I fancy myself a bit of a fancy pants about climbing pants.
Not to be braggadocious, but I own three pairs of climbing pants that I’m quite chuffed about: Boulder Denim 2.0 Jeans, Foehn Brise Performance Pants, and now a pair of E9 Matar “Urban Climbing Trousers,” which I picked up a few weeks ago.
‘Trousers’ you say? You are fancy!
Indeed, Madame, indeed.
According to my network, most people own a pair, rounding up in integers. That’s a 3:1 ratio. At this measure, that gives me 3x the depth of understanding of the average climbing pants owner. We’ll have to check the math, but the back of the napkin calculation seems to suggest I’m an expert in this domain.
Read on for my review of the stellar E9 Matar “Urban Climbing Trousers.” In my expert opinion.
E9 knows bouldering.
The company was founded in 1998 by Mauro Calibani, the first ever Bouldering World Champion (2001). Calibani was part of a bouldering renaissance in Italy, sinking his chops into an newly developed bouldering mecca, Meschia, in the Province of Ascoli Piceno (near the “calf” of the country). In 2003, he established what he suggested was a V16 in the area, Tonino ’78.
He was so all-in that he moved to Ascoli Piceno (the city) to be closer to the spot (uhh, the bouldering).
Calibani describes the setting as a “mesmering forest [sic]”, while others compare it to “your backyard garden” (meant as a compliment, I think). Unfortunately, due to disputes with the landowner, the bouldering area was shut down around 2002, but it appears there’s a “new” Meschia where climber’s are welcome (in part because the landowner has an airbnb for rent).
All of this to say, Calibani was inspired to create a brand that combined his eclectic personality with the inspiration impressed upon him by the sandstone rocks of Meschia. He didn’t want to go far for climbing or business; E9 is designed around a “zero km concept” which means the totality of the production cycle takes place within a few km of their headquarters in Ascoli Piceno.
Alas, I bought my pair of pants in Querétaro, Mexico, so mine are part of their special “10,427 km production + transport concept” line.
These are a little like the MC Hammer pants of the bouldering world. Which in short code means: They are awesome!
They are a bit baggy (through the crotch, thigh, leg) yet never get in the way. By comparison, the Boulder Denim jeans and the Foehn Brise pants tend to catch in the knee when I’m doing big high-steps / bringing my knees close to my chest, which, maybe it’s my peculiar style, but it happens fairly often. The flexibility (high-steppability?) is supported by a Wicked Big Gusseted Crotch, like so BIG I can’t even…
And double articulated knees. If this is the power of double-articulation, I can’t wait to see the performance, precision, and lubrication of Fusion5x articulation (looking at you Gillette).
E9 says the material is denim. I would say it’s denim-like. You can see how the weave of the fabric looks similar to jeans, but it’s a thinner textile, lighter, and much stretchier, comprised of 75% Cotton, 22% Polyester, 3% Elastane. That’s a lot of words to say they are stretchy.
Fit and Look
They have a relaxed fit and sit naturally at the hip. The waist has a stretchy band, kind of like yoga pants, which makes it easy to readjust on the fly. Internally the waistband includes cords which attach at the rear, and which you can pull tight and tie if you need to keep things extra secure.
I wore these around the city, and they appear more bohemian than your average trouser. I like the look, but it’s very casual, whereas I can wear the Boulder Denim jeans with a button down shirt and head to the bar.
The orange (just past-prime pumpkin?) is distinct.
The material is on the thinner side, but is standing up after about three weeks of climbing.
The Boulder Denim jeans can snag on sharp edges, which pulls threads. I haven’t encountered such an incursion into these pantalones yet, so the verdict is still out. The weave appears tighter than on the BD jeans or the Brise pants, which may help prevent snagging.
I’d mainly use these for bouldering since I tend to do more aggressive moves when compared to sport or trad climbing. I’m not sure how well they’d hold up to knee bars or general jamming since they don’t have extra layers on high-wear areas.
- 4-way stretch fabric
- Breathable: Allows airflow in 60s-70s F, and warm enough down to 40s. I wouldn’t want to wear them in temps much higher
- Adjustable cuffs
- Double-articulated knees
- Stretchy waist
- Fabric: 75% Cotton, 22% Polyester, 3% Elastane
I really like E9’s quirky aesthetic, and I’m pleasantly satisfied with the quality of the product. It’s clear these have been designed with intention and simplicity in mind.