The New, Outlier New Ways

For 2020, Outlier updated one of our favorite pairs of shorts with a simple, but awesome change. There is only one thing about these New-New Ways (and New Way Longs that has been changed, and that is the pocket material.

Outlier has always billed the New Ways as a singular pair of shorts, which can do everything. They can be dressed up for a night out, the are durable and rugged for wooded adventures, and they are always pool ready. New Ways have been my primary shorts since 2016 (and the only ones I wear outside of items for review here). I have swam in them and traveled with them all over.

This update is fantastic.

A core part of any item which you rely on to keep you cool, is the ability for that item to breathe — to allow moisture to easily escape your body. One obvious area that most items gets tripped up is the pockets — the addition of any material makes for reduced breathability here. We’ve all felt that pain.

Pockets are also doubly important to be designed correctly to keep items in them. And, when talking about swimming, to drain water quickly out of them. To handle this, New Ways originally had a mostly Supplex pocket, with a strong mesh “port” full width along the bottom of each pocket. This allowed for the pockets to be durable, drain quick enough to swim in, and hold items well.

However they didn’t drain that well, and they held moisture on a hot and humid day.

This is no more. The updated New Ways have full mesh pockets in the front (it is a finer, elastic mesh) and the back pockets retain Supplex against your body, and full mesh on the outer face (this helps them lay flat).

Top: new. Bottom: old.
Top: new. Bottom: old.

This change is fantastic. If you swim in New Ways, the performance add is enormous. If you live in a hot and humid area (as I do in Houston) you will immediately notice that the breathability of the front pocket areas is tremendously better.

Blue: new. Gray: old.
Blue: new. Gray: old.

The one area of compromise: how the pockets carry. As I mentioned, they are elastic, and so really heavy items will bounce a bit in the pocket. But I have yet to find this to be problematic in use. To test how well they carried items, I have been alternating between the original New Ways and the updated variants around my house to see if I lose any items. Thankfully I cannot tell the difference at all, these hold items just as well as the old New Ways.

This is a great update, and one you might want to take the plunge into if your life has you doing a lot of impromptu swimming, or if your humidity levels live well about habitable. Great work all around.

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

The New, Outlier New Ways

Oliver Cabell Phoenix

Note: this item was sent for review purposes.

Oliver Cabell is hard to miss today, making a wide variety of fashionable shoes at reasonable prices. They boast performance claims as well, and so when I was offered a chance to take the Phoenix sneakers for a spin, I was happy to do so. This is a ‘3D printed’ shoe made from recycled water bottles also boasts a wide variety of claims, all for a really good price of $95 MSRP.

How I Tested

These shoes arrived just after lock down here, so I was worried it would be difficult to test. However, given that they were brand new, I wore them all day while I worked at home — at my standing desk for 8 hours which is a pretty close representation to a normal day at the office for me. As the lock down eased I was able to put some miles on them outdoors as well.

So while my testing didn’t perfectly mimic what I might see in the real world, I did wear them a ton and I think the only thing I cannot comment on is how easily the white will dirty up, because I didn’t get to wear them in a lot of scenarios where that might happen.

Fit and Style

Let’s talk about fit first, since that is the single most important factor in a shoe being comfortable. There are some interesting items to note with these:

  1. They only are sold in whole sizes only.
  2. Oliver Cabell notes: “Fits narrow and short, size up if between sizes.”
  3. Customer Reviews peg the sizing almost exactly at “true to size” maybe just a tick under that (which I attribute to the narrowness of the shoe).

With that said, I wear a size 11.5 in sneakers, and 11 in boots. Based on all that info I got size 12s, right? Makes sense. They are almost 3/4 a size too large. A size 11.5, would of course fit perfect, while I am almost certain an 11 would be too small. I think the advice is bad — if you wear a whole size comfortably in sneakers, order that, between sizes, you might try another shoe. That’s where I land on this one. For me, whole shoe sizes only is a big miss, especially for something 3D printed.

From a style perspective, I really dig them. Yes they are very white, but they are also narrow (not too narrow, average width feet should be fine) so they don’t look goofy. They look nice, simple, and pair with almost everything up to smart casual. Pluses all around for style.

The Claims

Alright here’s the good stuff, let’s look at what is claimed on the website about these shoes: “A shoe that’s light and cooling with cloud-like cushioning to fit your every move.” “Machine-washable 3D printed upper…” Further, I want to note that on many other sites I have seen these shoes marketed as some of the most breathable out there.

Here’s where I land on all these claims:

  1. Light: yeah, like these are super light, and not floppy either. They have plenty of structure and almost no weight. It’s awesome.
  2. Cooling: nope. Sorry, but for how hard these are marketed for cooling properties I say no way. I wore them with merino wool socks in an AC house and my feet came out sweaty. Not much better outside in Houston heat. I could see how in cooler climates you might find these cooling, but not in hot and humid, it’s just not there. Almost every Nike running/cross training shoes I have owned have faired better.
  3. Cloud Like Cushioning: it is comfy and there is good cushion, however I don’t know about cloud like. I will say, and credit to them — far more supportive and comfortable than Allbirds (our review).
  4. Machine Washable: yes, surprisingly they wash up really well — almost like new. But there were no notes for drying so I air dried and it has taken well over 24 hours to get them to damp but wearable. So do note that.

Before washing.
Before washing.
After washing.
After washing.

The last thing I will note is that tongue is a little bit of a sticky type of rubbery material. It has a hard time staying in place for sure, and really is hard to pull back up if you shove your foot in. It’s not a big deal, just something to get used to.

Overall

This shoe is a mixed bag, I think if they had half sizes, it would be a lot better shoe for me. I won’t give it credit for breathability though, but the eco statements are nice. For the money (and you can often find these on sale other places) it can be a good deal for a good looking and comfortable shoe.

If the sizing works for you, then these are better than other hyped shoes (like Allbirds, those suck) but if you are a half size person then wait until they come out with those. And don’t count on these being a super cool shoe for your feet if you live in the hot and humid southern US, maybe in cooler climates they feel better. I have a hard time with them in the summer heat.

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

Oliver Cabell Phoenix

Everlane Bomber Jacket

This is a bit of a coronavirus fatality for me, but the long and short of it was that I had been planning to meet up with friends in San Diego to watch the premiere of Top Gun: Maverick (one of our friends is a huge Top Gun fan) and thus I needed a lightweight bomber jacket to complete the look. Everlane came out with this jacket in their uniform collection — it has the right (classic) looks I wanted, is made as a very light layer and impressively is only $88 before you find any promo codes for it. Amazing, really.

There’s not many claims beyond durability, color fade, shrinkage, and light water-resistance (from a coating). However, I do think that with jackets we have to let go of some of the things we would talk about with any other top, because jackets are a different beast all together. That said, let’s dive in.

Material

I’ll confess to not actually looking at the garment fabric before buying this, I had wrongly assumed it would by all polyester (as that’s a traditional bomber style, with sheen included) but instead it is a cotton-poly blend. More specifically: 68% Cotton, 32% Recycled Polyester.

In practice this means something that feels a bit like a cotton canvas with decent rigidity to the fabric. The hand feel is great, and the matte finish makes for a more modern look than a pure polyester otherwise would. In fact, I’ll go further to say that few people would guess this is as inexpensive as it is from the fabric alone.

Fit and Style

Bomber jackets have a distinct style: elastic cuffs, elastic waist, elastic collar, with a short body and longer sleeves. Sometimes other details will be present as well. This jacket ticks all those boxes and adds a pocket with pen slots on the left bicep, which is a nice nod to actual bomber jackets.

For me it fits really well, but is shorter in the torso than I expected. I think it works, but just barely. So beware that you might need to size up just for the length — and with a bomber having it wear big is better than small, though for this particular one you want it to look a touch more fitted.

While the short body can be tricky for the longer torso folks out there, it works well enough for me. My only real complaint is the zippers. I really wish the zippers were a brighter nickel color than they are, as that would add a more classic contrast to the jacket. That said, the subdued nature and the materials mean that you could most certainly wear this with anything from jeans and a t-shirt, to a layer with your business pants and a button up. It works, well done.

Performance

There’s basically no performance elements here. Yes, it has a DWR coating, but I would say that means you will not be in trouble if you get splashed. It is more to help with keeping the jacket clean, than making it something to wear in wet weather. (Which actually means it will last longer, as you tend not to wash jackets as often.)

The outside flaps and interior pocket are held closed with magnets.
The outside flaps and interior pocket are held closed with magnets.

So instead I will focus on a performance aspect not listed: the weight. It is very thin, with just a medium weight fabric for the outer shell and a thin lining inside — there’s no insulation at all. Which means you can wear it easily in a large range of climates. For most this will make a good transitional weather layer in the 50 – low 70s range of temps. For Houston, it works well when I travel outside of Houston (whenever that is allowed again) or for the winter months here. In the Pacific Northwest, ideal for the late spring, summer evenings.

In fact, it is the weight of this jacket that seals it for me, it is hard to find something that is light, and still looks good. Everlane nailed that.

Overall

I am a huge fan just from the garment alone, but you have to remember that this is $88 and you can instantly knock that down to $80 just by signing up for their email list. That is a bargain. It is rare I can say that here on this site, but what a deal. And I cannot see how this would not last a good long time.

Recommended.

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

Everlane Bomber Jacket

Everlane Performance Dress Shirt

It’s rare that we test mostly cotton clothing here — while cotton can be performant and is comfortable, it struggles to beat out many other materials both natural and synthetic. But, today we are testing Everlane’s Performance Dress Shirt, because this shirt packs a bold claim. Here is the description directly from Everlane:

The Performance Shirt has the performance of a technical fabric—stretch, wrinkle-resistant, sweat-wicking, quick-dry, anti-microbial, and with stain-resistant cuffs and collar—with the look and feel of cotton. From long commutes to even longer meetings, this shirt looks good all day long.

And you get all that for the low price of $68, a generally good deal for a cotton dress shirt, but an outright steal if the performance claims are met. So not to keep you in suspense any longer: the performance claims are not met. It’s not a complete bust of a shirt, but that description is highly disingenuous.

First this is a wrinkle-free shirt, it’s the second claim made, and yet when I pulled it out of the packaging it was a wrinkled mess. So yeah, not a good start, but let’s dive in.

Material

As I mentioned this is a high cotton shirt at 97% cotton, 3% elastane. There must also be chemical treatments to the fabric to even blink at some of these other claims, but none are listed and none are readily apparent to this layman reviewer.

Overall this feels like a cotton shirt, and has mild stretch which will allow you a greater range of motion than you would otherwise get in a slim shirt. And because it is cotton it looks like a normal shirt, so aces there. Lastly the shirt itself is very thin, so beware if you run into any, well, nipple issues generally in shirts.

Performance

I am just going to run through the bullet points of the claims:

  • Technical Fabric Level Stretch: False. It does have stretch, but if we are comparing it against some of the best stretching dress shirts, your Ministry of Supply Apollo, or Bluffworks Zenith (our review) — it doesn’t hold a candle to it. The shirt does have stretch, most noticeable horizontally across the back as you reach forward. But it is modest stretch. Is it better than a standard cotton shirt? Yes. Is it on par with the other technical dress shirts I test here? Not even close.
  • Wrinkle-resistance: as I said at the outset, this shirt looked like a mess when it came. But it washes and hang dries and comes out looking mostly wearable. A quick touch with a steamer and you have a wearable shirt — I have technical shirts which need that after washing too. But I think the key tell here is that the elbow areas of this shirt become a rumpled/wrinkled mess over the course of wearing it in just a few hours. This shirt is not what I would call wrinkle-resistant.
  • Sweat-wicking: it’s cotton, so no. I mean, no, just no.
  • Quick-dry: it dries faster than other cotton, but I can’t tell you why. I suspect that the thinness of the shirt is what is causing the dry times here and nothing else.
  • Anti-microbial: they must have a coating on this, because you can sneak almost two days of wear out of the shirt, but you will need to iron/steam it in between and I am not sure if you want to do that to a shirt you have worn for a day already. Coatings also likely wear off over time. But I think the most important thing here is that you can wear this all day without smelling like body odor. And that really is the claim Everlane is making. So I’ll give them that.
  • Stain resistant cuffs and collar: honestly I have no clue. I know the stains they are talking about, but that is going to require months of wear and testing before I would expect to see any of it. I haven’t seen anything to doubt this yet though.

Is this a performance shirt? No, not by Everyday Wear standards.

Sleeve wrinkles after an hour of wear.
Sleeve wrinkles after an hour of wear.

Fit & Style

The fit is almost perfect on me, which I am quite happy with. The one miss is the location of the top most button: it sits much too high. While this helps to keep the collar from laying down flat, it is rather uncomfortable for me — in the sense that I notice it and don’t like it.

Style wise, is it generally better than your average cotton shirt? No, it lacks the style of something like an OCBD, and lacks the general texture. So if you are going to wear cotton, why not wear cotton? And while this is a dress shirt, the collar is not thick enough to wear a tie with, so it’s not going to make for a good suit & tie shirt by any means.

This is a dress shirt you wear without a tie, and not with a suit, something to dress up chinos or jeans. In that sense, sure, the style is fine.

Overall

If you want a cotton shirt which has a little more movement and is overall crisp: this is a great price and a nice thin shirt for the summer office months. But if what you want is true performance you are better offer with something else, and you can get true performance shirts for close to this price during sales.

For $68, it is an ok offering, if you get it on sale it becomes even more attractive — but it’s not something that I recommend.

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

Everlane Performance Dress Shirt

Ministry of Supply Chroma Denim Pants

Note: I was sent these pants by Ministry of Supply for the purpose of review.

One of the most popular items out there is to make performance denim — to take your standard blue jeans and tweak them somehow to make them better than denim. Typically this is through an infusion of a modern material or two, namely: spandex or some sort of polyester to help them breathe more.

Generally the benefits are very slight and the pant looks like denim, or the changes are robust and you end of losing some of the versatility that denim naturally has. For the Chroma denim, Ministry of Supply seems to have went for all of that, and then some.

Here is the claim: no color fade, ‘smart stretch’, and durable construction.

Material

Let’s start with what these pants are from a materials stand point: 69% Cotton, 29% Polyester, 2% Elastane. I had not read this before I started writing this, and I will say that I am surprised by the low elastane content, and more surprised that there is polyester in the pants.

To be quite frank, these feel 100% as though they are your standard, albeit high end feeling, denim with stretch added. And they stretch far more than that 2% elastane number would have you believe. That could be helped by the looser cut, but I don’t know it feels like there is more going on.

The denim is stiff. It feels slightly rough on your skin. It feels like the type of pant that is going to wear well over the years.

Fit and Style

When these arrived my wife happened to be standing next to me, so I tried them on right away. Her first comment was that she thought they looked quite nice. That’s a bigger deal than you might think, because my wife has seen me try on a lot of crazy pants for this site.

The fit is fantastic. They look modern without being too slim. The wash on this ‘black’ pair I got is a deep and dark indigo — I asked for indigo, but am glad I got this color instead. It is fantastic looking.

More than that, the style is excellent because they look like a nice clean pair of jeans. The pants leg can be cuffed and it holds that cuff extremely well — all day long. These are things you generally do not get in a performance pant — but you get them here. Aces.

Performance

Ok, so let’s dive into those claims. The first claim is that the pant doesn’t fade. I have washed them four times now, and there is zero sign of fade, but that’s 4 washes — hardly enough to know for sure. But they are dark, very dark, and I washed them with white t-shirts — no color bleed which leads me to think this claim is probably going to hold.

‘Smart stretch’ is what these pants are billed as having, which Ministry of Supply defines as: “Chroma’s use of polyester and elastane perfectly balances flex and structure, resulting in denim that can move comfortably without losing its shape.” Yeah so this is the crazy part, that undersells what is going on here. They are very stretchy and basically never bag out. It is weird. It is magic, it must be. I don’t know but they stretch more than they should for such a low elastane content and such a stuff feeling pant, and yet they really don’t ever bag out — in the knees or the waist.

Lastly: durability. I can’t judge this, but they still look brand new to me, so I am guessing these are going to hold up — I don’t have a way of testing the 25 lb strength of the seams. To each his own.

But let’s dive more into my performance metrics, what we normally talk about here. First they dry very slowly, so don’t get in your head you can wash these hand hang them dry to wear tomorrow — add about 10 hours to that. They dry like denim.

They don’t breathe well, but not any worse than any other jean. They breathe and wear like denim.

I like them overall, but there is one thing about the performance where I find they fall short: dirt repellence. They don’t repel dirt or water at all. I am so used to having pants with DWR of some sort, that I forgot how easy it is to get pants dirty. I made the mistake of clumsily (apparently) eating a chocolate bar, and I could not wipe these jeans clean of that, I had to wash them. That’s a minor thing for how ‘normal’ they look.

Overall

Of all the performance denim I have tried, these are my favorites. I love them, and I suspect I am going to get a lot of wear out of them once the weather cools back off here in Houston. In the meantime, while I am stuck working from home, they are a part of my staple wear for the days the A/C is blowing a little too strongly in my home office. Well done.

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

Ministry of Supply Chroma Denim Pants

Aether Kelso Pant

The Aether Kelso Pant is billed as an active traveler’s pant, something that is comfortable, stretchy, and doesn’t wrinkle. This is a highly technical material pant — it’s not something trying to be a stealth dress item, it is a performance pant which has been cut and designed to be fashionable and comfortable.

Material

Aether calls this a stretch woven nylon, which comes out to be 93% nylon, 7% spandex. In reality, that description sells this pant short. This is a material that feels like a dead ringer for Outlier’s OG Cloth, and extremely similar to Oliver’s Passage Pant (our review) material. It has a smooth outer face, and a somewhat brushed inner face — giving it almost a soft shell like feel.

All the while being breathable and stretchy.

Performance

I really did not know what to expect with these. There are basically only a few ‘performance’ claims about them with Aether: comfort, stretch, and they don’t wrinkle. I mean, not a ton to go on.

It exceeds all those claims, by the way. If you hang the pants weird, they will wrinkle and those wrinkles will disappear almost immediately when you put the pants on — there is some sort of magic there. They are also very comfortable, whenever I test pants made of this material I am giddy because it truly is only rivaled by the comfort of sweatpants, or ‘joggers’ in modern parlance.

And yes they stretch. The 7% stretch does not tell the full story because the pants are actually cut pretty close to your body — they are skinny — and yet I have no ever once been limited in my movement. I can’t imagine anyone concluding that it would be nice if these pants had more stretch.

They also dry fast, as you would expect from a mostly nylon pant. They do a good job resisting stains and wiping clean. They breath well, not as well as the similar fabrics from Outlier or Oliver’s, but that also makes them a little more versatile as those breath so well that they can wear cold in strong A/C or in cooler temps.

A good performance pant is defined by a pant that you can put on when you wake up, and never need to change out of until it is time to go to bed. These are 100% that. They are probably 10% less breathable than others I have tried, but they move better the the Oliver’s material. In fact, I think these give OG Cloth a run for their money — but I don’t have any pants in OG Cloth on hand to directly compare to.

A-plus performance.

Fit & Style

The fit and style of these is different than anything else I have tried. They are very skinny, and most skinny pants hit me very tight in the calves. But these are somewhat tight in the calves. They are very snug in the knees, which I have not experienced before.

But unlike most skinny pants, they are extremely comfortable as the waist itself stretches too. The entire pant, fits very well, and because of how close cut it is, the technical nature of the fabric looks far better than it should.

I would not wear these to the office, but I wouldn’t balk at wearing them for almost anything else. And, I will say that they do not bag out like other fabrics of this nature — at least not before I need to wash them anyways. I have worn them for basically two weeks straight, and while they stretch out a tad, the knees and the waist doesn’t get so stretched out that they need to be washed so you can keep wearing them.

So fit: excellent. Style: about as good as one can hope with this type of material.

Overall

One of my all time favorite pair of pants is Outlier’s OG Climbers. I had to sell mine because I lost weight and they were too large — I have wanted another pair ever since. The problem with Climbers is that the style of that pant is stupid. The pockets are dumb. Also, they are discontinued.

Aether’s Kelso pant is a better version of Outlier’s Climbers. Just as comfortable, without all the stupid style choices. I absolutely love these pants, and highly recommend them.

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

Aether Kelso Pant

Proof Merino-Blend Travel Shirt

Proof has long offered casual t-shirts made of merino wool, and cotton performance button downs made of cotton and stretch. Here though they marry those two to try and create a button-down travel shirt, I have been testing it for some time and I have fallen in love with it.

Material

Ok, first, I think calling this shirt merino wool is a bit disingenuous, at least for this site, because this shirt is 88% polyester, 12% merino wool. There is just not a lot of wool here. That said, the shirt material is quite nice, as the outside has a very slight brushed finished making the shirt almost feel more like a traditional flannel than a button down.

The weight is nearly perfect for a smart casual level shirt. It’s not thick enough that it will drape like a flannel, nor is it thin enough that it becomes opaque in any light. It’s very well done and the hand feel of the material is amazing.

Fit & Style

This is a shirt that has a very tailored fit, especially through the sleeves where I find that rolling the sleeves can be tight, while the cuffs are loose enough I can wear a watch under them with no issue. The fit is very flattering and right out of the gate, I love it. The collar sits properly, the top button placement is excellent.

What is really going to make or break the this shirt for most is the body length. It is primarily cut to be worn untucked, and that works extremely well in this shirt. But it does have just enough length in it for me that I can tuck it in so I can dress it up a little.

So for travel, tucking it in to go to a nice restaurant, I think this shirt plays that card extremely well. But as a shirt to walk into a business casual setting, I don’t think it works well. The brushing on the face is too soft, and makes it look too casual. This is casual to smart casual all day long. Which for most people should be all you need.

Performance

The big question is how does such a low merino wool percentage shirt perform. And the answer is: reasonably well actually. This won’t be the most performant shirt from an odor resistance perspective but 2-3 wears is pretty reasonable. More if you are wearing an anti-perspirant or something of that nature.

The variant I got is an ivory color for the most part, and the dirt will show first on that, well before odor is a factor. To that end, the shirt also has two vents on each armpit to help the shirt breathe a little more, which is a welcomed addition from my view.

What does bode well for travel is that the shirt washes up rather nicely. It dries reasonably fast, and with not a terrible amount of wrinkles, and even the wrinkles it does dry with, tend to be visually hidden by the fabric itself.

All in all the performance of this shirt is better than pure polyester, but not as good as wool. But it should last longer than wool and be more durable.

Overall

Given that most of my testing was done in my home for this shirt, I have fallen in love. The cut of it is sharp, and the comfort is off the charts. It feels great to wear, and I find my self reaching for it first, and having to remind myself that I wore it yesterday, and I should wait a day.

Will I travel with it in the future? Yes, but only for leisure travel. It will not however fit into my office rotation, whenever we return to offices.

Great shirt, and I think most people will get more use out of this than a pure merino wool shirt as it lends itself to a more carefree garment care.

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

Proof Merino-Blend Travel Shirt

Rivas Supply Terrain Pants

I initially backed these pants on Kickstarter so we could give them a test here. The Terrain Pant follows the standard hype on Kickstarter pants, which culminates in this claim: “The one pant you’ll want to take with you (and never take off) on a trip around the world.”

I’ve had these pants for a while now, and the truth is, I have been putting off writing this review because I really do not care to wear these pants. So let me tell you why…

Material

First, these pants are made with “Japanese Nano-Wing® Technology”. Sounds amazing right? The claims are: “water and stain-repellant from the outside, moisture wicking from the inside, quick drying, self-cleaning, UV protected, with the perfect amount of stretch.” On the website there is no further definition, so like me you probably assume this is some futuristic fabric, some distant cousin of dyneema, merino wool, and nylon. When in fact, the garment tag tells us: 95% cotton, 5% elastane.

And as far as hand feel: terrible. Like a stiff canvas issued to soldier before we invented polyester.

Fit and Style

They fit very slim, and the pockets make what would otherwise probably be a really decent smart/business casual fabric look like a weird dressy hiking pant. From the pull tab on the back pocket (why is that there) to the zippered front pockets. The style is strictly casual, and generally just odd.

Performance

There are far too many performance claims on these for me to go through them all, or to even verify them. Also, I didn’t want to wear these more than I had to. So there’s that.

This is cotton with stretch, and heavy cotton at that. They simply do not breath well at all. I live in Houston, I can sniff out a poor breathing pair of pants instantly. Outlier’s heavy Strong Dungarees breathe better.

As for stretch, it appears to be two way, which stretches along the horizontal of the pants. This is mostly fine and the preferred method if it is not 4-way stretch. However the gusseted crotch is rather small, and so the pants are more restricting because of the slim cut. Either the pants need a larger gusset, 4-way stretch, or a looser fit.

For me, the rest of the performance points don’t matter because the pants are simply not more comfortable than any other pants I own, for any type of wear.

Overall

They are stiff, they don’t breath well, they don’t move well, and they are a little noisy to walk in. Also, my pants came with some snags in the fabric out of the package. The cut is flattering, but that’s the only nice thing I can say about them.

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

Rivas Supply Terrain 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?

Super Comfortable, Video Chat Ready, Work From Home Clothing Guide

Note: some of the items in this guide were provided for review.

A lot of people are going to be finding themselves working from home in the coming days. And while most people are focused on telling you to bother getting dressed, and to be video call ready, let my 4 years of work from home experience, and clothing review experience tell you how to get dressed and be video call ready, while feeling like you are are in sweatpants all day. Here’s my guide.

The Pants

Yes, you could wear sweatpants all day, and yes the point of this is to stay indoors, but there is no need to actually wear sweatpants when you can buy pants which are just as comfortable, but wearable anywhere. My top picks:

  • Western Rise Diversion Pant (our review): made to be your everything pant, these are super comfortable. They offer a ton of stretch and fuzziness. They are my top pick.
  • OLIVERS Passage Pant (our review): a close second, the Passage Pant doesn’t quite look as good, but offers a stretchier waist band, which only adds to the comfort.

Pick the Western Rise if you find your pants never get uncomfortable in the waist throughout the day, or you want to wash pants fewer times. Pick the OLIVERS for the ultimate in at home comfort, but know that the waist will stretch out and you need to wash them to get the waist to shrink back up.

The Shirt

Let’s face it, the collar of your shirt is all most people are going to be seeing on a video chat. My top pick for this is the Outlier S140 One Pocket. Sadly it is not currently available and there is nothing else on the market even close to this shirt. It is supremely soft and comfortable, while having a look which easily passes for video chat business calls. Since that is out, here are some other considerations:

  • Western Rise Limitless Merino (our review): I recently wrote about this shirt. It is super comfortable, and looks really sharp. The stretch alone will have you lounging in style. The merino will keep you from needing to wash it. It will wear a little cool though.
  • Western Rise AirLight (our review): I only have the short sleeve, but that or the long sleeve would be great for anyone who wants a shirt that requires no special thought or care. Wear, wash, dry, wear. And it is super light while looking sharp.
  • Unbound Merino Classic Button Down (our review): nice and heavy, crisp look, still comfortable. It could use more stretch, but if you find yourself running cool in your home, then this is a great option.
  • Wool&Prince Polo (our review): for a little more casual look, nothing can beat a 100% merino polo from W&P. So soft.

Lastly, for my friends who live in cooler climates, consider a shirt-jacket to throw over the top of a long sleeve t-shirt. I love my Triple Aught Design Catalyst Field Shirt (our review), but there are plenty of others which will be more business friendly.

And for everyone who just wants a nice looking t-shirt to be comfortable in all week without needing to wash it. Outlier’s Ultrafine Merino T-Shirt (our review) is the pinnacle of luxury t-shirting.

Feet and Underwear

You are at home, wear your comfy underwear. As for socks, I recommend these for around the house.


Stay comfortable, stay home.

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

Super Comfortable, Video Chat Ready, Work From Home Clothing Guide