I’m not going to lie, when I first saw the post about Ripton & Co I thought it was a joke, and if it wasn’t a joke why have I missed the business opportunity of the decade sitting right in front of my face. At a startling $89 for a pair boutique cut off jorts, I was stunned. I was shortly connected to the Jort Lord, Elliot Wilkinson-Ray, who asked what size I wanted and if I wanted the shorts hemmed or cut off, I chose to go with cut off to go for the full jort experience.
Now, I am no stranger to wearing jorts (jean shorts for the uninitiated), I think just about every damn article I have shot of a tour has had at least one dude saying, “Wow touring in jeans that’s ridiculous.” Every summer since way back in college over a decade ago, when it got too hot I would take my jeans with the most worn-out knees and cut them into shorts, It’s not rocket science but it helps to have some attention to detail, gotta get the angle right and the length equal. I would wear those shorts until the ass split open usually, and depending on the fabric, maybe even try and patch those if I was really attached. If you had a favorite pair of full-length jeans, why couldn’t they be your favorite pair of shorts too? I could usually eke out a few extra months of use from the jorts.
Occasionally, I would find a pair of jeans whose ankle cut I didn’t like, but the rest of the fit was great and those would just become jorts from the get-go. Here is where Ripton & Co. wants to fit in, save the cutting of the legs, and just get the jorts you want. Now if you were cutting up brand new pricey pants into jorts I can sort of see this argument, but being the frugal person I am, almost all of my clothes come from a second-hand store, which makes the idea of $89 jorts stunning. Why wouldn’t someone just find a pair of pants at a thrift store for $10 and cut them off with some scissors? Since they sold out their first run quite quickly it seems like a bunch of people are willing to shell out to save the trouble.
When I got the shorts I was initially underwhelmed with the weight of the denim, it felt light and flimsy. After spending many years buying stretchy jeans from the thrift store I had found jeans with a lot of stretch to be lacking durability. As for the details, the crotch the Ripton jeans had a strip of fabric to alleviate a possible pressure point from the stitching on your junk while riding. In non-riding specific jeans, I have never had this become an issue, but that’s just me. I would rather have seen a reinforced sit bone area where most of my wear occurs, I guess I have a soft taint and sharp sit bones. The leg pre-cut leg length was about mid-thigh, just about where a chamois short would sit on me, which is long for my preference. These will be getting cut down to the Tucson Hot Boi regulation length after the review of the stock length. After putting a small cuff in them, they were ready to rip.
After the first few times wearing the jorts, the stitching on a belt loop pulled out. Not a huge deal, being accustomed to fixing all my clothes, I sewed it back together and sewed a few spots to keep the cuff in the leg of the jeans. The lightweight fabric didn’t want to stay creased as much as heavier fabrics. While I was initially underwhelmed with the fabric thickness in terms of my perceived durability, the stretch of the jeans was incredibly comfortable. The sizing was true to my normal size (32in waist) and the waist sat a little higher than I was accustomed to, but it was a welcome fit for riding bent over on a bike. I have been riding in jorts for years so there wasn’t a huge difference in the feeling of riding in denim, though the shorts were definitely in the upper echelon of comfort for shorts I’d pedaled in. After a few washes, the denim around the trimmed leg started to deteriorate and fray, which I was accustomed to, especially with high lycra denim. For this reason, I would probably recommend getting the hemmed version of the shorts, it doesn’t cost any more and it will be less of a hassle unless you want the threads hanging down style points. As the months wore on I kept expecting the familiar sound of the ass of my shorts ripping mid-ride, but the shorts kept on keeping on.
Now 6 months later, after wearing the shorts damn near every day since then I’ve been impressed. Fun fact, I didn’t own a pair of pants until I was 15 growing up when I say I live in shorts believe that shit. Besides needing to review the shorts, they became my go-to shorts for work, riding, or whatever I was doing. There was no need to differentiate my riding shorts from my everyday shorts.
The shorts are now, in just the past few days, starting to become threadbare in the ass, which was predictable. They didn’t rip but are literally being worn down so much the threads don’t exist anymore. For denim of this weight and stretchiness, I’m impressed with how long they lasted. Ripton claims to have “tested dozens of fabrics and 5 rounds of samples (over 3 years) to find a fabric and fit we love” and it seems they landed on a good balance of durability and comfort. I could usually expect to see about half that time of use out my typical pair of thrift store DIY jorts, though I could buy at least 10 pairs for the same price. If you are a person who rotates your outfits like a sane person you could expect these to last much longer. I’d personally like to see more durability for the price but that would probably come at a compromise of the thickness of the denim or inherent stretch of the fabric.
The shorts are also sewn in the USA which is another great feature, and probably what drives a lot of the cost inherent in such manufacturing. While I would tout the upsides of getting second-hand shorts as a means to keep fast fashion items from the landfill, a problematic system produced many of them in the first place. If you have the means and desire, why not get a product that supports domestic production.
-Very comfortable fit
-4-way stretch fabric
-Made in the USA
-Jorty casual aesthetics
-Lack of reinforcement in the seat area
If you are a person who doesn’t like tinkering or DIY-ing and wants something that just works out of the gate, then the Ripton Jorts is for you. These are among the most comfortable jorts I have ever spent time riding in, and I would recommend them to people who are jort-curious. You don’t have to wear them covering up a chamois, you can just ride in them. Cut them short, show off your strong ass legs, we cyclists gotta flaunt our goods. I applaud their effort to make a cycling short that is simple and casual for cycling. Sure you can bike in any pair of jeans you cut off, and by all means, do that, but if you want a high-quality performance jort made in the USA then Ripton & Co has got you. Their second edition is available today in a refined and updated design for men and women.