Note: Western Rise provided these pants at no cost for review.
Western Rise is one of the performance clothing brands which excites us the most, as they seem to be taking a rather unrestrained approach to making better performing clothing. The Diversion Pant is the latest offering from them, and is designed to be a person’s go to everyday pant, which makes it right up our alley. Further, Western Rise wants this pant to be: “tougher than workwear, more comfortable than sweatpants, and more stylish than jeans.” That’s a tall order, and I’ve had a chance now to wear these pants enough to know how they stack up.
Western Rise markets that these pants took 3 years of research and development. Which all leads to what they call the ‘Diversion Double Weave Canvas’, and which I call: really stretchy and soft material. Soft is the key word when describing this, because most performance materials are either rough, or slick/smooth. Soft, outside of high cotton or polyester is pretty rare.
Specifically this fabric is: 94% nylon, 6% spandex and comes in at a hefty 286 gsm. All of that is coated with a DWR coating, and of course the pockets are non-standard, in this case Nylon 6,6. The stretch is 4-way, and the pants have a UPF rating of 50+. But none of that really shows what you get with this material, because it is quite good.
The face of the material looks and feels like a cotton canvas. It is matte, with not a hint of sheen — something very rare in very high performing pants. It is also soft to the touch, with a very broken in, favorite t-shirt, feel to it. The facing is fantastic.
Next, the inside of the pants is a dobby weave, which Western Rise hopes mimics the feel of sweatpants. On this I can comment, because sweatpants are my go to evening pants, and while they came close, it is a slight miss on the sweatpant mimicry. However, they do feel amazing against your skin with a softness to them that you rarely feel in an everyday pant. Almost like a nice pair of terry cotton sweat pants.
The stretch on these pants is extreme, so much so that I was actually quite surprised that they are only 6% spandex and not more. Kudos there, as the stretch makes them quite comfortable.
Simply put: yes, more of this fabric please.
Fit & Style
They are listed as a ‘slim/tailored’ fit, which I think is slightly off from reality. These are easily the most slim pants I have reviewed for this site, and the most slim I have ever worn. They border on being too slim for my taste, and I hope that they make a slightly more relaxed cut in the future. However, the wife says I look good in them and they have yet to be uncomfortable, so perhaps they found a nice balance there.
I was told the pants would stretch a half, to one full, size during wear, which is very common in this type of pant. After about a half day of wear I would say they stretched somewhere in that range, and have stayed there. The fit overall is a bit snug for me to call perfect, but none of that makes them any less comfortable to wear.
On the style front, Western Rise makes the claim that not only should these pants be better than jeans, but that they can easily be dressed up for the office. I call shenanigans on this thought. They most certainly can, and probably should, replace jeans for most people. They are more comfortable, and look better than jeans. I received the blue-grey color and find it very versatile and easy to wear. There is, however, no escaping the fact that they are a five-pocket pant style, which is not going to fly in many business settings.
There’s no way I can get away with wearing these at work, where I wear chinos and up styling. You could easily get away with these in a more casual to smart-casual environment. Basically if ‘nice jeans’ is all you ever need, these will be more than ample. But if ‘at least chinos’ is where you live, then these won’t dress up enough for your needs. This is all subjective though, and the black could likely dress up more.
That notwithstanding, the biggest style miss on these is the cuff on the pant leg opening. Western Rise stuffed some extra fabric in it so that you can easily adjust the pants from the standard 32” inseam they ship with to roughly a 33” inseam. This is great for product inventory, but if you leave the inseam at 32” the cuff looks a bit too thick and detracts from the style overall. I have it on my list to take these to the tailor and have that cuff redone.
I can sum this section up with one word: fantastic. These are one of the best performing pants I have. I wear them any time I am not going into my office, and I have yet to regret it. I wore them for an entire day of cleaning both of the kids rooms, and their playroom. That involved a lot of movement, crawling on my knees and everything else. These pants were fantastic for that.
Let’s break down the claims made about these pants one by one:
- “unprecedented freedom and comfort”: yes, this is a very accurate statement. Typically the slimmer fitting the pants, the less mobility. I wore these on an all day road trip, cleaning the house, lounging, and more. They never once restricted me, nor did I find them uncomfortable. The key thing to know is that the waistband has a solid nylon lining on the inside face of it, which means the waist does not stretch like the rest of the pants. It will slightly loosen with wear, but not a lot. This is great if the pants fit you well, but will be uncomfortable if you are sitting in an uncomfortable position, or the pants fit too snug. The other upside of this waistband design is that your pants tend to actually stay up much better.
- “ultra-soft, breathable inner lining”: yes, double checks here. The pants are soft, just not fuzzy soft. The pants are also very breathable, while it is winter, here in Houston we have touched 80°F a couple of times and have had some very humid weather. The pants performed admirable under those conditions.
- “abrasion resistant”: this was my biggest worry with the facing material on the pants as it feels too soft to be durable. Yet, I crawled around on my knees across the carpet cleaning the play room with the kids for an entire day and even upon very close inspection I can see no signs of wear at the knees. I honestly find it hard to believe that pants this soft can be this durable. Time will tell, but so far I am impressed.
- “helps the pant retain its shape”: one of the biggest problems with stretchy pants is that they do what many call “bag out” especially at the knees. Essentially over time they stretch out in areas with lots of articulation, and stay stretched out making them look oddly shaped. Typically this is easily fixed with a quick wash. However, thus far, nothing of the sort with these pants. I hope that holds true, because that can be the only reason I need to wash pants like this, and if they continue not to loose shape, then they will likely be the pants I can wear the longest between washes.
As I said, from a performance stand point, these pants are amazing. The 286 gsm weight seems heavy on paper, but on your body it does not feel that heavy at all. They feel like the perfect all around weight. Warm enough for cool to cold weather, and light enough for warm to very warm weather. They won’t replace shorts, but they can likely handle a large portion of the temperature range people face.
These are now going to be my go to casual pants. They are just too comfortable and look too good not to be. I do wish they were cut a little more relaxed, but none of that takes away from the pant itself. Not only will they be my casual pants, they will likely find themselves my airplane travel pants too.
I highly recommend these.
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