The Gear Junkie Scoop: Quiksilver CoolMax Denim


By Stephen Regenold

Jeans rarely do double duty as performance wear for active types. But this month Quiksilver releases three sport-specific pants that are fashionable enough and can squeak by for cyclists and skaters looking to jump a curb or kickflip a set of stairs while wearing denim on their legs.

The CoolMax Denim collection includes three jeans, each designed by a Quiksilver team skateboarder. I tested the Alex Olson Signature Denim, a $75 pant with a semi-tight fit.

As the name implies, the jeans are made with a CoolMax fabric. This specially-engineered polyester adds stretchiness and breathability to what appear to be a traditional pair of workaday pants.

I have worn the Alex Olson jeans about 20 days over a couple months, including while cycling and longboarding. They are a solid product, and the CoolMax advantages are indeed noticeable.

Freedom of movement is fair with the jeans. They have a crotch-gusset cut so your legs can spread apart. The fabric has a small amount of stretch. The jeans are reinforced with heavy thread and bar tacks for durability.

Wicking and breathability are noticeable. Quiksilver ( touts that wearing the CoolMax jeans is like “having a virtual AC unit in your pants.” Not really true. But I could bike five or more miles around the city in fall weather, and the jeans kept me comfortable from the waist down.

That said, these are still, at heart, a pair of jeans. There is a button closure and a zipper fly. Compared to tights or genuine sports pants, the Quiksilvers can't cut it for running, long hikes, or aerobic pursuits.

For skateboarding and casual cycling, the Alex Olson specials do fine. You can wear them anywhere, and no one will know they are “action” pants in disguise.

Then when the moment strikes, hop on your board for a session outside. Ollies and half-cabs are allowed. CoolMax and Quiksilver can accommodate, no problem at all.

–Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear