Outerknown Verano Beach Pants

Note: these pants were provided for review by Outerknown.

I’ve been really enjoying my Outerknown Sur Sweatshirt (our review) ever since I purchased it over the winter, so when I got a chance to give their Verano Beach Pants a try, I jumped on it, especially given the current work from home situation.

Another benefit of Outerknown is their dedication to sustainability, sometimes that is just greenwashing, but it seems like Outerknown has demonstrated their seriousness here.

Of course, no can make a bad piece of clothing good, so let’s take a look.

Material

These pants are made from a 7 oz, 55% hemp, 45% organic cotton in a soft twill weave.

Even though the fabric content is the same as the Sur Sweatshirt, the weight and weave give this a whole different feel. While not a lightweight fabric, the fabric doesn’t have a heavy drape, and seems like it would be reasonably cool in the heat. There also isn’t any of that hemp roughness that can be in some hemp-heavy fabric blends.

The only negative to the fabric is that it gets quite fuzzy and a little bit pilly with the first wash, but it doesn’t seem to get worse.

Fit & Style

These pants are intended to be “trousers that wear more like joggers” and the claim is also made that “You could sleep in these and then wear them to a meeting and no one would think twice.”

As far as the fit, I agree they are trousers that fit like joggers. The elastic waistband and interior drawstring tie push them into the “joggers” category, with the shorter length (31 inseam on the XL) pushing them all the way over the edge. I was between the L and XL, so went with the XL. The elastic in the waistband isn’t particularly stretch/strong, so I do find myself relying on the tie if I have anything in my pockets.

As far as wearing these pants to a meeting, I don’t think I could get away with it for any meeting I’ve ever been to. Then again, Outerknown leans towards a west coast beach style, so maybe there are cases where these would be appropriate for a meeting. However, I can see that the slash side pockets and button back pocket do add a little extra towards the “less casual, casual” nature of these pants.

Performance

These have been great pants to wear while working from home. They are extremely comfortable (although not stretchy) and are warm enough for our still cool days here in the northeast. When taking the dog for a walk on some windy days, I did notice that these blocked the wind better than any of the synthetic joggers I own.

The magic of hemp here is that I think they will still be comfortable in the summer, as hemp in fabrics like this tends to breathe well.

Overall

The Verano Beach Pants will continue to be a comfortable pair of pants for around the house for me. I look forward to seeing how they perform as the weather warms up.

If you can push the casual style of these further, they could be a great, non-synthetic, summer replacement for jeans, as they are half the weight of a typical pair. Just keep in mind the fuzzy texture the fabric takes on. They also work well as a pair of casual pants for around the house, especially if you are looking for a more unique fabric blend or something different.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Outerknown Verano Beach Pants

What Are The Best Socks?

Darn Tough is the name when it comes to buying socks that out perform all others. They are universally loved by one bag travelers, explorers, hikers, military, and people like us who want better performing clothing. They are hard to beat, and because of that we at Everyday Wear had settled into accepting that they were simply the best, and stopped testing other brands.

But, what if there is another brand out there doing better work? I went out and bought a ton of other brands, to give them a go and see if there is something better out there, here are the results of that testing.

Proof 72 Hour Socks

The Proof socks are part of the 72 Hour collection, and are pretty straightforward merino wool socks (63% Merino Wool, 33% Nylon, 3% Spandex) with light compression built in. They are about the thickness of your standard cotton athletic sock.

I found these to be comfortable socks, not the softest, but nothing really to complain about. They have a nice flat seam across the toe and wore comfortably all day long. They resisted odors extremely well and never felt like they needed to be washed. In a pinch they were perfectly fine to wear to the office with business casual, while also working well with sneakers.

If your wardrobe lends more casual and Huckberry (Proof is one of their brands) is running a sale, these are probably a really great option for most. They are sold in two packs and are rather bland in colors, but perform very well. After half a dozen wash and dry cycles, the socks are holding up well with only minor pilling. Even when wearing these with my boots, the cushioning and the vented panels kept my feet dry and managed the moisture as well as anything else. Overall these are pretty low complaint, nothing that will wow anyone accustomed to Darn Tough, but a solid option.

Ministry of Supply Atlas Socks

These are not merino wool, and are actually my second pair of Atlas socks, though the first pair has long since worn out. Ministry lists the composition of these as: “40% Coffee-infused Recycled Polyester, 40% Cotton, 20% Elastane”. That is supposed to make the wear cool, be smell free and there is a bunch of stuff about cushioning. It is a lot of information to take in about a pair of socks.

In my wear I found these socks to be very comfortable and look really good. But they don’t offer enough odor resistance to go more than one wear, and more importantly after one wear they felt beat down and in need of a wash, much like cotton socks. They perk right back up after a wash, but they need that.

There are a lot of color options here, and the body mapped cushioning is really nice, as it provides a thicker sock in high impact areas, while letting the sock be thinner like a dress sock where it counts. The moisture wicking was average, not as good as high merino content socks, but vastly better than cotton. The lack of a flat toe seam is a miss. As compared to cotton, these are excellent, as compared to Darn Tough, I would stick with Darn Tough unless I really needed the looks of the Atlas socks. After washing these many times, the cushioned areas are showing pilling, while the rest of the sock looks like new.

Wool&Prince Socks

As with most things Wool&Prince, these are a merino wool (52% wool, 46% Nylon, 2% Spandex) and have light compression designed into them. The hold on these socks are great, and they certainly feel like a slightly thicker dress sock, which also has excellent cushioning on the bottom.

The performance is exactly what you would think: fantastic odor resistance and durability. They slightly fuzz after washing and drying many times but only the toes are showing any signs of pilling, where you would typically see this on the heel first. These are near perfect socks, but they lack a flat toe seam, and that kills the sock for me. If they put a flat toe seam on these, I think you have a contender to give Darn Tough a run for their money. I could easily wear these in just about any pursuit shy of true hiking. But from casual to suits, these work. For some the toe seam will not bother you, but on these they did bother me.

The performance, comfort, and durability though is fantastic and on par with Darn Tough but there is not a compelling reason to move to Wool&Prince.

Western Rise StrongCore Merino Socks

Note: these were provided for review.

These are a rather unique sock fabric at: 44% Nuyarn (40% Merino Wool, 4% Nylon), 30% Elastane, 26% Nylon. The merino fibers themselves have nylon in them, in addition to the general nylon woven in. Of all the merino socks I tested, these feel the least wool like, but in a good way.

Moreover the fit on these is amazing. They feature a good deal of compression, a flat toe seam and a great overall weight which lends itself well to any use of the sock. The padding is fantastic and as are the breathable panels at the top of the sock. They rise slightly lower than most dress socks, but perfectly useable in all situations and they stay up well.

After countless wears and washes, only the cushioned areas are showing wear in the form of pilling. I found that they offer excellent odor resistance and are a pair of socks you can feasibly wear for a week straight, as you can with most merino socks. These, of all the new socks I have tested are among the best when all aspects are taken into account. As a competitor to Darn Tough, the only thing they are lacking is more color options as black doesn’t work well for everything. If they offered more colors, and maybe a couple patterns — I can easily see the argument for these being the only socks you need.

Bombas

I ordered the Men’s Merino Wool Calf Socks, which are 77% Merino Wool, 21% Polyester and 2% Spandex. Where most of these socks border between casual and dress, these Bombas are bordering between hiking and casual. They are not very suitable for the office as they are thick, and the overall appearance if very athletic sock looking. That said, they have a nice compression, lots of cushion, and a flat toe seam.

They are thick, but they feel very open and comfortable. The biggest issue is the durability, as they look like a very worn pair of socks after just a few wears. On day one, my shoes were making the heel pill. After the first wash the entire bottom of the sock is a blend of fuzz and pilling. So while they are comfortable, I wouldn’t recommend them just because of this. They certainly are not a pair of socks I expect to last very long, and at $18 a pair, you need them to last a good while.

Stance

There is a lot of hype around Stance as they market like crazy, and there is an overwhelming amount of sock options on their site. It took me a good while to land on the Run Wool Crew ST, which features a merino wool blend of: 58% Nylon, 20% Polyester, 17% Merino Wool, 5% Elastane. That almost seems like a “throw everything at the wall approach”to material selection.

The first thing to know about Stance is that these socks are left and right footed, as they are a compression sock with padding and compression zones optimized for each foot. I actually really like this, as it gives on overall better and more comfortable fit. And the low merino content also means these don’t feel like wool socks. The calf section is thin enough that you can get away with them in the office, but there is a reflective bit on this pair so beware of that.

Yes, they have a flat toe seam, but that is where the good of these socks stops. They stink after a single 8 hours of wearing, and my feet ended the work day wet feeling. Cotton performs better than these socks. Perhaps another option from them would be better, but at the prices they boast, why bother when there are plenty of better options out there. Move along.

The Staples

Ok, those were all the new socks I had tested, but I do have a few other pairs in my sock drawer which are worth talking about in context of these.

Darn Tough Crew Light

These have) long been my go to sock. They come in a wide variety of colors and styles. They perform well and are a true dress sock weight. There is light compression, but overall you are paying for moisture/odor control and durability. I have yet to see these socks be destroyed easily, as I typically get more than a year use out of each pair, which is extended by the fact I own many pairs. The offer a flat toe seam and all around comfort.

The only down side is that they are thin, and stepping up to something thick is problematic as the brand shows its outdoor roots. Still, you simply cannot go wrong with these. They basically never seem to look worn out, until I actually wear a hole in the heel or ball of the foot.

Smart Wool

I have owned a bunch of their different socks and have been disappointed in all of them. They get fuzzy fast, feel scratchy and fit terribly. I would not recommend these.

Fitsok from Drop.com

Drop.com sells bargain priced merino wool socks aimed more towards athletic and hiking through Fitsok as their partner. I have a few pairs of these and have been disappointed in all of them. Some break down and pill very fast, while others simply do not ever fit my feet. I would similarly avoid these as they may control moisture well but the fit poorly and are not as durable as other options on this list.

Outlier Megafine Socks

These are officially discontinued which is a shame as they are among the best socks I have ever owned. Straddling the line between dress and casual well. Soft as all can be, with good venting, cushioning and compression. They do pill, they do fuzz a bit, and eventually wear out. But oh my, are they ever pure luxury on your feet.


Recommendations

The best pure dress sock are still Darn Tough’s Crew Light. If Outlier brings their socks back, buy them, because they are better.

But if want you want and need is something better for boots, or something lending slightly more casual then it is a toss up for me between the Western Rise and Proof socks. Proof offers better colors, which is more important, whereas Western Rise offers better performance. If Western Rise comes out with a navy and charcoal — I will likely buy a few pairs of each.

My favorite of all the options you can buy are Western Rise StrongCore. And so long as you don’t buy the Stance socks, you will almost universally be getting a better pair of socks.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

What Are The Best Socks?

Proof Stretch Flannel

When I saw the Proof Stretch Flannel come up in the clearance section of Huckberry, I couldn’t help but grab one to try. Based on the description, I expected something heavy that wouldn’t get much wear until late Fall, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Material

This shirt is cotton with 2.3% spandex added for stretch. It is more like brushed cotton shirting than flannel to me, which is a nice change over a traditional flannel. This gives it a soft hand while still feeling like it will be durable enough to hold up to weekend work.

The stretch is only slight, but combined with the back pleat, it gives the shirt enough give to move with you.

Fit & Style

The fit is spot on for me. It has a nice tailored cut, without being too slim. It works well either tucked or untucked, and definitely can be dressed up with a pair of chinos.

Some other nice touches that make the shirt more polished than a typical flannel are the button-down collar and the single pocket (without a flap).

The style leans casual, or as a casual Friday shirt for work, but not business casual.

Performance

This is a solid, more traditional, cool weather shirt. It breathes well and gives a little extra warmth over a typical cotton shirt. It will definitely continue to get wear into the spring, and I will bring it out again in the fall.

Odor resistance wise, I found this about on par with what I expected — two wears with an undershirt.

Shirts like this can come out of the wash with tons on wrinkles. Here, the wrinkles mostly fall out while hanging to dry and a light iron returns it to a crisp state.

Overall

The Proof Stretch Flannel turned out to be better than I expected. While it doesn’t have many performance features, it’s a solid shirt that I will get a lot of wear out of.

It is a steal on sale at $35, and would be at home in many closets (and I recommend the Navy Check, it is sharp).

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Proof Stretch Flannel

Mack Weldon WARMKNIT Waffle Long Sleeve Crew

Mack Weldon is known for their underwear, but offers a wide range of Men’s basics. We’ve previously taken a look at their 37.5 Oxford (our review) and SILVERKNIT Polo (our review), and I’ve been giving their WARMKNIT Waffle Long Sleeve Crew a test this winter.

Material

The fabric here is a micro-waffle knit blend consisting of 43% modal, 38% Thermolite polyester, 14% wool, and 5% spandex. The modal makes the shirt soft, the wool some enhanced odor resistance and moisture wicking, and of course the spandex for stretch. Thermolite is a hollow-core fiber that traps more heat than traditional fibers, allowing the shirt to be warmer than it’s weight gives away.

Fit & Style

Based on the sizing chart, I chose an XL, and that gave me a nice, close to the body fit that is great for layering. While I mostly wore this shirt as a layer, it works well on its own as well.

The shirt has a raglan sleeve, which, along with the stretch, makes it extremely comfortable. The ribbed wrist cuffs make for a nice finished look.

While overall I’d say this is a quite casual piece if worn other than as a layer, overall the cut and finish helps it look more polished.

Performance

With the 14% wool content, I didn’t expect much in the way of odor resistance, but I was pleasantly surprised. I’m able to get a few wears out of this shirt before it needs to be washed. The shirt also wicks moisture well, but I’m not sure the wool adds anything in this department (I would compare it to other polyester/modal/lyocell blends I have).

The stretch here adds to the comfort of the shirt. Even though it is 5% spandex, it’s not overly stretchy, so there is no bagging or weird draping.

And finally, the Thermolite. This hollow core polyester fiber does make a difference in the warmth to weight ratio. The shirt is quite light and thin, but it is nice and warm, making it a great layering piece. In addition to just being warm, it also regulates temperature well. I found it to be not too hot indoors, while still being warm when needed.

Overall

I was quite impressed with the WARMKNIT Waffle. It is very soft and comfortable, is warm without being bulky, and resists odor well enough to give a couple of wears.

The price is right at $68 but it is a great deal when you get it at the typically found 20% markdown (either a coupon or their loyalty program).

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Mack Weldon WARMKNIT Waffle Long Sleeve Crew

Western Rise Limitless Merino Wool Shirt and Polo Shirt

Note: Ben’s sample was purchased during the Kickstarter campaign, while Steve’s sample was sent by Western Rise for review.

I feel like I have been waiting forever for this shirt, as I backed it on Kickstarter right away. The premise of the Limitless Merino Wool Shirt is: “Looks like an oxford, is more comfortable than a t-shirt, and outperforms your activewear.” That’s a heck of a claim, but I think it actually holds true with this one, so let me explain why.

Material

Yes, this is a ‘merino’ shirt, but actually it is a lot more than that. The fabric itself is listed as: 53% Australian Merino wool, 47% polyester, with a weight of 175 gsm. The thing is, this does not feel like any merino button-down I own.

It’s heavy, where as typical merino button-downs are light. It stretches like crazy, whereas most never stretch. There’s no wool feel to the shirt at all. Honestly this just feels like a polyester performance button down and nothing more. Which defies logic a bit, because it doesn’t perform like one at all.

The fabric itself feels durable and has a great drape to it. It is a bit of a heavier drape, so don’t expect to have a more rigid starched look. This shirt certainly trends a little more casual just from the fabric.

Fit & Style

The fit is listed as tailored and I think that rings true. Steve had trouble finding one that fit him, and ultimately couldn’t find the right size. Whereas my standard Large sizing fit perfectly. This actually might be the best fitting shirt I own, Proper Cloth custom shirt notwithstanding.

The style is pretty interesting, as Western Rise wanted to make a shirt you could dress up, or down, so that you could wear it as your only shirt for any situation. So the button down collar helps the shirt stay casual (and it is a fantastic collar, which doesn’t look unnaturally stiff, while still looking relaxed), the cuffs are mitered to add a little flare to the shirt when you want to dress it up. The tailored cut makes it look great untucked or tucked.

But the real key here is the length of the shirt. When you tuck in a shirt you want it to be longer so it stays tucked in, when you wear a shirt untucked you want it to be shorter so that it doesn’t look out of place. This is a delicate balance to strike when you want the shirt to do both. For my torso they balance is perfect. I can wear it tucked or untucked without issue, and the stretch helps allow the shirt to remain tucked in when you are reaching and stretching your body.

On the style side, there is going to be no issue with casual wear. I’ve worn this to the office and while it is among the more casual looking button downs I own, I find no issue with it in a what I would call the bottom end of business casual. Layer it with a vest, or sport coat, and it looks fine. On it’s own you straddle that line a touch, but you can easily get away with it.

Performance

Merino wool always performs great in shirting as it is highly odor resistant and decently wrinkle resistant — all while having extremely good temperature regulation. This shirt is all of that, but with the added benefit of fantastic 4-way stretch.

Here’s the highlight reel for this shirt:

  • Stretch: the stretch is the best of any button down I own. When Western Rise says that they want this shirt to move like a work out shirt, they nailed it. Super comfortable because of that stretch. But the stretch also helps them make the shirt more fitted, which improves the overall looks of the shirt.
  • Breathability: is fantastic, you get the normal merino wool properties with a more airy feel. The only downside is that if your arm pits do start to sweat, you’ll see it.
  • Wrinkle-resistance: this is not the best performing shirt for wrinkle resistance, but it is very good, the the wrinkles do release well with wear.
  • Odor Control: excellent. I wore the shirt 5 times and it still smelled fine. I only washed it because I needed to for this review. On par with all merino shirts here.

This might be the best performing all around button down I have. The only thing I am unsure of is how it would hold up to a GORUCK backpack when traveling.

Overall

I love this shirt. I got the light blue and it is a fantastic color, and I’ll likely get the smoke color as well. I have worn it on the weekends hanging out with the kids, and to the office giving presentations. When I pack for a trip, this will be on my list of must brings, Western Rise really nailed this shirt.


Steve’s Thoughts

As Ben mentioned, I had trouble getting the fit right on this shirt. My normal XL Western Rise size was just a little too tight around the waist — the bottom button pulled a bit, making the shirt not look great. I assumed an XXL would be way too big based on the size chart, but I gave it a shot anyways because I really liked how this fabric felt, but of course it was way too big.

I did, however, get the Polo Shirt in my normal XL and it fits great. The curved hem and the button-down collar adds a little different look. I do like both, and I think the are functional additions as well. The curved hem helps the polo stay tucked in but also makes it look right when untucked. The button-down collar helps keep the collar looking sharp all day and through multiple wears.

Since this is the same fabric, I echo all of Ben’s comments. It does indeed live up to the advertising copy and makes for an excellent everyday and travel polo.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Western Rise Limitless Merino Wool Shirt and Polo Shirt

Western Rise Diversion Pant

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.

Material

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.

Performance

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.

Overall

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.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Western Rise Diversion Pant

Western Rise AT Slim Pant

Note: These pants were provided by Western Rise for review purposes.

With the Western Rise The Evolution Pant (our review) as a pair of pants that I wear quite frequently, I decided to take the opportunity to take a look at the AT Slim Pant.

I’ve been wearing them for a few weeks now, including traveling with six flights in three days.

Material

These pants are made from Western Rise’s AT Cloth, a 97% nylon, 3% spandex fabric with air-texturized fibers and a canvas structure. The weight comes in at 280 gsm and they are coated with a nano-scale C6 DWR.

The spandex gives the fabric 2-way weft stretch, this is not very noticeable to the hand, but the fabric does move decently while wearing.

The canvas structure gives the fabric a nice texture and the weight helps the fabric break, like a good pair of jeans, rather than the drape of a lighter nylon fabric.

Unfortunately, there is some “nylon swish” while walking. The fabric was quite stiff out of the box, but it has softened some with washing. So far, the noise hasn’t been reduced, but it may as the fabric softens further.

Fit & Style

The fit here is very similar to The Evolution Pant — the listed measurements are exactly the same. The only difference I noticed was that the rise feels a little lower. They fit slim but not overly so, and are more of a straight than tapered fit.

Being five-pocket, they stand in well for jeans, especially with the break, rather than drape of the fabric. The texture also adds to the more casual look, although I think they sit in the same “dressiness” category as a nice pair of dark jeans.

Performance

In order to increase the durability and give the pants structure, there are some trade offs to performance. While there is a little stretch, the gusset is definitely needed here to make the pants move comfortably. I never felt any restriction while wearing the pants, but they certainly aren’t “sweat pants comfortable”, like some pants with a high level of 4-way stretch.

With a fairly heavy 280 gsm weight, they wear cooler than expected — I never felt too warm or sweaty.

While the nylon here does give the pants some noise while walking, it does allow the pants to dry extremely fast if they get wet (the C6 DWR does repel a light rain) or after washing.

A few other nice additions to the pants are a phone pocket in the right pocket in place of the coin pocket. It comfortably fits my iPhone XS and keeps it in a more comfortable location than the main pocket.

There is also a hidden zipper pocket inside the right back pocket.

All the pockets are also made of a nylon fabric, so they don’t hold moisture.

Durability-wise, I can’t comment for sure as I’ve only been wearing the pants for a few weeks, but they certainly seem like they will hold up well to any abrasions and resist pulls.

Overall

Overall, the AT Slim Pant is a nice entry into the more durable synthetic pant market and sit as a nice denim substitute. While they don’t have a ton of stretch, they still are comfortable and perform well, except for the noise while walking. They will definitely remain in my rotation for times when I need a more durable and abrasions resistant pant.

If you are looking for a pant that has much more stretch, while still claiming high durability, the just-launched Diversion Pant is worth a look (look for a review in the coming weeks). These also come with a slimmer, more tapered fit (they are cut 0.5-1” smaller in all measurements).

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Western Rise AT Slim Pant

Western Rise X Cotton Everyday Tee

 Note: This shirt was provided by Western Rise for review purposes.

The performance t-shirt is incredibly saturated with merino and synthetic options. Recently, performance cotton blends have been showing up, and Western Rise has a worthy contender in their X Cotton Everyday Tee.

Material

Western Rise created a 220 gsm, 4-way stretch, 60% cotton, 35% polyester, 5% elastane blend treated with Polygiene anti-microbial technology for this shirt.

The 4-way stretch is surprisingly noticeable, with slightly more stretch in the vertical than horizontal direction.

Despite the 40% synthetic content, the heavy weight combined with the cotton brings a completely cotton-like drape and look to this fabric while being extremely soft.

Fit & Style

Western rise describes the cut as “slightly lean and tailored”, and I think that is a good description. The shirt is lean through the chest and body. The body is cut slightly slimmer and longer, and the sleeves more tailored than the StrongCore Merino Tee (our review).

This extra length and more tailored sleeves give the tee a more athletic cut, making it more suited to active pursuits, while still keeping it stylish for any situation.

Performance

This tee performs above and beyond expectations.

The Polygiene treatment really does help bring the odor-resistant performance of the shirt towards the realm of merino. I was able to wear the shirt for a couple of days with no odor, and when I wore it for a really sweaty workout after those few days, it only had a slight odor after airing out overnight. One caveat however, since this is a treatment, it could wash out slowly over time.

The shirt also is surprisingly wicking and quick-drying. With the high cotton content, the moisture tends to stay in the fabric longer (like merino), but it never felt uncomfortable to me. For typical everyday wear, the performance was good enough that I never felt wetness in my armpits. When it comes time to wash the shirt, it dries more quickly than a cotton tee and hangs dry with minimal wrinkles.

Finally, it is great to have 4-way stretch in a cotton tee. It moves with you no matter what the situation, lending to its ability to seamlessly go from everyday to a workout.

Overall

Overall, I was quite surprised by the X Cotton Everyday Tee. I typically don’t get great odor-resistance out of shirts treated with Polygiene, but in this case, it performed — maybe it adheres better or has better performance on cotton then synthetics. Combined with the great weight, cotton drape, and extremely soft feel, this shirt is a great option for your wardrobe.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Western Rise X Cotton Everyday Tee

Outerknown Sur Sweatshirt

Outerknown has been on my radar for a while due to their front and center sustainability mission, but their style is quite casual and they use mainly cotton, so I didn’t see anything that caught my eye right away.

In my search for a new sweatshirt, I was looking for a hemp-cotton blend, and in the process of purchasing and returning a few others, I found the Sur Sweatshirt.

For me, this is the ultimate sweatshirt for around the house.

Material

This sweatshirt is a French terry 55% hemp, 45% organic cotton blend.

The fabric has a substantial feel/weight to it from the hemp content, while still feeling soft — just what I was looking for from this fabric blend in a sweatshirt. It’s a hard feel to describe if you haven’t handled heavier hemp blend fabrics.

The hemp also imparts a great texture to the fabric. Combined with the washed color, this fabric is strictly casual for me.

Fit & Style

The cut here is quite unique for a casual sweatshirt. The body is cut on the slim side while still keeping plenty of length in the body and arms. Something different from the usual boxy casual sweatshirt cut. It looks a little more put together while still remaining extremely comfortable.

The neck here is quite open, and when combined with the causal fabric and longer arms, this makes it wear quite casual. I wouldn’t have a problem wearing it out to the store, but I probably wouldn’t take it much further than that.

Performance

The high hemp content in this blend serves a few purposes — weight (which I already covered), breathability, and durability.

Since hemp fibers are more absorptive, they do a great job removing moisture from your skin. They also make a more airy weave, therefor making a more breathable fabric. This makes for a sweatshirt that is comfortable in more temperatures than with traditional pure cotton French terry.

We will see how it plays out over time, but the durability of hemp and its tendency to just keep getting softer over time also could change the game here for the better. While cotton does also get softer with wear, it breaks down more quickly than hemp.

Overall

Overall, I really like the Sur Sweatshirt from Outerknown. I look forward to putting it on after work and love the weight, texture, and breathability of the fabric.

At $69, I think you get a great value, especially if it proves to benefit from the long term durability of hemp.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Outerknown Sur Sweatshirt

Bluffworks Horizon Quilted Vest

Note: this product was provided at no cost for this review.

Vests are big right now, especially in finance and tech. A vest has in ways become a uniform. But, vests are also pretty practical, and convenient items. There’s a ton of variety, but one of the more popular is something with a quilted bit of insulation, like the Horizon Quilted Vest from Bluffworks. Made to be an everyday wear, and travel item, in typical Bluffworks fashion they tried to make a high quality item, with good style, and tons of performance.

I think they succeeded with this on all fronts, and then when you take the price into consideration you can’t help but own one.

Material

The entire vest seems to be made of polyester, and I am not sure there’s anything bad about that. It is not the type of item to pick up body odors, nor is it an item you really need stretch in. I think the choice is right here, and strikes a good balance with machine washability and looks. The insulation used is 100g PrimaLoft® synthetic insulation and made from 60% post-consumer recycled material. Again this is not a layer you would use for serious outdoor pursuits, so the insulation choice is very good.

There is also a water repellant finish applied to the vest, which helps to shed light rain. Overall the most surprising thing is how thin the vest is, as I tend to find insulated vests to be generally too bulky.

Fit and Style

This is on trend. It looks like a perfectly normal vest, because it is made out of the same material which most vests are made out of. From a style perspective, perhaps the biggest complement I can give is that my wife wishes they made a version for women.

From a fit stand point I ordered my standard Large from Bluffworks and I find that it fits well. They only offer a regular cut, and I would like it if there offered a slightly more tailored cut as the vest wears a little wide around the mid section. It is not bad by any means, but it is boxy enough that I can wear my Proof Nova jacket underneath the vest, but not the vest under the jacket.

To my eyes, I can see the same boxy look on the models that Bluffworks shows on their site. So if they offered a Tailored Cut, I would spend my own money to get one right away. That said, this is far from a deal breaker.

The only other complaint I have is that the collar is a bit tall in the back, and I find it uncomfortable when driving or sitting. I tend to fold the collar down when I drive or sit so that the back of my neck and head are more comfortable. When standing everything is fine.

Performance

There’s three aspects to the performance: comfort/mobility, warmth, and washability. Let’s tackle each individually.

Comfort: this vest is exceedingly comfortable, but vests generally are. I can’t say this is anymore comfortable than my other vest, but the arm holes are cut well, and there is no restriction to my movement. From a comfort perspective, the collar issue notwithstanding, well done.

Warmth: this vest is warm, but not hot. I have warm vests, but I wouldn’t want this to be any warmer. You could wear it sitting around at room temperature to stay cozy, and probably use it as your only warmth layer down to 45°F or so. Any cooler and you might want to layer under the vest. I did layer it with the Proof Nova jacket to spend a night walking around in 30°F weather. I think the warmth factor here is near perfect, if not perfect.

Washability: the vest is machine washable and putting that to the test I found that the only change from out-of-the-box was that the quilted sections now had a bit more depth to them. I think the vest actually looks better after washing. It dries pretty quickly as well.

Lastly, Bluffworks crammed a ton of pockets into the vest, but they did so very well. You can’t see or notice most of them, but there are there if you need them. I think they did a very nice job with that aspect.

Overall

I have one more complaint before we wrap up, and that is about the snaps for the zipper cover: they are a little jingly when you walk. It is not too bad an issue, but it is probably the biggest issue with the vest.

Having said all that, I think this vest is fantastic and I highly recommend it. I wasn’t sure what to expect of this vest, but I have been very happy with it. It has become my go to layer anytime the temps drop here, and for the price, I think it is a great value.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Bluffworks Horizon Quilted Vest