Pants for Bouldering: Boulder Denim Review
When you’re shopping for bouldering pants, do you buy for function or style?
For me, I go towards functional and stretchy yoga pants. I wear them because they move with my body even when I’m in an odd position on a problem. Plus, they cover more of my legs, so they don’t get scraped up as much. It helps if they’re cute, but it’s not mandatory.
What if, there were a pair of jeans I could wear and climb in without worry? Sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it? When I first heard about Boulder Denim, I was skeptical at first. “Jeans you can climb in and look good? No way.” But there is such a thing.
Hello, Functional and Stylish Climbing Jeans!
Boulder Denim originated in the minds of creators Taz Barrett and Brad Spence from Vancouver, Canada. The idea behind the pants developed from Taz and Brad’s frustration of the lack of functional and stylish climbing pants on the market. So, long story short, the guys designed their own pants.
According to the Bouldering Denim website, after a year of research and development, they chose to work with a denim manufacturer in Canada to develop the denim for climbing. In November of 2015, they launched a Kickstarter campaign and ended up raising over their goal. Afterward, they turned it into a full-fledged business.
In the product description, it says they took some of their favorite functional outdoor wear and stylish pants then deconstructed them. They place every stitch with precision to maximize mobility and movement. Their stretch denim blend is made from scratch. It’s woven with a top-secret method to maintain its shape. Then the denim is treated with Nanosphere©, a coating to keep them dry and clean longer. They don’t use leather patches to make them vegan-friendly.
The Curiosity is There
Overall, the jeans sound like a good product. So, I wanted to see what was unique about these pants. I browsed on their website to see what they have in store for women.
First off, I only see one type of jean compared to the two men types. Seeing this on the site is a little concerning. I get why there are two styles for men, one for smaller framed and one for larger framed guys. However, women’s bodies vary a lot in size and shape. I’m surprised there aren’t more styles for women.
But There Are Concerns
Boulder Denim’s style for women jeans is called “skinny fit.” On the description, it says it’s “perfect for women of all shapes.” I have a hard time believing that. Apparently, the denim “allows you to have a higher-waist that doesn’t restrict movement or dig in when you bend over.” Plus, “the multi-piece waistband is specially designed to be shaped like your body. It hugs your body better to prevent your underwear from showing.” That’s good to know.
The page also states “the inseam for all waist sizes is 32 inches. They are meant to be hemmed or rolled up if they are too long.” I’m not sure how I feel about this. I have short legs. If I were interested in buying a pair, I would have to roll them up at least a couple of inches or spend money to get them hemmed.
Having only one design of women’s jeans doesn’t seem fair. You would think that if there are two styles for the men, there should be at least two styles for women that fit. One for taller women and one for shorter women. The pants already cost a pretty penny, $148.00 without taxes and shipping costs. I would almost rather spend the money on a new pair of climbing shoes or another bouldering pad.
Putting It to the Test
As I’m reading more about the jeans, they don’t seem like a good pair for women. Plus, they don’t appear to be worth the money. However, the Boulder Denim guys are doing a tour of the US, promoting and demonstrating their jeans. One of their stops this week is at Climb UP Norman.
What I think I’ll do is check out their booth at the gym and see if the pants live up to the hype or not. Despite the negative stuff I’m seeing, I am intrigued to try them on. I should be able to test and climb in them while they’re there. I will let you guys know how that goes.
New Pants, Who’s This?
Yay, Boulder Denim day! I find the Boulder Denim booth and get a good look at the jeans. I see the women’s pants and want to try them on. The jeans are in European sizes, so I guess which one will fit best. I find my size and try it on in the nearby restrooms.
The pant legs are long. I can roll at least a couple of inches of denim up my leg. However, the cuff looks cute. It’s comfy in the hips and waist, something I wasn’t expecting.
As I inspect myself in the mirror, the jeans look good on me. Something else I also wasn’t expecting. I guess I can pull off a “skinny jean” look. The jeans are supposedly for both climbing and leisure. They look good enough I could wear these when I’m out and about.
One perk these pants do have is they have large front pockets I can put my cell phone in. Wow! Real pockets do exist in women’s jeans! Plus, there’s a zipper pocket for keys, IDs, and phone. I can’t fit my phone in it, but I bet if the case were off, it would.
Is it the Real Deal?
Now, to test the jeans and see if they’re all that. I choose overhanging problems to see if they’ll move with me or don’t. I want to see how they do with heel hooks. My regular jeans would get uncomfortably tight in the torso and crotch doing them.
Surprisingly, they fit well during the movement. There’s no resistance in the jeans. I try some wide stances, and knee drops on other problems to see if they’re still comfortable and they are. There’s no pulling or stiffness at all from them. They do move with the body.
Well, my mind has changed about the Boulder Denim jeans. I think they are worth saving money and buying them. They do look good, and I can climb in them. I won’t have to worry about washing them often and chalk brushes off easily. I would recommend them to someone who’s interested in wearing something sturdier while bouldering.
Until next time, happy bouldering!