One of my great frustrations with the apparel world is when a company releases a garment that straddles the fashion and technical categories, but falls short in the latter. I’ve tested coats that position themselves as both stylish and suitable for backcountry use that turned out not to block wind chill. I’ve tried shoes supposedly suitable for street or trail that didn’t provide arch support. And so on. If a piece of clothing truly looks good and performs well, so much the better, but I’d always rather keep style and function separate when I’m going to depend on my clothes during any outdoor activity.
Having tried several pairs of stretchy jeans before, I was skeptical at best when I got a pair of blue jeans designed for rock climbing. Sure, I knew they’d be suitable for climbing, but I spend most of my time not climbing, so if they didn’t look good or feel good, then what was the point?
Now, I’ve worn flexible jeans before… but never anything like the BD Forged Denim pants from Black Diamond. I was impressed from the first minute.The jeans in no way restricted my motion, they were comfortable in literally any position I could get my body into, and were I even more limber, I’m sure they would have kept stretching.
Of course, it’s little wonder they’re so stretchy and durable considering they were designed for rock climbers. The jeans look as good with a t-shirt or button-down as they do with a climbing harness or a crash pad. Slim and with a subtle taper, the jeans look just as good as pairs I have from Lucky and J. Crew, pairs in which I’d recommend you not do any climbing.
I’ve worn my BD Forged Denim jeans dozens of times now, and they have yet to show any signs of fading or wearing thin. And several of the days spent in these jeans were indeed rock climbing (well, OK, bouldering in Joe’s Valley in Utah, but if you don’t know the difference between rock climbing and bouldering, then just think rock climbing). I’m happy to report they performed perfectly even with all the stretching and contorting that comes with the sport. I also appreciated the toughness of the cotton, polyester, nylon, and elastane blend every time I missed a toe hold or grip and went sliding over rough stone.
The jeans come in three washes and three lengths, and in waist sizes from 28” to 38”. I recommend getting two pairs so you can just go ahead and start living in them.