Review: Boulder Denim

Today I'm taking a look at Boulder Denim pants. Before I can actually do that, we should probably ask ourselves why the hell we even want climbing pants that look like jeans.

Climbing is more than just a sport. Climbing is a culture. With culture, comes community. Nowhere is this better represented than in some of our climbing gyms.

Bolder Climbing Community (no relation to the jeans we’re looking at here) opened not too long ago in Calgary and it follows the growing trend of incorporating a sense of community into where we train. You see, Bolder isn’t just a climbing gym. Bolder is also a coffee shop. You go to Bolder for the same reasons you go to any other gym – to train. But you also go there to have a coffee and connect with the community.

This is nothing new. As long as people have been going to climbing gyms, they’ve been going to pubs  or coffee shops afterwards. Bolder just let’s you keep your chalky fistful of dollars inside their walls.

When you’re climbing, you need pants that don’t constrict your movement. Traditionally this has been light, reasonably baggy pants, often in fun, bright colours. Awesome for the climbing gym, less awesome for going to the pub afterward.

Meet Boulder Denim

Boulder Denim aims to solve this with their jeans. They developed a set of pants that can move with you while you climb but also don’t look out of place when not in the climbing gym – like when you go for post session beers.

I’ve been rocking a set of Boulder Denim jeans for a few months now and I’ve worn them for a pile of climbing sessions, a roughly equal number of victory beer sessions, and then basically everything else I do in day to day life like riding my bike all over the place and casual Fridays at work.

So here’s the long and short of my feelings about Boulder Denim.

They’re awesome. But they ain’t cheap.

I’m not exactly a true dirtbag. I manage to justify almost most  gear, but I try to save money where I can.

Boulder Denim pants aren’t cheap. They’re $176 a pair and once you toss in tax and shipping to Alberta, you’re looking at just a few pennies under two hundred bucks. That’s a fair bit more than I normally spend on a set of jeans or on a set of climbing pants.

So let’s break it down and see if the value is there.


My pants were pretty true to size. I got’em in the longest inseam so I could have couple of hipster-approved rolls of the cuff over my hipster-approved Blundstones. I went with the athletic fit because the slim fit looked pretty darn skinny and while the athletic fit doesn't make them my skinniest pants, they aren’t what i would call baggy either. I like the way they look and Christine hasn’t made any snarky comments when I wear them so I’m calling that a win for the look and fit.


My range of motion is limited

(by my hips)


To put it simply, my hips run out of range before the pants do. I was pretty skeptical of the claims Boulder Denim makes, but I have to be honest, if I don’t make it to the top of a project, I can’t blame the pants. The Bulletprufe Denim pants I looked at a while back had some stretch to them, but Boulder is in a different league. 

The Bottom Line

They’re comfy, they move well, hard to ask for more than that out of a set of gym pants. The fact that you can wear them outside of the gym without getting a second look means that personally at least, I'm no longer worried about carrying a special set of climbing pants around and changing at the gym. It's a bonus for lazy people like me.

The only potential issue is the price. At about $200 to your door they're about twice the cost of my usual Patagonia Venga pants. Ultimately, I actually do pick my pants based on the rest of my day. If I'm only going climbing, I probably still grab my cheaper climbing pants; but if I'm headed doing anything before or after, I'm grabbing my Boulders (and just own walking around with chalk stains on my pants).

Grumpy, cantankerous, wildly opinionated and so much more! Getting really tired on skis is what makes me happy.