Until fairly recently, you’d have needed to take a wander down to your local car mechanic’s garage or blacksmith’s workshop if you wanted to see a pair of double-knee pants in the wild.
These days, you’ve got a better chance of spotting a pair keeping the bench warm at a trendy craft-beer bar, getting ripped up at a downtown skate spot or even sitting in the front row at fashion week.
Manual workers have long understood the benefits of these rugged pants, but now the rest of the world is catching on too. Skateboarders benefit from the added durability, gen-Z TikTokers love the baggy fit, and fashion designers revel in all the loops, patches and pockets that they can tweak and customise. If there is a trouser of the 2020s, at this point it’s very much the double-knee pant.
Thinking of joining the double-knee party and finding out first hand what all the fuss is about? Then this guide is for you. Keep scrolling to find out why you need a pair, what to buy and where to get the best ones.
Whether you’re a blue-collar worker or not, the benefits of double-knee pants are hard to ignore. In a world increasingly concerned with reducing consumption and using things for longer, these are some of the most hardwearing and toughest trousers money can buy.
They’ll take years of abuse before they develop any holes, and they’re extremely easy to repair when they do. Plus, they look great with a bit of natural wear and tear to them.
Another great thing about double-knee pants is the price. If you stick to the OG workwear brands, these trousers are pretty accessible. Particularly when you consider how long they tend to last.
In general, you’re looking at a very attractive cost-per-wear proposition, and they’re also easy to get hold of second hand if you want to bring the cost and environmental impact down further still.
The best double-knee pants fit fairly loose. These are utility pants designed for moving, stretching and kneeling, so they can’t inhibit range of motion too much.
They’re usually cut for a classic straight leg, with the fit landing anywhere between regular and baggy. For maximum versatility, we’d suggest keeping it on the more conservative side of relaxed.
These are workwear pants, so they’re usually made from tried-and-tested workwear-appropriate fabrics. We’re talking duck canvas, cotton drill and heavy denim.
Stick to these materials for full authenticity and to get the most out of your new pants.
The thing that makes double-knee pants so unique and so practical is the amount of extra details they have dotted around.
What’s worth remembering is that not all options offer exactly the same extras. This is particularly true of the new breed of fashion-forward double-knee pants that have been built predominantly with aesthetics in mind as opposed to pure functionality.
Some details to look for include rivets, extra pockets, loops for tools/accessories and reinforced knees that extend all the way up the thigh for maximum cover.
Carhartt is one of the biggest names in American workwear, and its double-knee pants have been a staple of blue-collar job sites for almost a century.
They’re probably the most popular and iconic double-knee pants out there, and although they can be stiff, heavy and take their fair share of breaking in, stick with it and you’ll have a pair of pants for life.
Shop now at MR PORTER
If you don’t want to pay Carhartt prices, there are cheaper options available to those who know where to look.
Uniqlo has always been great at picking out key trends and doing them well, and that’s definitely the case where double-knee pants are concerned.
The retailer’s Painter Trousers are very similar to Carhartt’s OG Double-Knee Pants, minus the rivets, and they can be yours for less than £40.
Shop now at Uniqlo
Stan Ray is another American workwear brand that has managed to establish a presence in the streetwear world. It’s best known for its fatigues, overshirts and Painter Pants, but it makes some fantastic double-knee options too.
With a heavyweight cotton construction, riveted design and multiple extra pockets, these heavy duty work pants are built to take a beating on the building site or the skatepark.
Shop now at END.
P&Co. makes rugged clothes inspired by its founders’ love of motorcycle culture, Americana and traditional tattoos.
The designs are heavy on the American workwear influence, spanning everything from canvas chore coats to heavyweight double-knee pants, like the Albion Carpenter Pants.
They’re made from durable 16oz cotton canvas and feature a slightly tapered fit, with four versatile colour options to pick from.
Shop now at P&Co.
Dickies is another American heritage workwear brand that offers up similar garments to the likes of Carhartt and Stan Ray, but often at considerably lower prices.
This makes it a solid option for those seeking a pair of authentic double-knee pants from a proper workwear brand, without dropping £100 or more.
Shop now at END.
Karu Research works with Indian artisans to bring the country’s unique styles, craftsmanship and traditional textile techniques to a global audience.
One of the brand’s signature styles is a double-knee pant, which it makes using stunning patterned panels for the knee reinforcements instead of plain fabric.
If you’re after something a little out of the ordinary, this will be right up your street.
Shop now at MR PORTER
Trends are essential. They keep fashion moving forwards. Without them, we’d all just be stuck…
Super juicy, sweet and spicy Instant Pot chicken breast is a dinner life saver; they’re…
Say the word “chronograph” and the image that comes to mind is probably something with…
There’s an ad for a T-shirt company right now that asks “Can a T-shirt really…
The coziest risotto recipe topped with an egg and plenty of parm! Super creamy, super…