Strong made stronger—Levi’s builds jeans with purpose

I’ve always admired a cleverly redesigned pair of jeans—especially when that already strong wardrobe essential is made stronger by a team of experts. Most of us don’t pull on our denim wondering if it’s going to make it through the day, because most of us don’t hop onto a skateboard and then push it to the limit. But some of us do. And for those individuals—because they are individuals—Levi’s has built the skateboarding collection, an uncompromising range of armor (I mean apparel) that stands up to the demands of pavement-eating momentum.

;Photo courtesy of Levi's
Jeans with purpose;Photo courtesy of Levi’s

If you’re wondering how their design team reengineered a cult classic, the question’s been asked. Think fabric, fit, and function; the formula was reworked from a skate-centric point of view. We directed some pointed questions to Adam Binette and Nick Rendic, the global merch and design leads, respectively, for the Levi’s Skateboarding Collection. Here’s why their “design with purpose” mindset gets you through a day.

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What are the most common denim malfunctions that skaters face?
The most common malfunctions we found were blown-out fabric in the crotch of the garment and back yoke/back pockets tearing off the garment (see Jerry Hsu’s jeans in his Enjoi part from a few years back).

Top three complaints from pros about their denim?
First, overall durability of the garments was a huge callout. Second, mobility was a major source of contention as well. Restriction in any form can throw your whole mindset off. Third, the elastic properties in stretch garments not retaining their shape.

;Photo courtesy of Levi's
Armor(I mean apparel) that stands up to the demands of pavement-eating momentum;Photo courtesy of Levi’s

How has Levi’s denim problem-solved those issues?
When we looked at all the issues skateboarders were facing with their jeans, we landed on two solves that would make our jeans better for skateboarding. The first solve was using a higher-quality Lycra product called T400 for better mobility and stretch. T400 is a coiled fiber at its natural state, so when it is stretched out it naturally wants to return to its coiled state. This allows for better stretch retention and helps the garment keep its shape longer. The second solve was using a product called Cordura to increase the durability of the garment. Cordura is made up of high-tenacity fibers that have an exceptional abrasion-resistant quality, which leads to longer-lasting garments.

Describe the Levi’s “fit” and what sets it apart.
We are the original denim brand and it’s in our nature to innovate in all fields, fit being one of the most important. We’ve skated in each fit to understand how each fit feels and the amount of mobility each fit allows for while you’re on your board. The skateboarding collection utilizes three of classic five-pocket fits: the 511, our slimmest fit; the 513, a slim straight; and the 504, a classic straight fit. We wanted to make sure that our collection was democratic so that everyone could enjoy the product.


Got jeans? The workpant is your new essential; Photo courtesy of Levi's
Got jeans? The workpant is your new essential; Photo courtesy of Levi’s

Why will we love the workpant?
The first reason you will love the workpant is the fabric. We took a classic chino fabric and added the Cordura and T400 to make it a stronger version of a classic chino. The second reason you will love the workpant is the fit; we spent a lot of time on this, making sure that it’s the perfect mix between a slim and a straight fit. If you like a straighter fit, we advise you size up one size; if you like the slim straight fit, wear it on size. The last thing that will make you love this workpant is the attention to detail we paid to make this pant perfect. This pant has extra bar tacks on the stress points of the crotch to help prevent blowout, and the belt loops are built into the waistband for added strength. We also reshaped the pocket bags so your change, keys, and pocket contents won’t fall out while you’re sitting down. To understand this feature more, turn our workpants inside out and check out how the pocket bag dips over the side seam.

View the collection at

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