Of the gear that you use on any given day, its often pants that do the most work. They are the least likely to be forgotten, and yet, the least understood bit of kit.
For non-stretch fabrics, it takes some clever designing to make performance pants to allow for all the human body’s movement capabilities in climbing, squatting, stretching over obstacles, crawling, and stalking about the place.
What is it that makes a pair of pants perform without pinch-points and restrictions?
The No.1 key feature that you should look for in active wear pants is a Gusseted Crutch. This is an extra panel in the crutch, and it moves the seam lines away from crossing at the pelvic floor which is a point of restriction in non-gusseted designs. If it doesn’t have a Gusseted Crutch, don’t buy it. And, for this feature bigger is better. A small diamond gusset is better than nothing, but bigger is better. Look for something that has a whole panel, as this will reduce the stress load on the seams the most when you are moving about. Once you have tried it, you will appreciate the difference that it makes compared to standard jeans or pants which do not include this key feature.
The 2nd key feature to look for is the shape of the yoke. The yoke is a panel at the small of your back, above your butt, and below the waist band. Some pants have no yoke panel. Avoid them. Some pants like the jeans, are designed to show your crack when you squat or bend over. You may like that. If not, the key feature to look for in a yoke is that it should be small in the small of your back, and, get wider towards your hips. This shaped yoke works because it relieves the pressure around your hips as they widen when you bend, squat or ride etc., and, because the small of your back does not change shape, this shaped yoke works towards preserving your crack modesty.
The 3rd key feature to look for are side panels. What is this? Well, if you have side panels on the outside of your legs, and a gusseted crutch on the inside, and a front and a back panel, it means that the design is three-dimensional, so it is box-shaped, rather than a two-sided envelope like standard designs. The three-dimensional concept makes a big difference in performance when you need to move about during any activities. It means that the seam lines are positioned so that they do not stress-load, cause pinch-points and restriction.
So, whether you need to throw your leg over a fence, ride a bike, do martial arts, walk up an Ibex, or, your off to your favorite yoga class, the 3 Key Design Features to be knowledgeable of for pants performance are the Gusseted Crutch, the shape of the Yoke, and the Side-Panels. This combination makes a three-dimensional pants fit that does not pressure load the seams and does not require Lycra.