Commuter Pants Nice Enough To Wear In The Office
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Commuter Pants First Thoughts
I am tasked with reviewing 10 beautifully crafted pairs of commuter cycling pants. In my line of work, if I get to bike commute twice or thrice per week, I’d call it a success. I am in the real estate world, and depending on my day, I do need to drive to bring along clients. I have been tossing the idea of a Rickshaw around, but those thoughts haven’t quite come to fruition. Anyway, commuting to work is a fantastic thing, but my real quest is to see which one of these pants stand up to the critiquing eyes of the business world. Comfort and protection from the elements are key on a bike, and showing a professional appearance in the office setting could make or break a deal.
Are the active life style companies getting into the bike game? Are the technical bike brands dabbling into the commuting world? And lastly, are the pant manufacturers seeing an opening? Yes, yes, and yes. I have pants from Rapha, Giro, and Pearl Izumi who are all big players in the bicycling industry. I have their helmets, shoes, and kits that are geared for the serious rider. They are bridging the gap to the ever growing cycling commuter who may not necessarily be hardcore riders. Over the last month or so, I have categorized these commuter pants into either the dressy slacks style, or the slightly more casual khaki or Docker-like office attire.
Commuting by bike is a wonderful thing. Many of us do it, many more should! There’s that moment of clarity when you’ve left the morning family chaos behind, and have yet to venture into the daily stress of job responsibilities. And yes, it saves time, provides exercise, promotes a healthy lifestyle, leaves a minimal carbon footprint, saves money, etc. There are so many reasons why commuting by bike makes a lot of sense. The drawback for many is that it does take some forethought as to what kind of gear is needed. The luxury of a work gym, locker room, or bike station at one’s office is nice, but not always the case.
Depending on your profession, one might be able to get away without getting ready after the morning bike commute. I have a friend who is an attorney, and changes at work into a suit. Another friend is a judge who slips on a judicial robe to hear cases. My wife performs surgeries and changes into scrubs. I, on the other hand, work in the real estate world where appearances also matter, but I can at times get away with a more casual look. My CEO is in a suit and tie every single day. Now, most of us in the office don’t necessarily follow that rule. I do have to relate to all my clients, many of which also tend to dabble in the active, endurance, and athletic world. Hence, I need to look good, but also be comfortable on the days I ride my bike to work.
Most Comfortable Commuter Pants On The Bike
I score all these Commuter Pants 2.5 Stars out of 5 in the comfort level. Correct, that’s not that good! Bike shorts usually have a chamois. Those have come a long way and come in all shapes, sizes, thickness, etc. Walking around at the office in thickly padded chamois shorts or pants would probably not be a good idea. Hence, none of these are really all that comfortable if you have to go for longer commutes. I travel about 6 miles one way, and all of these are great for my 25-30 minute ride time. The fabrics and fit do play a role, and I will touch upon that more in the individual analysis. Some are better for warmer weather, some are thicker for the upcoming fall and winter temps, and some have weather resistant qualities for more temperate climates.
That said, they’ve all paid special attention to ensure that the pants are snug enough, yet stretch to allow for plenty of freedom of movement. GUSSET!?!?! Let’s talk Gusset for a moment. Most of us in our everyday lives don’t really feel the need to be talking about crotch gussets. That said, in the bicycle commuter world, the aforementioned crotch gusset can make for a powerful ally when it comes to the bike portion. In the office, you probably don’t want to go spread eagle to show off said gusset, and many of these pants have that feature. If a pant doesn’t have a gusset, that doesn’t necessarily means it’s bad though. The material composition plays a role, as well as overall fit and body type.
Arc’Teryx A2B Commuter Pants
These A2B pants are so much more than just point to point. Out of the bunch, Arc’Teryx has put together probably one of the more distinguished office pants in the bunch. No one can tell that are some serious commuters. The look, the lightweight fabric, and style really lent itself to my professional world. That said, the bike comfort and safety touches are pretty unique as well. The cuffs when flipped over have reflective bands for visibility. Plus, the back pockets have a pull down to provide additional reflectivity on the bum.
My one knock (minor) is that the fly is not very long, and does not allow me to perform a #1…. Belt and buttons have to be loosened to achieve that task. Throw a suit jacket over these, and even my attorney and financial friends could pull this off. The gusset provides that extra bit of stretch and relief to make the bike commute more comfortable. Interestingly, there are also numerous stitch points to help keep the pants from bunching around the knees. In either case, lots of attention to detail really make these a good option! Click HERE for more information
Mountain Khakis Commuter Pants
I usually steer away from “slim” pants, but these made the “cut”. The diameter of my legs are larger from all my running and biking, so comfort/regular/casual fit usually seems to be best. These Mountain Khakis Commuter Pants are comfortably snug around my upper legs, but with their blend of cotton, nylon, and spandex the fit does not present an issue. The Slate Gray color and appearance definitely suits my office attire, so they score high on that bar for me.
These commuter Pants are slightly wider in the cuffs, so a bit of caution is required with the front chain ring. Mountain Khakis Commuter Pants sport reflective tape inside the hem for nighttime activities, two front and back pockets, no zippers, and a professional look. The Gusset is a nice extra that provides for a really comfortable ride. With a very simple look, and true to their name, they definitely fall into the casual office khaki attire category. Click HERE for more information
Ice Breaker Persist
The Persist are probably the lightest commuter pants of all the ones tested. Ice Breaker made a very versatile pant out of Merino Wool. Definitely great for hot summer days, or in the warmer Southern climates. The cuff was only slightly wider, but when pedaling would fold in, so as to not get close to the chain ring.
My first thought was that these would not pass the office test, but with some dress shoes and a button down, they fooled everyone. The lightweight and naturally odor resistant Merino material is smooth and soft to the touch. The added zipper on the side leg is big enough for a wallet or phone (without protective case). In the end, depending on your office dress code or personal taste, the Ice Breakers could swing both ways from casual to dressy slacks. Click HERE for more information
DU/ER No Sweat Commuter Pants
These DU/ER commuters are definitely my colder weather cruisers. Thick and sturdy, and fit like a dream. I am calling these my crossover hybrid dress pants as they look like the dressy slack style, yet have the comfort of the khaki category. The stretch in these pants is truly tremendous. With a mix of 62% cotton and 34% TENCEL® Lyocell, this blend really proves successful on the road and in the office.
The DU/ER No Sweat Pant also has a distinct thickness and solid feel to them that lends well to the durability and a long term relationship. In addition, they are also quite comfortable as they have an “invisible” Gusset which DU/ER says “helps prevent crotch blow outs”. I can’t recall ever having to deal with that, but blowout of the crotch does not sound like fun. In any case, I do highly recommend these No Sweat Pants for the bike and office. Click HERE for more information
GIRO Mobility Trouser
GIRO is probably one of the more visible technical bike accessory brands out there. I have had several helmets, and their shoes are currently my favorite for the road and gravel. Those shoes happen to fit my feet like a glove, or slipper is more like it.
Anyway, that technical know-how definitely shows up in these Mobility Trousers. The material simply feels more technical; it’s thicker, more durable, and will certainly stand the test of time. Their cycling roots do show up in that they are a little snug around the thigh. Giro Mobility Trouser has a 2-way stretch fabric to help alleviate any discomfort though. The DWR and UPF of 80+ works well to combat the elements. I like them, and are certainly dressy enough to fall into the dressy slacks category. In conclusion, I received plenty of compliments from the office staff, and it’s a good value at the one hundred dollar price point. Click HERE for more information
Backcountry Go To Stretch Twill Commuter Pants
As quoted by my wife, these came in “snug and sexy”. As with most of the pants, the little bit of Spandex materials allows for adequate movement. The Backcountry Go To Stretch were slightly snug around my upper legs, but not to the point where blood flow was restricted.
The Backcountry Go-To Stretch Twill Pants are 97% cotton, so keep that in mind when weather is threatening. These are definitely a more casual pant for the office, but are very versatile in their use. Good for hiking, traveling, biking, and general around town wear. I like them as they are simple and comfortable without all the extra bells and whistles. It comes down to a personal choice, and there have been plenty of days where I’ve worn these, jumped on the bike, and cruised to work. Click HERE for more information
Mission Workshop The Division
These Division Pants definitely fall into the more dressy category when it comes to business attire. Unless someone gets up close and personal to actually feel the material, no one would be the wiser. The only giveaway is the small zipper on the right upper thigh which I suppose can be a perfect business card holder. Featuring a durable four way stretch fabric allows for great flexibility, and these were quite comfortable in the office and on the bike.
I have the darker blue color and it can suffice for dressy all day long. After a handful of days in these pants, the Mission Workshop Division is certainly up to the task in any formal office setting. Having said that, they certainly come with a hefty price tag. Your call on the value, and the true test of time to its quality will be interesting to see as an enduring quality. No other fancy gadgets to make them bike specific, and that’s okay. I have lights and reflective elements on my bike. As a results, these are great for client meetings. Click HERE for more information
Swrve Transverse Downtown Trousers
These are probably the simplest and cleanest looking pants I’ve had the pleasure of taking for a spin. This is a good thing especially when it comes to the office attire. No fancy thrills, options, and zippers. The Swrve look classy, and have garnered me a lot of comments. I have other bike enthusiasts in my office, so many took notice.
It’s the little things that Swrve did that make them really stand out. The Transverse have a low waist in front to prevent your belt from digging into your gut, and a higher waist in back to stay respectable and to keep you warm. These commuters also go into the dressy slack category for their clean and fancy look. A really cool thing is that they are so versatile. Hence, I would not hesitate taking them out on a day long hike, or as a travel pant. Click HERE for more information
Rapha Randonee Trousers
The actual Rapha name and/or logo was hard to find on these pants, but finally after some searching they made their presence known on the flipped over reflective cuff. The Randonee is definitely a pant that can handle office attire standards in the investment, sales, or marketing industries. In my Real Estate office, I asked about the small pink tab on my left rear pocket. Not an issue! Add a sport coat which would certainly enhance the more formal look. Plus, it covers that touch of pink if it was of concern.
The fabric is quick drying which I found out when getting caught in a surprise rain storm. In addition, these Rapha Trousers have excellent stretch and are also crease resistant. These pants carried a 5-star rating in the fashionable rankings that I conducted in my office. Sleek and fashionable, and I feel good when wearing them. Rapha has a great reputation among my cycling friends, and the Randonee have certainly lived up to that reputation. Click HERE for more information
Pearl Izumi Versa Commuter Pants
Pearl Izumi is probably the best known bike brand in the bunch. They strive to reach a wide range of riders, and have an avid following all around the globe. From the bicycle technical side, the Versa comes in strong. These pants are covered with reflective elements, zippered pockets, water resistant materials, and the aforementioned gusseted crotch. The material is 100% polyester and has the added benefit of a water resistant DWR treatment to help keep the elements out.
As a result, the Pearl Izumi Versa sports a simple sleek look that does translate nicely to the casual work place setting. For many of my clients, I can certainly pull this off. Not too fancy, but with its clean lines, the Pearl Izumi Versa are a great addition to my bike commuting closet. Click HERE for more information
Final Thoughts On The Commuter Pants Truly Good Enough To Wear To The Office
As mentioned in my intro, none of these commuter pants are really super comfortable. They all certainly try, and have features that make them much better than any other work pants. The comfort goal and questions is; will they get me to work without issues. And in my opinion, they all succeed in that mission.
The features on the pants can be looked upon from a couple of angles. They are there mainly to help you on the bike to be visible, and prevent your keepsakes from falling out with zippers. Those can be a downside if you want a fancy straightforward office look. Striking that balance for me was the challenge in how these companies performed. Safety is key, and I appreciate the ones that have them. That said, the pants that were too overly aggressive or visible took it down a notch for me. Zippers on the side of the leg are better left off in my opinion. I have a decent size case protecting my phone, and doesn’t slide into that pocket all that well in many instances anyway.
Style did play a big role in determining my favorites commuter pants. I usually don’t pick the best out of a selection of gear I am reviewing, since I am merely one guy using these commuter pants in a way that worked for me. All of these pants will do the job on the bike and at the workplace. Again, your workplace and personal standards will determine which pants you will ultimately pick. Having said that, I do have 3 favorites that simply stood out for me on many fronts as very suitable dressy office attire. In no particular order; the DU/ER No Sweat, the Mission Workshop Division, and the Arc’Teryx A2B topped my list. In addition, the Swrve Transverse and Rapha Randonee came in with strong honorable mentions. No matter your preference, office dress code, or commute length, you certainly have options.