Bit of background here - I don't have a car, I ride my bike as my primary transportation mode and ride every day. For my commute, I mostly wear J&G cycle shorts, with long pants over them when it is cold. When doing recreational rides, I like the Pearl Izumi 'Attack' bike shorts, and I have several pairs of them (6 or 7). When washing them, I run them on gentle cycle, warm water, and air dry. This morning I grabbed a pair of the PI Attack shorts, and as I put them on, I could hear all of the elastic in the waistband breaking - and sure enough, there was no stretch left in the waistband. Some of my PI attack shorts are probably 8 years old, others are only a couple of years old, I don't really know which are which.
These shorts have been worn a lot, and I have certainly gotten my money's worth out of them, but it made me curious - how long should I expect a pair of shorts to last?