Finding a pair of pants that are versatile, comfortable and look good is a struggle to which modern women can frequently attest. When my coworker unabashedly thrust the new 5.11 Tactical Wyldcat Pants for women at me and asked if I could review them, skeptical doesn’t begin to cover it. As a petite-sized, 5 foot, 4-inch woman with a pear-shape, I do not wear skinny jeans. They are not flattering. They do not fit. They are not comfortable based on the way God designed my hips.
After SHOT Show 2017, one of my coworkers raved about how great men’s tactical pants were from 5.11 Tactical. Internally, I rolled my eyes as he insisted 5.11 would get it right for a woman. Women are not shaped like men. We have waists, busts and hips that require a little more fabric and stretch than men do, especially on the sides.
I was wrong. Initially, I denied the idea of skinny pants, but my skepticism proved unfounded the second I slipped into these pants. By divine intervention, my coworker ordered the pants in the correct size I wear. And boy, they look and fit great.
The pants are a cotton/polyester/elastane stretch, given to me in 5.11 Tactical's “Thyme” color, a pleasant mossy-green. The stretch is a little snug, but after breaking them in through wear and washing, they fit well. The pants are made with 10 stitches per inch at the seams. The extra sewing on them leads to a secure stitch that doesn’t rip and is geared towards harder wear. I took the pants out for several days of work over a few weeks, as well as walking around the downtown for an afternoon and dancing. That’s not what 5.11 likely had in mind for them. Crawling around in the basement of my apartment, they also took a beating in the dirt and held up well to being worked out.
While objects bulging out of the pockets can be ungainly, especially on women who are more "hip-endowed" than average, one of the many things 5.11 got right is lots of deep pockets that stretch. Pockets designed for AR-15 magazines on the back yoke also functioned for other uses. I could comfortably tuck a small wallet, my keys and phone into one of the side or back pockets and not worry about it wriggling its easily-lost-self free, or pressing uncomfortably into my softer parts. The pants also transform from skinny to boot-cut with side zipper gussets at the bottom of the legs, looking edgy but also secretly practical. The double knee construction is great for taking the beating, whether you’re on the street or out in nature.
My major concern with the pants is the way skinny jeans generally fit. On a moderately healthy and in-shape woman, a waist naturally tapers while the hips flare out. On a pair of skinny pants, because they are designed to fit snuggly, the waist bands tend to flare out in an ungainly way in back and bulge, requiring a belt, and never quite fit right on pear-shapes. After settling the pants properly on my hips with little tugging, I found these pants don’t make me look like a miniature living version of an Italian sausage. No bulge, just a smooth, neat fit that is flattering and stylish. The caveat with everything you wear though, is make sure they fit before you buy multiples, and you will want more than one of these.
Soft, comfortable, and with plenty of stretch, I can say I have become a 5.11 tactical pant convert. I look forward to the many adventures I’ll get into on the trail, or dance floor, with them.
Ladies, definitely put 5.11 Tactical’s Wyldcat pant on your Christmas list this season.