Technical pants for business-casual wear

Ars Technica's Casey Johnston reviews Outlier's Women’s Daily Riding Pants, a technical garment that effectively comprise a pair of jeans for wearing, rather than simply being photographed in. They've got generous pockets, a finish that repels water and dirt; a fast-drying loose weave; a higher cut in the back to prevent plumber's crack, and they stretch in four directions. Johnston's review makes them sound great, and makes me want to try on a pair of the men's version. They run about $200.

My favorite pants, the women’s daily riding pants, are constructed of Doubleweave Twill, which can stretch in four directions. The fabric is coated with a Nano Sphere treatment created by Schoeller, a textile company that focuses mainly on fabric for weatherproof wear.

According to Schoeller, textiles have a naturally smooth surface, giving dirt, water and other liquids a large surface area to adhere to. Nano Sphere is a silicon finish that, on a microscopic level, roughens the surface of the fabric and creates a “structured ‘hilly’ surface” that makes it difficult for materials thrown at it to be absorbed in. After I walk in the rain, most rain droplets bounce off or bead up. But because of the light weave of the pants, even fully soaked ones dry in about an hour, as shown in the video above.

Schoeller’s coating used to only be applied to synthetic fabrics and was primarily used in garments like parkas. A material change back in 2005 allowed for the Nano Sphere treatment to be used on natural fabrics too. Outlier’s other pants, like the 60/30 Chinos (60 percent cotton, 30 percent polyester) are also Nano Sphere-coated.

The technical pants that replaced my jeans [Casey Johnston/Ars Technica]