Made in the USA Flint and Tinder Lightweight Stretch Chinos – $128
About the Author: Ryan N. is a professional web developer for (and alum from) the University of Delaware, who keeps a close shave as to not be confused with his strongly-bearded twin brother. He plays guitar and drums, loves going to concerts with his wife, and loves being a dad.
With their new Lightweight Stretch Chinos, Flint and Tinder set out to “spark some fire” (their words, not mine) into the silhouette of a cutting-edge chino. They’ve taken your basic chino, made some key/intentional choices, removed the unnecessary, and you’re left with a great, albeit expensive, basic. Are they worth the squeeze?
Shown here in Khaki. Ryan is 5’9, 160 and is wearing 31×32.
Y’all know by now I love my 365 Pants, to which these obviously bear some resemblance. The same color (which is now deemed “Khaki” instead of “Earth,” oddly), the same touch of stretch, same slightly tapered leg. However, the fabric these are made from is quite light and airy, and the 98% cotton, 2% Spandex gives just enough stretch to really let them move. It’s listed as a cotton gabardine, or cotton twill, “woven with high-twist cotton yarns for a breathable, lightweight fabric.”
98% cotton, 2% Spandex high-twist breathable & lightweight fabric. Very nice.
The 365 Pant was an excellent fit on me, but how about these? Where the aforementioned 365 Pant comes in a Slim and Straight fit, the lightweight chino appears to split the difference and only offer one “slightly tapered” fit. Also, and this is key: these have very, very limited inseam options. Waists 28-34 get a 32″ inseam, and 36/38 waist fellas get a 33″ inseam. That’s it, that’s the list. No 30×30. No 32×30. No 34×32. Sorry. So they’re gonna need hemming (read: additional investment) for many after purchasing.
So back to how they compare to the 365 pants. Those get multiple fits and inseams, but the lightweight chinos cost the same and.. er.. don’t?
Got more rolls than a pastry shop. Be ready to hem these.
A few things could be at play here. Perhaps the 365 Pants no longer being made in the USA (mine at the time were) allows them to more easily offer multiple fits, inseams and colors (up to 13 now). But these lightweight chinos are made stateside. A plus for many of us! But perhaps there’s just not as much leeway with manufacturing here in the USA? Or, maybe they wanted to keep it simple for the launch. Or maybe it’s a combination of both factors. I just find it a bit odd that the Lightweight Stretch Chinos are so limited in sizing, specifically. The in-between fit of the inseam length just isn’t my favorite out of the box. Of course I could hem them, but for $98?
Standard 32″ inseam for all waists up to 34″.
I broke out the tape measure to be sure, and the inseam is indeed exactly 32 inches long. The rise doesn’t feel particularly low, yet I found I would have to gather about 4 inches on the ankle to break where I’d want them to. I’m not a 28 inseam. That’s frustrating for someone who doesn’t want to just roll ’em up and deal. Be prepared to hit the tailor in almost any case.
Two back welt pockets and front slash pockets elevates the look.
Now, sizing particulars aside, how do they wear? Really nice. The stretch is just enough, the pockets are roomy and the fit and finish is about what you’d expect. In contrast to the 365 Pants’ 5-pocket “jeans” design, the lightweight stretch chinos feature slash front pockets, and two welt back pockets, which upgrade these in a way that the 365 Pants just can’t quite be dressed up as much.
They wear great. But again, they’re $98 and most will need them hemmed.
Lastly, the hardware, as you’d expect, is top-notch. A lightweight YKK zipper closure and custom shotgun-shell shank button make a solid connection. I do wish that some of these chinos-with stretch would include an inside fastener button, as otherwise, the stretchy buttonhole is doing all of the heavy lifting as you move.
Shotgun shank button.
So are they worth $98? It all depends on what’s important to you in a summer pant. Want something that can go right from the office to a date? These are an excellent summer-weather option. Moves with you, lets the air flow, and are made in the USA. Just be prepared to get ’em hemmed (which isn’t so easy for many of us right now) even with the steep entry price.
Play ball! Maybe!