I’ve been a life-long Levi guy. I’ve always just felt most comfortable in jeans and the 501 and 511 have been my go-to since, well… since my mom was buying them for me.

During the pandemic, however, I found myself wearing sweat pants a lot. I had no place to go, so no reason to put on shoes and if you aren’t gonna throw on some Js, why bother with pants?

I guess I just sort of grew into the comfortability as the idea of putting on jeans just hasn’t been appealing to me. Then, a pal recommended I try a pair of Western Rise pants. Essentially, these are “tech pants” with 4-way stretch, a gusseted crotch, and cut similar to my favorite Levis.

I instantly fell in love with the pair I got for Christmas and started experimenting with other cuts and other manufacturers. Here’s a run down:

  1. Western Rise Diversion. These are the first pair I got and they are made from my favorite material. These have a similar weight to your typical jean, but they have a good amount of stretch to them and the gusseted crotch gives you a ton of room. My only complaint? They are just a tad too slim for me. One the flip side though, I think these might be more durable than even denim?
  2. Western Rise Evolution. These have a more relaxed fit (almost identical to the 501) than the Diversion, but they are made of a thinner material. In Austin, I think these are going to be fantastic in the summer time… Stretch is on par with the Diversion and comfort is incredible.
  3. Du/er field pant. I got these on sale from REI and they are amazing… Cut like a traditional VietNam era field pant, but with stretch for days (the most I’ve had). You can’t beat the comfort and they seem to be pretty durable as well? I’d guess the weight is somewhere between the Diversion and the Evolution.

(Editor’s Note: Du/er makes a popular denim with stretch. I’ve yet to try them, but certainly plan too and will report back.)

In any regard, if you are like I was and stuck on obsolete materials just out of habit, give some of these modern tech materials a try. I’m actually really glad I did. I feel like I have a pant more comfortable than my old jeans, just as durable, and made more responsibly.