Over the past decade or so, the pants revolution has been rapid and sometimes difficult to keep up with. We quickly moved from trusted skinny jeans and slim-cut suit trousers to all manner of BIG pant; baggy, swishy, cropped—even pleated pants are having their moment.
Unfortunately, the big pants that GQ’s been feeling of late don’t work if, like me, you’re a bike-to-work (or bike-to-anywhere) person. For the pedal-pushing commuter, you need relatively trim pants that won’t get chewed up by a loose chain or greasy sprocket. Luckily, all kinds of movement-friendly fabrics have elbowed their way onto the scene—to the point that it now feels like every pair of 5-pocket pants or chinos you pick up has some stretch to them. A raft of companies have sprung up developing work-appropriate pants with these tech-y stretch fabrics. But which pairs find that perfect balance between feeling good on your twice-daily bike ride and looking good in your twice-daily standup meetings with the boss?
In search of the best pants to bike to work in, I pulled on all manner of commuter pants, lugged my bike down three flights of stairs, and rode vigorously (sometimes over a bridge or two) the four miles from my Brooklyn apartment to downtown Manhattan and back. I limited my search to pants that look and feel most like chinos—no jeans, no five-pocket pants—because they provide the most office-friendly versatility. To suss out the best I assessed the weight, fit, sweat wicking capabilities, pockets, stretch, and hand feel.
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Originally Appeared on GQ