You’ve made cycling a part of your life. You ride all the time. You’ve gotten fit, and you’ve probably lost weight. Now you can’t find any jeans that fit.
If you’re like me, finding pants that actually fit can be maddening. Jeans that have enough room in the thighs and butt usually have a waist that’s so loose you could fit another person in there (not to mention a fit reminiscent of the days when JNCOs were popular). But then jeans with a waist that fit usually won’t make it past my knees. I know I can’t be the only one in this boat.
Many cyclists, along with many other athletes have unique requirements when it comes to clothing. This makes it fairly difficult to find things that work off the rack at your local clothing store. I recently tried to buy a new pair of jeans and after going into four different stores (including the Levi’s store), I still had to order four different pairs online before I found one pair that fit. Kinda.
Apparently, I should have just ordered some Boulder Denim and been done with it. Though technically, these Boulder Denim jeans aren’t available just yet. But they will be soon – and if you’re willing to wait, there’s a chance to score a pair at a deal through Kickstarter.
Don’t let the Kickstarter fool you though, this isn’t Boulder Denim’s first attempt at making functional jeans that should work for a variety of athletes. Now on version 3.0, Boulder Denim was started in 2015 by two friends named Taz and Brad. The original idea was to create jeans that were the perfect rock climbing jeans – hence the name Boulder Denim. Boulder as in scrambling around on on small rocks without a rope or harness, not Boulder, Colorado. Instead, Boulder Denim was founded out of Vancouver, Canada.
While the jeans were originally meant for rock climbers, their first Kickstarter revealed that it wasn’t just climbers who wanted functional jeans meant to fit athletic builds. Roughly 30% of the Kickstarter backers were climbers, while the rest simply wanted more comfortable jeans that wouldn’t bag out. Boulder Denim was on to something.
Completely feature packed, the 3.0 builds on the original Boulder Denim jeans in an effort to make them even better. Constructed from an 11.4oz four-season denim, the material is created from “sustainable organic cotton” which is blended with Cordura for durability, and CoolMax Ecomade Tech for temperature and moisture control. That breaks down to 63% Organic Cotton, 14% Cordura, 21% Ecomade CoolMax, and 2% Lycra. While I have yet to really test the durability claims, the temperature and moisture regulating claims are legit. If you tend to be a sweaty person (which most athletes are at times), you can feel a difference with these jeans as soon as you slip them on.
Jeans? Stretchy pants? Both?
Let’s be clear – calling these jeans is a little misleading. When I think of jeans, I think rigid, stiff fabric that takes ages to break in. Compared to traditional denim, the 3.0 jeans feel more like yoga pants (only a lot more durable). They are so soft and stretchy that they feel like no other pair of jeans I’ve ever tried on. That not only makes them great for activities, but also allows them to fit like a glove for those of us with large thighs, butts, calves, etc. This is part of their 360° Extreme Stretch technology which is supposedly proprietary and features what they call 90% shape memory. That means that the denim will hold its shape in the long run, with what they claim is an industry leading stretch retainment.
Since these jeans have a Slim or Athletic fit, the waist band is designed to fit snugly without gapping. Typically, when I find a pair of jeans that will actually work for me, this gapping is an issue. The Boulder 3.0 jeans fit better in the waist than almost anything else I’ve tried even though I really should have gone down a size. When Boulder Denim offered me a sample, I opted for the Athletic fit in my usual 30 x 30″. Apparently, the Kickstarter only has 32″ inseams available (more sizes will be offered in the future for retail purchases), so I ended up with a 30 x 32″. What I didn’t realize is that Boulder Denim states their Athletic fit runs about a full size larger in the waist, so the 30″ is really more like a 30.5″. Knowing this now, I should have gone with the 29″ waist which would fit me more snugly than these do, and I would still have plenty of room in the legs.
One inseam length only… for now
According to my tape measure, my waist is actually closer to 31″ but the 30″ waist is still a little loose on me. My butt measures about 39.5″ at most, and the widest part of my thigh measures right around 23″. Up top, I would consider the Athletic fit to be form fitting, but not tight. More importantly, the jeans are in no way restricting which is awesome. If you prefer the skinny jean look, or just have more slender measurements, the Slim Fit would be the alternative option – both with 32″ inseams only (for the Kickstarter).
Women have the choice between the Skinny fit and the Boyfriend Fit, both with 30″ inseams only (for the Kickstarter).
Black & Blue
When it comes to style, you have three options with the 3.0. Traditional blue wash is available in the standard 5 pocket jean, as well as the Workhorse Edition shown above. The Workhorse version adds reinforced knees with double the material for extra abrasion resistance. Other than the horizontal seams though, you’d never know it was there. The Workhorse also adds a reinforced utility/tool loop and a minimalist leg pocket. To be honest, I’m not crazy about the looks of the Workhorse Edition, but then again, I don’t actually have many blue jeans in my closet (and almost nothing that came pre-distressed).
However, I do have a lot of black and grey clothing, which is why I would absolutely go with the black version of the jeans if I had a choice. The 3.0 in a black 29 x 30″ seems like it would be my perfect pair of jeans.
Other than the reinforced knees, tool loop, and side pocket, the standard black and blue versions offer the same features as the Workhorse Edition. That includes an extra hidden zippered pocket inside the front left pocket. Boulder Denim points out that this could be used to keep your passport hidden when traveling. While true, a passport does fit, it isn’t exactly quick and easy to get it in or out, so just plan ahead of time if you’re in line at customs! The zippered pocket will also easily fit most smart phones and more importantly, the zipper will keep whatever valuables in place when you are getting rad.
Additionally, the other pockets are extra deep, which means large items like big smart phones fit nicely and don’t interfere with your movement. Since the outer material is stretchy, it’s also super easy to get things in and out of the pockets, which is not the case on other pairs of jeans I own. Compared to other jeans, these pockets are dialed.
If you’re planning to actually ride in these, you’ll be happy to know that the crotch is reinforced with a second layer of fabric at the gusset. Each belt loop is also reinforced with an extra layer of fabric behind it to keep them from being ripped off. If you do manage to rip one, it’s covered by their lifetime warranty. That also covers their stitching which is reinforced for added durability, but covered by their lifetime warranty just in case.
Overall, I love the fit and feel of the Boulder Denim 3.0 jeans. If they were offering a 29 x 30″ size, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy a pair in black. While the limited inseam lengths may be a road block for some, if you are one of the many men who wear a 32″ inseam or women who wear a 30″ inseam, the Kickstarter may be your chance to snag a pair for less than the eventual retail price of $158.
Pricing & Availability
Clearly a lot of people are interested in the 3.0 as they have already destroyed their goal of $30,000 with over $219,000 raised. As usual, you should back Kickstarters with caution, but it’s usually a safe bet when it’s an established company making something they’re already proficient in. There are a few Super Early Bird deals left which will land you a pair of 3.0 Denim plus a t-shirt for $108 (plus at least $14.84 in shipping). The Kickstarter will run until April 15th, and the first jeans will ship out around September – which will also be the time when jeans will go on sale to the general public.