Pants: a garment that covers the leg, usually from the waist to the ankle. That’s textbook. The best travel pants, accordingly, are joggers or some form of tapered sweats in a dark color. The style is comfortable, stretchy, durable, and sleek: all the components you need for sitting long hours in a confined space. I wear nothing else when I’m on a plane. Gone is the era of exceptional airline service, when passengers were being served roasted duck on plates and dry martinis in glasses. The point of travel nowadays—whether you’re in first class or economy—is to get from one destination to the next, hopefully without delay. So why wear a suit or trousers with a button closure and without an elastic waistband? Dressing up just doesn’t make any sense to me.
The only scenario that warrants a suit or chino is if you’re heading straight from a plane (or any other form of conveyance) to an event or meeting. If time is of the essence and you don’t have a moment to change, it’s totally reasonable to wear a two-piece. There is also another exception: you just like looking presentable, and wearing sweats, no matter how spiffy they are, doesn’t cut it for you. I totally understand that—and so do many brands.
From Vuori and Everlane to Lululemon and Bononbos, some of our favorite labels have created pants specially made for travel, the kinds of designs that blend the performance and comfort of a jogger with the look of a traditional trouser. These hybrids feature elastic waistbands, added stretch, and other properties that’ll allow you to move nimbly through terminals. Some even have drawstrings and are made of materials ideal for breaking a sweat. But they all give off the appearance of the pants you’d wear to the office or other formal function. And we have ten of the best ’em below, just ready and waiting to take you on your next adventure in comfort and style.
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Classic-Fit Wrinkle-Resistant Flat-Front Chino Pant
With a silhouette that’ll work for most body types, and treated with wrinkle-resistant technology, Amazon’s in-house label has once again offered up an affordable style that’s too good to pass up.
Vuori offers styles built for sweat-breaking activity outdoors. So best believe that these incredibly sleek pants, made of the brand’s DuraTerra ripstop fabric, are more than enough for traveling long distances in a climate-controlled environment.
No one—and we mean, no one—likes a layover. Sitting in a terminal for hours on end, waiting to board yet another plane after already traveling in one is the absolute worst. But if you do find yourself in that predicament, you’re going to want to have these pants, which feature an elastic waistband, drawstring closure, mesh vents, and two-way stretch fabric.
The Performance Traveler Chino Pants
Ah, Everlane, the creator of the best basics, pieces that are versatile and that’ll last you for years. So yes, this chino-jogger hybrid is specifically made for travel—a slim-fitting, sweat-wicking, quick-drying style with four-way stretch. But with all these characteristics, you’ll just want to wear it every day.
Extra Stretch Travel Jean
Bonobos? On a list about the best pants? Of course! The brand specializes in creating bottoms for all occasions, including travel. Case in point: this garment-dyed, five-pocket jean with so much stretch that it almost—just almost—feels like joggers.
Stretch Linen Traveler Pants
Linen is the most breathable material, a fabric that allows for maximum ventilation while you’re crammed in a seat, waiting for an airline attendant to pass the pretzels. And these pants from Onia—which feature an elastic waistband, snap closure, and zip pockets—are the lightest style you can wear on a fully booked, claustrophobia-inducing flight.
Mack Weldon hits the mark with these travel-ready Radius pants. Not only is the high-tech fabric water-resistant and quick-drying (no need to worry about spills too much), but it is also extremely comfortable. So if you’re not partial to wearing the brand’s travel-ready Ace sweats, these are the next best thing.
Commission Classic-Fit Pant
Trust that Lululemon always pays careful attention to comfort, performance, and functionality. And its celebrated Commission pants—which are made of wrinkle-resistant, quick-drying, shape-retaining, breathable fabric—are a shining example of this sentiment.
Rhone established itself as mainstay of the running scene—and for good reason. But it also offer nifty styles for traveling, like these pants made of its Flex-Knit fabric, which is so comfortable, so easy to move in, so stretchy, and so sleek at that you’ll never look at traditional trousers the same way again.
Straight-Leg Cotton-Seersucker Drawstring Pants
The beauty of seersucker is that it is already wrinkled; it’s the most travel-ready fabric around. It’s also super lightweight and airy, but has just enough structure to keep you looking sophisticated. Factor in the drawstring, and you’re all set to recline in your seat comfortably.
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