Women's pants are difficult to find, jeans are even harder. Throw in the fact that they need to be Kevlar jeans and it's an entire new animal to deal with.
That’s right; another article about women’s riding jeans. Jeans, jeans, jeans...if it’s one thing we know you can’t get enough of, it’s articles about jeans. Especially women’s jeans.
Where there’s women’s jeans, there’s women’s butts, right? Well, my butt’s been draped in Kevlar all week and by God, you’re going to hear about it. You might even catch a glimpse of it. Or learn something about riding jeans.
Dainese’s P. California Lady ($199.95)
There’s a lot to love about these new jeans from Dainese, not the least of which is their distinctive lack of the dreaded “patch o’ kevlar”; you know...that telltale stitching above and below the knee that screams to the world “I bought the ugliest jeans in the world and I’m wearing them RIGHT NOW!”
Unlike some riding jeans that feature added protection in certain areas, the entire garment is protective here. Dark indigo denim is interwoven
with aramid, a strong synthetic heat and cut-resistant fiber used to make Kevlar® and other protective textiles. The inside knee-linings actually are made of Kevlar®, and the new Pro-Shape knee-protectors are soft, flexible, discreet, and removable for washing. The jeans washed up fine in the washer, by the way; shrunk a little in length only which, at 5’2”, was fine with me.
The fit is great: comfortably low without butt-crack show; skinny, but not tight. I’m sort of curvy, so most “skinny jeans” scare me. Fear not with these.
Unfortunately, my P. California jeans felt restrictive on my bike. They didn’t flex well in the hips and knees, and with not enough range in the pelvis, thigh abduction (you know, throwing your leg over the seat) was a challenge. If these were just fashion jeans, I’d be thrilled with the size/fit, but for riding, I’d order the next size up.
The lining on the inside is super-soft and somehow does not add bulk. I needed a belt with these jeans, but that’s typical of every pair of jeans I’ve ever worn since the dawn of time; I’m pretty sure it’s just me. On the plus side...I mean...on a positive note, my butt and low-back stayed covered just fine.
The Broadway Ladies Jean from Rev’It! ($239.99)
Rev’It! has crammed every safe thought you can think of has gone into these jeans, from materials to construction. They’re made with 11oz Cordura® denim, a blend of cotton and nylon that feels like a heavyweight denim, but is about four times stronger. Seams are triple-stitched with PWR | yarn; a nylon yarn with a fourth wire bonded to the traditional three. A similarly tough fabric, RWR | shield, is used in the seat and knees, and on the inside, pockets for the removable, flexible, three-dimensional Knox® armor are adjustable to fit where you need them to. There are pockets for optional hip protectors, but let’s face it, most of us will opt out of added pouf here. If they’re too long, don’t cut ‘em; fold up the extra length to reveal a cuff with a strip of 3M® reflective tape covering the inside seam. Cuffs are in right now anyway.
Somebody, presumably one or more of the women designer/riders Rev’It has on their design team, has ridden in tight fashion jeans before...these were really comfortable to ride in, noticeably so from the get-go. Plenty of flexibility, thanks to a pattern modified from traditional jeans to accommodate an aggressive riding position (see Susanna’s pic).
The color is a little unlike traditional denim; a solid navy blue. They have a strait, regular fit and a medium-low rise; compare to what LuckyBrand calls a “boyfriend fit”. Yeah, really comfortable.
The most thoughtful feature? These jeans come in nine sizes. Nine. Different. Sizes. More female designer input, no doubt!
The Jade from Sartso Killer ($189 $100).
I first came across these jeans when I was following the XDL Stunt series. I figured a riding jean that sponsored these knuckleheads had to be tough. And they are. They’re woven with Kevlar® and are lined from the top of the pant to the knees for an added layer of protection, which also adds some bulk; you’ll feel it, but you can’t see it. The telltale “patch o’ Kevlar” is there, but the urban-distressed, pre-faded look on dark indigo is a nice distraction.
I first tested these jeans in the 103-degree desert riding my 103,000-degree Ducati 748. Only a NASA space suit can withstand the blast furnace of a Duc’s pipes in the Arizona heat, but the jeans themselves did not make me roast (a wore them around for an afternoon off the bike). Another nice thing about Kevlar®: thermal protection.
Loved the mid-rise, regular straight fit, once I got a pair that fit, that is. Sartso’s size chart is whack. They go by waist and inseam. Fine, but there is no waist on a mid (or low) -rise garment. Where do you measure? If they told me to measure where the top of the pants sit, say, “X-number of inches below the waist”, maybe I wouldn’t have had to return the first two pair until settling into a double digit size (I’m normally a size 2) that was miles too long...nothing a pair of scissors couldn’t fix. And why the different lengths based on torso circumference? How do those measurements even relate?
The designers didn’t bother to modify the rise to accommodate a riding posture, so you’re going to want to wear a top with plenty of length to tuck in. Friends don’t let friends ride with nasty tramp-stamp/thong/muffin-top/butt-crack exposure.
Sartso apparently has a whole new launch coming in June, but when I tried contacting them for more information, I got no answer. There are all kinds of consumer un-friendly bugs on their website right now, too: very little product information, a size chart that threatens a $40 re-stocking fee if you get it wrong (even though THEY already have it wrong), and, well, not answering e-mails. But, if you’re brave enough to defy the whole Heart-bleed Bug-thing, you might be able to pick up a nice pair of abrasion-resistant jeans for a decent price. Of course, there are a lot more styles for men, with presumably the same standards (and foibles). Available in sizes 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16...whatever that means.