Review of Smartwool Women’s PhD Pattern Capri

Rate this Article:
An in depth review of the SmartWool PhD Pattern Capris Review of Smartwool Women’s PhD Pattern Capri

I always seem to have trouble with running bottoms. I’m constantly fidgeting to pull up my pants as most end up slipping down during a run. I’ve even had a few close calls on the treadmill when struggling to avoid showing my bum to the world.

So when I try out running bottoms, it’s the number one feature I look for is a pant or capri that will stay put. Luckily, the Smartwool PhD Capri manages to stay right where it’s supposed to be.  So far, I’ve ran twice in them, about 5K each time. They are supremely comfortable and from the first time I put them on, I enjoyed how soft they were.  I didn’t have to tug at the waistband or shift around uncomfortably.  Needless to say, I really enjoyed running in them. These will certainly continue to be a staple in my running wardrobe.


The PhD Capri fits close to the skin without being too restrictive. They’re mid rise, so they sit comfortably just below the belly button. There’s also a convenient drawstring to tighten the waistband if need be. I’ve worn a lot of running tights know pretty quickly whether or not they are going to bite the dust within a couple hundred miles. Like many others, I prefer running clothes that last. These capris feel solid and durable and I have a strong suspicion they’re not just going to hold up to prolonged use.

Another thing I noticed was that they don’t hold onto smells like other pairs of tights I own. An unfortunate part of my running life is that I sweat a lot and some running clothes seem to hang on to odor more than others.  However, the PhD capri seemed to repel bad smells. I suspect it has something to do with what it’s made of.

I also ended my run chafe-free.  The PhD capri features flat lock seams that prevent chafing in the worst places and the promise to prevent chafing definitely delivered.

The PhD capri also features a zippered back pocket (pictured below). It’s a big enough to fit a gel and a bit of change or a debit card in case of an emergency. The zipper opens without a hitch and it didn’t aggravate my lower back, which some zippered back pockets tend to do.


The PhD Capri is made up in large part of nylon and merino wool. The nylon ensures the fit is snug enough to keep you supported and the merino wool adds softness against the skin. The combination makes the tights a pleasure to wear.  Not only does the merino wool feel comfortable against the skin – it also manages body temperature.  So when you’re cold, the wool capri will help keep you warm. When you’re too warm, the material will help you cool off.  Merino wool is a pretty impressive material. It wicks away sweat efficiently and I definitely felt dry after my run.


I really like the printed design of these tights. It’s not too wild, but adds an interesting touch to my running attire. The tights look good on and I felt confident in them. I felt supported without feeling too compressed. I could see myself wearing these on errands after a run or even just lounging about.

Favorite Features

  • The softness of these tights is unbeatable!
  • Odor doesn’t linger in the fabric.
  • Reflective features
  • Mmid rise fit and drawstring
  • Zippered back pocket

Areas For Improvement

As a short runner, these almost aren’t capris. I’m 5’3″ and the PhD Capri hits way below my knee. They’re more of a 3/4 fit on me. It’s not a deal breaker by any stretch, but I’d like to see Smartwool offer these in a different length. I’d definitely be interested in a shorter cut, especially for hot summer runs. The longer length might be too much coverage for me when it’s sweltering hot outside. Other than that, there’s nothing else I’d want to change. I’ve been looking at the rest of my running tights with my nose in the air. I clearly need to replace them with tights like these!


UPDATE 7/14/17: I’ve been wearing these tights for a little under 6 months. A few nights ago, I was enjoying a particularly intense interval run on the treadmill. I felt really good. But I quickly felt something wrong about halfway through the workout. A huge rip in the thigh area had produced itself. I was shocked. It hasn’t even been a year! The tights are not too form fitting that they’ve been stretched out beyond their abilities. These are $100 tights. I have budget tights that I’ve had for 3 years still kicking with no signs of wear. This was a huge letdown.  Unfortunately, this may impact if I purchase running tights from this brand again anytime soon.

SmartWool PhD Pattern Capri (Purple)img
  • SmartWool PhD Pattern Capri (Purple)
  • Breathability
  • Price: See Here
SmartWool PhD Pattern Capri (Black)
  • SmartWool PhD Pattern Capri (Black)
  • Breathability
  • Price: See Here