Swrve’s Durable Cotton pants on the left, shorts on the right. The surprisingly water-resistant pants show the aftermath of a sprinkler attack. The shorts are a better representation of what dark grey looks like in Swrve’s color palette.
Long Story Short: Much like Swrve’s Cordura Jeans being a game changer in the realm of cycling denim, Durable Cotton does the same for non-denim. This fabric is amazing and virtually indestructible.
Long Story Long: At the start of this past summer, I picked up a pair of Durable Cotton pants and shorts. The pants had the practical purpose of being a slightly lighter weight alternative to jeans when things heated up.
The shorts were more of an impulse purchase. Already owning a couple pairs of Swrve’s _blk Lightweight Shorts, I was a little skeptical that the Durable Cotton version would amount to much more than high performance backyard BBQ shorts.
It took all of one ride to realize just how far off base that assumption was.
The maiden voyage for the shorts was a 20 mile round trip pedal across town to Dodger Stadium. I clipped the tags off and was out the door- shakedown ride around the block be damned.
The most immediate impression they made was the amount of stretch they had. While the Lightweight Shorts have plenty of stretch, the Durable Cottons are wicked stretchy. We’re talking near Spandex levels of elasticity. As silly as it sounds, the material has such unique properties that sometimes I have to fight the urge to run around and do roundhouse kicks just to see if I can find its limits.
After that first ride, the shorts became my go-to item of the summer. On those rare occasions they weren’t folded neatly in the dresser, they could hang out on the floor for days at a time between wearings and be good to go with a quick shake thanks to being nearly impossible to wrinkle.
The pants performed just like the shorts except in a longer package. The fit is identical to Swrve’s regular fit jeans so there were no surprises there. The textured, yet soft nature of the Durable Cotton gives the pants a Dickies like feel without being industrial.
Back in the day, Dickies used to be the pants for messengers in downtown LA thanks to their low cost to durability ratio. While $100 for a single pair of pants isn’t cheap, the only way I can imagine Durable Cotton pants not outlasting several pairs of their ordinary counterpart is if they were doused in gasoline and set on fire. And if that happened, you’d have bigger problems to worry about.
One bonus feature to the pants is how comfortable they are for travel off the bike. Wore them on a few long road trips and flights this summer and stayed as snug as a bug in a rug. The stretchiness is a huge boon when contorting yourself into a sleep compatible position while stuck for hours in a tiny seat.
Here’s the Breakdown: All the details that have become Swrve trademarks are present and accounted for. Both the shorts and pants have a seamless crotch, heavy duty stitching throughout, reflective belt loops, and dual pen pockets- one of the dorkiest, yet ridiculously useful features you’ll ever encounter.
With regard to the pants, the pocket configuration is pretty standard. Two up front and two in back. The left rear pocket is zippered. The right rear pocket is open and a little larger and should comfortably fit an iPhone 6+ if that’s your jam. Unlike the jeans, there is no reflective strip inside the leg. Swrve’s trademark articulated knee gussets are present and accounted for.
The pocket configuration of the shorts is slightly different. Two standard pockets are up front and in the back is a Velcro pocket on the left and on the right is a larger, offset open pocket (think mini u-lock sized) with an integrated zippered wallet sized pocket on top. Gotta love how Swrve makes it hard for you to lose your important stuff. For obvious reasons, the shorts lack knee gussets.
After five months in heavy rotation and dozens of washings later, zero signs of wear can be found on either piece. The color hasn’t faded, seams haven’t frayed and the Durable Cotton hasn’t lost its shape. I wouldn’t be surprised if both make it to the next decade.
Want a Second Opinion? Cycleboredom is on the case.