If there’s one thing the past few years taught us, it’s that a good pair of sweatpants is hard to beat. The soft pants revolution was swift. We worked from home in them. We worked out in them. We ran errands in them. Yes, they became part of the de facto outfit because the world was in shambles, and why not be comfortable? But the mass interest tipped everyone off to an important point: modern sweatpants and joggers, much like hoodies, have evolved into so much more than they once were.
These days, the best men’s sweatpants pack everything we love about functional athletic clothing into a more tapered package that you can wear pretty much anywhere. Our favorites are cut slimmer and soft-to-the-touch. They have a little bit of stretch and, in many cases, are made with texture for some added style points. The best sweatpants also feature plenty of pockets and higher-end athletic wear features like moisture-wicking and anti-microbial tech. Smart touches like no-fold drawstring waistbands often add to the package. Last but not least, they’re all comfortable enough for all-day lounging.
Now, are modern sweatpants more expensive than their old-school counterparts? Often, yes. But they’re also a far cry from what sweatpants of the past — they’re more versatile and built to be worn for years. If you’re looking to upgrade your current pair or just want to add to your growing collection of comfort wear, here are some of our favorites.
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Perhaps you’ve experienced the joy of wearing soft, comfortable Mack Weldon boxer briefs or one of the brand’s buttery-soft tees. Here, they’re using that same technology via the brand’s Ace fabric – a super-soft micro French Terry – to build some baby-soft sweats. The waistband is substantial and designed not to bunch up or fold over, but to remain comfortably in place. An astounding 15 bold color options also allow you to grab the pair best suited to your style.
Want athletic sweatpants that can still fit in at Sunday brunch? Vuori hits the sweet spot nicely, using moisture-wicking fabric and action-minded features. Storage is no problem, with a hidden side-zip pocket and a pair of back zip pockets. You can wear these like warm-up pants or during an at-home workout session, but they’re also suited for outdoor weekend wear with, say, a thermal henley and flannel shirt.
What if you could wear your sweats repeatedly without a ton of funk? Paper Projects is tackling that ever-tough question. These innovative sweatpants are made with an anti-microbial finish to fight back against and reduce odor and bacteria. (That fabric, a mix of knit paper fibers and organic cotton, is also highly sustainable.) They feature a ribbed waistband that’s similar to a pair of old-school sweats, with thick drawstrings to dial in the fit and a substantial ribbed cuff also provides a streamlined finish at the ankle.
While most sweats don’t offer much in the weight of texture, the Apres Pants use a soft waffle-weave organic cotton. Think of it as the fabric in a waffle thermal shirt, turned into cozy sweatpants. The light wash also separates them from the pack, with a lived-in look that only gets better the more you wear them.
Minimal, sustainable style is the name of the game with Everlane and these sweats are an excellent example. Four-way stretch recycled polyester and elastane come together in a lightweight, breathable fabric ideal for lounging and weekend errands. They’re as cleaned up and streamlined as any pair on the market, with a trim silhouette and no unnecessary details. If you want no-fuss sweats made with eco-conscious fabric, these are a great choice.
These sweatpants are low on bells and whistles — you’ll find no hidden pockets or additional color options here. But it’s the stretch fleece fabric that makes them worthwhile. Wearing them is like wearing a fleece jacket on your lower half. The price point is especially sweet, too.
The Marine Layer Saturday Joggers draw their inspiration from your work-day chinos, using a blend of cotton and Tencel for durability and stretch. They even come in a Khaki colorway. A ribbed drawstring waistband and tapered ankle cuffs make them a great pair of hybrid pants. As a finishing touch, the fabric is garment-dyed for more depth.
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