I tend to be pretty picky about my running shorts, more so than most of my other gear. I run in shorts down to about 25 degrees outside, so I spend a good bit of the year in shorts. I don't like my shorts too long or too short; I like a certain cut. I need them to be lightweight but stable, and I need to be able to carry a few essentials without feeling like the shorts are slipping down my bottom.
I've found a lot to like with the Patagonia Strider Pro shorts. Before joining the MPF/RNR team last year, I did many of my long runs and most of my ultras in the Pearl Izumi Fly Endurance short. These have a lycra-type material that comprises the upper half of the back part of the shorts, where the gel pockets are located; this helps keep everything stable. The Patagonia Strider Pro shorts have a similar design; while the material is not quite as tight as lycra, the upper half of the rear of the short is made of a stretchier material that the rest of the short, which stabilizes the rear pockets. This is by far the best feature of the shorts, allowing you to carry gels, keys, or other essentials without the constant bouncing that would otherwise drive you crazy. Lots of shorts have multiple rear pockets nowadays; what separates a good short from a bad one is whether or not you can actually use those pockets without bouncing or slipping. These shorts accomplish that goal, which is the most essential part of making a good ultra short.
There are five pockets in the back. Four interlocking pockets have an "envelope" design, with elastic flaps that hold gear in place; they will each hold about two gels comfortably. The middle, largest pocket features a zippered closure and is large enough for keys, a phone, credit cards, or other essentials.
The material is lightweight and breathable, and due to the DWR treatment, repels sweat well without getting too heavy. The liner is comfortable and doesn't chafe. The shorts have a split cut on the side of the leg, which for me is an absolute essential; I refuse to run in notched basketball-style shorts. The only downside for me is the 5" inseam, which is about an inch longer than I'd prefer (gotta show off the quads!). Plus I'd like the split on the side to be a little higher, giving it a bit of a less "boxy" cut. But that's nitpicking. All in all, the Patagonia Strider Pro shorts provide excellent form and function for long training and ultra racing, and I'm happy to have Patagonia on board as a MPF/RNR team sponsor.