The day has arrived: lululemon finally changed their speed shorts. Since lululemon has modified literally every single one of the core bottoms in their lineup, I knew it was only a matter of time before speed shorts made it to the chopping block. Almost all of lululemon’s “new and improved” designs have actually been worse for me, so as a diehard speeds super-fan, I was horrified to see the new speed up shorts. Speeds have been my all-time favorite lululemon style for over 5 years and I’d hate to lose what I love about them.
Still, I tried to keep an open mind. I ordered a pair of speed ups in the culture clash print to see how they measured up to my beloved speeds.
To be clear about the fate of speed shorts, I’ve heard from multiple sources that they are indeed being phased out. If you love speeds, there unfortunately won’t be any new colors.
Anyway, let’s get to it!
The adjusted hem sweep also made the speed ups slightly shorter, mostly at the sides. Since I’m relatively short, the shorter length doesn’t bother me and doesn’t look indecent on my petite legs. If you’re tall or have long legs, you may find the new design to be a bit revealing.
Notice in the above comparison photos how the hem sweep does not extend as far out past my leg. The angle of the leg opening is steeper, and the excess fabric on the lower outside corners has been eliminated.
Because of the shortened length and steeper leg angle, I noticed that the speed ups are a little more prone to the front hem rolling over when I sit down. This happens on some of my older speeds, too, so it doesn’t bother me.
Laying flat, you can clearly see that the width at the waist and hip remains the same. But, some people may still find they need to size up due to the changes in leg cut as well as seam differences discussed below. Since those are areas where I had room to spare, I can comfortably fit into my normal speed short size (2) without feeling like the fit is any tighter. I’m just as comfortable in my speed ups as I am in my old speeds.
If you’re familiar with old school 2-way stretch speed shorts, the speed ups fit very similar to those. For example, my culture clash speed ups fit nearly identical to my old pairs in love red and spring has sprung, just with 4-way fabric instead. Notice that the comparison of the speed ups versus my old love red pair (shown above) is much less dramatic than the difference between the speed ups and my newer neon pink speeds shown above. Really, the biggest difference between the old 2-ways and the new speed ups is the angle of the leg opening.
In my opinion, the new fit is well-suited to body types with fuller hips/bum relative to their thighs. I happen to fall into this category, so that means the speed ups fit me well. However, I think the speed ups may not be as well-suited to women with narrow hips or otherwise relatively straight figures compared to the original speeds. Of course, your experience may vary.
By the way: if you’re wondering, I have not tried the 4″ speed up shorts. I’ve been told that the length of the long version is somewhere between speed shorts and run times. I’m not in any hurry to try the 4″ version (if I do at all) since I’m happy with the 2.5″ style. If you have something to report on the new 4″ speed ups, please feel free to leave a comment for other readers!
Besides the fit, I noticed a few other things that make the speed ups quite different.
First: pockets. They overhauled the back zip pocket. They dropped the dangly zipper pull and accent, instead subbing it for a simpler zipper pull that sits flush. The pocket has also been widened by a full inch, measuring 5.5″ across. It’s now wide enough to accommodate my iPhone 7 (with case), and I can get the whole thing inside and zip it closed, although it’s a tight squeeze.
The front pockets have also been slightly modified. There are still two slit pockets on either side of the top waistband, but now they actually connect through the middle to give you a lot more room.
I also noticed that the liner on the pockets is different. Instead of the soft circle mesh that used to line the pockets, they’re now lined with plain mesh.
The other design major change is seaming. All over, the seam style is now slightly narrower and less prominent.
The seam changes includes the liner, which now has lower-profile, slimmer seams. The drawstring also now has a “box” sewn in all the way around the waistband to keep it in place.
Another major change is the seam connection where the front and rear panels meet. Previously, the front-side seam connected with the waistband seam and then curved back to meet the junction of the two fabric panels at the side. The new seam just goes straight down. From a stylistic perspective, I dislike this seam since I think it doesn’t flow well with the design. But, when I went to investigate why this seam changed, I found something really interesting.
The above photo is showing the back rear of the speeds with the liner moved out of the way. Previously, the back lower panel of the speeds was attached relatively loosely. It was tacked down at the “corner” where the front and back panels meet, then tacked at each vent seam. Then there was an extra arch of fabric above the rear vents for modesty.
Now, the whole back panel is sewn down much more securely through the sides and at the rear vents. Instead of only being sewn down at the corner, the lower panel extends higher and is sewn down both at the corner where the panels meet and up at the vertical seam where the panel ends. Note that it is open between those two points, not sewn down all the way up.
Instead of the extra flappy bit of fabric above the vents, there’s now a whole panel of mesh at the upper rear. The vents are still true vents–you can still stick your finger through them. These seaming updates should help a ton with vent puckering.
Even though the width at the hips is identical (as shown in the comparison photos above), the additional seam attachments at the side of the back panels may be why some find the speed ups to fit tighter.
Overall, I’m pleasantly surprised by the speed up shorts. I like the new design much more than I expected, since I was honestly prepared to dislike them versus my beloved speeds. It works very well for my body type and improves upon some of the fit imperfections I experienced with speed shorts. I will definitely be buying more as new colors come out.
Fellow speeds fans: what are your thoughts on the new design?