Traditional dungarees or ‘blue jeans’ as they are more commonly referred to haven’t changed much in the 146 years since Levi Strauss & Co. invented them. That is until now. Blue Jeans have transitioned from the traditional uniform for cowboys and miners in the early days to your go-to pants for just about everyone. This transition continues to now include the ability to wear jeans for outdoor adventures such as rock climbing, hiking, and biking, thanks to the invention of the stretch jeans.
While the stretch blue jean innovation is fairly recent, there are already a handful of brands manufacturing their own version of this new phenomenon. While these jeans may all look the same at first glance, each brand has actually targeted a niche within this larger category to try and make their product stand out. Boulder Denim out of Vancouver BC is going after rock climbers and positioning their product as the pants to wear at your local crag. The flexibility and durability of their jeans are well suited to this sport which doesn’t really have go-to clothing. Club Ride, on the other hand, is using their history in the bike clothing category to bring the Cog Jeans to the bike-obsessed audience. With subtle reflective trim a seamless crotch gusset and articulated knees, the Cog is made for this crowd. DISH & DUER’s No Sweat Pants fill the void found in the urban hipster market for those that want the latest and greatest fashion that can still perform on the trails.
Three options for stretch jeans are Boulder Jeans, Club Ride Cog Jeans and DISH & DUER's No Sweat Pants.
Price: $176 CAN / $148US
Fabric: 93% cotton, 5% elasterell-poly, and 2% lycra
Sizes: Men’s 28/34-40/34 (slim and athletic fits), women’s 24- 34 (skinny)
Boulder Denim is a relatively new Vancouver-based company started by two young entrepreneurs, Brad & Taz. Their company was launched on Kickstarter and IndieGoGo and received a huge response from backers. Their product line is currently limited and consists of just two styles of jeans and few T’s and a branded hat but big things are likely coming from this duo. Their tenacity and drive cannot be contained and the success of their initial products with the climbing community has been even bigger than what they could have expected.
Fabric: 98% cotton, 2% spandex
Sizes: 31, 32, 33, 34, 36
Colours: Indigo Denim, Eclipse Denim
Club Ride has a nine-year history of making fashion-forward, and functional bike apparel and the Cog Jeans follow this mantra. The feature set on the Cog jeans is extensive as you’ll see below and while some features like the reflective accents are bike specific the benefits of the seamless crotch gusset and articulated knees can be appreciated by everyone. Unlike the Boulder Denim jeans, the Cogs enjoy a more relaxed fit better suited to biking. While I wouldn’t necessarily go on a 40km road ride in the cogs I have worn them mountain biking on a recent cold fall day.
Fabric: 52% cotton, 28% lyocell, 1% sapndex
Sizes: 28, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 36, 38, 40 waist / 30, 32, 34 length
Colours: Black, Navy, Army Green, Rust, Gull, Tobacco, Oxblood
DISH & DUER’s large variety of stretch jeans allows you to morph the sidewalk into trail and morning commute into afternoon adventure. The highly fashionable No Sweat Pants are more than just your next favourite go-to pants, they’ll also look great at work and feel comfortable on trail. Although DISH & DUER only recently launched (in 2013) the founders, Gary Lenett and Abid Hafeez each have over 25 years in the industry. Their experience is evident in the breadth of products that the company already produces. One of their signature products is the No Sweat Pant which are more like your favourite track pants than jeans. They’re super soft and comfy, so just be sure to take your fuzzy bunny slippers off before you leave the house.
The soft stretch fabric is incredibly comfortable.
While each of these three stretchy jeans may seem similar on the surface, they are actually more different than alike. It would be tough to choose just one pair for overall performance and comfort as they are all so different in their fabric makeup and fit. While cotton and lycra seem to be the two main components of the various fabrics, their blends vary quite a bit which results in a unique feel and stretch to each. Also, each has their own unique pros and cons which you can read more about below
While I would tend to support the two companies that are Canadian based, only Boulder Jeans manufactures in North America (Quebec Canada to be precise) while the other two brands are made in Pakistan and, of course, China. While this does make both the DISH & DUER and Club Ride jeans more economical it’s also is an unfair comparison as Boulder Denim is still relatively new and in start-up mode.
If you are looking for variety then DISH & DUER wins hands down. They have more colours and size options than any brand I have encountered. Club Ride has only the Shift and Cog Jeans while Boulder Denim has only one style with two fit options, athletic and slim.
The Club Ride Cog Jeans are by far the most feature rich but some may like their jeans more simplified such as the Boulder Denim Jeans. Even though they have no gusseted crotch or articulation I did find these to be the most comfortable. This likely had to do with their form-fitting style.
Overall, each of these brand’s products are well made and similarly priced. Some are more stylish, some better fitting and some more technical—it really all depends what you prefer and what you are looking for. Whichever brand you choose, be sure to give stretch jeans a try as it is the evolution of the dungaree obsession that started way back in 1873.
See above in review.
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