NOTE: The Jeans shown in this review are both straight fits in a 33×30 size shown on a 5’10” / 185-190 lb frame. Slim fits are also available for both the BR Rapid Movement as well as the Old Navy Flex Max.
There are jeans with some stretch… and then there are jeans that really stretch. Banana Republic’s Traveler Jean is the latter. The BR Traveler was one of the first, and continues to be, one of the most popular high-stretch jeans on the market. Not just 1% spandex for a little give, but a mix of engineered (ie polyester) fibers, a healthy dose of elastane, and then about 80% cotton to hold it all together. They are insanely comfortable and absurdly flexible.
They’re also expensive as hell and only come in one fit. Slim.
That’s not good news for dudes on a budget, and or those who need/prefer a little more wiggle room from the waist down. BUT… there have been some new additions to the stretch-jeans market in the last few months, and they happen to be from GAP Inc. as well. Both of these options come not just in slim, but also STRAIGHT fits, and offer terrific comfort and stretch. Got another lead on super-comfortable, easy to move in jeans? Send those into firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maybe a touch long? Overall, the rinse shade and the feel of the fabric is spot on.
- Size/Fit/Color Tested: 33×30 STRAIGHT Fit on 5’10” / 185. Color is their darkest blue “rinse” option.
- Fabric: 92% cotton, 6% lycra T400, 2% elastane.
- The Looks: Some think the original BR Traveler Jeans look a little too uniform in color and fabric. Meaning, they don’t quite look the same as normal jeans? These look like normal jeans, yet still have a ton of stretch.
- The Washes: Available in a preferred by most, deep, dark navy/rinse shade. No distressing to speak of.
- The Fits: Available in skinny, slim, and finally… straight. Thank goodness.
- The Feel: Again, tons of stretch but with such a high concentration of cotton (relative to the original BR Traveler Jean) these feel more like a true jean to the touch. But they still stretch and snap back like the Traveler.
- Shape Retention: I don’t wear jeans that are capillary crushing slim, so, I don’t seem to have the hyper stretching out problems others have reported with stretch jeans. But BR seems to claim that these retain their shape better even if you DO wear your jeans tight enough to show the outlines of your pockets (and, um, other things) on your upper thighs.
Looks more like regular denim (see those bits of white?) but still has a ton of stretch.
The Not So Good:
- The Price: Spendy. Real spendy. And they haven’t been up for a major discount as of yet. But that has to be just a matter of time, no?
- The Length: They seem to run a touch long? Maybe?
The Bottom Line:
More “jean-like” compared to the Traveler, and if your legs and/or pieces parts are not conducive to the Traveler’s slim fit, then there’s a straight option for you. Most comparable jean on the market would be the super expensive Bonobos Jetsetter jean.
As dark as their wash gets. So, you have to be good with some fading.
- Size/Fit/Color Tested: 33×30 / Straight Fit on 5’10” / 185. Color is their “Dark Wash” which is as dark as Old Navy gets on this jean, but still has some fading to the legs.
- Fabric: 85% cotton, 13% polyester, 2% elastane
- The Price: Much more affordable than the original BR Traveler Jean.
- The Fits: Available in both slim or straight.
- The Fabric: SUPER stretchy. Closer to the BR Traveler than the “Rapid Movement,” yet doesn’t feel plastick-y or artificial like some other cheap, wanna-be-traveler jeans can feel.,
Lots of stretch, but pretty wide through the lower legs.
The Not So Good:
- Color Selection. No true rinse dark wash? You gotta be good with some fading/distressing? C’mon man. What we doing out there man?
- Straight Fit is more like Semi Loose. Full disclosure… I can’t wear BR’s slim traveler jeans anymore because I literally cannot get the cuffs up and over my calves (even with the stretch) to put my socks on. Yes, I could put my socks on first, but, c’mon. If you have to put your socks on first because your pants are that tight? They’re too tight. Meanwhile, these jeans from old navy? They’re the opposite. They don’t taper much below the knee, if at all. They. Are. WIDE. And the thighs feel more generous compared to the BR straight fit. But? It’s Old Navy. that’s not too unexpected. So know that 90% of you will want to go with the slim option.
Old Navy’s straight fit is a borderline boot cut.
The Bottom Line:
If they’d JUST make a true rinse wash? Most of us would be in business. Just know that the straight fits are a good, super casual jean, but are gonna look a little wide on most frames. Strongly consider going with the slim, even if you’re normally a straight-fit kinda guy.
The Very Final Bottom Line:
Two new welcome options in the stretch jean market. Both have their pros and cons, but most guys will probably prefer on the BR Rapid Movement jeans in rinse (most will want the slim instead of straight) if/when they come up for a 40% off code (which may be a while since they only recently debuted). They’d still be an investment at $70ish, but if you want comfort and ease of movement in a true dark wash jean? They might be a new best-bet.
Note: For those who are ready to be critical about how straight fit jeans look compared to painted on skinny or even right next to the skin slim fits? Hit the bricks. Some of us lose feeling in our lower extremities in fits that tight. A lot of this depends on your quads, hamstrings and calves, but above all else… your twig and berries shouldn’t feel like they’re becoming wood pulp and jam when you put on a pair of jeans. Many of us will gladly take some wrinkles here and there in order to avoid castration by denim.