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Fleece Pants, For Comfort and Warmth

Updated on August 28, 2013
Fleece is used for many things - in this picture, it makes a great blanket.  But fleece pants can be quite comfy to walk around the house in.
Fleece is used for many things - in this picture, it makes a great blanket. But fleece pants can be quite comfy to walk around the house in.

Have you noticed how cold it is outside? Wow, this is really a winter to remember. Almost anywhere you are in the country it is downright bitter out there. And don’t mention the snow! Have you ever seen so much snow?

Or, maybe you are one of the lucky ones, one of those Southern California types with your year round sunshine. Still, isn’t it nice to have a really warm pair of pants, for those ski trips to the mountains, for those nights around the campfire up in the hills, out on the desert, near the beach? For days and nights like these, high rise skinny jeans or cargo pants are nice, but they just won't cut it. Fleece pants just can’t be beat. Yes, for warmth and comfort, fleece pants all the way.

Woman wearing comfortable fleece pants.
Woman wearing comfortable fleece pants.

What is Fleece?

Today, we are very familiar with articles of clothing, such as pants, being made of fleece. We know it signifies something warm and soft, but what exactly is it? Does it have something to do with sheep? Are fleece pants made of wool?

Well, yes and no. In the olden days, fleece referred to the woolly coat of sheep, goats, or other domesticated animals, usually after the wool was sheared but before it was spun into fibers for clothing. You may remember the famous Golden Fleece from your high school or college English class, the wool from the magic ram of Greek mythology that was sought after by Jason and the Argonauts.

In modern times, however, more likely than not, the fleece used to make pants and other winter clothing is a synthetic fiber made from polyethylene. This type of fiber is lighter, stronger, and often much warmer than natural fleece. For this reason, fleece is highly sought after as an soft, lightweight component of winter coats, hats, mittens, and pants. It is sometimes fashioned from recycled bottles, making it a very green material.

Advantages of Fleece

In addition to it being light and warm, fleece pants have other advantages over wool, cotton, or other materials. For one thing, it does not cause irritations in most people, even those who are allergic or sensitive to wool, even when worn directly next to the skin. For another thing, it holds less than 1 percent of its weight in water, meaning that, even when wet, fleece retains most of its insulating properties. For this reason, fleece pants are an excellent choice for strenuous outdoor activities in the winter, such as skiing, skating, or hiking. Fleece pants breathe, and perspiration passes easily through their fibers and away from the body.

Caring for Fleece Pants

Caring for your fleece pants is generally pretty simple, and they are usually very durable items of clothing. However, there are a few tips to getting the longest wear out of fleece pants.

First, you can machine wash fleece pants, although they should be washed inside out and on the gentle cycle. Wash and rinse with warm water, and be sure to use mild, powdered laundry detergents. All purpose detergents can cause fleece pants to lose their water resistance. For similar reasons, fabric softeners or bleach should never be used with fleece clothing. Also, fleece pants should not be ironed because the high heat can burn and leave permanent marks on the clothing.

Where to Buy Fleece Pants

So, after learning so much about fleece, you’ll probably want to start shopping for a pair, right? Well, if you are the outdoorsy type, a good spot to start your shopping for fleece pants is the outdoor retailer REI. REI has fleece pants for both men and women. Their Muir Woods fleece pants, available for ladies and men, are great mid-weight pants for outdoors or in. These fleece pants are made of 85% recycled materials, so wearing these pants is good for the environment. For something in a warmer class, try on the REI Windbreak Thermal pants. These fleece pants are made of 300-weight fleece fibers and are wind resistant up to 50 miles per hour.

For high style while remaining warm, how about putting on a pair of fleece pants from Ralph Lauren? The Olympic Games Fleece Pants are a trim fitting pair of pants that will keep you looking slim and athletic while they keep out the cold. These Polo pants are boldly emblazoned with the official Olympic Games logo and will look great with the Olympic Games Down Vest by Ralph Lauren.

In other words, no matter what your style or activity, fleece pants are a cozy, fashionable clothing option. Stay warm out there!

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