Your Next Jeans Should Be Made from Performance Denim

It’s amazing what a little bit of stretch can do

Performance denim means your jeans are comfortable for more than just sitting at a desk. (Photo: 5.11 Tactical)
Performance denim means your jeans are comfortable for more than just sitting at a desk.

When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small commission. Outside does not accept money for editorial gear reviews. Read more about our policy.

Between work, family, sports practices, more and more we find ourselves looking for clothes that are both stylish and versatile. It’s this demand for crossover gear that’s given rise to performance jeans– denim combined with spandex or Lycra that's comfortable during a variety of activities.

“The reality today is folks are using their gear differently,” says Joel Alarcon, VP of 5.11 Tactical’s consumer division. “Consumers going to work and then going outside. They want gear that can transition while still being performance oriented.” 5.11 Tactical is known for everyday wear built for military professionals, but recently launched a line of jeans that are as stylish as they are burly.

After wearing them for the past few months, we think 5.11 nailed it. Here they are, along with our four other favorites.

5.11 Tactical Defender Stretch ($70)

(Photo: Courtesy 5.11)

5.11 took their “always be ready” approach to denim, with a stretchy blend of cotton, poly, and Lycra in the fabric and thoughtful touches like knife and magazine specific pockets.

Buy Now

Prana Bridger ($90)

(Photo: Courtesy Prana)

This jean is mostly made of organic cotton but also includes polyester and a touch of spandex for an incredibly stretchy pant that can handle a post-work yoga session. You can go with straight denim for the color, but we like the dark ginger.

Buy Now

Patagonia Performance ($110)

(Photo: Courtesy Patagonia)

Patagonia took their regular straight fit jeans and added 29-percent Coolmax fabric to the organic cotton, giving you a pair of jeans with superior stretch, moisture wicking capabilities and a weather resistant DWR finish.

Buy Now

Club Ride Shift ($85)

(Photo: Courtesy Club Ride)

Club Ride uses a mid-weight cotton/poly blend for plenty of stretch and handy features for bike commuters, like a higher-rise back, a zippered iPhone pocket and reflective hits for added visibility.

Buy Now

SWRVE Indigo Cordura ($100)

(Photo: Courtesy SWRVE)

Built with bike commuters in mind, these jeans are a mix of tough Cordura denim and spandex with articulated knees, back pockets big enough for a U-lock and a reflective stripe on the inside right leg that shows when you roll up your cuff.

Buy Now

Filed To: Clothing and ApparelStyle
Lead Photo: 5.11 Tactical
More Gear