The Perfect Sweat Pants?
It’s such a simple item of clothing, but what do we look for when we choose a pair of sweat pants? For me, it’s ease of movement, functionality, and appearance. For some reason, getting this trio right can be surprisingly hard. Fortunately, for my climbing, I’ve found something that offers me the perfect combination.Finding something that gives you lots of movement is usually quite easy; sweat pants stretch, and the material is usually generous enough that it moves with you, whatever you are doing. Appearance is also fairly easy to nail, especially now that Skochy have introduced two extra flavours to go with their old school baggies that have been the signature of the parkour scene over the last ten years. But sneaking some functionality into the mix can often be tricky, and this is where the Skochy pants really shine. You want a good waist tie with a cord that isn’t going to disappear into the pants for you to spend half an hour teasing it out. You want deep pockets so that your loose change doesn’t disappear down the side of your seat every time you get in the car. And you need a zip pocket that will keep keys or a bank card safe for those occasions when you’re keeping it minimal and need to be sure that those essential small items aren’t going to escape.
As a climber, I’m lucky to have a huge range of climbing-specific trousers for sale from which I can choose, in all colours, all styles, and all usually very expensive. There’s often an insane level of engineered design going on: loads of zips, elasticated drawstrings, a gusseted crotch, and more. Despite this choice on offer, my go-to climbing trousers are my Skochy Regular Motion Pants because, somehow, they are more hard-wearing, more comfortable, and just more me. When I need them to be short to free up my feet, I just hitch them up to my knees and rely on the elastic to hold them in place while I climb. In winter, the weight keeps me warm and I can also add long johns underneath without feeling in the slightest bit restricted. This is a big difference to climbing trousers where the materials never seem to run over each other as smoothly, and the added tightness of the layers starts to feel awkward.
Alongside all of this, given that climbing trousers are supposed to let you move freely, would you ever go for a run wearing a pair? No way. It would just feel weird.
Ultimately, it’s the simplicity and dependability that keeps me in my sweatpants. Climbing trousers seem geeky, and I say that as a certified, bona fide nerd of gargantuan proportions. I can’t pretend that I’m suddenly the coolest kid in the forest when I’m out in my sweatpants, but I certainly feel more relaxed than I would if I were wearing an unnecessarily techy pair of climbing trousers. Like magic, the Skochy Regular Motion Pants do a great job of making me look way cooler than I actually am.
If you’re a climber and you think that you have to wear climbing trousers, here’s a revelation: sweat pants are by far the better option, so why not give them a go.