Geeky Apparel Review: Swrve Jeans

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I’m not what you’d call a fashion-forward sort of guy. I’m a stay-at-home dad so I don’t have to get dressed up for much, and I’ve always been more interested in just being comfortable than looking sharp. Most of the time you’ll find me wearing a T-shirt and jeans, and I don’t tend to spend much on any single piece of apparel. Years ago (probably more like decades ago) I found a pair of jeans that I liked (Lee relaxed fit, in case you’re curious) and since then I just keep buying the same pair, though sometimes I switch up the color (exciting, I know!).

But then I got a chance to try a pair of jeans from Swrve, and I’ve been putting them through the paces. Is it finally time to update my wardrobe? We’ll see…

Swrve Jeans
The belt loop and inside right cuff are reflective. (T-shirt tucked in just so you can see the top of the jeans.) Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The big deal with these jeans is that they’re made of Cordura denim—the Cordura fibers woven through the fabric make it stretchier and more durable. I can attest to the stretchiness: there’s more give to these jeans than regular denim and it makes them pretty comfy. The durability I kind of have to take their word for. According to the website:

In a rub test conducted by CORDURA® (Martindale Abrasion BS EN ISO 12947-2:1999 Standard Woolen Abrasion with 12KPa weight), regular 100% cotton denim held up to between 75,000 to 25,000 rubs (depending on number of times the denim was washed) compared to the same weight CORDURA® denim where they stopped the tests at 250,000 rubs on all samples because the denim was just not wearing through.

The style itself is a little skinnier than I’m used to. I did actually try the Swrve skinny jeans first—that’s their newest style—but found they just didn’t fit me. My jeans have to meet certain criteria: I have to be able to sit down in them without feeling like the waistband is digging into my belly or riding too low in back, they have to have real pockets, and they have to pass the wife test (i.e., she tells me how they look on me). I wasn’t used to the way the skinny jeans hugged my legs, and my wife said they looked a bit weird: oddly baggy on the front and a bit of a wedgie in the back.

Swrve jeans colors
There are reflective belt loops and a reflective strip inside the right cuff. Image: Swrve

So I tried the regular fit instead, and these were an improvement (though, as you can see from the top photo, maybe still a bit of a wedgie problem). It’s still taking a little getting used to: the fabric feels different and the jeans bunch a little just below the crotch area. But there are also some other nice features: the waistband is lower in front and higher in back, which helps with my first criteria. There’s also a reflective strip on the inside of the right leg, so that if you’re biking and you roll the cuff of your jeans up, you’re even more visible to drivers at night. (The regular fit also has two reflective belt loops.) Both front pockets have a little pen pocket along the side seam, and the back pocket also includes a “pocket for accessories” that’s slightly angled toward the outside to make it easier to reach—though I’m not entirely sure what “accessories” it’s for because it’s too narrow even for an older iPhone.

Swrve Jeans colors
The jeans come in two colors. Image: Swrve

One last note: the jeans are dark—your choices are indigo or black—and they’re supposed to be pre-washed to prevent staining, though I have noticed that at the end of a day of wearing them that my fingernails usually have some blue color to them even after a couple washes. (Apparently I put my hands in my pockets a lot.)

My regular jeans will usually hold up for a couple of years. I wear them until I get a hole in a knee and the edges fray, and then I buy another pair. (I try some other brands and styles but I haven’t gotten any other exact replacements for any others.) If the Swrve Cordura jeans will last ten times that long, they’re definitely worth the extra up-front cost as far as durability goes: the price for a pair of the “everyday” jeans is $100, so somewhere between two and three pairs of my usual Lee jeans. But how long will these jeans actually last? Time will tell.

You can buy the jeans (and other clothing) directly from Swrve’s website or Amazon, and there are retailers in some cities, mostly in the United States.

Disclosure: I was provided samples of these jeans for review.

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