The term “fleece-lined jeans” usually brings out the skeptic in me. In my experience, fleece and denim often don’t play well together, making for bulky, ill-fitting pants. But Duer’s Fireside Denim jeans ($159) have turned me into a believer with their mix of performance, style, and warmth.
The secret is that the fleece liner is woven into the denim rather than glued inside, delivering a slim, tailored fit. The result feels more like silky terry cloth than fleece—extremely supple and, dare I say, more comfortable than worn-in jeans. It also lends extra warmth while not appearing like I’m trying to pull off the über-skinny look. When I took my toddler on our daily walks this winter, my legs were toasty, almost as if I were wearing full-length base layers.
However, the fleece liner is also thin enough that I never got too warm. Other similar jeans often make my thighs grossly sweaty, but I was fine in the Fireside, even on warmer spring days. The liner also wicks moisture with aplomb—well enough that, when the temperature did inch up into the sixties, I barely noticed.
On top of that, the Fireside is built to move. Last year my family’s all-day hunt for a Christmas tree involved a great deal of bushwhacking and awkward sawing in the cold, but the jeans were perfect. The gusseted crotch allowed me to straddle downed trees, and I appreciated how the stretch denim didn’t hinder my movement as I worked on bringing down a fir.
And in the end, isn’t that the best kind of jean? The one pair that you can wear almost anywhere, for almost anything, without thinking about it.