The 7 Best Athletic Fit Dress Pants for Men

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It isn’t hard to understand why guys with athletic builds and a muscular body shape would want to find the best athletic fit dress pants. 

Nowadays most of the best dress pants brands tend to offer slim-fit pants that give your legs a streamlined, sophisticated and modern silhouette. 

But for guys with a strong body type and/or bigger thighs, this poses something of a problem: 

The incredible Hulk bursting through his pants
A rough approximation of how muscular/athletic men (and Mark Ruffalo) often feel while wearing dress pants.
[image: Marvel Comics]

Slim fit pants tend to be too narrow for muscular legs, and can even make larger thighs look more like stuffed sausages than strong tree trunks. 

Making matters worse, men’s dress pants are often made from thin fabrics, which tend to rip pretty easily when stressed.

So for guys with big thighs, wearing a slimmer fit pant leg means dealing with the ever-present risk that your pants could split at the seams at any moment. 

Fortunately, nowadays a number of brands have started offering an athletic fit style of dress pants that (finally) solves this problem.

These new athletic cut dress pants still have the sharp, tapered look of a slim-fit cut, but they have a little extra room in the thigh and come in stretchy fabric.

The result is a more comfortable fit, but one that still looks poised, polished and put-together. 

(They also make great travel pants, because they tend to be made with wrinkle-resistant and moisture-wicking fabric.)

To help your legs look as sharp as they do strong, in this post we’ve rounded up the best men’s athletic dress pants on the market. 

The Best Men’s Athletic Fit Dress Pants 

Breaking Down the Best Athletic Dress Pants for Men Who Want Both Style and Stretch
Best Overall Badge
Overall Best Performance Dress Pants ↓

State & Liberty Athletic Fit Pants

State & Liberty Athletic Fit Pants
  • Athletic fit with room in the thighs
  • Timeless, tapered cut 
  • 4-way stretch fabric 
    • Blend of rayon, nylon, polyester & spandex 

State & Liberty was founded by former college hockey players who got so sick of squeezing into slim-fit shirts and suit pants that they decided to create their own. 

Their athletic-fit, stretch dress pants easily rank first on our list thanks to their unbeatable combination of stretchy fabric and stylish fit.

Instead of traditional wool or cotton, S&L’s dress pants (as well as their shirt and sport coat offerings) are made from the same kind of flex-knit fabric you usually only get in athleisure clothes.  

But unlike athleisure pants – which only work with more casual looks, and wouldn’t satisfy any dress code that requires proper dress shoes – this is a sharp and professional looking dress pant.

They have a modern fit that tapers down to a narrow leg opening, giving them a classic, sophisticated silhouette that rivals the best men’s dress pants. 

Plus they come in a wide variety of colors, many of which also come with a matching jacket if you want to make it a full suit. 

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Bonobos Weekday Warrior Dress Pants

Bonobos Weekday Warrior Dress Pants
  • Straight fit through the thighs, slight taper at the bottom
  • Blend of cotton and elastane 
  • More than a dozen colors available

Bonobos is a close competitor of stores like Banana Republic and Todd Snyder, but I find a lot of their stuff has a more modern look and feel. 

And for athletic men looking for the best pair of pants for everyday wear, the Weekday Warriors are pretty much a wardrobe essential.

They offer a damn-near perfect fit that’s similar to athletic fit jeans in terms of cut and comfort, with a more relaxed fit through the thigh. 

But these have a nicely tapered calf that’s polished and sophisticated, making them a great choice for a work pant you can wear to the office or other formal settings. 

Made from a blend of 97% cotton and 3% cotton, they’re not quite as flexible as the S&L pants listed above, but they still have a good bit of stretch.  

And the cotton allows them to maintain a nice crease in the middle, giving them a sophisticated look that helps them stand out from more casual chino pants. 

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Indochino Cotton Stretch Dress Pants

Indochino Cotton Stretch Dress Pants
  • Custom-made to your exact measurements
  • Blend of cotton and elastane 
  • Lots of customization options available 

Indochino specializes in custom-fit suits, shirts and dress pants. 

Made from a blend of 97% cotton and 3% elastane, at first glance their stretch pants are fairly similar to the Bonobos model listed above. 

But the main difference is that with Indochino you get a ton of customization options. 

In addition to being made to your specific waist measurement and leg length, you can choose whether you want your pants to be single pleats or flat front, cuffed at the hem or “blind” (i.e. no cuff), and even choose from a few different colors for the buttons.

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Bonobos Italian Stretch Wool Dress Pants

Bonobos Italian Stretch Wool Dress Pants
  • Curved waistband provides more room for your glutes
  • Center back seam is easy to tailor 
  • Made from mix of Italian wool and elastane

Another option from Bonobos, these have the same basic shape as the Weekday Warrior pants above: 

A slightly roomier fit in the seat and legs, tapering down slightly toward the ankle. 

The result is a classic fit that works great for guys with athletic legs, landing right in that sweet spot between way-too-tight skinny jeans and the loose fit, way-too-baggy pants styles you see on old guys at country clubs. 

But the best part about these pants is the way they combine a bit of stretchy elastane with Italian marzotto wool. 

Most men’s pants force you to choose between a comfortable athletic fit vs sophisticated premium fabrics, but this pair combines them into a single pair of slacks. 

This one’s only available in five classic colors, so there aren’t quite as many options as you get with State & Liberty or the other Bonobos pants above. 

But if you’re looking for a classy and comfortable pair of athletic-fit pants for an upcoming wedding or formal event, this might just be your best bet. 

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J.Crew Bowery Stretch Chino Dress Pant

J.Crew Bowery Stretch Chino Dress Pant
  • Elastane and cotton blend 
  • Tend to run slightly large 
    • (meaning there’s room for stronger legs)

J.Crew’s stretch dress pants aren’t specifically marketed as being athletic-fit, but they’re both designed and constructed in a way that works well for guys with big legs.  

They’re made from a blend of cotton and elastane, providing the requisite amount of stretch, and have a straight leg that can easily accommodate stronger quads and calves. 

Personally I prefer a little more taper in my dress pants, so for me these aren’t quite the best fit. 

But at the end of the day that’s just a personal choice, and I know a lot of modern chinos, dress pants and even denim jeans come in different fits nowadays. 

So these may well be the best pants if you’re looking to avoid the slim-fit look, and want something with a little more room beneath the knee. 

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Goodthreads Athletic-Fit Stretch Dress Pant

Goodthreads Athletic-Fit Stretch Dress Pant
  • Extra room in the seat and thigh
  • Available on Amazon 
  • 11 color options 

There are no expensive designer brands on this list, so none of them have an especially high price tag. 

But if you’re looking for the most affordable athletic dress pants you can find, Goodthreads might be the best place to turn for a new pair.  

Amazon’s in-house brand specializes in clothes that are stylish and on-point, but still quite affordable. 

And their athletic-fit dress pants hit a lot of the right notes, including a design that has more room in the thigh and seat, a construction that’s both stretchy and moisture-wicking, and a subtle back pocket closing that’s both practical and sleek.  

Plus they’re available in some cool patterns, including an olive plaid and navy blue houndstooth, which you don’t often see on athletic-fit pants. 

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J.M. Haggar Men’s 4-Way Stretch Dress Pant

J.M. Haggar Men's 4-Way Stretch Dress Pant
  • Extra stretchy construction 
  • Classic dress pant cut
  • 7 colors available 

Haggar is one of those brands, like Calvin Klein or Van Heusen, that I tend to associate with mid-tier businessmen like Michael Scott, Regional Manager of Dunder Mifflin Scranton. 

But to their credit, they’ve realized that if they want to survive they have to adapt to the times, and their 4-way stretch dress pants are impressively well suited to athletic guys. 

They’re made from a blend of 67% polyester, 28% viscose and 5% elastane, making them stretchier and more sweat-wicking than many of the models above. 

(These also might be the best travel pant on the list, since they’re more wrinkle-resistant than some of the cotton blends listed above.)  

The color options are all classic, if a little limited, but the cut is timeless and unimpeachable, making these a great option overall. 

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You Know the Best Performance Dress Pants

Now Find the Best Athletic Fit Dress Shirts to Complete Your Look
Man wearing an Athletic Fit Dress Shirt

If you’ve read this far (thanks for hanging in there, by the way), you now know where to find a professional looking dress pant that’s well suited to guys who don’t skip leg days.

But in my experience, people tend to notice your upper body before they look at your legs.

So if you really want to step up your style, you need to make sure your shirt looks as sharp as your pants.

Check out our round up of the best athletic cut dress shirts to find some of the sharpest-looking shirts for guys with strong, athletic and muscular physiques.

Find the Best Athletic Fit Shirts ➤

The Recap

Overall Best Athletic Fit Dress Pants

Dave Bowden


State & Liberty’s athletic-fit, stretch dress pants easily rank first on our list thanks to their unbeatable combination of stretchy fabric and stylish fit.


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About Dave Bowden

Dave Bowden

Irreverent Gent founder Dave Bowden is a style blogger whose advice on how to look good and live well has been featured in some of the world’s most trusted publications, including New York Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insider and more.

When not obsessing over style and self-improvement, he can usually be found spending time with his wonderful wife and son, indulging in a hoppy craft beer, or sobbing over the woeful state of Toronto's sports teams.

Check out Dave's Style Story to find out how a chance encounter with his friend's step-dad taught him the value of looking good and living well. (Don't worry—it's less creepy than it sounds!)