Some weeks ago, a representative for Hurley contacted both me and my site co-manager Donald and asked us if we’d like a free pair of patriotically designed Team USA shorts. Hurley, Nike’s surf arm, has made a World Cup national team collection for 2018 and in a gesture that reads as optimistically kind or depressingly capitalistic, they included the United States “with respect to their massive contribution to the culture and sport.” Donald and I were not about to turn down free shorts in this economy, so we both said yes, and about 10 days later we got our shorts.
Well - I got my shorts. Donald’s shorts took a roundabout route , where after a couple of back-and-forths, his arrived three weeks after mine did and in the wrong size. But where I just got a pair of shorts, Donald got a second pair of shorts in a different design, a shirt, and a snapback. We’ll get to that in a second.
To get it out of the way, they’re nice shorts. I received the away version and they’re pretty light, but they don’t feel flimsy, with a big zippered mesh pocket in the back. They’re slightly stretchy and the drawstring front gives you a little wiggle room if things fluctuate in the waist area. (Note from Donald: “They only go up to size 40, and they’re slim. So, good luck for any guys on the heavier side fitting into these.”) They’re board shorts, so presumably they should be fine if you get walloped by a big wave, but there’s no surfing in Massachusetts in April, so I am unable to confirm.
The thing is, these are, of course, men’s shorts. I asked the Hurley rep if these would be available in women’s sizes or would be advertised for women and was told “The hats and t-shirts are unisex with a men’s focus on the board shorts, with men’s sizing.”
I happen to know my size using men’s measurements off the top of my head because sometimes I order shorts from the men’s section (Guys, they have pockets! BIG pockets!) and also men’s sizing has always made more sense than women’s. Am I a women’s 12? 14? Possibly a 10? Who knows! A 12 from one brand is not the same as a 12 from another and woe to she who doesn’t try on both the size below and the size above. But men’s sizes are based on...your body measurements. Incredible. The point is, “men’s sizing” doesn’t have to mean “men’s focus.” There are plenty of women who support the US men’s national team or have an interest in the World Cup and can also put a string around their waist to find their measurements. Why limit yourself? There are also plenty of women who don’t mind that cut for the t-shirt and shorts either; not everything has to have a giant scoop neck or be really short in order to be “for” women.
And although the rep told me that the hats and t-shirts are unisex, the fact of the matter is they’re only shown on the men’s side of the Hurley site, and are labeled “men’s t-shirt” and “men’s adjustable hat.” I couldn’t find them or any mention of the Team USA collection on the women’s side. The men’s section has a banner at the top pointing to this collection; the women’s doesn’t mention it. This is a men’s World Cup and Hurley is only interested in marketing to male fans.
I also asked if Hurley had any plans to do a women’s collection seeing as how the Women’s World Cup is in 2019. The rep said via e-mail, “Hurley recently relaunched their Women’s apparel line (Spring 2018). They’re re-growing it carefully and very thoughtfully with exciting new collaborations and products launching. They also continue to look forward to working with Nike and the federations on the National Team opportunity for Women’s in 2020.”
2020? Possibly that indicates something for the Olympics, but not the World Cup, when the United States will almost certainly, you know...actually be in it. But who knows! Maybe Hurley will slap three stars above that crest and sell whatever product is leftover from this season. Maybe they’re working on it and can’t say yet. Hope springs eternal.
So, in summary: the shorts are nice. Hurley doesn’t seem to really care if women want them, but ladies, they’re comfy! Donald got the full collection, possibly as an apology for getting the runaround on his order for over three weeks, and I only got one pair of shorts and I’m totally fine with that, even though Donald told me himself he is not into snapbacks and yet I AM. (Maybe not this particular snapback though - that font is really something.) It’s almost like women are interested in lots of things and Hurley is missing out on an audience for this collection. Also I think the best part of the shorts is the zipper on the pocket.