Gear: Pants On Fire

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Sartso Women's Jeans

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!”

Dainese Womens Jeans

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.

Dainese Womens Jeans

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.

Dainese Womens Jeans

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.

Rev'It Jeans

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).

Rev'It Jeans

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.

Sartso Women's Jeans

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.

  • Aaron

    I’m starting to think someone should start a company sewing Kevlar into whatever jeans you send them. I’ve got 2 pair right now I would get done. Hear my call, internet.

    • Thomas Whitener

      That’s…that’s not a bad idea, actually. Sell a pair of kevlar jeans, as well as pre-cut patches people could install themselves, and do custom installs.

      Hmm. I bet I could do that.

      • Aaron

        Only need a few things. Storefront, paypal, Kevlar source, hd sewing machine and ability to use it. It seems like a lot of people want the Kevlar jeans, but they all are cut in odd fits.

      • eddi

        Kevlar fabrics for sale here:

    • Ben W
    • Fava d’Aronne

      The idea is very good. The main problem though is liability, especially in the US, given its litigation system. I can totally see someone suing whomever stitched their pants that broke in a major crash…so unless you have big shoulders, you may be in some trouble…

      • Aaron

        I think that could be solved with a bit of legal talk like major brands use. “will not prevent crashes, will not prevent injury…blah blah” But people are sue crazy here.

        • Fava d’Aronne

          yep, pretty much.

    • Phil Mills

      It’s not going to address the pre-existing stitching, though. If you pop a seam when you hit, I have this nasty mental image of those jeans unpeeling like a banana.

      I think a pair of Kevlar long-johns would be a better idea, even if it adds some bulk (and heat). I believe Draggin Jeans sells some (shirts, too). When your fashion jeans let go, you still have a full layer of kevlar circling your leg for abrasion resistance.

      • Josh Bolton

        I’ve thought of the Kevlar Leggings plus knee pads idea in the past. Never got round to it though. Somehow, I feel a bit naked without leathers or textiles.

        It would be great to see kevlar leggings with integrated padding that can be slipped on under regular jeans!

    • Heather McCoy

      Important to note gents, the Rev’It Broadway and Dainese P. California are both woven with aramid or Kevlar polymers (not just lined). Honestly, I don’t know what all the lining is about, except perhaps to prevent chaffing; the fabric is a bit stiffer than naked denim.

    • Generic42

      Toss those on under any jeans and you are good to go, no worries about the jeans splitting either as it’s all one piece underneath.

      • daveinva

        I thought that, too, but for the record, those separate yellow Kevlar liners are the most uncomfortable scratchy things to wear, like, ever. I bought both a shirt and the long-johns and couldn’t wait to get them off (plus, the long-johns are too thick to wear with any pair of your normal jeans anyway).

        YMMV, of course.

    • James Elk

      already have that here….I’m sending my jeans in this week.

      • Nemosufu Namecheck

        Wow I am absolutely doing this – best tip I’ve received all year! Thanks James.

        • James Elk

          yeah I found out about these guys a couple of weeks ago….about time someone did this

      • Aaron

        That is great! I will jump on board when they get a US/CAN tailor. 186 w/ pockets in knees plus 66$ shipping is harsh. But I want very badly.

  • Jake Isbill

    Did Wes Quit???

    (edit) I found out. :(

    • Jason

      He must have if Ride Apart has printed the following: “They have a straight, regular fit and a medium-low rise; compare to what LuckyBrand calls a “boyfriend fit”. Yeah, really comfortable.” What ever happened to the undying love for skinny jeans? Maybe those are just for hipster men like Wes.

      • Justin McClintock

        So…men are supposed to wear women’s jeans and women are supposed to wear men’s jeans. That’s sorta what I had always gotten out of the “old” preferences. Because that makes PERFECT sense.

        • Jason

          The whole point of being trendy is to be on the leading edge of whatever the new fashion trend is. Once a certain number of people adopt the current trend something new must be found in order to set the trendy folks apart again.

          • Justin McClintock

            Or as I like to call it, “weird for weird’s sake.”

    • Phil Mills

      Huh. I’m not completely distraught over that. Commenting on one of Wes’ articles to disagree with him on some point was asking to be belittled and dismissed. Hopefully the new writers will be (a) less enamored of the 1%er (body fat) culture trends (and thus review gear that most people can wear) and (b) civil with the commenting community.

      I think the recent articles focusing on women’s gear is a great start.

      • Heather McCoy

        Thanks, Phil. I love dialoging with readers, and rarely resort to verbal smack-downs (I’ve learned to curb my mutant power).
        :) Heather

  • eddi

    The Sartso jeans for guys look good and are priced to sell. But the size chart is odd and the sloppy site seems to be a warning to at least wait until the relaunch. On top of Heather’s difficulties it seems to be a case of good product, poor salesmanship.

  • William Connor

    The idea of riding jeans is good. The price is a little silly. For the cost of most jeans you can get better protection from vented over pants, or even low priced weather proof pants that can go over any jeans you want, or shorts. At which point you are as comfortable or “hot/sexy” looking when you get to your destination as you like. I personally prefer comfortable and dry.

    • taba

      Armored shorts and knee guards under chinos maybe make the most sense?

      • Justin McClintock

        I think the inherent issue there is that you’ve got these armored shorts on under your chinos once you arrive. Then you either have to wear them or find a restroom to get them off. And road grime on a pair of nice pants isn’t the most attractive thing, or the easiest to get out. Hence jeans. Or overpants.

        • taba

          Yeah, I’ve a couple pairs of Alpinestars Hellcat jeans on order and hoping they’ll be passably cool.

          If not, I’ll try and see how un/comfortable the armored shorts are.

      • Davidabl2

        Solving the collision problem perhaps,the abrasion problem, not so much.
        I have worn knee guards all day under jeans (job requires kneepads sometimes, anyway) but them plus the armored shorts would be too much.
        Probably even at a desk..

        • Piglet2010

          “I have worn knee guards all day under jeans…”

          What brand? My Dainese Oak knee armor chafes at the edges unless I wear them over long underwear.

          • Davidabl2

            Forcefield “leg tubes’ most comfortable, EVS-Giders probably better protection but will chafe by the end of a long day.

          • Davidabl2

            I’ve used both for some years now, when it’s time to replace them I’ll take a look at the ones now offered by Leatt (makers of the neck brace of the same name).. both for comfort &protection.

    • Justin McClintock

      Agreed. I could buy a nice set of leather riding pants for less than what many jeans cost now.

      • Aaron

        I paid 200 or so for mine and regret it. I wish i had gotten the A* track pants and get Thomas Whitener below to sew in Kevlar. 2 pants, a little more money but WAY better.

    • Mark D

      Totally agree; a pair of goofy-looking overpants is probably safer, cheaper, and when you get to your destination, come off in 10 seconds. Then you don’t have to plan your wardrobe around the fact that you ride a motorcycle. Best of both worlds.

      • Piglet2010

        Best of both worlds only if you have a secure place to store the pants at your destination.

        Yet another reason why a practical motorcycle or scooter has locking storage.

  • Fava d’Aronne

    I have had the Dainese D1 Kevlar (same material as the female ones you reviewed here) for two years now, and I have the same feeling of constriction that you mentioned. Especially on the back of my knees. My guess is that the stitches have not been “thought” enough, and the jeans create folds that cut into your flesh. Other than that, I wear them pretty much every day when I am on a bike around town.

  • Phil Mills

    The reflective strip on the Sartso jeans is a nice touch, but would work backward from my experience with “riding jeans”. I want the extra length when I’m ON the bike and bent hips and knees have taken up the extra inseam. When I’m OFF the bike, THAT’s when I feel the need to cuff ‘em up (especially when I trade thick-soled Sidi Canyons for office shoes once I get to work).

    • Heather McCoy

      The reflective strip is on the Rev’It Broadway, not the Sartso. Agreed; it’s really only beneficial if you’re short enough to need the things rolled up (which ALWAYS includes me).

  • KC

    Great and practical article, Heather. I haven’t found a pair of men’s riding jeans that I’d want to own. They’re either baggy, tacky, or out of proportion to my size. I go through the same thing with jackets, but not as bad (shoulders fit, waist is huge.)

  • Michael Howard

    Nice rack. Or whatever you call that thing holding those other things. ;)

  • Squabbles

    Somebodies butt and muffin top settled into their thighs. BLECK!!

  • charlie


  • Robert Glover

    I have three pair of the AGV Sport black armored jeans. I love ‘em. They were my standard wear-to-work pants back when I would commute. If it was cold enough, I’d add layers over top of them. I have a heavier pair of (discontinued) Cortech armored jeans that are great in colder weather, but wow are they WARM. I only use them for riding, and rarely at that.

  • atomicalex

    The butt gap is such a doggone turnoff. I cannot force myself to spend $100 on a pair of regular jeans that don’t fit, so I really cannot see spending $200+ on a pair of technical jeans that don’t fit.

    Back into my goofy textile overpants I go. With my pretty, skinny/curvy Silvers underneath!

  • KC

    Why can’t they make men’s riding denim pants look/fit this good (without costing a fortune)? I’m a slim/compact gent. They’re either loose/baggy, fake faded in places jeans don’t typically fade, with fake “whiskers”, and crazy patches and stitching. I wouldn’t wear them as normal jeans, so why would I wear them on a motorcycle?

    I guess I’ll just go with knee/shin protection for now – if I can find something that works with a sports riding position. I wish Carhartt made something with some sort of reinforced fiber.