Smart designers saw an opportunity to upgrade their loungewear offerings (no longer called “sweats,”) and capture market share for clothes that wouldn’t normally get past the front door. Sweatpants became slimmer and more creative, even mixing in patterns and like cable knit. More recently, tapered “joggers” have become popular among men looking to show off their expensive basketball shoes.
This spring, GQ officially declared that there are, in fact, sweatpants you can wear in public. High-end retailers like Neiman Marcus now carry designer sweatpants for men that cost hundreds of dollars.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that traditional athletic wear manufacturers would take notice of the trend, which is whatNike did with its Tech Fleece sweatpant, which have grown a cult following since they were released.
The opening at the ankle of the pant, which retails for $US110, is cuffed and slim, so it won’t get caught on your shoes or drag around the floor of your apartment collecting dust. The pocket design is also smart: The large right pocket has a zipper with another, smaller pocket inside. This is great because sweatpants often have gigantic pockets that leave your wallet down by your knee, which won’t happen with Nike’s version. And the zip keeps items from falling out when you sit down.
The Tech Fleece pants have received rave reviews all around. Sneaker Report declared them “the most comfortable sweats in the world,” and reviews of the pants on Nike’s site are very positive. Men’s style site Complex even actively covers when the pants are in stock, since they sell out so quickly.
All this buzz was enough to get me interested, and conveniently, Business Insider’s office is right next to the 5th Avenue Nike store, so I recently walked over to see if they had any of the pants in stock. Mike Fish, who works at the store, told me that the pants sell so well that whenever a new shipment comes in, people buy several pairs, and then call their friends to tell them they’re available.
He also said that the pants are one of Nike’s most popular items both domestically and internationally. I tried them on (Fish recommended going one size up from your usual) and immediately saw what the hype was all about. The fit from the ankle through the knee was slim, but flexible enough that running in them wouldn’t be a problem. They fit well around my thighs and waist. The material was light but felt sturdy, and the pockets were functional.
Even so, I couldn’t stomach the $US110 price tag, which is around the same cost as two pairs of my favourite jeans. But if you really love lounging, these pants are worth it. And I bet they would go great with the best hoodie ever.
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