Mizzen+Main Short Sleeve Seersucker

The item in this review was provided for review purposes by Mizzen+Main.

Mizzen+Main has been around for a while, specializing in men’s synthetic dress and casual collared shirts. While they have branched out like many of the established brands, their shirts remain their specialty.

As part of our search for great short sleeve summer shirts, I got the opportunity to give the Mizzen+Main Hartley, a short sleeve seersucker button down shirt, a try.

Material

You’ve probably think of seersucker in a summer suit, but it can be used in other garments as well. Traditional seersucker is 100% cotton with a bumpy texture that comes from how the threads are woven. The texture of the fabric helps keep it away from the skin, helping with air circulation. While not as airy (or wrinkly) as linen, seersucker is an age-old solution for a summer fabric.

Mizzen+Main took an updated approach to seersucker for the fabric on this shirt. While retaining the bumpy texture and traditional stripe pattern, they made the fabric with 68% cotton, 27% polyester for moisture wicking, and 5% spandex for two-way stretch. Overall, the fabric looks and feels like cotton with the hidden benefit of stretch for a little extra movement.

Fit

One advantage of Mizzen+Main products is that they come in a variety of cuts (standard, trim, and trim tall). I found the XL Trim to work well for me across the chest, but the sleeves were a bit larger in diameter than I usually like in a short sleeve shirt and the length was a bit long to look neat while untucked. Since the XL Trim works well for me in the long sleeve shirts, I imagine the sleeve size is just the nature of the cut of this shirt.

Performance

The combination of the bumpy texture and polyester content of the fabric makes this shirt always look presentable right out of the wash (cold & hang dry). While the wrinkles from the package did not fall out on their own, I have never had to worry about wrinkles after the first wash.

I gave this shirt a run for it’s money over the last few weeks with the hot and humid weather we’ve been having (90 °F+) and I must say I was pretty impressed. Having high cotton content, I did not expect to like this shirt.

I found the seersucker to work as advertised — it felt airy since it was held away from my skin. The polyester kept the shirt from feeling damp, although I could still feel sweat between my skin and the shirt. My guess is that the shirt was just not absorbing as much sweat due to the texture.

As far as odor resistance, I was also surprised to be able to wear this shirt a second day after airing it out overnight. I started to notice some sweat stains around the collar and under the arms before any smell (the sweat stains easily wash out).

While it will never perform like a merino or 100% synthetic shirt, it looked normal while keeping me cool and more comfortable than a traditional cotton shirt.

Overall

While the shirt isn’t my style, I was pleasantly surprised with it’s performance. It definitely wore better than the 68% cotton content would suggest.

I’m not sure that I would pay the $110 retail price, but if you like the looks and find it for the right price it makes for a decent summer shirt.

Mizzen+Main Short Sleeve Seersucker

Y Athletics SilverAir Merino T-Shirt

The item in this review was provided for review purposes by Y Athletics.

Just about five years ago, Y Athletics launched their synthetic SilverAir Crew Neck on Kickstarter. We reviewed the shirt and were won over by the comfort and odor resistance. Just this week, they launched the next generation SilverAir shirt — the SilverAir Merino T-Shirt.

I’ve been testing a prototype of the shirt since May and the production version for about two weeks. I think this shirt is going to be a game changer for not just the workout shirt market but the t-shirt market as a whole.

Fabric

Y Athletics designed the double sided SilverAir Merino fabric specifically for this shirt. The inside is 17.5 micron merino wool with pure silver threads running throughout, while the outside is plated with nylon. This gives the best of both worlds without the sacrifice of a blend — odor, thermal, and moisture control on the inside with excellent drape, hand feel, and durability on the outside. The knit is extremely open (without any issues of being see-thru) to allow for airflow making for a very lightweight shirt.

Comfort

I’ve worn this shirt as both a workout and an everyday shirt, and it has outperformed any other shirt I own. The seamless construction of the body eliminates many potential areas for chafing. The sleeves are raglan style (for range of motion and comfort) and attached with flatlock stitching — no chafing there either.

After the fabric, the next most impressive feature of the shirt is the hidden mesh ventilation panels running under the arms and down the sides of the shirt. Just like the synthetic shirt, the mesh in no way makes those areas of the shirt see through. The panels are all but invisible on the black shirt and are just slightly noticeable on the blue (and I imagine the grey as well). This is due to the merino and the nylon taking dye differently.

Comparison of the ventilation panels on the blue and black.
Comparison of the ventilation panels on the blue and black shirts.

Performance

This shirt resists odors just like a 100% merino shirt. It’s the first time I’ve had a non-100% merino shirt that needs to be washed because it looks dirty rather than because it smells. The combination of being 100% merino with silver threads on the inside makes it act like a full merino shirt in the odor department. The other benefit of the silver threads is that they won’t wash out like the silver treatments used on other clothing.

As far as moisture management, this shirt excels as compared to a 100% merino or merino blend shirt. Nothing will feel as light in an intense and sweaty workout as a synthetic shirt, but the thinness of the merino layer here makes all the difference. Since merino works by absorbing moisture into the fiber versus polyester and nylon repelling the moisture, a merino shirt tends to get more weighted down by sweat during a workout.

The nylon plating also imparts great durability to this shirt. I have not seen any indications of pilling (which I’ve seen pretty quickly on the armpits of some merino shirts from working out). I wouldn’t hesitate to wear this shirt for rucking or travel with a backpack.

Fit and Finish

The design of this shirt allows for universal wear — it can go from the gym to the weekend. Compared to the original SilverAir shirt, the fit is a little closer to the body and the collar closer to the neck giving it a more tailored and polished look.

The drape and handfeel are also excellent. It wears like a cotton t-shirt, it blends in. When I first heard about the nylon face, I expected at least some nylon sheen, but the finish is actually very matte. The team definitely worked hard on this as I even saw improvement between the prototype and production versions.

There is just one caveat with the black color — the silver threads show through just a little bit (again the team was able to improve this between the prototype and production versions). While some may not even notice or not care, this is worth mentioning if you are trying to choose a color and want to be able to wear the shirt in many situations.

While the color is off on the blue, this is an accurate comparison of how the silver thread shows through the black.
While the color does not show correctly on the blue, this is an accurate comparison of how the silver thread shows through the black but not the blue shirt.

Overall

The SilverAir Merino T-Shirt is a huge upgrade from the original synthetic version. It has become my most worn workout and all-around t-shirt. With excellent odor resistance and drape it fits in almost anywhere. If you’ve been thinking about merino but are worried about the durability, this is your shirt. There are no tradeoffs on merino performance to gain durability.

The Kickstarter runs through September 6th, and at $49 the shirt is a steal. Even at the retail price of $69, this shirt represents a great value and is set to make waves in the industry.

Y Athletics SilverAir Merino T-Shirt

Outlier Ultrafine Merino T-Shirt

A staple item among Outlier fans is their Ultrafine Merino T-shirt, which is a 100% merino shirt made for daily wear. I own two, and have been wearing them for quite some time. These are my favorite t-shirt without any caveats.

Material

As mentioned, this is a 100% merino shirt made from 17.5 micron wool. It comes in at a heavier 195 gsm. However, these specs sell the fabric short — there’s a reason why Outlier dedicates a full four paragraphs to talking about this merino. It’s simply not like other merino.

The key to understanding the difference is in this line from Outlier:

This means a standard 17.5 micron fabric will actually include much larger fibers in the mix. The Mackenzie blend is tight spectrum and low variance to create a more consistent and precise yarn. More importantly the Mackenzie 17.5 is top capped at 17.5 microns, there are no larger fibers making it a softer and smoother fabric, and in fact the yarns and fabric actually average a number lower than 17.5 micron.

In other words, it may be 17.5 micron merino, but it feels a lot finer to your hand. The best I can do at describing it is: luxuriously soft. It’s like a cotton t-shirt that is so soft it feels like it is falling apart, all while feeling substantial.

Cut

Most of Outlier’s clothing is cut rather tailored, but not this t-shirt. I find the cut to be on the boxy side, though not overly so. It’s on par with most every t-shirt I have.

This is both good and bad. A more tapered cut would be nice, but would also make the shirt stand out more. As it is, it looks like a normal t-shirt, nothing to see here.

Comfort

These are the most comfortable t-shirts I own, without a doubt. I’ve worn them in 80 °F heat, playing capture the flag with kids, and remained comfortable. Did I sweat? Yes, however it dried fast and I didn’t feel like I had to get the shirt off my body.

The fabric has all the classic properties of merino wool, with the added benefit of the softest hand-feel for merino that I have ever encountered. I would wear this shirt everyday all day if I could. As it is, I wear mine quite a lot.

Overall

I’ll say it again, these are my favorite shirts. Soft, odor-resistant, thermoregulating, fast drying, and all of the above. They are also very soft and look quite nice. Accounting for all shirts I’ve worn, and not just performance minded ones, these are the most luxurious feeling shirts I’ve ever owned.

At $110 they can be a tough pill to swallow, but I could easily get away with just the two I own. I’ve had them for over a year and they are just as good as they were when I got them.

Outlier Ultrafine Merino T-Shirt

Merrell and New Balance Minimalist Shoes

Minimalist shoes have become popular for one bag travel due to their thin sole and packable nature. Part of how they accomplish this is by having zero or low drop. Drop is the measurement of the difference in height between the heel and the forefoot of the shoe. We won’t go into the health claims here, but Altra has a good primer.

For me, minimalist zero drop shoes help me feel more connected to the ground (important for the gym) and are very packable (due to their thin soles and minimal padding). I’ve had two pairs for a few years now and I’ve come to love them for casual, travel, and gym wear.

Merrell Trail Glove

I own the Trail Glove 3, but they are very similar to the newer model, the Merrell Trail Glove 4. These are true zero drop shoes. After adjusting, these became my everyday casual shoe for everything from walking to light hiking. The mesh allows them to breathe well and the Vibram sole performs well in all weather conditions. They also have a wide toe box which adds to the comfort — your toes have room to spread out into their natural placement. Best of all, they pack down almost flat due to the light nature of the uppers and come in an almost all-black colorway.

New Balance Minimus

I also own the New Balance Minimus MX20BS4, while they have a 4 mm drop they feel very close to zero drop. I use these as my gym shoes, specifically for lifting and rowing where connection through your feet is important for proper technique. They also have a Vibram sole, which makes for a solid footing on any surface. The mesh upper, while breathable, is not as cool as the Trail Glove due to the higher level of a synthetic coating on the outside. These also pack down almost flat, but don’t come in as dark of a colorway.

Why should I pack shoes when one bagging?

Most likely, you shouldn’t. One of the easiest ways to save room in your bag is to not pack any shoes. It isn’t too hard to find shoes nowadays that will fit all our needs (look for an all, or mostly, black sneaker or a leather boot — see our packing lists for some ideas).

When you do need to pack an extra pair (I often need proper dress shoes or safety shoes when I travel for work), minimalist shoes make it less painful.

Conclusion

Merrell and New Balance both have whole lines of minimalist shoes with quite a few options. If you can’t find something you like there, this style of shoe is becoming more and more popular. While zero drop minimalist shoes take some adjustment, I have come to prefer them for casual and gym wear. If you are looking for a shoe that is easy to pack and you want to try out zero drop, these two shoes are a great place to start.

Merrell and New Balance Minimalist Shoes

Outlier Breezy Linen Short Sleeve

It’s summer, and it’s hot out — when the weather gets like this you don’t want to be weighed down with clothes that don’t breathe. You want to feel cool. Merino wool does a pretty good jobh, but there’s a limit to how hot you can go. When you find that limit, you’ll want to look at linen.

Outlier’s Breezy Linen Short Sleeve is designed for just such occasions. It is a classic short sleeve button down made to handle very hot, and dry climates. I’ve had mine for a year now, and it’s my go-to for hot days.

Material

This is 100% Italian linen, coming in at 113 gsm. There are two things additional to note about this particular shirt and how it was constructed. The first is the Pivot sleeve design, which is something unique to Outlier shirts, and allows for a fantastic range of motion. The second is the open weave design of this linen — allowing for it to wear very light, which is where the name comes from. Comparing this to other linen shirts I own, my older linen button downs are not even in the same league. By comparison they are heavy and bulky, whereas the Breezy Linen shirt almost feels invisible.

Fit

The body of the shirt is short, the sleeves as well. It’s made to keep you cool, and thus has a very flow-y nature to the cut. It’s too short for me to tuck in, nor would you want to. The collar itself is shorter and more low profile than on other Outlier shirts, making the shirt blend nicely in all casual situations. I’ve very happy with the fit, and it fits exactly as I expected from reading the size guide.

Performance

Here’s what Outlier claims about the shirt: “Linen absorbs moisture while staying dry to the touch and has an open weave to let air flow through. And it breaks down beautifully, softening with wear like no other fabric.” I think that’s a spot on description, but there’s also more to it.

The linen itself feels slightly rough to the touch, even after a year, but it never feels uncomfortable. It feels stiff, while also being full of wrinkles. Linen itself is a style, and if you are looking for a shirt with no wrinkles, move along. Linen wrinkles each time you look at it, but the wrinkles also fall out easily. So it’s always wrinkled, but almost never wrinkled more than is acceptable.

Wearing it though is very unique. It’s by far cooler to wear than not wearing a shirt at all. The air almost passes right through it. It draws the moisture right off your body, and the linen itself dries very fast — this certainly has a cooling effect when you wear it. There are times when I’ve been far too cold indoors to wear this shirt.

And because the sweat dries so fast, the shirt rarely stinks. This isn’t merino with anti-odor properties, but I can often wear this shirt for 3-5 days without it smelling at all (with hanging it to air out at night). It’s impressive, and truly makes this shirt better than it otherwise would be.

Outlier notes that this shirt is best for drier heat, whereas their Ramie shirts are better for humid, but I’ve worn this in both desert heat and in humid climates. I’ve found it to be excellent in both. On a performance metric, this shirt is awesome.

Overall

For $125 (last time they were available) this shirt is hard to beat. It’s a fantastic summer shirt and my go to anytime the mercury goes about 80°F. I am pleasantly surprised by how well it resists odors and how fast it dries.

While I won’t be buying another, that’s only because I’ll be getting the long sleeve version of this shirt next. I highly recommend The Breezy Linen Short Sleeve as a summer shirt, with the only downside being that sometimes you can’t stay warm enough when you wear it.

Outlier Breezy Linen Short Sleeve

Outlier Strong Dungarees

A while back Outlier started making Strong Dungarees. They are a blend of a heavier version of Slim Dungarees and a work pant. Essentially: these are a pair of pants that are insanely durable but still have a lot of benefits over standard work pants. I’ve now owned two pairs of these pants, I can say that these are quite a good pair of pants, especially given that the fit is very different than that of the Slim Dunagrees (our review).

Material

Outlier makes these out of “Strongtwill” which is 96% Nylon, 4% Elastane coming in at 320 gsm. The texture itself is very much a twill texture, and is quite nice in person and for hand feel. Like the Slim Dungarees, there is no discernible stretch in these pants. I am sure it is there, but it’s not something you are going to notice.

The material itself is very heavy, and very rugged feeling. Outlier says over time that these pants will break in and become softer and softer, while still being tough. I can see that, as I’ve seen that with other nylon products, but in the months I’ve had these pants they feel the same as the day they arrived.

The nature of these pants lends them to cooler weather only. They don’t breathe quite as well as other Outlier pants, though they still dry fast, and they also help keep you warmer. Overall I would say you don’t want to go much above 75 °F in these pants.

Comfort

They start stiff, but Outlier notes they soften over time. I find them oddly comfortable. It’s hard to describe, but the stiffness doesn’t bother me at all, and the extra legroom affords plenty of movement.

They aren’t comfortable in the same way as Climbers or Slim Dungarees, those are comfortable in the same way sweatpants or warm up pants are. Strong Dungarees are comfortable like your favorite pair of blue jeans.

Durability

They feel truly indestructible, and honestly for most of life they might be. I hear they don’t handle wiping out from a skateboard on concrete, but fare better than jeans. That’s the only complaint about durability I’ve heard. Having spent time in the construction field wearing Carharrt pants, my gut tells me Strong Dungarees will last better than those.

They look brand new, no matter what I seem to do to them. They only slightly soften when washing, so even the top load washer I have can’t beat them into submission.

One Issue to Note

I’ve seen more than a few Redditors note that the fabric itself can grab leg hairs and pull them. This is understandably uncomfortable and a deal breaker for those who experience it. I’ve not noticed it at all, but the Outlier return policy is your friend in that situation.

As you can see, the Black tends to pick up dust easily. That’s not wear on the pants.
As you can see, the Black tends to pick up dust easily. That’s not wear on the pants.

Overall

Perhaps the most amazing part of these pants is how they truly don’t look like a non-cotton material. They look downright normal and I don’t get to say that often. That alone should make them a no-brainer for anyone living away from the equator.

They are neck and neck with the Slim Dungarees for my favorite Outlier pants.


Steve’s Thoughts

I’ve had the Strong Dungarees since they were released. The Strongtwill fabric has a unique texture that lends to a nice feel and helps give the pants their stiffness. I think the look of the fabric, and the stacking it enables, allows these to pass as 100% non-technical pants. To me, they feel like a slightly less heavy pair of nice denim jeans — they feel soft but act strong. There’s no reason why these can’t replace your favorite pair of jeans.

Outlier Strong Dungarees

Outlier New Way Shorts (and New Way Longs)

Outlier has been making their core shorts, the New Way Shorts (and New Way Longs) for a while now. They are made out of the same fabric as the Futureworks (our review), my favorite business casual pants. Outlier didn’t simply make short Futureworks, however, the New Ways are a different cut with other various features to allow them to be used as swim trunk as well.

Fabric

Outlier uses their F. Cloth, a 97% nylon, 3% elastane blend canvas. They claim a 35% two-way stretch, but like we’ve found the Strongtwill as well, the stretch isn’t noticeable. Since the fabric is made with air texturized nylon (Cordura grade), it has significantly less sheen than you might expect from a mostly nylon fabric. While it doesn’t look completely “normal”, it certainly doesn’t scream “technical”.

The 200 gsm weight of the fabric makes it heavier than many performance shorts, but doesn’t detract from the performance at all. The F. Cloth fabric breathes well in any heat and dries quickly.

Comfort and Performance

While the heavier fabric with non-obvious stretch may seem like it would make for a less comfortable short, the New Way Longs are my favorite short (the only difference between the New Ways and the Longs are the inseam — 8” vs. 11”). The combination between the slightly looser cut and the fabric helps them to move with your body. While they certainly could go for a hike, I prefer something with a more pronounced four-way stretch (and a shorter length) to make sure they really stay out of the way when I’m out on the trail.

The F. Cloth and DWR treatment help these shorts stay dry, and when they do get wet, they dry quickly.

The inclusion of a paracord drawstring (with excellent knots on the end) eliminates the need for a belt. This has become one of my favorite feature on any short, and are a must-have for me now.

All the pockets have a flow through mesh at the bottom, greatly improving the shorts if you decide to get in the water (no more pockets full of water). The mesh seems just as sturdy as the pocketing material, so no need to worry about a key catching and making a hole. The front pockets are extra deep, so they do a great job keeping whatever you are carrying in place with no threat of sliding out.

The only thing I find missing is at least one back pocket with a closure. Since the shorts target active wear, it would be nice to know that your wallet had a safe home.

Looks

Since these shorts are tailored to fit like a dress pant, and have a proper button waistband and a working zipper fly, they fit any situation where shorts are appropriate. They could go from the beach to dinner. The nice custom made slot button attached with webbing adds a nice finish and Outlier touch.

Overall

The Outlier New Way Shorts and New Way Longs are the best looking and most versatile shorts I’ve seen. With the two inseam options, everyone should be able to find the right fit. They look as close to “normal” as you will find and are cut like a chino short to fit into any situation. If you are looking for one pair of shorts to wear all summer, these are it.


Ben’s Thoughts

I’ve owned two pairs of these now (had to size down after losing weight) and they are amazing. I’ve swam with them in all sort of pools with no ill effects. They don’t dry as fast as proper swim trunks, but they can trim down your packing if swim trunks would be a maybe.

I have the non-long version and I work out in them, hike in them, and they are generally my go to short whenever the weather permits. I agree with everything Steve says here, and for about 8 months they were actually the only shorts I owned. These are great.

Outlier New Way Shorts (and New Way Longs)

Outlier Slim Dungarees

The Slim Dungarees are likely the most popular pants Outlier makes, as well as the pants that Outlier themselves consider their core pant. The description of these pants is: “A 21st century jean if you will.” Essentially it’s a ‘what would you make if you were to make jeans from scratch today’. There’s a ton of hype around these pants, with them winning awards every few months hailing them as the one pants to travel the world in.

They are also among the most contentious pants Outlier makes, so let’s dive into them, as I’ve been testing them for well over a year.

Material

These are made from Outlier’s Workcloth Doubleweave Canvas which breaks down to: 82% Nylon, 16% Polyester, 2% Elastane. That’s only a portion of the story though, because these are not like any other technical material I’ve seen. At 275 gsm these are heavy pants, to me they feel on par with the weight of a standard pair of jeans. Outlier’s details about this fabric border on the absurd marketing level, but I have to say: they are pretty spot on.

When you first feel the pants you’ll notice:

  • The exterior really does feel more like a broken in canvas. It has a great texture to it, which also helps to hide the fact that these are nylon pant. The texture makes them look more “jean like” than most other pants trying to replicate jeans.
  • The interior almost feels fuzzy to the touch, without actually being fuzzy. Think of it like a glasses cleaning cloth — a stark difference from the outside of the material.
  • There’s basically no stretch, despite there being an advertised “slight stretch”. I assume there is some, but practically speaking assume there is not.

The material, more than anything, is what makes these pants — it’s a fantastic material and among my favorites that Outlier makes.

Cut

The cut of the pants is really the contentious issue. They are named “slim” so most people (myself included) initially read that as “skinny”, or “skin tight”. When you get these pants you realize either one of two things:

  1. Whew these are actually not very skin tight.
  2. What the heck, these are not very skin tight.

Take your pick, but these are only slightly slimmer fitting that regular jeans — perhaps “tailored” would be better nomenclature for these. Do not let the name of these pants throw you off, they are not going to be super slim pants, but they also are not made to be baggy. Look at the pictures on the site, they represent the fit very well.

Side note: Some might find that the thighs do not afford enough room. But the 45 day return policy should put you at ease with ordering these pants to try out the fit.

Performance

You don’t read this site to find out about the cuts of garments, what you really want to know is how these pants perform. So to start, let me say that these are my preferred travel pants. If given the option to wear any pants on an airplane — no matter the flight length — these are the pants I pick. That’s the strongest endorsement I can give pants.

There are a few factors in play here, so best to go through them one at a time. The mobility while wearing these is excellent, even though they lack stretch. The large gusset provides you with a pair of pants where you’ll never find yourself pulling up the legs slightly at the knee before you attempt a high step. They move exceedingly well, even though the materials alone wouldn’t seem like they would.

On the warmth and breathability side I would peg these as: just as slightly cooler than jeans in cold weather, and much cooler than jeans in warm weather. In other words they breath really well. I’ve worn them in the snow without issue, and I’ve worn them in 80 °F weather as well. They were a bit chilly and a bit warm in both those situations, but jeans likely would be as well. They do breathe and they do dry very quickly despite their heavier weight. For a normal range of temperatures, these will likely be very good pants for you.

Outlier also makes a lot of mention about the liquid staining resistance of these pants, and for good reason. The treatments on these pants is one of the key reasons to travel in them: you will be hard pressed to get them dirty. Water beads up and rolls off, same with coffee and soda. If something does manage to stick, a wet rag tends to get rid of it quickly and the spot dries in minutes. You can’t get ketchup on them and walk away unscathed, but for most of the little mishaps which happen in life, they come out clean.

Overall, these perform at the top of the overall technical pants market, and is a leading factor in why people love them so much.

Stretching Out

There is one caveat to these pants which is often left out when talking about them. Outlier notes on their fit page: “When first tried on they should feel just a touch too snug. Over the first few hours or day they’ll loosen up, and when you put them on for day two they should fit perfect.” What that means practically is that they will feel tight when you first put them on, and then they stretch out to your body and fit very comfortably. I find that for me, this only takes a day when they are new, and a couple hours after they are washed.

However, there’s a downside to this. If you spend a lot of time with the pants being stretched at the knees (e.g. kneeling, squat like positions, cramped into a tight space, crossing legs, etc), then the knees of the Slim Dungarees tend to bag out as well. This can create a very bad silhouette and is the one downside of these pants.

When you wash and hang dry these pants, they go right back to form, so this isn’t something which is always going to be there. However, I can say that the typical reason I wash these pants is because the knees bag out, and not because the pants themselves are actually dirty. Then again, I know of many people who only wash these pants once or twice a year. Really depends on your body type and what activities you use these pants for. I tend to get 2-3 weeks of wear out of the pants before I start to think about washing them to get the knees back into shape, but that’s only with daily wear.

Overall

At $198, many people will balk at thei price. You shouldn’t, these are hands down the best technical pants I’ve tried, and if I only could have one pair of pants, it would be these. For the temperate weather of the Pacific Northwest they are the perfect weight, and the water repellency means no more wet thighs when you walk in from the rain. I highly recommend these pants.

A Note on Colors

Personally I have owed: Gray Shadow, Charcoal, Dark Indigo, and Concrete colors in Slim Dungarees. I currently own the Gray Shadow. Most people say that if you want to replicate blue jeans, to get Dark Indigo. I personally disagree as they were my least favorite color I owned. Charcoal is a great color, and might be the most versatile, followed by black. I know, black, but if you listen to the people buying Outlier, they say it is the best color.

Gray Shadow is interesting, but I don’t think I would buy it again. It’s a nice color, but Charcoal was more versatile as it has less tint to the gray. Occasionally, Outlier stocks these in Sandstorm, which is a very nice khaki color.


Steve’s Thoughts

I originally resisted getting a pair of Slim Dungarees because I thought they would be too tight in the thigh and I thought I would need the Long length. At some point after I got my Futureworks (our review), Ben convinced me to try the Slim Dungarees. When I tried the same size as my Futureworks, the thighs were a little too slim for me. Between that and the fact that I was going to have to get them tailored, I returned them.

Recently, Outlier had a few colors on sale (in the regular length) so I grabbed one size up in Grey Shadow. Surprisingly, the length worked, even though it’s listed as an inch shorter than the Futureworks. I usually wear these with boots, but the length even looks fine with sneakers. They also fit me in the thigh, even though the listed measurement is still smaller than my Futureworks. My only guess is that the different cut causes the pants to sit differently, making the sizing work.

I’ve been impressed with the pants so far, and find them to feel like they have a lot more stretch than they actually do. These are my most comfortable pants and are almost as comfortable as sweatpants (while looking much better).

Outlier Slim Dungarees

Patagonia Stretch Wavefarer Walk Shorts

The Patagonia Stretch Wavefarer Walk Shorts are a casual, “do anything” pair of shorts. These shorts have similar features to the Baggies Longs (our review) but are much less casual. I’ve worn these shorts for everything from around the house, to hiking, and out to a casual lunch.

Fabric

These shorts are made from a 96% nylon (62% recycled)/4% spandex blend with 4-way stretch, a DWR finish, and a 50+ UPF sun protection rating.

The 4-way stretch makes sure the fabric never gets in your way (even with their slightly longer length), and the combination of the DWR and nylon content help keep the shorts from getting wet, and when they do get wet, helps them to dry quickly. There is some “nylon” noise with these shorts, so they won’t completely blend in.

Fit and Performance

While they are advertised as 20” (outseam), the inseam is about 9.5”. Being chino-styled, these shorts come in the usual even numbered inch waist sizes. For me, they fit true to size. The internal drawstring is a very nice feature and something that I look for on any short I buy now. It allows you to wear the shorts without a belt, even without an exact fit (or if your pockets are loaded down).

The fit of the shorts is standard, not too baggy or slim. They fit in most anywhere shorts are acceptable. Although I wouldn’t wear them for all occasions (that’s where the OUTLIER New Way Longs come in for me), at about half the price, they are a step up from many other performance shorts. The chino styling helps step up the looks a bit, but the slightly wrinkly and noisy fabric (and the embroidered “Patagonia” on the leg) detract some. Even just the removal of the embroidery would improve the look.

There are two front slash pockets and two back pockets with mesh linings (for easy drainage). The right back pocket has a button closure (with lay-flat webbing, the same as is used on the top button) and an elastic key loop. The key loop is on the center side of the pocket, so it is not comfortable to use for a set of keys. It seems to be designed to loop around a single house style key.

While I think the Patagonia Baggies are more suited as a short/swim trunk hybrid, these will do in a pinch if you weren’t expecting to get in the water (without looking too casual).

Overall

The Patagonia Stretch Wavefarer Walk Shorts are a great value if you are looking for a casual, chino-styled short. While they aren’t quite a do-everything short like the OUTLIER New Ways, they are a solid choice.

Patagonia Stretch Wavefarer Walk Shorts

Outlier Futureworks

It’s not a secret that we are big fans of Outlier here at Everyday Wear. The Futureworks are our go-to business casual pants and are a great place to start with Outlier.

Fabric

The Futureworks are made with Outlier’s F. Cloth, a 200 gsm 97% nylon, 3% elastane canvas with 35% two-way stretch and a DWR coating. The nylon is a Cordura grade nylon 6,6 that is air texturized, this means it is softer, stronger, and most importantly, more matte than what you’d expect from the usual nylon.

Comfort and Performance

While the stretch isn’t as noticeable as you’d expect from the claim of 35% two-way stretch (this means the stretch is only in one direction across the fabric, rather than both as in four-way stretch), I’ve found the Futureworks to be very comfortable due to the addition of a knee-length gusset. These move better than a standard pair of cotton chinos, but I wouldn’t want to wear them where I needed extreme motion constantly (that’s what the Slim Dungarees are for).

The fabric is lightweight enough to remain comfortable in hot and humid weather, but can still be OK in the winter when outside for a quick walk or back and forth to your car (or comfortable in any cold with a baselayer). The DWR does an excellent job of shedding a light rain (or a spilled drink). Also, since the fabric contains no polyester, there are no static issues in the winter.

The fabric dries extremely fast — when they come out of the washer they are almost dry and will be completely dry in a few hours. However, they can look quite wrinkly when they dry. Since you can’t iron synthetics, the wrinkles will work their way out from your body heat when you put the pants on. Or, while I haven’t machine dried mine (which is allowed per the care instructions), I imagine a few minutes on low would also take care of the wrinkles.

Looks and Fit

These are the most normal looking performance (non-cotton) chinos I have found. While no synthetic pant will ever look like its cotton counterpart, the Futureworks get pretty close. The only giveaways from afar are the slight sheen and slightly stiff drape. I think Outlier has done a great job cutting down on the sheen, but there is always is room for improvement. When you take closer look, the texture is also different from cotton.

The Futureworks have a great “straight” fit. They are looser than the Slim Dungarees, especially in the thigh. This gives the sizing an ability to work for more people. I think the fit works perfectly for a business casual look, however, there are a few adjustments I’d make.

Outlier only offers one inseam (33.5”) which is just long enough for me. So if you are tall, you may be out of luck. For me, the only fit issue I have is a slight gap at the back of the waistband. This could probably be solved with a higher rise.

Overall

If you are looking for a performance pant to replace your chinos, look no further than the Outlier Futureworks. I think they provide a great value at $140. As a core Outlier item, they are usually well stocked in many color options (I own the Phantom Grey and Dark Navy) and the return policy makes it easy to give them a try if you are on the fence.


Ben’s Thoughts

The Futureworks are the first pair of Outlier pants I owned, and since I’ve been losing weight I have had the chance to own three different pairs. They are fantastic, and the Sandstorm color is the best khaki pant option you can get. I love these for flying, as they stay clean and look sharp even after six hours on a plane. These are perhaps the most underrated item Outlier makes and likely the first you should pick up. I’ve owned both the Dark Navy and Sandstorm, and both are excellent.

I’ve never had anyone comment that my pants look odd with these, or ask about them. They are stealth. They make no more noise than a standard cotton pant and perform leaps and bounds better.

Outlier Futureworks