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I’ve been a blue jean guy since college, which was about when the days of cargo pants (finally) came to an end and it was time to invest in the best work clothes for men. I was wearing jeans for a solid 90% of days that required me to wear pants, but that all changed when it came time to review the Rider Chinos from O.N.S clothing.
These pants are as comfortable as any I’ve ever pulled on, and they felt that way from the first time I zipped them shut and slipped on my belt. Subsequent wearing and washing have only further convinced me that they’re the best chinos for men — yet for their soft, flexible feel, they can also be pressed into shape to wear in what I’ll call “business casual-plus” settings.
While easy to dress up, let’s not forget that chinos were originally designed for industrial workers and soldiers. The pants take their name from the shortened Spanish term “pantalones chinos,” as this type of trouser was traditionally made from cotton cloth imported from China for military use.
In other words, while these pants look great and all, they’re pretty damn tough. One thing I’ll make clear before we get into the details of this chino review: my Riders are indeed blue. Almost a dark denim shade, even. But jeans they are not.
What the Rider Chino is like to wear, and what to expect of the sizing:
As I’m sure I’ve made obvious, these are seriously comfortable pants. They’re on the heavier side, so I was pleasantly surprised by the soft, flexible fit and the way the chinos leave my range of motion almost entirely intact. I’ve worn these pants while running alongside my son on his bike and had no loss of stride length or comfort, something I can’t say for many of even the best jeans for men.
I’ve also worn them while at my desk for hours, walking a good number of miles on streets and sidewalks, and curled up on the couch, and I never once wished I was in another pair of pants on. And so far, after several wash-and-dry cycles, they are holding up perfectly in terms of color and fit. They only feel softer still, and they come out of the wash without excessive wrinkling.
As for the nitty gritty, we’re talking five pockets if you include the little change slot, a slight taper to the leg, and a slim but not skinny fit. My waist is a 32/33 depending on brands, and with these, the 33 fits perfectly. They’d stay up just fine sans belt (not that you’ll ever see me without a belt if my pants have belt loops) but don’t pinch my waist a bit.
The Rider Chinos come in waist sizes from 28 to 36 inches and inseams from 28 to 32. Initially I was worried about that 32-inch pant length, as I’m usually a 34, but these don’t seem like flood pants, and they look perfect with the cuff rolled once for wear with boots, sandals, or shoes sans socks.
Also, the Riders sell for less than $90, which makes them more affordable than other pants I own of decidedly less comfort and, so far at least, apparently less quality based on how they hold up.
The cons to consider
For now I really only have one complaint about these pants, and it’s entirely seasonal: They’re heavy. Like, heavier than jeans, with a similar feel as the best lined chinos — really too thick and warm for wear on hot summer days.
In any other weather, they’re the perfect all-day pants. If you want more color options (as Riders only come in four colors at present) at a similar price point and a lighter weight, then get yourself over to J. Crew. And if you want pants that can pass for casual slacks but also be worn on the trail or the mountain, try Backcountry’s Active Utility Pant.
Last issue here: the Rider Chinos don’t come in that many size varieties, so a lot of gents won’t be able to get a pair that fits well. But that’s subject to change as size inclusivity becomes slowly but surely more common.
The bottom line
These are about the best pair of pants I’ve ever worn in the under $100 range. And based on their comfort and how versatile they are, they’re punching way above their weight. Weight-wise, yes, they’re too heavy for summer, but that’s shorts season anyway. So yes, you should consider a pair of Rider Chinos. Or two or three or four pairs. But not five. They only come in four colors.
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