Levi’s have been making men’s commuter clothing for a few years now. There is some choice in cycling specific jeans for men, but very few for women. Therefore, it was with some happiness that I heard the news that Levi’s finally realised that women ride bikes too and wear jeans while doing it.
The jeans actually attempt to solve one of my personal problems with wearing jeans to cycle in: skinny jeans are damned uncomfortable. I see people cycling around in them all the time and am generally pretty envious.
When Levi’s brought out the women’s jeans, I was pleased to see that they were skinny jeans. I feel like this style of jean is currently the best for dressing up or down and therefore gives the most flexibility in a city like London.
For women, the jeans come in blue and black denim skinny fit as well as some chino style ones in several colours. The cycling specific features focus on trying to provide more comfort on the bike. They also aim for you to arrive at destination a little dryer in bad weather and dry off quicker once there as the fabric is treated with a DRW coating. Finally, they have reflective tape on the inside seams so that when you roll the cuff a little there is some enhanced visibility. As the reflective elements are on the ankles they are quite eye-catching as this part of your body moves more frequently when a car or something is behind you.
The men’s jeans have a u-lock holder strap on the waist-band. The women’s is lacking this, but with the cut it would not be very comfortable. It would also add extra fabric to the waist which might not look as good. The women’s are quite high-waisted, which helps with coverage when on the bike, and is also quite flattering off it.
This was the first pair of cycling specific jeans I have tried. The jeans are pretty comfortable on the bike, certainly more comfortable than other regular skinny jeans I have tried. When I first tried them on I felt that they were a little tight on the calves but this has proven to not be a problem when riding. I found the fit to be variable between the colours of denim – the black felt stretchier while the blue had a more traditional jeans feel.
The raised waist is certainly comfortable, although adding a belt would make them bulky at the front when stretched out on the drops of a road bike. As it is without the belt I only feel like I benefit from the high waist and don’t find it uncomfortable. In terms of the reflectivity on the cuffs, I do like that it is there. I usually roll my jeans anyway so it certainly does no harm to have it there and I don’t think it makes them look less acceptable in the pub.
The water repellent coating does not really do much to shed the rain after the first wash. This is not entirely unexpected but still disappointing although they do seem to dry quicker than regular jeans.
They do not hold their shape for as long as I would like. They don’t bag out at the knees as badly as regular skinny jeans on a bike, however, they do get stretched out a bit. It means that if you were riding around all day and then wanted them to be super fitted in the evening then you might be out of luck.
I find jeans hard to buy, and was fully expecting these to not fit at all. Therefore I was pleasantly surprised when these fit better than a lot of other jeans out there. This was in part what motivated me to buy them. The cycling features are nice and make riding in them more comfortable, even if they are not extensive. That said, the jeans are no more expensive than other high end jeans (£80), in fact they are pretty good value for Levi’s.
The commuter jeans could do with a little more refinement and maybe a little more variety in terms of fit offerings. It would be nice to have more of a boot cut version available as well made of a thicker, more robust denim, perhaps with a gusseted crotch. This would enhance longevity and make them great for cycling the city in cold weather.
All in all though, I have found that these jeans are a good buy if they fit you and I think it is worth adding them to your wardrobe. The jeans can be brought from Levi’s for £80-85
Do you have some favourite cycling jeans that are great on the bike and about town? Have you found that one pair to rule them all?
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.