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This Is Not a Test: Performance Jeans Are Here to Stay

Illustration for article titled This Is Not a Test: Performance Jeans Are Here to Stay

Go with me here: jeans and yoga pants are anecdotally the most popular types of pants. What would happen if you combined the two and made a superpower pant that looked like jeans but had the functionality, stretch, and comfort of the beloved yoga pants?

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My guess: you’d rule the world and win over a lot of guys who don’t really want to head into work wearing yoga pants.

Performance jeans began rolling out years ago thanks to rock climbers who loved the durability and comfort on jagged stone. However, the bummer was clear: they aren’t the friendliest for those flexible Gumby-like maneuvers. As a result, brands took a cue from the American public: we love our jeans but could you please make them more user friendly?

Enter: performance jeans. The pants below all have increased purpose via high-tech denim or features that finally put fashion behind function. Check ‘em out, and let me know what you’d add to the list.

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Duer Stay Dry Denim Slim

Duer Stay Dry Denim Slim, $139
Duer Stay Dry Denim Slim, $139
Photo: Duer

This is not a drill. Not only do the Stay Dry Denim Slim jeans boast lycra and polyester for a comfy-and-stretchy fit, but they also have a DWR finish that sheds both dirt and water. What does that mean? You can wear these jeans through some light sprinkles and you won’t get that stuck-to-your-leg stiffness that we all know and hate with normal jeans.

Dovetail Workwear Freshley Overalls

Dovetail Workwear Freshley Overalls, $129
Dovetail Workwear Freshley Overalls, $129
Photo: Dovetail Workwear

Sorry guys; these are just for the ladies. Literally, I cannot get over how much I love these overalls. For starters they have POCKETS. Like, honest-to-goodness useful-and-deep pockets which any woman will tell you is a rarity in female pants. A touch of spandex adds enough flexibility for all-day comfort, but not enough to crank your leg above your head. My tip: save these for work days or mellow walks. (And also, find me a pair of the pinstriped overalls, would you?)

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Barbell Straight Athletic Fit Jeans

Barbell Straight Athletic Fit Jeans, $99 - $149
Barbell Straight Athletic Fit Jeans, $99 - $149
Photo: Barbell Apparel

I’m a sucker for anyone who goes on Shark Tank (those guys are tough!) so even though Barbell left without a deal, I found myself interested. Designed for athletes, these jeans have 360-degrees of stretch thanks to a small amount of polyester and spandex. If you’re an individual who boasts “soccer quads,” consider checking ‘em out!

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Patagonia Performance Jeans

Patagonia Performance Jeans, $60 - $119
Patagonia Performance Jeans, $60 - $119
Photo: Patagonia

Of the group, these are the most “normal” jeans but don’t let that deter you. Perhaps you’re a weekend warrior who wants all-day comfort with a little wiggle room to comfortably ride a bike or take your kid for a walk; these can do that. They don’t have any spandex like others on this list, but a large amount (29%) of polyester still creates a stretch pant. Plus, Patagonia is known for their sustainability efforts, and the Performance Jeans are no exception with an upgraded dyeing process that minimizes resources and carbon dioxide emissions.

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Revtown Taper Jeans

Revtown Taper Jeans, $79
Revtown Taper Jeans, $79
Photo: Revtown

Similar to the Patagonia pants above, these aren’t going to be the jeans you snag for a day at the crag. However, thanks to the brand’s origins (Revtown was founded by three former Under Armour employees), the Taper jeans have a distinctly athletic fit that offers up a fair bit of wiggle room thanks to a special denim made with Italian yarn. But, the real kicker is the price: sans any special sales, the Revtown jeans are nearly half of the price of other brands. Yowza.

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Heather Balogh Rochfort is an outdoor expert and full-time freelance writer and author in the outdoor industry.

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