BBC Countryfile Magazine

Denim for high street and hillside


Duer Men’s Performanc­e Denim Trousers, £105-110,

Traditiona­l jeans make pretty lousy walking trousers. Denim can be heavy, restrictiv­e and hot. Once damp from sweat or rain the fabric stiffens, rubs your legs and takes forever to dry.

On the other hand, there’s a growing market for versatile outdoor gear that looks good on hilltop and high street alike, driven partly by those for whom technical-looking outdoor gear is a turn-off. Would these ‘Performanc­e Denim’ trousers from Canadian brand Duer deliver on the trail?

They certainly feel like soft cotton denim – but there are some discreet tweaks to improve comfort. Their principal asset is that they are five times stretchier than pure cotton denim, allowing you excellent freedom of movement even on steep climbs. That’s thanks to a fabric that blends cotton, Tencel and stretchy Spandex.

Of course, there are other stretchy jeans on the market – many at a much lower price than these. So what else do they offer to justify the outlay?

The main gain is that are also cut rather cleverly for comfort. The stretchy gusset keeps you striding freely, with no tightness or discomfort below the belt. And when pushing hard uphill, perspirati­on does not feel uncomforta­bly damp because the fabric also contains Coolmax, synthetic fibres that wick moisture away from the body (but there are limits: these jeans are not for hot-weather hiking). Further innovation­s include a silver ion treatment to help keeps odours at bay.

One or two minor gripes included the fact that the pocket linings rumple the outer fabric slightly. All round, though, I was pretty impressed; they look pretty stylish, and perform rather well in cooler weather.

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