The 10 Best Athletic Dress Pants for Men

Great news for guys with thunder thighs—looking strong and looking sharp are no longer mutually exclusive

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It isn’t hard to understand why guys with an athletic build and a muscular body shape would want to find the best athletic fit 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 an athletic body type and/or bigger thighs, this poses something of a problem: 

Illustration of a muscular man bursting through his dress pants
A rough approximation of how muscular guys (and in certain MCU films, Mark Ruffalo) often feel while wearing dress pants

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 delicate fabrics that tend to rip pretty easily when stressed.

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

Thankfully, a handful of brands have started offering an athletic-fit style of dress pants that (finally) solves this problem.

Athletic-cut pants still have the sharp, tapered fit of a slim cut, but come in stretchy fabrics and have a little extra room in the thigh, resulting in a comfortable fit that still looks poised, polished and put-together. 

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


Top Picks↓

We’ll go into (a lot) of detail about why we like each of these pants below, but here’s a quick summary of our favorite athletic options:

Best Wrinkle-Free Dress Pants:
State & Liberty Stretch Dress Pants
—-
Runner Up:

XPant 5.0
—-
Best Made-to-Measure Option:

Indochino Cotton Stretch Dress Pants
—-
Best for Business Casual:

Lululemon ABC Trouser
—-
Best Cheapies:

Calvin Klein Modern Fit Dress Pant


Who Wrote This Article

Irreverent Gent Founder and Editor-in-Chief Dave Bowden has been a service journalist for more than a decade.

His style advice and menswear recommendations have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, and Men’s Health, among many other outlets.

How We Created This List

Fit, Cut
& Taper

Fabric
& Material

In-Person & Online Reviews

For us, the best athletic dress pants are the ones that offer the right combination of sharp style, strong value and (of course) a good fit for athletic body types.

The three main criteria we used to assess each pair were the cut/fit that they come in; the stretchiness and quality of their fabrics; and the experience of real guys who have worn them—all of which we compare to their price tags to get a sense of whether they offer good value for money.

To learn more about how we rate and review products, check out our product review and round up policy here.


The Best Men’s Athletic Fit Dress Pants 

Breaking Down the Best Athletic Dress Pants That Combine Strength, Style & Stretch

Overall Best Athletic-Fit Dress Pants ↓

State & Liberty Stretch Dress Pants

State and Liberty Stretch Dress Pants

Notable Features:

  • Tried in Person:
  • Fabric Blend: 74% Poly, 12% Rayon, 8% Nylon, 6% Spandex
  • Colors/Patterns Available: 17 to buy immediately; 9 others can be made to order
  • Cut/Fit: Athletic Fit
  • No. of Sizes Available: 11 total options

Why We Like It:

These ones from State & Liberty are some of the most comfortable dress pants I’ve ever owned, and offer a great combination of stretchy fabric and stylish fit.

On the fabric side, they forego traditional fabrics like cotton or merino wool in favor of a flexible blend that offers a similar appearance, but a lot more stretch and flexibility.

But pretty much all the pants on this list are made from stretchy fabrics—what really sets these apart is the cut/fit.

As a brand, State & Liberty’s whole focus is on making stylish, well-made clothes for guys with a muscular physique, and they’ve found a particular niche among pro athletes, who tend to want both high quality and high style.

When it comes to their dress pants, that means ample room for strong quads up top, but a tapered design that narrows nicely through the calves, without being so tight that they look painted on.

The end result is a tapered look that’s sophisticated and timeless, but provides a lot more stretch than standard 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.

Why Some Might Not:

The biggest knock against State & Liberty’s pants is that the inseam length is fixed, so you probably can’t get a perfect fit right off the rack.

For instance, their 34″ pants come with an inseam that’s 34″, but if you want it either shorter or longer than that, you’ll have to get it tailored.

(On the bright side, all their pants have enough excess fabric in the hem that they can be let out a couple inches for taller guys.)

Check Price 


Runner Up ↓

XSuit XPant 5.0

XSuit XPant 5.0

Notable Features:

  • Fabric Blend: “TechWool”
  • Colors/Patterns Available: 4
  • Cut/Fit: Modern
  • No. of Sizes Available: 10 waist sizes, 3 inseam lengths

Why We Like It:

Like State & Liberty above, Xsuit is another brand whose reputation is built on making stylish suits out of stretchy, 21st-century fabrics.

XSuit isn’t solely focused on muscular frames the way State & Liberty is, but their flagship suit is made from similarly stretchy materials and works great for guys with an athletic frame/lifestyle.

They sell the pants from the latest version of their suit, the XSuit 5.0, separately, and they’re a great option for muscular guys because they have a slight taper that gives them a professional look without being as restrictive as slim fit jeans (or, God forbid, slim skinny jeans).

Why Some Might Not:

Unfortunately, XSuit doesn’t offer quite as much variety in the style department.

The pants (and suit jackets) only come in five different colors, all of which are fairly classic and standard.

Check Price 


Best Made-to-Measure Dress Pants ↓

Indochino Dress Pants

Indochino dress pants

Notable Features:

  • Tried in Person:
  • Fabric Blend: Dozens to choose from
  • Colors/Patterns Available: Dozens to choose from
  • Cut/Fit: Made-to-measure, so they’re fit to your preferences
  • No. of Sizes Available: Again, they’re made custom for your exact measurements

Why We Like It:

There are a few different brands that make off-the-rack pants geared toward muscular guys, but for really muscular guys (i.e. bodybuilders) and those with unique proportions, Indochino might be a better option.

They exclusively make made-to-measure clothes that are designed to fit your exact measurements and proportions, so the fit is generally much better than what you’d get off the rack, even if you have it tailored.

In addition to a good fit, they also have a huge selection of fabric types, colors and patterns, including a few stretch fabrics.

(I did an in-person review of Indochino’s suits last year and loved the fit, but found myself wishing I had opted for a fabric with a hint of stretch, which just feels more comfortable.)

Why Some Might Not:

The two big downsides here are a lack of convenience and a lack of speed.

In order to get the perfect fit, you either have to take your own measurements at home and submit them online, or go into one of their showrooms and have a store clerk do it for you.

I highly recommend the latter method because the clerk will be much more adept at measuring, which will help you get a better fit.

But either way, you then have to wait for Indochino to submit your measurements to their garment factory in China, where the clothes are made and shipped back to North America, all of which takes a few weeks.

By contrast, pretty much all the other pants on this list can be ordered online. Some might need a bit of tailoring, but that’s still probably faster than waiting on Indochino.

If you really struggle to find a good fit and want a pair that you intend to keep for years then the wait may well be worth it, but if you need something sooner, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere.

Check Price 


Best Athletic Work Pants for Business Casual ↓

Lululemon ABC Trouser

Lululemon ABC trouser

Notable Features:

  • Fabric Blend: 53% Elastomultiester, 47% Recycled polyester
  • Colors/Patterns Available: 10
  • Cut/Fit: 3 Options – Slim, Classic, Relaxed
  • No. of Sizes Available: 14 waist sizes, 4 inseam lengths

Why We Like It:

My brother-in-law is both an Iron Man triathlete and a bureaucrat who works in a government office job, and these are his favorite dress pants.

But here’s how much menswear has changed since I started this blog in 2016:

I never thought I’d be recommending Lulelmon in an article about dress pants.

But the line between formal clothes and casual looks continues to blur, and while these might not be sophisticated enough for formal events, they’re great dress pants for everything from a business-casual office to a golf course with a strict dress code.

They’re particularly good for athletic guys because they come in three different fits that provide varying levels of room through the thighs and calves, and a really wide range of waist sizes.

Why Some Might Not:

As mentioned above, these aren’t as formal as the State & Liberty pants listed at the top of the list.

They can definitely be dressed up and look great with a dress shirt, tie and blazer, but the flat front design if a little more casual, so these probably wouldn’t work for weddings or formal occasions.

Check Price 


Best Cheap AF Affordable Option ↓

Calvin Klein Modern Fit Dress Pant

Calvin Klein dress pants

Notable Features:

  • Fabric Blend: 80% Polyester, 18% Rayon, 2% Spandex
  • Colors/Patterns Available: 4
  • Cut/Fit: Modern Fit
  • No. of Sizes Available: 21

Why We Like It:

This pair from Calvin Klein is a decent option for buff guys on a budget.

It’s not specifically designed for athletes, but it’s made from similarly stretchy fabrics as some of the more purpose-specific pairs above, and comes in a modern cut that’s more tapered than a classic fit, but not so slim that you can’t squeeze your legs in there.

Plus, it comes in a ton of different colors, has some great reviews on Amazon, and (crucially) costs less than 50 bucks, so it’s probably worth trying if you’re cash-strapped.

Why Some Might Not:

As mentioned above, this one isn’t specifically designed for athletic men.

Plus, any time the price is that low you have to wonder about the quality as well.

Calvin Klein is obviously a well-known brand, but don’t expect their Amazon line to be the same quality as their runway shows.

Check Price 


Bonobos Weekday Warrior

Bonobos Weekday Warrior Khakis

Notable Features:

  • Fabric Blend: 97% Cotton, 3% Elastane
  • Colors/Patterns Available: 21
  • Cut/Fit: 6 options – tailored, slim taper, slim, athletic, straight or classic
  • No. of Sizes Available: 18 waist sizes, 5 inseam lengths

Why We Like It:

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

Their Weekday Warrior pants offer a great 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. 

Why Some Might Not:

Made from a blend of 97% cotton and 3% elastane, they’re not as flexible as the S&L or XSuit pants listed above.

The elastane provides a bit of stretch, and the cotton helps them maintain their crease and look more sophisticated than a standard chino, but they’re not really performance pants like some of the others on this list.

Check Price 


Fabletics High Side Performance Chino

Fabletics dress pants

Notable Features:

  • Fabric Blend: 97% Cotton, 3% Spandex
  • Colors/Patterns Available: 6
  • Cut/Fit: 2 Options – Classic, Slim
  • No. of Sizes Available: 12 waist sizes, 3 inseam lengths

Why We Like It:

As an athleticwear brand that’s branched into smart-casual athleisure, Fabletics is very much in the same category as Lululemon.

Their High Side performance pant comes in both a slim fit and a “classic” cut that has more of a straight fit, and it’s a great option for pairing with dress shoes and a button-down shirt for everyday wear.

Why Some Might Not:

Like the Lululemon ABC pants above, this is another pair that could work great in smart-casual and business-casual environments, but not as much in really formal settings.

But it doesn’t offer quite as many color, size or fit options as the ABCs, or have the same amount of stretch.

Check Price 


Twillory Performance Pants

Twillory dress pants

Notable Features:

  • Fabric Blend: “100% Japanese Stretch Fabric”
  • Colors/Patterns Available: 12
  • Cut/Fit: 2 Options – Tailored, Trim
  • No. of Sizes Available: 8 waist sizes, 3 inseam lengths

Why We Like It:

Like both the State & Liberty and XSuit pants above, these ones from Twillory are actually suit pants that can be bought separately, or paired with a matching blazer if you want to complete the suit.

They’re made with four-way stretch fabric that’s both comfortable and accommodating to guys with bigger thighs and come in either a tailored fit or a “trim” fit (which is basically a slim fit by another name).

In addition to the stretch, one nice little detail about these pants is that the brand name is stitched into the waistband using big rubber letters, which double as a shirt-gripper that helps you stay tucked, reducing the need for a shirt stay.

Why Some Might Not:

Twillory is coy about what, exactly, goes into their fabric.

Whereas brands like State & Liberty and Lululemon reveal the exact blend, Twillory simply refers to it as “Japanese stretch fabric,” whatever that means.

Check Price 


Kenneth Cole Modern Fit Dress Pant

Kenneth Cole Slim Fit Wrinkle-Resistant Pants

Notable Features:

  • Fabric Blend: 100% Polyester
  • Colors/Patterns Available: 7
  • Cut/Fit: Modern Fit
  • No. of Sizes Available: 15

Why We Like It:

This is another cheap pair from Amazon that makes a good option if you’re on a budget.

Like the Calvin Kleins above, these ones are around 50 bucks and come in a modern fit that should work well for most athletic guys.

They also offer a pretty wide selection of sizes, which makes it easier to find a good fit right off the rack (or right out of the box, as the case may be).

Why Some Might Not:

These ones are made from 100% polyester, so they’re not as elastic as the Calvins above, which have stretchy and breathable fabrics like rayon and spandex.

Polyester has some natural stretch to it so they should still be pretty comfortable, but if you want a cheap pair that really moves with you, the Calvin Klein pair is the better bet.

Check Price 


Barbell Apparel Anything Dress Pants

Barbell Apparel dress pants

Notable Features:

  • Fabric Blend: 100% Polyester
  • Colors/Patterns Available: 4
  • Cut/Fit: Athletic Fit
  • No. of Sizes Available: 7 waist sizes, 1 inseam length

Why We Like It:

As you can probably guess from its (a little too on-the-nose) name, Barbell Apparel is another brand that caters specifically to fit people with well muscled physiques.

Other than the State & Liberty pair at the top of this list, their Anything dress pant is the only other one to come in a true athletic fit that’s specifically designed for guys who need a little extra space through the legs, but have a smaller waist.

Why Some Might Not:

These pants only come in what inseam length (32″), which means that most guys will have to get them tailored in order to get the right fit.

Barbell Apparel will give you a $20 store credit if you email them a picture of your tailoring receipt, which is nice, but it would obviously be more convenient if they offered a range of inseam sizes.

Check Price 


You Know the Best Performance Dress Pants

Now Find the Best Athletic Fit Dress Shirts

Most guys who have trouble squeezing into slim-fit pants probably have a similar issue with slim fit shirts.

Unless you’re the only guy on the planet who exclusively trains legs and never works on your upper body—in which case you should probably call Fred Guinness over at the Guinness Book of World Records, because you may, in fact, be a unicorn.

Either way, 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 ↓

The Best Athletic Fit Dress Pants

Dave Bowden

Overall Best Athletic Dress Pants: State & Liberty Stretch Dress Pants
Runner Up: XPant 5.0
Best Made-to-Measure Option: Indochino Cotton Stretch Dress Pants
Best for Business Casual: Lululemon ABC Trouser

Summary

For us, the best athletic dress pants are the ones that offer the right combination of sharp style, strong value and (of course) a good fit for athletic body types.

4.6

More Resources ↓

More Advice on Athletic Fit Clothing:

More Advice on Modern-Classic Men’s Pants:

Banner Photo: State & Liberty
Banner Illustration: Irreverent Gent

About Dave Bowden

Dave Bowden

Founder, Irreverent Gent
Author, Man in Command and Stop Doubting, Start Dating
Writer, Really Wordy Author Bios

Dave Bowden is a style blogger, menswear expert and best-selling author (in Canada—but still!) whose advice on how to look good and live well has been featured in New York Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Men's Health and more.

When not obsessing over style and self-improvement, he can usually be found spending time with his wonderful wife and two amazing sons, 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!), or email him at [email protected] if you want to get in touch.