Houdini Sportswear has been on my radar for a while because of their sustainability initiatives. They are best known for their Mono Air Houdi, a fleece hooded jacket made from a special Polartec fabric designed to reduce microplastic shedding, is at least 50% recycled, and the whole jacket is designed to be fully recyclable. The whole jacket is also open source. But that’s not what I’m reviewing today (I already have plenty of fleece…).
Houdini recently released a few pieces geared more towards lifestyle than outdoors, and when I saw the Omni Pants, I figure they were the perfect piece for me to give the brand a try.
The pants are made from a fabric Houdini calls Thrill Twill, a blend of 41% EcoCircle® recycled polyester, 38% polyester, 21% PTT stretch polyester at 180 gsm. It is one of their tried and true fabrics they describe as “dense enough to shelter you a little bit from wind, but also light and open enough to provide high breathability. It is fully recyclable.” This seems like a lightweight but durable fabric.
When pulling up the fabric info to write this review, I was surprised at the high “stretch polyester” content, as the fabric doesn’t feel noticeably stretchy in the hand until you look for it (it is two-way stretch in the horizontal direction). The fabric is matte peached on the outside, but softer on the inside. You will also notice a lack of a DWR finish here.
My main point of comparison when thinking about these pants is the Outlier Futureworks. The F. Cloth is made from a 200 gsm 97% nylon, 3% elastane canvas, with a 35% two-way stretch. Comparing the two fabrics, they don’t feel noticeably different in weight, but the F. Cloth feels a bit more rough and tightly woven, with more texture and a bit more stretch.
There is, however, some technical swoosh here. This does seem to be getting a little better as I wear/wash them though.
Fit & Style
Houdini describes the fit as a “regular tapered fit”. I’d say compared to the typical tapered chino or the Futureworks, these are more of a straight or relaxed fit. Some of this may come from the fact that the sizing is XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL (I was able to get a good fit with the XL), vs. waist sizes, but it is also the general design of the pants. I don’t think they look sloppy, just more on-trend for the more full pants that seem to be coming back into style.
This style to me is more “technical pant that you can dress up” vs. “chino you can hike in” for the Futureworks. Not a bad thing, and considering the dress codes we will likely see post-pandemic, these likely could be worn in a lot of offices.
Wearing these pants in the spring, I was able to test their wind/chilly weather resistance. I think they are about on par with the Futureworks, which is somewhat surprising due to their weight and what looks like a more open weave. I’m really looking forward to seeing how these compare in hot weather.
The movement feels great here — the slight give the two-way stretch imparts combined with the cut make these pants stay out of your way. Additionally, the pre-bent knees help with binding around the knees when crouching or squatting.
While there is a lack of DWR, these pants dry so quickly, I don’t think that detracts from the appeal too much.
A few other hidden performance features are the zippered compartment in the right front pocket — a feature I often don’t love, but this one seems to stay out of the way (and the zipper pull docks at the top). There are also pulls at the leg cuffs, to all you to cinch them out of the way of a bike chain, as well as a hanging loop under the back belt loop.
I really like these Houdini Sportswear Omni Pants. The cut combined with the fabric make them comfortable and durable, and they fend off the chillier weather while seeming like they will do great in the heat. For those looking for sustainability, they contain 41% recycled polyester and can be recycled at the end of their life.
While they won’t replace my Outlier Futureworks for office wear (for now at least), they will remain at the front of my closet. At $140, they are competitively priced. Recommended.