Wearing pants while skating helps keep you warm in cold weather and protects your legs from your board and the skate environment. The best pants for skateboarding will depend on several factors, including the type of skating you do, whether you will wear pads, and your fashion sense.
Below we will lay out some factors to consider when purchasing pants for skating and offers recommendations for some quality choices.
How to choose skateboarding pants
The primary factors to look for when choosing skating pants are the durability of the fabric, how much stretch the fabric offers, how baggy the pants are, and if you like the style.
Dickies have long been a popular choice of skate pants, as they were designed as work pants and can hold up to abuse. When you are skating, you’ll likely fall on your knees, butt, and hips fairly often. You’ll also be bending quite a bit and rubbing your grip tape against your pants. All of this friction wears the fabric, causing it to thin and eventually tear. One durable type of fabric is twill, which features a type of diagonal weave that is particularly wear-resistant.
Closely related to the durability of skate pants is their weight. Heavier fabrics are often more durable, but can be uncomfortable and tiring to skate in. Most pants purpose-designed for skating strike a nice balance between durability, stretch, and weight.
In recent years, the emergence of durable stretch fabrics has opened up the door to all sorts of athletic gear that allows a person to move around freely while still providing full coverage. When tight pants were the fashion in skating, this was essential, as skating in inflexible tight pants would be tough. A number of companies now make skateboarding pants that allow a full range of motion. These are often jeans or chino-style pants.
The fit of skateboard pants is closely related to their ability to stretch. If you prefer jeans or chinos that fit fairly snuggly, you’ll need to find a fabric that stretches quite a bit to provide mobility. Conversely, if you like baggier pants, you might not need as much stretch in the fabric. I sometimes like to use low-profile knee braces or pads under my pants while skating, and prefer to have baggy pants that I can wear over top of them. If you plan to wear pants under knee pads, you’ll want a snugger fit on the legs.
Synthetic or natural fiber
Back in the day, almost all pants were made of natural fibers such as cotton or wool (but typically cotton) – hence the baggy skate pants of the 1990s. As synthetic fabrics made from petroleum and other chemicals became more popular, more and more skateboarding-specific pants have been made of fabrics that blend cotton with synthetic fibers. Synthetic fibers can provide durability and stretch that isn’t possible with cotton alone. Some of the best skateboarding pants strike just the right balance between technical factors such as stretch and durability with the advantages of comfort provided by cotton.
Breathability is something that often gets overlooked when purchasing pants for skateboarding. When you skate, you sweat. If your clothes don’t breath, you will get wet and hot. Some synthetic tech fabrics are great for wicking moisture away from the skin, which works in places that aren’t too humid. In really humid climates, your best bet is to find fabrics that are as light and contain as much cotton as possible, in my opinion. If I’m skating in Florida in summer, I’m not going to use pants with a lot of polyester in them. In California, where it tends to be drier, I can use a fabric that has more synthetic fibers. If it’s really cold out, cotton can trap moisture and make you cold, whereas some synthetics will wick moisture away from the skin, helping you to stay drier.
Skateboarding Pants Picks
There are a ton of manufacturers that claim to make pants for skateboarding. In fact, you don’t need to buy pants marketed as skating pants. That said, I’ve found that some of the pants made specifically for skateboarding often strike the right mix of durability, stretch, style, and other factors. Below are a few of my favorite skate pants.
Skaters have been using Dickies for decades. Originally designed for construction workers and others in the trades who put a lot of wear and tear on their clothing, Dickies makes some of the toughest pants on the market.
In recent years, the company has produced some skateboarding specific-pants, working with pro skaters to incorporate features that skaters look for in a pair of pants. Dickies even has a skate team, comprised of top pro skaters such as Jamie Foy, Guy Mariano, and Allysha Le. I own a pair of their Jamie Foy pants, which are baggy and stretch.
Jamie Foy Loose Fit Straight Leg Pants
The Jamie Foy signature skateboarding pants from Dickies are loose-fitting and made with the company’s FLEX fabric. The fabric is a brushed twill made with 65% Polyester and 35% Cotton.
The pants have belt loops, and you’ll probably want to skate them with a belt. For baggy pants, these cut a nice line and still look fashionable.
I have a pair of these and love them. My wife even complemented me in them, so I’ll take her word on the fashion sense.
Dickies Men’s Flex Work Pant Slim Straight Fit
This Dickies Flex Work Pant is very similar to the Jamie Foy pants but has a tighter leg. The fabric is a 65% polyester/35%cotten blend.
If I wasn’t planning to wear a knee brace under my pants, I’d probably go with these instead of the baggier Foy pants.
Dickies Women’s Flex Original Fit Work Pants
Dickies also makes a version of the Work Pant designed to fit women that works well as a skateboarding pant. The original fit version of the pant seems to be the most popular.
Same as the other FLEX pants, the fabric is a 65% polyester/35% cotton blend.
You can see the whole Dickies Skateboarding line of pants (and other clothes) on the Dickies website. Here’s a recent video from Dickies, featuring some of their riders:
Here are several great options, depend in on what style of pant you are looking for.
Vans Skateboarding Pants
Vans has been involved in skateboarding since the beginning and is well known as a skate shoe company. But Vans also makes some of the best skateboarding pants available. They make a variety of pants, including chinos, jeans, and baggy droors. Here are a few good options:
Vans Authentic Chino Loose Pants
Vans makes a range of chinos designed for skating. Their Authentic Chinon Loose Pants are a loose-fitting version of the chino, for those who prefer the style and feel of baggy pants.
The pants are durable, have some stretch, and have plenty of pockets. They are made of 64% Polyester, 34% Cotton, and 2% Elastane.