower back PLUS two stretchy pockets on the thighs. I’ve only used the back zipper pocket for credit card/ID and keys. The thigh pockets fit my phone fine but I smash my poor phone sitting in my car so I wasn’t going to risk it. I would recommend these pockets for gels!

I’m all about that color, ‘bout that color…

Lastly, color is important. I don’t care if you will only wear black capris…color is still important because black is a color and you clearly feel strongly about it. In my world the more color the better. More often than not I head out for a run looking like a handful of angry highlighters threw up on me. I like color. A lot. And since this is my list of awesome we’re going to label color as “important”. Or maybe I’m just biased because I know I have a pair of flashy Fabletics capris headed my way as we speak!

Brooks Infiniti Capri – B - The two Infiniti capris I own are black with a blue or purple waistband. Since I purchased these capris Brooks has added more color to this style of capri but aside from their NightLife collection they’re lacking a wide range of neon options!

Helly Hansen Pace Mesh Capri – A - I own the navy/pink version of these capris and while they’re much more pastel than neon I kind of love the color! Strategic splashes of color are just…fun! Plus, they get bonus points for the colorful brand name slapped down the thigh!

Zensah Compression Capri – D+ - Black. Just black. Leggings and capris are a new item for Zensah this year and they are amazing at creating colorful compression socks so there is hope for the future…

Saucony Bullet Capri – D- - More black. Or printed black? Saucony flaunt some rocking colors with their shoes and tops so they need to up their capri game, a lot!

Overall, I don’t think I’m being *that* picky about my capris and it is probably completely feasible for a brand to create some variation of all the “A” ranking features into one rockin’ pair of capris, right? I mean, they might even have the space to add in a few other necessary features, like…

          • ventilation panels
          • moisture wicking material
          • chafe-free seams
          • appropriately constructed crotch panels
          • creative reflective stripes
          • comfortable overall fit
          • durable material
          • blood circulating compession

Okay, so maybe I expect a lot! But when you put $50+ toward a pair of not-even-full-length pants you want a pair that fit! And if you’re in the market for some capris…you’re welcome for creating a list of things you want to consider while trying on ALL of the capris in your local running store and making the poor sales rep lose their mind!

**Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post and I did not use any affiliate links, this is just me, being overly opinionated about silly things.**
**For a legit review-based post check out a recent Zensah Blog publication about my experience with compression socks…and capris!***

What would you add to this list of capri necessities? And why do you love on your favorite capris?
And what is it at all appropriate to interchangeably use the term “capri” and “capris”? #truequestion


  1. Heidi Henry (@BananaBuzzbomb) December 17, 2014 at 6:47 am Reply

    Great insight! Several years I found 2 pr of Nike capris at TJ Maxx and LOVE them. Of course now they are all worn and I REALLY need to replace but can’t seem to find the right fit. I prefer my capris and little thicker so they’re not see through and tend to have issues with them drooping. Yargh! As for tights….those are even tougher for me to find. =(

    • Heidi Nicole December 17, 2014 at 10:25 am Reply

      Gah — don’t get my started on tights! Even brands I love can’t figure out how to make tights that fit right! I end up buying men’s tights so they are long enough!

      And if you’re looking for capris I bought my second pair of Brooks Infiniti at STP for an awesome deal. They are amazing capris, IMHO!

  2. Sybil December 17, 2014 at 9:04 am Reply

    I am 6′ tall and leggings are tricky for me, too. The two pairs I wear for running are my cw-x and a pair of Athleta capris in tall. I don’t remember the style of the Athleta ones, unfortunately. All in black. I don’t use pockets on my capris so that doesn’t matter to me.

    • Heidi Nicole December 17, 2014 at 10:27 am Reply

      Athleta is onto something…making capris with a “tall” option! Those few inches make a BIG difference!

      And all the pockets added by brands have always been more entertaining then functional.

  3. Beth December 17, 2014 at 10:35 am Reply

    Ohhhhhhh man, I totally get what you’re saying here. I have lots of capris and there are things I like about each of them but I don’t have “the perfect package” capris.

    And you’re allowed to rant about capris being too short…I’m not as long legged as you and I STILL struggle.

    • Heidi Nicole December 17, 2014 at 11:49 am Reply

      Yes! Each has something worth love [and hating]. If only it was a perfect world…and we got the exact capris we wanted! [because obviously that’s the only thing required in a perfect world! yes, I’m eyerolling at myself right now!]

  4. Lynn December 17, 2014 at 1:37 pm Reply

    Being 5’11” with legs that are “long” for my height, I’ve pretty much given up on having capri pants hit me at the right length. I just embrace the super unflattering “hits just below the knee” look. I have some Kyodan capris that I got at TJ Maxx that hit everything except length. I do have a couple pairs of full length Stoic leggings that might be my favorite work out (or sometimes work) pants, ever so I might by some of their capri length ones when it gets warmer.

    My pet peeve is flared capris. Why oh why does anyone make these?

    • Heidi Nicole December 18, 2014 at 1:42 pm Reply

      Ahhh — yes! Flare capris are a mystery to me!

  5. RWD December 17, 2014 at 3:32 pm Reply

    Since I don’t have a “thigh gap,” I need capris/leggings that can stand up to a good bit of “chub rub.”

    • Heidi Nicole December 18, 2014 at 2:20 pm Reply

      That is another thing they are fantastic for — comfy running, regardless of your “runder thigh” size!

  6. Brooke December 17, 2014 at 10:17 pm Reply

    Now if they would just make regular clothes for tall girls…

    • Heidi Nicole December 18, 2014 at 2:27 pm Reply

      No kidding. There is a reason I own very few pairs of jeans…and even fewer pairs that actually fit right! I swear I’d complain less if hemming was an option…

  7. Jena December 27, 2014 at 7:27 pm Reply

    I have nothing to add except that I do not understand capri love, at all.

    Probably because I don’t have any decent pairs. My mother in law just bought me a few pairs of Nike capris; but it’s way to hot in FL to even think about running in capris. I mean, it needs to be in the 30’s or low 40’s to make capris necessary, and even then, it’s risky.

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