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THE BONOBOS TRAVEL JEANS WILL MAKE YOUR JOURNEY WORTHWHILE
Recently, we’ve been taking a look at some of the best “tech-wear” pants/bottoms here on the site. We have a lot more on the way, too. Now, though, we’re taking a look at one of the most beloved and well-known (and amongst the first) in the “stretchy pants” arena. They are the Bonobos Travel Jeans ($128), bringing the best of denim and jeans together with the best of stretch fabrics. Or, so they claim. Here is what we thought.
Packaging & Experience
Bonobos shipping is super-fast, and totally free. Expect your package to arrive with a couple days, often even, depending where you live, the very next day. The products show up neatly packed in their signature box, along with a return label. Unlike some other companies, the Bonobos return label is perfectly fitting to fully cover the original label, meaning you don’t have to worry about peeling stickers off the box, or whipping out the Sharpie to cross addresses out. Small detail, but it’s a nice one. And, return shipping, of course, is free as well. So, feel free to order, try out whatever you’d like, and send back anything you don’t want to keep. It’s very low stakes, and Bonobos is perhaps the true Gold Standard when it comes to customer experience, shipping, returns, and customer support.
Style & Design
These Travel Jeans come a whole bunch of colors, are styled with five pockets, and have the signature Bonobos leather patch on the back in the belt line. From afar, these might look like chinos, somewhat, but these are most certainly jeans. They both feel and look like true denim, because they are. They look and wear just like any ol’ pair of jeans, but then they have that real nice stretch (more on that in a bit). We went with a khaki color, and they look really nice both from afar, and up close. Would maybe like to see these jeans available in standard denim/jeans colors, as opposed to the more adventurous or chino-like colors these are offered in, but that is nit-picking. These jeans can be worn with just about anything. Due to their color, they work as more casual versions of chinos, and so they’d be great with a tee, polo, or button down. They can be worn more dressed up as well, with a button down and blazer. Plus, because they’re so comfortable, wear these on your next plane ride together with a blazer and look and feel better than anyone else on the flight.
Quality & Construction
In typical Bonobos style, these pants are very solidly made. All the details are there; they feel sturdy and stiff and will likely last many, many wears and wash cycles. In fact, the first few times you wear them, even despite the stretch, they might feel a bit too stiff. They break in nicely with time, though, and become more comfortable with every wear. The stretch is nice, but it’s not quite super stretchy. The fabric makeup is 98% cotton, and 2% elastane. It’s absolutely noticeable, and increasing flexibility significantly. Still, if you were looking for one of those crazy, four-way stretch pants that seems to stretch out double its original width, these are not those. Instead, these jeans are regular jeans, with a bit of added stretch. This is neither good nor bad — just know what you are buying. Indeed, the super-stretchy pants often don’t — and can’t, due to their fabric makeup — look like a standard fabric. So, the super stretchy jeans don’t really look like jeans. These Travel Jeans do. So, color aside, these could and should function in place of your standard jeans — just way more comfortable.
Bonobos is well known for offering many fits, and sizes, and it is no different here. It comes in four fits, and more waist and length combinations than most other retailers. I went with my typical 30×32 in their Tailored fit, and actually found that it was a bit tighter than I usually like my pants — and tighter than the comparable Tailored fit in Bonobos chinos. (You can see serious pulling in the rear and crotch, an issue I do not have with other Bonobos pants at all.) This fit inconsistency is unfortunate, because their Slim would bit a bit too wide for my liking. Still, most people will be able to find a fit here that works for them, especially with the help of our measurement charts.
Value & Conclusion
Bonobos Travel Jeans — $128: These jeans are by no means cheap. Yes, good jeans can cost well upwards of $100, but there is quite a bit of competition in the “stretch pants” and “stretch jeans” space, and many solid options are cheaper than this offering from Bonobos (reviews forthcoming!). Further, many people find that Bonobos is overpriced when bought at full retail. Yes, you’re getting good quality, but not quite to the level that they’re charging. For instance, these pants are about double the price of J Crew stretch chinos, and probably slightly higher quality, but certainly not double. Still, these Travel Jeans are tried and true, tested and loved by guys all around, and from the original batch of stretch jeans and pants. They’re pricey, but — especially if you get them on sale — if they fit you, and you like them, they are solid, super comfortable and versatile jeans.