Review: DU/ER activity jeans

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Denim pants designed for riding a bicycle and other active endeavors is not something new, nor have there been any true technological advances in fabric or durability enhancers until now.

That’s because ever since Levi Strauss and his first business partner Jacob Davis—inventor of the first pair of riveted denim pants—patented their product in 1873, denim has been used by millions of active men, women and children. Davis, coincidentally, was Strauss’s first customer after opening a West Coast branch of the Strauss family dry goods business in early 1853, when the gold rush was still rushing and bringing people and wealth into San Francisco.


What is appreciated by denim lovers who choose to ride bicycles (and in my case, motorcycles as well) are the smart modern touches, like the addition of Spandex for natural stretch, or a crotch gusset for sitting on a saddle more comfortably without that annoying bunching in your nether region.


So, what makes the DU/ER jeans special? The founders—who have a quarter century of experience with denim and fashion—wanted more out of ‘traditional’ denim, so they developed a proprietary Coolmax-style polyester fabric that looks and feels like denim but is reportedly 30 percent lighter and stronger than traditional cotton (we don’t have the laboratory means to cross-check this claim, but we digress). Coolmax has been part of the cycling clothing scene for a few decades, and its wicking properties keep moisture away from the body, dries faster than standard cotton denim, and offers a fuller range of movement.


Voila! Denim-like pants for un-denim-like activities, so you look like a normal human being instead of a Lycra-clad billboard for a company you used to like or never heard of to begin with. And, to address any concern one may have about possible mobile phone radioactivity, DU/ER lines its pockets (literally) with copper and silver coating to keep that mobile phone junk from affecting your junk, if you catch our drift.

Fit and finish

I like the DU/ER pants for a few reasons. One, the relaxed version is cut to fit my Belgian thighs and glutes. The 34×32 sizing was spot on, although I needed a belt to avoid the dreaded ‘crack attack in back’. Two, the double stitching on nearly 90 percent of the pants is reassuring from a durability standpoint. Three, even though the crotch gusset is split into two sections, I never feel the extra stitching down below. The concept works as advertised, and I have ample freedom of movement when turning circles on my bicycle or resting my feet on the pegs of my Moto Guzzi. In fact, as part of my six-week test, I wore the DU/ER jeans when walking the dog two weeks straight, because Gromit and I take our walking serious and punch out a pretty brisk pace every day through the park.


I’ve owned and worn other performance denims from Club Ride and Swrve, and both had their pluses and minuses (mainly pluses; Club Ride is to be commended for its No CrackBack and zippered side pocket for your smartphone). It has to be a challenge for manufacturers to decide which dimensions to choose for their potential customers, but the founders of DU/ER knew that they personally wanted pants they could ride in and be proud of, and with their pedigree (Levi Strauss, The Gap, Ralph Lauren, Guess Jeans and more) they certainly hit the mark. And, true to form, they look great when off the bike.


Currently there are two styles available (relaxed fit and skinny) in indigo blue and black, both for $110. They just surpassed their Kickstarter goal, so production has begun and delivery (for indigo) is slated for January 2015, with black slated for March 2015.


This Just In: DU/ER jeans


Gary Lenett has been designing and making jeans for the past 25 years, both under his own brands and for some of the best known names in the business: Levi Strauss, The Gap, Ralph Lauren, Guess Jeans and more. The Vancouver, British Columbia, resident found himself getting a bit bored with the fashion side of the business, having seen the same trends cycle four or five times over his career. We recently received a pair of his new jeans for active commuters, and picked his brain a bit to find out more.

“My interest over the last number of years has been fabric technology and I decided that I wanted to develop a new line of men’s jeans that was more purpose than trend driven. I am an active guy who ride a bicycle to work and wanted to develop jeans that would allow me to DO all that I DO in a day without changing my clothes (regardless of whether I had the most important meeting of the year and still wanted to ride my bike). Thus the development of the name DU/ER (a play on DOER).

“Our L2X jeans were over two years in the making, including the time to develop the fabric. Just like other technical apparel our design calendar is approximately two years out, which is only possible if your product is what I call “internally designed” and not trend driven.

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“We wanted to be better than the Levi’s Commuter jean straight out of the gate. More flex, better quick dry, more comfort while you are riding, especially for guys with bigger thighs. What we ended up doing was making a jean that’s good for more than just cycling.


“We launched on Kickstarter because wanted to make sure we had it right from the first product, and our first product had some unique characteristics like the crotch gusset, the super light weight and the radiation pocket. We wanted customers to tell us if we got it right, and Kickstarter is a great way to test those assumptions. We are really happy with almost doubling our goal of $25,000. We’ve got some excellent feedback and a bunch of very excited backers—err um—future customers.


Stay tuned

Look for our review of the DU/ER jeans online in the coming weeks.

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