It goes by many names. Mens skinny sweatpants, mens tapered sweatpants, mens yoga pants, etc.… Whatever you call them, these figure enhancing sweats are a relatively new fashion phenomenon that most did not see coming. Back in the day sweatpants were meant to be oversized, heavy, and most importantly comfortable. Today, technological improvements to synthetic materials have made products that contain spandex more washable and durable than an organic material such as cotton. These stretchy, tapered leg sweatpants are of course comfortable but they look wildly different than the sweatpants your dad was used to wearing. Tour your local gym today and you’ll find most guys rocking very tapered sweatpants.
In this guide, we aim to provide you with a bit of history around the trend and steer you towards the best products on the market, from entry level basics to premium / luxury brands.
Mens Skinny Sweatpants: When Did The Trend Start?
It’s hard to point to a specific date but in our opinion the trend started with Lululemon and their infamous yoga pants. As the story goes back in 1997, an entrepreneur named Chip Wilson went to a yoga class in British Columbia. As a new student, what Wilson noted during his first session wasn’t the Yoga itself but the Yoga pants. The instructors as well as the students were wearing pants that looked as if they were painted on and gave a very flattering appearance to the posterior. At this point, the proverbial light bulb went off and Wilson began production of his posterior enhancing pants that he branded Lululemon.
As women’s athletic wear became more fitted and tapered, mens athletic wear quickly followed suit. Men in yoga pants seemed a bit outlandish at the time but Lululemon began marketing its mens line more actively around 2008 and it’s pants were noticeably slimmer than any of the other known entrants on the market. The traditional, mainstream athletic brands, i.e. Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, Puma followed suit and “athleisure” wear was born.
Athleisure is a fashion term used to define clothing that is meant to be worn in a multitude of functions, i.e. working out, casually, at the workplace, socially, etc… Athleisure is a category of attire that includes mens skinny sweatpants, shorts, sneakers, and leggings / tights. The idea behind athleisure wear is that it has the appearance of workout attire but is significantly more fashionable.
A Guide to Wearing Mens Tapered Sweatpants Correctly
1) First off, they should taper cleanly through the legs, i.e. from the knee through the cuff. This is what distinguishes tailored sweatpants from normal sweatpants. Tapering does not mean they should be cutting off circulation to your calves. You should still feel comfortable and not feel any constriction.
2) The thighs and crotch should be somewhat loose. Whereas the fit in the lower leg should be slim, the waist / crotch area should be more comfortable. These are still sweatpants and meant to be worn casually.
3) If you have the opportunity, try them on or ensure that the website has a great return policy. Most reputable online retailers will include a return postage label within their packaging. Finding the right fit in tailored sweatpants is going to be different than normal sweatpants. Each brand has their own fit style that you’ll only discover after wearing them.
4) The material should feel soft and luxurious. High quality athletic wear feels different than the work sweatpants you may be used to. Look at the label to learn the composition of the material. Terry cloth is a great material if you want 100% cotton. Some brands are made from newer age materials that will include spandex or micro-fiber materials that will provide additional benefits, such as moisture wicking and heat dissipation.
5) Make sure the bottom hem has elastic cuffs. Without elastic cuffs, the ‘cool factor’ of the tapered long isn’t there. Additionally, elastic cuffs will make your sneakers really pop.
Now that you know what to look for, check out our recommended tapered sweatpants; from the entry level to the premium.
Best Entry Level Mens Tapered Sweatpants (<$50)
A great, stylish pair of budget friendly joggers. At this price, you’re likely going to find a material that is a mix of cotton / polyester — which is the case with this pair (70% cotton / 30% polyester). This pair from Champion is sold exclusively at Target and comes with a drawstring, side zip pockets, and a hidden cell phone pocket.
Best Mid Level Mens Tapered Sweatpants (<$100)
As fellow online retailers, we’re big fans of Mack Weldon which is one of the newer, startup athletic wear brands that specializes in mens skinny sweatpants. Mack Weldon’s signature sweatpants are made from luxurious French Terry cloth cotton which are enhanced with a tiny amount of stretch (spandex). These pants also come with their signature, uber comfortable waistband along with a stealth pocket and an inset, ribbed cuff.
Best Premium Level Mens Tapered Sweatpants
As the brand that started the revolution, there’s really no beating Lululemon in this category. The Surge Jogger is our favorite pair of mens skinny sweatpants if money is no object. The Surge Jogger is made from a cotton / synthetic mix that features a four-way stretch and sweat-wicking properties. Each Lululemon pair of sweats also has it’s proprietary hidden pocket tucked neatly beneath the back waistband. This lightweight jogger also features zips at the cuff for quick change outs.
Like we said, it’s tough for us to pick a single pair of mens skinny sweatpants that we’d go with. Depending on the occasion and budget, you really can’t go wrong with either of the pants recommended here. Just follow our basic guidelines on fit and material and you’ll be on your way to wearing your tapered sweatpants both fashionably and appropriately.
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