When the opportunity to undertake a thorough Western Rise review first came up, I was excited for a very specific (and mildly embarrassing) reason:
I’m one sweaty mofo.
As a self-respecting menswear blogger who believes that sharp style stands out, I do my best to dress well and put my best face forward.
But one particularly annoying truth about menswear is that, traditionally, some of the most stylish pieces are also the least breathable, and annoyingly inflexible.
For instance, there are few looks sharper or more put together than a well fitting button down shirt tucked into a crisp pair of slim fit chinos.
But it’s hard to feel confident when you’re worried that your shirt might be soaked in sweat, or your slim fit pants might split when you sit down.
Western Rise’s website is littered with products that look great, and claim to be breathable, stretchy and moisture-wicking (which for a sweaty style enthusiast like myself is basically the holy trinity).
So I was excited to find out for myself. I conducted a thorough Western Rise Pants review, putting both their Evolution Pant and AT Slim Rivet Pant to the test, along with their Limitless Merino Button Down shirt. I spent a few weeks wearing all three pieces, and what follows are the unfiltered results of my thorough test.
This review came about because a rep reached out to ask if I would review Western Rise clothing. As I always do when brands reach out, I told them I’d be happy to try it, but only if they were comfortable with me writing a thorough, honest and transparent review.
They agreed and sent me the products, and the review that follows consists of my honest, unfiltered (and occasionally alliterative) thoughts. All opinions expressed here are my own (as are the lame jokes, bad puns and embarrassing personal disclosures). Note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that if you click through and buy something, I will receive a small commission.
And with that disclosure out of the way, on to the review!
Western Rise Clothing
Western Rise is a men’s clothing company that makes a relatively small number of versatile pieces like shirts and pants in materials that both work well and look good.
They use the kind of high-performance, wearable fabrics that you’ll most often find in athletic wear or hiking gear, but craft them into styles that are as appropriate on the mountain trail as they are around the boardroom table (in the business casual environments that most of us work in, that is).
For a clothing company, Western Rise has a pretty lofty goal: to elevate your life.
They bill themselves as “apparel, elevated” and have adopted an approach that seems particularly novel in today’s age of excess and fast fashion:
To simplify, do more with less, and create the best possible version of each product they offer.
This focus on quality over quantity explains why their online shop consists of relatively few pieces, with a particular focus on the sort of staples that every man needs in his wardrobe: button down shirts (in both long and short sleeves), tees and polos, pants and shorts, and accessories like underwear and socks.
So, does Western Rise’s apparel succeed in elevating your life? Let’s find out…
Western Rise Evolution Pant Review
The first thing I noticed about the Evolution Pant was how… normal they looked.
I realize that probably sounds weird, but in my experience when brands advertise that their clothes are “breathable, stretchy and moisture wicking,” as Western Rise describes the Evolutions Pants, the results tend to lean toward clothes that look more appropriate in the gym than the office.
Sweat-wicking athletic apparel also tends to look and feel pretty synthetic.
The first time I wore them, I paired them with a blue chambray shirt, a brown leather belt and my best pair of chukka boots, and felt like I easily could have looked sharp in any casual environment, from a business-casual office to a coffee shop or pub.
In addition to the sharp style, I also appreciated the Evolutions’ functionality.
They may look like regular chinos, but they’re a lot more comfortable.
Once again I was pleasantly surprised.
I assumed that the tradeoff for looking so much like normal chinos is that they’d move like them too, and be a bit stiff or restricting.
The pants arrived on my doorstep just as August gave way to September, which was good timing because it allowed me to wear them as the weather transitioned from blisteringly hot days to fall’s first chilly nights.
I wore them while doing everything from golfing and taking walks around the neighborhood to getting groceries and mowing the lawn.
They remained comfortable in all situations and temperatures (though I thought the AT Slim pant was actually lighter and better for summer days, on which more below).
This is admittedly a personal gripe that won’t even apply to most guys, but it bears mentioning.
While I was pretty happy with the Evolution Pant overall, there was at least one drawback that I noticed as soon as I pulled them on: the length.
Nowadays, most casual pants from major retailers provide multiple sizes in both the width of the waist and the length of the pant legs.
This makes it easy to find a near-perfect fit right off the rack, without having to take your pants to the tailor.
But Western Rise pants are a bit of a throwback in the sense that you can choose your waist size, but that’s it—the only option for length is 32 inches.
This works out fine for anyone within the 5’11 to 6’2″ range, which is probably about 80% of guys.
But given that I’m only 5’9″ and have a 30-inch inseam, it’s a bit of an issue.
The good news is that, thanks to the stretch of the pants, rolling up the bottom two inches into a cuff was actually easier than it is on most pants, which have a tendency roll back down.
The rolled-pant look has become increasingly popular in the past couple years – so much so that Western Rise features it fairly prominently in a lot of their marketing images – so for some guys my height, this might actually be a feature, not a bug.
But as someone who prefers to keep the lines in my look as clean and streamlined as possible, I decided to have both my Evolution and AT Slim pants hemmed.
Total Score: 4.5/5
Evolution Pants 2.0
Western Rise recently released an updated version of their Evolution pants, which I was anxious to try.
The new Evolutions have a lot of the same features as the originals, but also come with one (pretty big) new advantage:
Where the originals were made from a blend of 96% nylon and 4% elastane, the 2.0 model ups the elastane to 10%, meaning they offer more than twice as much stretch.
The result is a pair that moves even better than the originals and increases their overall functionality, without sacrificing anything in the style department.
While it’s not a huge change, it’s enough to make the experience of wearing the pants more enjoyable, especially for new dads like me who now spend a lot of time bending over to play with and pick up our kids.
Updated Total Score: 4.5/5
Western Rise AT Slim Pant Review
The difference between the AT Slim Pant and the Evolution Pant is admittedly subtle.
As the name suggests, the big difference is the cut. Where the Evolution Pants draped ever so slightly off of my legs, the AT Slim Pants hugged them fairly tightly.
Other American retailers, whose clothes tend to run a little wider (I’m particularly thinking of discount brands like Old Navy here) would probably label the Evolution Pants “slim fit” and the AT Slims “skinny fit.”
Bigger guys or guys who prefer to let their pants breath a little will probably prefer the Evolution Pant, while skinnier guys and those who prefer a sleeker silhouette should opt for the AT Slim.
Made from 96% Supplex nylon and 4% elastane, the AT Slims had a little more stretch to them than the Evolutions, which I both noticed and appreciated.
While the AT Slim pants hugged my legs more closely than the Evolutions, I never had to worry that they were too tight.
As mentioned above, the AT Slims also felt lighter than the Evolutions.
They’re made from a slightly different material (the Evolution Pants use regular nylon and spandex, as opposed to the Supplex nylon and elastane used in the AT Slim), and while the difference was subtle, I definitely noticed it when I wore them for long stretches on hot days.
Both pants were significantly lighter than regular cotton chinos, but on really sweltering days, the AT Slims edged out the Evolutions.
On an even more subjective note, I also loved the olive color that the AT Slims came in.
For my money it’s the perfect shade of green: light enough to look great in spring and summer, but rugged enough to work just as well come fall.
Like the Evolution Pants, the AT Slim Pants came with the standard 32-inch inseam, where I prefer a 30-inch.
I rolled the pants up the first couple times I wore the AT Slims and found that I actually liked the look more than I did with the Evolution Pants.
“I felt like… the AT Slim was best suited for weekends, errands and other more casual or active situations.”
(I can’t quite explain why, but to my eye the rolled-up-pants look just looks sharper when the pants are cut slim and hug the ankles pretty closely.)
While I didn’t mind the look, I also didn’t love it, so I decided to have the AT Slim Pants hemmed as well. On the one hand, this required a couple of bucks and an additional errand.
On the other hand, now I have two pairs of pants that fit perfectly and wear well, and I know I’ll get a lot more wear out of both of them than if I had left the length alone, but didn’t love it.
For me that was a trade off I was more than happy to make (especially given the many benefits of both pairs), but understand how some guys will prefer not to order them at all if they’re not a 32-inch inseam.
Whereas the Evolution pant look and feel more like regular cotton chinos, the AT Slim pant is made from an air-texturized rugged nylon canvas that’s designed to break rather than drape.
As a result the AT Slims both look and feel a little more like activewear than office-wear. To be fair, they were made for more active environments (a lot of Western Rise’s promotional imagery for them shows guys riding a bike, walking around town, etc.).
But as someone who frequently moves between more buttoned-up environments to more casual/active ones, I felt like the Evolution pant was a little more diverse and better able to move between those two worlds, where the AT Slim was best reserved for weekends, errands and other more casual situations.
Total Score: 4.5/5
Western Rise Limitless Merino Button Down
Ironically, the number one thing I learned while conducting a Western Rise pants review is that their Limitless merino button down shirt is an absolute stand out.
When I first got the shirt, I have to admit that I had no idea what to expect from a button down shirt made from merino wool.
I have multiple types of sweaters in merino and knew how soft it is, but I had never worn a button down shirt made from it.
I was a little skeptical, and assumed that the shirt would be heavier than the Oxford cloth button downs in my closet.
“As soon as I tried it on I said – out loud, to no one in particular – ‘Holy shit.'”
Fortunately, I was dead wrong.
As soon as I tried it on I said – out loud, to no one in particular – “Holy shit.” This was without question the most comfortable shirt I had ever worn in my life.
Far from being heavy like a sweater, it was super breathable, soft, lightweight and stretchy in all the right places.
The shirt came in light blue, which is a high-risk color for me.
On the one hand, I have dark brown hair and eyes, so light blue is a color that pairs well with my complexion. On the other hand, as I mentioned at the top, I tend to sweat, and light blue shirts can quickly develop dark rings under the arms if I’m not careful.
But the merino button down was so breathable, I didn’t have to worry about sweating through it.
I paired it with khaki shorts on a super hot day and made it through a whole backyard BBQ without so much as a drop.
While I had a few (fairly minor, but undeniable) qualms about Western Rise pants, I have nothing but good things to say about the merino button down.
Total Score: 5/5
Wrapping Up My Western Rise Pants Review
Western Rise’s Evolution Pants and AT Slim Pants both live up to the hype, for the most part. Though they only come in one length, both pairs look great, move well, and absorb moisture, making for a pretty great combination of form and function.
Meanwhile, the Limitless merino wool button down shirt performed even better. Comfortable, lightweight, stretchy and sweat-wicking, it’s an absolute standout that every guy should add to his closet.
If you’re looking for clothes that both look stylish and perform well, I highly recommend checking out Western Rise.