Every product is carefully selected by our editors. If you buy from a link, we may earn a commission.

The Best Work Pants to Put to the Test in Any Situation

These hard-working, long-lasting pants are guaranteed to get the job done.

work pants

So, you need some work pants. Real work pants. Not just workwear-inspired designs that don't take actual labor into account. Yeah, over-engineered, heritage-revivalist dungarees made by Japanese artisans have us wading in a puddle of our own saliva, but they're kind of like using a Chrome Hearts plunger to unclog a toilet. (Kudos to commenter rsi8395, who says they've used the Chrome Hearts plunger to unplug a toilet. You're cool.)

The best work pants, like our favorite work boots and waxed jackets, are ready for anything: mud, dirt, dust, debris and whatever else a day's work calls for. Find the best trousers for your daily duties below.

What to Look For


Peter Zottolo, a union worker and member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers says that the most important thing to consider is fabric. "You want something that will hold up to crawling around on concrete, rebar and tie wire," he says. "Double or triple stitching is good to have as well, but everyone from the cheapest to the most expensive has this. Really, the fabric is everything, with comfort right behind." Most work pants will use thick duck canvas or heavy denim which are both known for their durability. Ripstop is also a great option that tends to be lighter weight and well-suited for warmer climates.

Also consider some added stretch to help movement. Ben Ewy, vice president of global product design, research and development for Carhartt, recommends reaching for products with stretch and an engineered fit that have the comfort of athletic gear and the functionality of workwear.

Knee Protection

Knee protection is also important. Most often, that means some kind of fabric reinforcement or sewn-in knee pads. Many manufacturers offer pants with double fronts that allow you to insert your own knee pads.

"Durable materials are paramount to prevent tearing," Ewy says. "They also need engineered shapes and placement, so the double layer of knee protection doesn't impede movement. Our Steel pants actually use Cordura materials for the overlays that are incredibly durable and have stretch so they are comfortable as well."

This is a double-edged sword, however, as the extra layer of fabric means hotter and heavier pants. If you don’t need to work on your knees, skip the double knees to prevent overheating.


Pockets shouldn't skimp out on carry capacity, either. Utility pockets should be roomy enough to carry your tools and there should be enough of them for the kind of job you're working. Cargo pockets are great for smaller items if you're not lugging a toolbox with you.

Belt Loops

If you need to wear a tool belt, pants with more and wider belt loops are better for durability.

What to Avoid

You might think that ultra-heavy fabric would be the play. But fabrics heavier than 14 ounces can cause you to overheat, especially if you live in milder climates. Instead, most good work pants use fabrics in the range of 10 to 14 ounces.

As far as fit is concerned, much of that is left to preference. Pants that are too slim can limit your range of motion and aren't as comfortable to wear when the job requires maneuvering tight spots. On the other hand, if you get pants that are too baggy, the extra fabric can get caught in machinery. Fits to avoid? "High rises," Zottolo says, "unless you actually wear your pants at your navel. Otherwise, a high rise worn low makes working, crawling, bending over a nuisance."

If you’re really putting in work, don’t settle for the cheapest pair. "Saving money in the short-term wastes money in the long-term when it comes to functionality and durability," Ewy says. You won’t regret the splurge if you plan on wearing those pants for the long run.

Finally, if you’re using those pants for electrical, welding, or other heat-prone work, avoid synthetics. Unless explicitly labeled heat-resistant, synthetics like nylon and polyester melt in hot conditions and can cause burns.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Best Overall Work Pants
Filson Dry Tin Cloth Utility 5 Pocket Pants
Best Upgrade Work Pants
Grease Point Workwear Work Jean
Best Affordable Work Pants
Carhartt Duck Double-Front Work Pant (B01)
Best Cargo Work Pants
Caterpillar Trademark Pants
Best Hemp Work Pants
Patagonia Iron Forge Hemp Canvas Double Knee Pants
Best Waxed Work Pants
Flint and Tinder Bedford Cord Waxed Work Pant
Best Ripstop Work Pants
Wrangler Riggs Workwear Ranger Pant
Now 28% off
Best Street Style Work Pants
Dickies Original 874 Work Pant
Best Cotton Comfort Work Pants
Duluth Trading Co. Fire Hose Relaxed Fit Cargo Work Pants
Best Low Rise Work Pants
Ariat Rebar M4 Straight Leg Pant
Most Stylish Work Pants
Taylor Stitch Chore Pant
Best Street Cargo Work Pants
Carhartt WIP Aviation Pant
More Pants for Men
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Clothing