Blue Jeans were originally invented with the rugged horse-riding lifestyle of the gold rush era in mind. With hard to rip, rivet-reinforced stitches and the ability to get filthy without really looking too bad, it’s no wonder they’ve always been a hit – and a treasured piece of Americana to boot.
Today, we’re riding far fewer horses to work. Instead bicycles are skyrocketing in popularity, especially in urban areas. It’s a trend that sustainability advocates are quick to point out, and many companies are encouraging for the health benefits, great reliability, and CSR reporting brownie points that come with a nice locker room and secure bike parking.
One of the few drawbacks to biking to work has always been the wear and tear on your pants – particularly in the saddle and near the chain. A small number of specialty companies have made work-suitable pants for cyclists, but they’ve been expensive and hard to find. Now, venerable jeans maker Levi Strauss has jumped on the bandwagon with a concept men’s jean called the 511 commuter.
The jean is an affordable $78, and boasts an array of handy features – reinforced material, reflective cuffs, water resistance, and even a handy slot for your bike lock (so you don’t have to put it in your back pocket).
Fashion aside, the big sustainability win here is Levi’s embracement of cycling to work as a mainstream action. Not only does Levi’s have a likely hit on their hands, but by marketing cycling-specific clothes to a greater audience, Levis indirectly encourages folks to take to the road on a bike. That’s sustainable, green thinking all around.
For now (and unfortunate for me), the jeans are only available in a hipster-esque skinny style. Many riders would likely feel more comfortable with a more ample fit. Nonetheless, the skinny motif is probably a good start for Levis, and will likely be a hit. If it is, we look forward to seeing more of levi’s products embrace cycling and the practicality of biking to work.
(Full disclosure, Levi’s sent me a pair to try out).