I’ve been building an exciting list of extreme sports I’m ready to adopt.
First up—rock climbing. I called a buddy to ask about what’s needed, and somewhere in that conversation, DUER performance jeans came up.
I took a closer look at the brand to see if their adventure-focused jeans warranted some fanfare and my verdict is in.
What Is DUER?
DUER makes performance jeans built for movement.
Say the brand name out loud and you’ll get a sense of what DUER is all about (pronounced: do-er).
They’re a brand for people who would rather spend a day in the mountains than a day in bed; who’d rather play a game of catch than a video game.
In 2013, denim expert and cycling fanatic, Gary Lenett, wanted to give himself a more comfortable bicycling experience. He teamed up with Abid Hafeez, a technical fabric guru, and the brand was born.
As outdoors enthusiasts, sustainability and reducing environmental impact is a cornerstone in Lenett and Hafeez’s vision.
To support that vision, DUER launched their first three products through Kickstarter, cumulatively raising over $600k between three launches in three years. Somewhere in that timeline, they opened a flagship store in Vancouver.
Shortly after, the brand went nation wide and is now stocked by massive retailers like REI.
The brand has also committed to purchasing carbon offsets for all their online orders. They track the distance and weight of your shipment and contribute to over 40 carbon-offset projects across North America.
By 2022, DUER has committed to using all low-impact dye, organic cotton, and vegan leather patches for their jeans and shorts.
Things to Consider Before Buying Performance Jeans
For hikers, climbers, and cyclists, having a little extra stretch in your jeans can make a massive difference.
The addition of technical fabrics makes this denim water resistant, more colorfast, and with better breathability.
Some people may prefer old-school denim—especially those who want to “break in” a pair of jeans over the course of a year.
DUER jeans aren’t that kind of pant.
True, they’re not 100% cotton denim, and they don’t have that sort of rough, raw denim feel. But you’d be miserable trying to ride a bike with new raw denim. For DUER, it’s all about keeping up with your active lifestyle. So embrace the stretch and toss them in the washing machine more than once every six months.
L2X Performance Denim Slim Fit Jeans
I’m a sucker for a great pair of jeans so I went straight for the DUER flagship: the L2X Performance Denim Jeans.
They’re soft and have an unusual amount of stretch. I wanted to make sure these could hold up in the wash and not get “flabby” before delivering my final verdict, so I wore them for three weeks and put them through three washes.
They’re still holding up and are surprisingly colorfast—they’re still the same deep indigo as when I first tried them on.
I’m a fan of the crotch gusset in these jeans. It’s a game changer for flexibility and allows you to wear them rock climbing (or skateboarding, or anything else that involves nearly doing the splits).
I haven’t had the chance to wear these on such an excursion, so I can’t say how they take rocky, dusty punishment. That said, I’m excited to and I’m making my plans.
I picked up the slim fit style despite having relatively large thighs and I’m happy with the fit. They’re slim, but not tight around the leg and have a decent amount of taper below the knee, which will visually add height and length to your frame.
The hardware is solid, including a YKK zipper. The leather patch in the back has a neat minimalist design embossed with their logo, and as I mentioned above, they’ll be making this with vegan leather next year.
The fabric is the star of the show with these jeans. Made with 70% cotton, 28% CoolMax All Season polyester, and 2% Lycra Spandex, there’s a lot going on.
The cotton gives the jeans their classic look and feel. The polyester helps wick sweat and moisture away and also adds a decent amount of weather resistance. And that small amount of added spandex gives these pants a four-way stretch that’s more pronounced than what I’ve experienced in other brands.
There are other jeans in my wardrobe that I like more for style (I love raw denim, which is a bit old school and not at all what DUER is going for). That said, I’m happy with the cut of these jeans and I haven’t found a parallel for their ability to keep up with an active lifestyle.
DUER L2X Performance Denim looks like raw cotton, but the comfort is next level. If you're the outdoorsy sort, you don't want to miss these jeans.
No Sweat Relaxed Fit Denim Shorts
It’s high summer in North Carolina, so I had to get a pair of shorts. I spent the previous five years in San Francisco, where the summers were often colder than the winters, so I’ll admit that I don’t have a huge collection of shorts.
Well it’s all changed now, and as I plan a few adventures for late summer, I wanted to embrace the DUER spirit with a pair of their gusseted shorts.
I picked up the relaxed fit No Sweat Shorts. When I ordered, I wasn’t sure how slim the slim-fit jeans would be (I’m right between slim and regular fit). I played it safe and went relaxed. I’m not returning these shorts because I’m happy with them, but if I were to order again, I’d choose their slim fit (I’m 6’1” and 190lbs).
These shorts are made with the brand’s proprietary No Sweat fabric, which is 62% cotton, 34% Tencel Lyocell, 3% Lycra T400 Polyester, and 1% Lycra Spandex. So what does that feel like, you ask?
Again, the cotton adds the familiar structure and weight of traditional jeans. But with the heavy dose of Tencel, you’re getting a pair of jeans that feel almost like heavy sweatpants. It’s the same fabric that’s in many of my favorite pairs of underwear because it’s so soft. The polyester and Spandex lend a decent amount of weather resistance and stretch, too.
While the No Sweat doesn’t have the same amount of stretch as the Performance Denim, it was the right choice for the shorts as the gusset in the crotch is even more forgiving. There’s just as much room to move around, so I’m not worried about losing that little bit of extra stretch.
For style, these are a little longer than I prefer at 10.25”. I’m all for letting my gams out into the sunlight, so if it were my choice, I’d go with 7” shorts every time. Still, many guys like their jeans to reach their knee, or just above it (rather than two or three inches above).
It’s a simple remedy for me: just two quick rolls and I’ve got the style just how I like it.
I feel the same way about these shorts as I do the jeans. I probably won’t be wearing them for a date night or any occasion where I really want to dish out my fashion prowess, but both are absolutely going into my bag whenever I’m going backpacking, climbing, or to the beach for a weekend.
I’ve always been partial to jeans, but there are some situations where they’re just too uncomfortable. DUER eliminated that, so I appreciate the brand.
Denim shorts that feel like sweats? Yes, please. DUER built some of the best climbing shorts by combining the rugged nature of denim with the flexibility of performance fabric.
What do Other Reviewers Say About DUER?
Over 4,500 reviewers are chiming in with their thoughts on DUER and the response is positive with a 4.3-star average:
And just over 700 folks reviewed the site and customer service, too, giving the brand a near-perfect 4.9 out of 5.
If I made a word cloud from these reviews, comfort would be the gigantic word in the middle. It comes up over and over again.
Something less common, but worth noting were reviews from larger gentlemen. Many husky guys expressed frustration with other brands because if they get the right waist size, the legs end up too baggy. But DUER apparently nails this problem and delivers excellent slim fits even in the larger waist sizes.
My Thoughts Overall On DUER
What I Like
Riding a bike in jeans used to be one of the least comfortable experiences. DUER fabrics make it much better.
The signature gusseted crotch is amazing if you want to wear jeans during any strenuous activity.
The fits were slim and modern.
DUER’s commitment to social responsibility is a big plus for me.
What I Don’t Like
I would have liked to see different length options for the shorts, but cuffing the hem twice is a solid alternative.
Who is DUER for?
DUER is for doers. It’s in the name.
If your ideal vacation involves getting out into nature and heading out for a long hike rather than sitting by the pool drinking yourself silly, this brand is a solid choice.
If your ideal weekend is spent fishing and rock climbing rather than going to the club and asking people for their phone numbers, check out DUER.
DUER jeans have a stretch and comfort level I haven’t experienced in other denim brands. And the signature gusseted crotch in their pants and shorts makes these a must for any strenuous activity where style is still important.
While I liked the fit on the slim jeans and the relaxed fit shorts, it’s not absolutely perfect for my body-type. I’m fairly wide at the hips and thighs, so I like a jean that really elongates my leg, which is hard to find.
That said, I still enjoy wearing both, and I’ll continue to wear them on a weekly basis. And when it’s time to go on an outdoorsy adventure, you can bet I’m bringing both jeans and shorts with me.
The brand’s commitment to carbon-neutral shipping and preserving the environment are admirable and another reason I’ve become a fan.
DUER makes waterproof denim pants and shorts with a focus on flexibility and movement. Their signature designs and blend of denim and technical fabric are just as good for rock climbing as they are our on the town.
Where are DUER jeans made?
DUER jeans are designed in Vancouver and manufactured in the first LEED certified factory in Pakistan.
How do you wash DUER jeans?
Turn your DUER jeans inside out and wash in cold water with similar colors.
What are performance jeans?
Performance jeans have added materials like polyester or Spandex, which gives them more stretch and water-resistant properties.