Jeans started as a utilitarian piece of clothing. They only turned into a fashion statement within the past sixty years. It seems we’ve reached the point where jeans are more form than function. Thank goodness for backlashes. Leading the charge on this rebellion against fancy-looking, useless jeans, DUER jeans with L2X Performance Stretch Denim.
Once upon a time, jeans were the workman’s clothing. Men wore them to the factory because denim was durable. Somewhere along the way, jeans turned into these strange, unrecognizable things with fancy embroidery on the ass. And companies intentionally wore them out before they sold them to you. If Ford drove your new car around, sprayed it with acid, sanded the paint down, and ran it into rocks before shipping it to you, you’d be pissed!
Recently, manufacturers are incorporating new technology and blending new fibers into their jeans to bring back function, but geared toward today’s use. People want to commute in their jeans, go bouldering, and still be able to fit in at the bar after. So, in addition to durability, jeans need to be stretchy, breathable, and still good looking.
Why am I a good jeans tester?
Thunder thighs make for jean torture. I’ve blown through the crotch of every pair of jeans I’ve owned over the last decade because my thighs get in the way of each other. Marmot and Arc’teryx pants have fallen as easily as whatever the heck Nordstrom Rack carries. There’s a sad, jean graveyard in our local landfill.
Why are they special?
DUER’s L2X Stretch Denim blends Coolmax fibers into the usual cotton for wicking and coolness. The fabric blend is touted as 30% lighter and stronger. I’m generally a warm person. Truth be told, most jeans lead to swampy netherparts for me. DUER’s jeans have all but eliminated that problem. This isn’t the first pair of jeans I’ve work that incorporate Coolmax, but it’s the first pair where the Coolmax actually seemed to work. The 30% lighter fabric probably helps as well.
DUER also adds stretch – the jeans are more flexible than I am. Hopping fences? Done. Goofing around with your kid on the playground? No problemo.
Speaking of washing, DUER treats the fabric with Dow Silvadur, which uses silver ions to kill bacteria. Does it work? I wore these jeans every day, non-stop, on a recent, six-day trip to Europe without washing them. They were the only part of me that was tolerably fresh when I walked back through my front door.
DUER also includes smaller features that add function. A crotch gusset adds freedom of movement and moves seams away from high wear areas. Front and rear pockets all have an extra layer of fabric on the bottom half to prevent holes.
Are they perfect?
Almost. The combination of stretch and the natural tendency of the cotton to loosen up with use does make the jeans get a bit baggier over time. While a quick wash fixes it, I’d rather wash them when they really need it, not just to make them fit again. It defeats the purpose of the Silvadur. I’d also like just the tiniest reduction in the rise – the top to bottom distance at the crotch. Half an inch would do it.
Last thing – upon inspection, I noticed a small section of wear along the outside of one of the gusset seams. It looks like it will likely start spreading, which is unfortunate, because I really do like these jeans. I had high hopes that they would survive my abuse.
Update 6/12/2017 – I’ve officially done it. It took six months of regular use, but I put a hole in the fabric of the gusset. I’ve reached out to DUER for comment.
Update 2/28/2018 – DUER said that the wear I experienced was not normal. I’m guessing my wash schedule was not normal either. I have two more pairs of DUERs that I’m washing more frequently and the creases where the hole erupted have not appeared. It’s entirely fair to say that the jeans wore out because of how I used them, not because of a fault in the fabric. Moral of the story = note to self: take better care of your pants.
How do they fit?
Relaxed fit isn’t as relaxed as one might expect. DUER recommended I size down in the waist, which was a good idea. Even a full size down can get a little saggy between washes. While the thighs fit perfectly for my taste, the calves taper just a bit too much so that I’m stretching them out a bit just standing around. In fairness, I have large calves. I can’t imagine squeezing in to one of their slim fit jeans without looking like I spent half an hour yanking on my wife’s yoga pants. Of course, if you’re a skinny fella, they may work perfectly for you.
I don’t know what fancy jeans cost these days. I do know that DUER’s Performance Jeans list for $130. I also know I’ve gotten more wear out of them with fewer washes in the past two months than I have any other pair of pants I own. Cost per wear is going to be exceedingly low with these, despite the higher cost of entry. Can you buy thirteen pairs of Rustlers at Wallyworld for the same price? Yup. But I’m sure as hell not going to do something stupid like that.
The value here is long term comfort and versatility. I’d be miserable, sweaty, and abraded in a cheap pair of jeans. I’m happy, comfortable, and caressed in DUER.