It Must be Summer
Aimed at: Pro site workers and some weekend warriors might also find them useful.
Pros: – Keenly priced and practical
Builders in work shorts is a certain indicator that summer is here – a few brief hours of sunshine, even if followed by days of wind and rain, is usually enough to convince site workers that shorts are required.
Now, work trousers are a huge improvement on ill-fitting and stained jeans, and indeed, work shorts are much better than the usual motley collection of old football shorts and last year’s baggy beach shorts. And the new pairs of JCB Work Shorts that I was sent to try out are, in my view, a cut above, since even I, with my skinny white legs was able to appreciate their practicality. But unlike most builders, I will keep them only for the hottest days…!
I was sent two pairs of the Keele style of shorts from JCB in two different colourways to match existing JCB ranges of trousers, shirts and jackets. They are, respectively, Sand and Black and Black and Grey. The Sand and Black pair has black holster pockets and black pocket flaps on the back pockets while the Black and Grey pair has grey holster pockets and black flaps on the back pockets.
The Keele shorts are made in black polyester/cotton mix fabric that washes and wears incredibly well, as well as being comfortable to wear on hot days due to the cotton content. The triple stitched seams are in a contrasting grey thread on the black shorts, but the brown shorts are sewn with brown thread. Either way, this ensures that the shorts match up to other parts of the range.
On first trying the shorts on I thought that they might be too long – I am only 5 foot 8 – but they reached comfortably to my knees and for that I was grateful. The waistband is lightly elasticated at each side – vital in work shorts and trousers, because it makes them a lot more comfortable to move and bend in without revealing the asset that British builders are (in)famous for. A couple of friends who tried them confirmed that they are easy to bend down in and don’t trap any vital parts. Five 25mm wide belt loops ensure that there are no gaps where the belt might part company from the waistband.
The hip pockets are deep, and like all the pockets are double stitched for strength. There is also a “hook and loop” sealed pocket on the left thigh/knee into which there seems to be a space for a phone, pencils and a couple of other bits. The two back pockets have a single gusset on the outside edge to make sure that they have enough holding capacity.
But the biggest pockets are two, double-layered grey-coloured holster pockets on the front that hang from the waistband. They are made from a hardwearing Oxford weave fabric and seem to be lined with rubberized material that feels water resistant. General tradespeople I spoke to seemed to like these holster pockets best because it is easy to access them and they can hold a lot of small items – from screwdrivers to paintbrushes and pencils. Even a10.8v cordless drill at a push.
My small team of “triers on” agreed with me that the shorts were comfortable, practical and easy to care for. With a typical street price of around £20 to £25 they are not the cheapest, but the quality is definitely there to feel and see.