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XX Factor

The Best Pants for Women

After a full summer of testing, we found great-fitting bottoms that come in short and long lengths and play just as hard as we do

5.11 gives cargo pants get a much-needed update with the Defender-Flex Slim. (Courtesy 5.11)
5.11 Tactical

After a full summer of testing, we found great-fitting bottoms that come in short and long lengths and play just as hard as we do

When it comes to women’s pants, the hip and waist fit is just the beginning. Leg length is also critical, and companies truly committed to making great-fitting pants typically offer a range of inseam sizes. Here are some trail-tested options for training, hiking, traveling, skiing, and just hanging out.


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(Courtesy Nike)

Nike Sculpt Lux ($95)

Training

Offered in: Short, Regular, Tall

Long-legged women are often forced to wear capris for running and crossfit workouts, but cold weather calls for full-length tights. These compressive training pants come in 33.5-inch versions that actually cover tall women's shins and ankles. 

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(Courtesy L.L. Bean)

LL Bean Comfort Trail Pants ($60)

Hiking

Offered in: Petite, Regular, Tall, Plus sizes

These lightweight, quick-dry nylon pants feature a gauzy strip of sweat-mopping fabric along the waist that I found eliminates chafing. The longest length (33 inches) fits most women 5’9” and shorter. 

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(Courtesy Duluth Trading Company)

Duluth Trading Co. Flexpedition Pants ($80)

Bike Commuting 

Offered in: Four lengths, from 29 to 35 inches 

The reflective band built inside these stretchy, water-repellant pants makes them a solid choice for cool-weather commuting. Four inseam options ensure that the articulated knee seams fall at just the right spot for maximum mobility. 

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(Courtesy Kuhl)

Kuhl Mova Pant ($89)

Traveling 

Offered in: Three lengths, from 30 to 34 inches 

These are basically jeans built from a stretchy knit fabric, which makes them comfy loungers that can also handle light hiking. A broad range of sizes fits a lot of difference body types, including a tall size 2.

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(Courtesy 5.11)

5.11 Women’s Defender-Flex Slim Pant ($70)

Working in the Yard

Offered in: Regular, Long

Cargo pants get a much-needed update with these skinny-fit bottoms in cotton/poly twill. A streamlined smartphone pocket on the upper thigh provides a secure and flattering garage for electronics, and the extended length (33.5 inches) suits tall women.

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(Courtesy Arc'teryx)

Arc’teryx Sentinel Pant ($499)

Skiing and Snowboarding

Offered in: Short, Regular, Tall

Internal gaiters and durable kick patches on the cuffs can screw up the fit of alpine pants. But the Sentinel’s three inseam lengths give women way more options for a great-fitting bottom. Zippers on the outer thigh vent heat on the uphills, three-layer Gore-Tex construction sheds all kinds of weather, and a women’s-specific fit provides freedom of movement without excessive bagginess. 

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Filed To: Women's / Gear / Pants / Clothing and Apparel

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