Tech-Pant (noun): A type of men’s casual trouser which uses scientifically-developed fabrics to provide moisture-wicking properties, breathability, ease of movement, and an overall higher level of comfort compared to all-cotton or mostly cotton traditional alternatives. Made for year-round use, these types of pants are especially favored during the hotter months, as they are particularly adept at preventing conditions such as “crotch-rot”, “monkey butt” and “swamp ass”.
And here are ten of the best…
Size shown: 34×30 slim fit on 5’10” / 195
Pros: All around greatness here. Still the champ. Lots of colors. Often/always on sale. Relatively affordable due to the bang-for-the-buck factor. You get a LOT for your money. Lightweight fabric that breathes, moves great, and doesn’t make the “swish swish” sound. Partially cotton, so looks more like a real chino than cheaper alternatives, but still super lightweight and flexible.
Cons: Continues to only be available in one fit… slim. No athletic tapered yet. Which is super frustrating for the thicker legs crowd.
Size Shown: 33×30 classic fit Commission Pant on 5’10” / 190
Pros: Would have been #1 except for how much they cost. Flat out fantastic in every other metric. Multiple fits (and the fit is superb). Plenty of colors. Available in either a true-chino style (commission), or 5-pocket style (ABC). The fabric is downright perfect. Incredibly comfortable. They breathe, they stretch, they move with you, they wick… all of it. AND they don’t make the “swish swish” sound cheaper tech pants make.
Cons: The price. Good grief the price. Lululemon absolutely makes you pay for it. These darn things are EXPENSIVE. Plus, secret’s out on them. They’re often sold out in common inseam lengths (30″ and 32″). Also, I’ve found that the ABC pant (5-pocket style) fits looser than the more traditional, chino-style Commission pants. I wear a 32 in the ABC, and 33 in the Commission. Both classic fits with a 30″ inseam.
#3. J. Crew Tech Pant – $40ish ($79.50)
Pros: Can drop to dirt cheap prices. Super lightweight, great stretch, and very comfy, just like the shorts version. Available in their 484 slim, or their 770 straight. A 33×30 in the 770 works great on my 5’9″/190 – 195 lb frame. Or, at least they did. I can’t find ’em right now. We recently downsized and they must be in a box somewhere. Bottom line: I can’t find my pants. Drat.
Cons: Does make the “Swish Swish” sound when you walk. Also, J. Crew’s pricing/promo calendar has these things all over the place. Sometimes they’re $50+, sometimes they’re $25. So, you have to wait and play the game.
Size Shown: 33×30 slim fit on 5’10” / 190
Pros: A cheaper version of the BR Core Temp. Fabric isn’t quite as good (not as lightweight, but not heavyweight either). But it’s mostly cotton (the rest being nylon and spandex) and looks and feels more like chino than tech-wear. Waist band has an interior drawstring for a super precise fit. Nicely inexpensive. Does go on sale from time to time, not always, but sometimes.
Cons: Just available in their slim fit. Only four colors to choose from, but they’re the foundation shades most guys reach for. That interior drawstring, while easy to cut out if you don’t like it, might bug some all the same.
#5. Bonobos Highland Golf Pant – $39.20 w/ EPICSALE ($128)
Size Shown: 32×30 athletic fit on 5’10” / 190
Pros: A true tech pant, BUT… no “swish swish”. Fabric is excellent. Almost a tech… oxford? Or a tech pique? If such a thing can exist. Lots of fits too. You’re covered if you don’t skip leg day. Made for the course, so, you could walk 18 holes (or the equivalent of such) in these.
Cons: When they’re not on sale (which is the case for all but two colors right now), they’re just flat out expensive. Meanwhile, they have four ventilation holes in the nether regions. Some will love that feature. Some will hate it.
Size Shown: 36×32 slim fit on 5’11″ / 195
Pros: Cheeeeap. All polyester, and while they look like poly tech pants, they also look like work pants. Neither matted nor overly shiny, so you can wear them to work and replace the office water cooler jug without worrying about ripping them. Slim but not so slim that you have to skip leg day.
Cons: They do make the “swish swish” sound. Also, pockets are an odd-mish mash of styles. Welt pockets in the back, but scooped jean-style pockets up front? Kinda odd.
Size Shown: 32×30 on 5’6″ / 160
Pros: Pretty close replicas / homages to the Bonobos “Lightweight 5-Pocket Golf Pants,” but for less than half the $98 asking price. The same 5-pocket layout with jeans-style pockets on the back. Same reinforced back knee seams for when you hunch over your putt on the green. Double-closure waistband that buttons and slides. Flex is great too.
Cons: Doesn’t seem to go on sale that often. Plus, Target has been having a really hard time keeping things in stock lately. Sizes are pretty scattered. And who knows when they’ll be back in full stock (or, if they’ll be back in full stock).
#8. Bonobos Lightweight Chinos – $35.20 w/ EPICSALE ($98)
Size Shown: 34 x 30 athletic fit on 5’10” / 195
Pros: Mostly cotton that feels and seems to act more like a true lightweight chino than any sort of tech pant. 62% Cotton, 24% Polyester, 12% Rayon, and 2% Spandex. Lightweight for sure. Tech? Not so much. They do well in the heat, but I wouldn’t say they’re as good at wicking and air flow as a more true tech pant would be.
Cons: When full price (which many of the color options are stuck at right now), it’s just flat out better to go with BR’s Core Temp. Unless you can’t get in BR’s Aiden Slim fit.
Size Shown: 33×30 on 5’10” / 190
Pros: Surprisingly not bad! Nice slim fit, five colors to choose from, fabric is soft and smooth. Kinda-sorta-maybe a super-budget “warpstreme” from lululemon? Okay, not that nice, but still, not bad! 98% poly, but no “swish swish” sound when you walk.
Cons: That permanent front crease down each leg is a bit budget country club looking. Reminds too many of us of bad school uniform chinos. Fabric does claim to be “performance” and moisture wicking, but it has a little bit of a circa 1997 “microfiber” feel to it. Doesn’t feel as airy as they other options on this list.
Size Shown: Medium on 5’7″ / 175
Pros: True hiking pants. So… kind of an outlier on this list. BUT! Made in a technical stretch fabric for keeping you secure and comfortable on the trail. UPF 50 for extra protection and water-repellant fabric when you have to cross a stream. These won’t be confused for a pair of chinos, but the first review on page says it best,” These are hiking pants that don’t look like hiking pants.”
Cons: Styling. They might be one of the best hiking pants out there… but they’re still a hiking pant. Not gonna look right in the boardroom or on a date. Unless that meeting or that date is happening at the top of a mountain. And if it is? Lucky you!
BONUS Your favorite year-round wool trousers (suit or stand alone)
Pros: If you own a year-round, basic wool suit, then you already own these things. No extra buying needed! Wool is nature’s tech fabric. It breathes, it wicks, it’s super comfortable. That, and it resists wrinkling better than most cotton and linen pants.
Cons: Wearing suit pants separate from the jacket, with some frequency, will cause the trousers to wear out faster than the jacket. Solution? Suit up! Wear that jacket too. Just make sure it’s lined in something somewhat breathable like Bemberg, or only quarter lined (or not lined at all!) in the back. Don’t get heat stroke out there.
Also receiving votes: The Proof Nomad Pant from Huckberry (slim or straight fit, lots of great colors, no swish sound, but no choosing the inseam). The Rhodes Commuter (lululemon competitor… so spendy, but lots of colors, multiple fits and colors, and they’re not sold out like the lululemon options). The UNIQLO Ultra Light Kando Pants (lightweight, stretchy, cross between a chino and jogger). And Nordstrom’s Tech Smart 5-Pocket Performance pants (no swish swish, $40, ships and returns for free). Big thanks to Billy B. Al J., and Dan W. for the tips!!
Got a favorite tech-pant/tech-chino that didn’t make the list? Send those suggestions into firstname.lastname@example.org