Alternative to Outlier's Women's Daily Riding Pants?
September 10, 2015 7:38 AM   Subscribe

My first generation pair of Outlier's Women's Daily Riding Pants are on their last legs. They were pretty close to the perfect pant for me; stretchy, a decent material resistant to staining, good for biking/travel/camping/hiking with clean-enough lines that I could wear them out to dinner with a nice shirt. They've discontinued their women's line so now I'm back to the drawing board. Please help!

After looking at the Outlier website and seeing the pants had been out of stock for a few months, I found out via the Outlier Reddit sub-forum that they are discontinuing their women's range and just focusing back on menswear because they don't have enough resources dedicated. Bummer, since it's difficult to find thoughtfully designed pants for women.

I'm looking for a soft shell women's pant that covers a broad range of activity and criteria:
- Some type of quick-drying nylon blend that isn't too lightweight as to be prone to VPL (visible panty lines)
- Cut for casual activities but still has a stylish cut that doesn't scream "I only shop at REI". I wore my Outliers on a three-day camping trip in late October once with wool long johns underneath and they worked out great. Typically I would just wear them everyday around the city.
- Mid-rise. The back of the Outliers were higher cut so my butt wasn't hanging out when I was biking.
- No flare or bootleg, I prefer a straight cut or skinny leg style.
- Must have real pockets. The back pockets on the Outliers were great, the front ones a bit shallow but I heard the later iterations had deeper ones.
- Must have belt loops
- Price is not an issue, though under $200 is ideal

I've got a pair of Prana's Meme pants from a few seasons ago. The cargo pocket makes it a bit too casual for a night out, but the cut is nice and skinny. However the rise, despite being "mid-rise", always threatens to reveal my butt crack. I've heard rumors that the fit has changed, so I'm willing to try it again.
posted by mlo to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I also have an athletic build, most of my weight is concentrated in my butt and hips so pants that accommodate for that is a bonus. The Outliers always seemed to be cut for a woman with narrower hips than mine.
posted by mlo at 7:40 AM on September 10, 2015

perhaps Vulpine? I am a guy and have their Harrington and the quality is awesome, so, I assume, they continue this quality throughout their women's line as well.
posted by alchemist at 8:46 AM on September 10, 2015

I bet you'd find something you love at Betabrand. Here are their women's pants. I've seen several of those versions in person and they're all really really nice and very well designed.
posted by barnone at 10:30 AM on September 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Just to add to the above, Betabrand has a 50% off coupon for today only that I'm not going to use and I'm willing to part with, so, it could be a cheap-"er" experiment.

Memail me for the coupon.
posted by aflores at 12:10 PM on September 10, 2015

If you find something, can you reply back on this thread? I was super bummed when Outlier discontinued their women's line, too. :/
posted by aaanastasia at 7:22 AM on September 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

A few other possibilities:
Women's 3-Season Soft-Shell Jean Pocket – Makers & Ridersl
Grace Straight Fit Pant | Ligne 8
Portia Classic Pant | Ligne 8

Keep your eye on Athleta and Title 9 now that the weather is cooling. They've had urban-styled softshell pants before although this is the closest I can find right now. These look weird in the photo but I've seen them in person and they look rather nice.

Another brand to look at is Lole, like these Lole Women's Living Pant.
Haglofs can be hard to find but these Shale Q Pants is a start.

Columbia also has a number of possibilities. I've bought a ton via Zappos and it's easy enough to return them.
Columbia Women's Just Right Straight Leg Pant
Columbia Women's Back Beauty Passo Alto Heat Pant
posted by barnone at 2:54 PM on September 16, 2015

A friend of mine wore these Merrell Belay Hybrid Pants today, and I thought you might like them. They were super cute, very straight and not bootleg at all, not baggy, and had belt loops!
posted by barnone at 2:14 PM on September 20, 2015

Thanks to aflores' coupon, I tried out Betabrand's Bike to Work skinny jeans in black (there's also a more straight cut version that looks more trouser-like). Typically USD$118, but I see they're on sale currently for USD$89.

Hips 41" and waist 29" around. I usually wear a size 8 (sometimes 6) in ready to wear, so I picked the size 29 with the 32" inseam (option for 34" inseam as well).

The size 29 was a good choice. I was surprised that the rise was a lot higher, the waistband was almost to my belly button. I have a long waist so it might go higher on others. It's a little loose at the waistband, but I wear belts so it doesn't matter. The higher cut is also more flattering, as it eliminates the opportunity for muffin top.

The more important part is that it fit my butt and thighs (24.5" around at widest") pretty well.

Definitely cut on the skinny side, but as someone with larger calves - 15" around at the widest - it didn't feel too tight. I felt more restricted just sitting at my desk at work in the waist and back of my thighs, but that's not enough to make me want to size up. The fabric feels stretchy enough and did stretch out over the course of a week but not too badly.

Current cut and size is probably too small for layering in winter.

There's a diamond-shaped crotch gusset to accommodate active movement. The Outliers had two additional panels in the back on each leg as a way to allow more movement, but retained the traditional seaming at the crotch. This didn't bother me while riding, but I do like the more subtle gusset on the Betabrand pants.

Front pockets feel deep enough, they go about 4" which is enough to stick my hands in with the thumb outside. There's a small zippered pocket on the right where the coin pocket would be, ideal for keys or chapstick.

Back pockets looks like normal back pockets on jeans. I can hold my wallet - mens' bifold - without it falling out. 4.5" of my phone - Moto G - fits in it, though YMMV depending on body type.

I've worn these to work, on a date, and milling about town. They are fine for business casual and definitely fine for everyday wear. Even though the fit is like skinny jeans, the material and construction - jeans are flat-felled, giving them those parallel seams, these just have the edges sewn together - makes them look more like pants than jeans. I'm fine with this.

I go camping/hiking in three weekends so I'll bring these and test them there.

The material is a cotton/polyester/spandex mix. I'm not thrilled about the cotton. Picks up lint and cat hair easily, but the Outliers did the same thing.

Material also feels thin, but not thin enough to feel like jeggings. I usually wear a pair of J. Crew toothpick skinny jeans made with a 9 oz stretch denim, this is slightly thinner, so probably high 8 oz?

I'd wear thongs or no-show underwear with these to avoid VPL. Currently getting away with cotton bikinis since I got these in black.

Claims to be soil and water repellent. I poured some water and it beaded, though that area is very, slightly damp.

There was some stretching out of the material after I wore them a week, but nothing unforgivably or noticeably sagging. Decent recovery. Washing instructions ask for cold wash and hang dry; I washed warm and hung them to dry, which I also did with the Outliers. No noticeable shrinkage.

I've got a short inseam, so the 32" is still too long. They'll need to be hemmed; the reflective binding runs up 8 inches from the bottom so hemming will not remove this feature. I like that feature.

The reflective pocket flap is also nice, especially since it can be tucked away when not needed.

U-lock holder works. The higher rise means that it's hanging more from your back, not hanging from an awkward part of your butt.

Rivets - the little metal nipples that reinforce areas of fabric - are found on the pockets. The Outliers did not have these. This might get in the way or get scraped during climbing.

Overall, I think these are a good alternative to the Outliers. Ideal for biking, everyday wear, date nights, business casual working. TBD with hiking and I rarely climb these days. Hope this review helps! When I have more time, I'll try to check out other suggestions.
posted by mlo at 2:24 PM on October 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

Awesome review! Thanks for posting all of that info.
posted by barnone at 1:03 PM on October 2, 2015

Two others:
Merrell Frost Belay Pant Shadow
Prana Halle Pant Black
posted by barnone at 9:10 PM on October 4, 2015

Thanks for all the suggestions!

The Merrell Belay Hybrid pants look slick. I wish there were front pockets, though the overall styling is nice enough for daily use. Also, the burgundy color is wonderful!

The Prana Halle pants: I have these in green. The back pockets are are secured with flaps, which I don't like. I like that you can roll them up. Even though these are too long for me, I do wear these camping in the fall because they accommodate long underwear and the leg opening is more of a bootcut opening and goes over my hiking boots. I see they offer a short version now.

After more intense Googling, these pants are close to all my specifications and have stores where I could check them out:
Columbia Saturday Trail stretch pants: Comes in a variety of different inseams. Rolls up to capri length from a straight-leg cut. Has front zip, belt loops and front pockets but has zip back pockets. Lots of positive reviews.
Lole Romina pants: More of a trouser styling, slim-straight leg cut with back welt pockets. But has zipper, front pockets, and belt loops. All synthetic material. Only offered in 30" inseam. Black only.
North Face Almatta skinny pants: Comes in grey and black. Different inseams. Welt back pockets, slash front pockets. Not a fan of the front pockets, but I like the slim cut.
posted by mlo at 8:46 AM on October 5, 2015

For anyone still following this, I also got the Bike to Work Skinny Jeans (in gray) and they are great. Also on sale right now for $60 on the website! I got 29x32 and generally agree with mlo's review. Also, my iPhone (5s) can kind of fit in the front pocket, which is a huge plus. I got them yesterday and then biked a lot and they were pretty comfortable for that!

Has anyone tried the Levi's women's commuter jeans?
posted by aaanastasia at 7:44 AM on July 19, 2016

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