Much of the global population is eagerly awaiting warm weather. Creeks, rivers, ponds, lakes and beaches will soon be descended upon en masse, and Kids will thoughtlessly throw on last season’s swimsuit after retrieving the garment from their dresser’s bottom drawer. Many parents and young adults will do the same, possibly throwing gym shorts and 10-year-old cover-ups on top. And there’s nothing wrong with any of it. However, there’s another option for those who want utility and fashion out of their waterside garb. In fact, the setting is in the title. Introducing the Best High Water Pants of 2023:
As a fashion trend, High Water Pants trace back to the 1970s, when many bell bottoms and flared pants with higher waists were in-style.
What Are High Water Pants?
High water pants are simply pants featuring hems that fall above the ankle. This prevents the pant leg from touching the water. Say you’re walking across the beach and an unexpectedly large wave brings the tide higher than anticipated. Or you’d like to wade into a shallow creek (or crik, depending on where you are in the U.S.) With high water pants, your feet, ankles and lower shins will get wet, but your pants will stay completely dry.
High water pants have particular utility among those who live in areas at risk of flooding. Those who really love them might even include high water pants in an emergency preparedness kit. If you’ve thought far enough ahead to pack high water pants in such a cache, congratulations.
A variety of materials are used to make high water pants, such as nylon, rubber, and neoprene. These materials are generally lightweight and easy to clean, making them ideal for people who spend a lot of time outdoors in areas with high water levels.
High water pants is the most literal term for any pants with exposed ankles. Capris are a unisex version of high water pants. Cropped pants feature a hem that’s not quite as high as capris. Meanwhile “clam diggers” are generally specific to women’s fashion. But they all feature an exposed ankle/lower shin. Three quarter legs, crop pants, man-pris, flood pants, jams, or toreador pants are other common terms used to describe high water pants. All are longer than shorts, but shorter than pants.
High Water Pants History
The history of the term “high water pants” is somewhat ambiguous. Some sources claim that they were first introduced in the 1990s, in response to increased flooding levels. According to 80’s Fashion, the term “High Water Pants” originally had a negative connotation, as it was used to describe the ill fit of pants on children who had outgrown the them.
As a fashion trend, High Water Pants trace back to the 1970s, when many bell bottoms and flared pants with higher waists were in-style. In the same timeframe, what used to be considered tattered jeans were becoming fashionable. Young people were no longer disposing of jeans because of a few tears, nor were they stitching them up. The “ripped jean” movement that’s still strong in 2023 was born.
Some think that the same repurposed-forward mindset created made high water pants fashionable. Instead of throwing out pants that were traditionally viewed as too short, men rocked them proudly. High water pants became a full-fledged fashion trend in the 1980s. Browse family photos from either decade, and you’re sure to find at least a couple people confidently donning a pair of high water pants.
Unseen Applications of The Best High Water Pants Of 2023
Obviously, high water pants are superior to traditionally hemmed pants near or even on the water for reason’s we’ve already covered. And because they are designed to be sturdy and resilient in the face of water, high water pants can be worn again and again, saving you money in the long run. But there are some other applications that may not be immediately obvious.
High water pants are also ideal for a rainy day. Most everyone has been caught in a walk under unexpected precipitation. Those who are wearing any pair of pants that’s slightly baggy or too long know what happens next. The hem is exposed to water on the ground, and a damp blotch creeps as high as an ankle. With high water pants, this is a non-issue.
The second application applies to cyclists. Bicycle riders often roll up or cuff the hem of their right pant leg to keep excess material out of the chain and sprocket. High water pants eliminate the need for any hem cuffing, as they’re hems are already out of the way.
High water pants won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and they need to be worn as a part of a greater ensemble. They’re also only good for shallow waters. They aren’t intended for swimming. If you’re planning to wade in any water deeper than six inches, you may want to consider wearing a pair of rubber boots or shorts.
How Do High Water Pants Fit Into Your Wardrobe
High water pants are increasingly becoming a common wardrobe staple due to the many advantages they provide. They can be combined with any type of top, from a button-up flannel to a t-shirt. Additionally, high water pants are made from lightweight materials, making them easy to pack for travel and a convenient choice for any adventure.
Thanks to their versatility, high water pants can be a wonderful addition for any wardrobe. From casual dinners to weekend getaways, high water pants provide a stylish, practical solution that can be worn with a variety of tops and accessories. On top of that, their easily packable and lightweight design makes them the perfect companion for any trip.
How To Style High Water Pants
High water pants are casual, low-key wear, but they can be dressed up within reason. Try pairing high water pants with a patterned top. This creates an eye-catching effect while still keeping the look casual. Add statement-making details like watches and hats to elevate an outfit. Layer a fitted jacket over the ensemble for a clean, put-together look.
Speaking of layers, a looser-fitting pair of high water pants is perfect for wearing over the top of a swimsuit. If you know you want to get wet but unsure of whether you want to wade or swim, this gives you the best of both worlds. Wear high water pants in shallow waters. If the situation calls for a swim, strip down to trunks and get in there.
Footwear is dependent on the situation. Nearly any sneaker or or low-cut dress shoe is suitable if high water pants are being worn purely for fashion. If you plan on getting wet, you’ll want to pair high water pants with solid pair of men’s water shoes.
The Best High Water Pants Of 2023
It’s important to identify exactly whether you’re wearing high water pants for fashion, utility, or both. Brands like Kuhl feature more rugged and outdoorsy selections, while Banana Republic selections are more stylish. Keep that in mind when browsing our picks below:
Banana Republic Cropped Workwear Pant
This brand features a variety of high water pants. This one is designed with a shorter inseam for a clean hem break and available in a a rich herringbone color. Featuring a button closure with zip fly, belt loops, single front pleat, on-seam coin pocket, slanted front pockets, and double welt button-through back pockets.
Kuhl Renegade Krux
The brand Kuhl specializes in outdoor rugged apparel. These are perhaps the highest of all the high water pants on the list; perfect for getting deep. Lightweight, soft, and breathable, the durable Renegade Krux features tough abrasion resistance, quick dry performance, and nine pockets for every adventure. Designed to move freely as your body demands, these versatile, easy-care shorts are a must have for casual summer fun. They even guarantee sun protection up to 50 UPF.
Out of 307 reviews, the Kuhl Renegade Krux has a 4.8-star average rating on a five-star scale. One of the company’s verified reviewers writes, “Kuhl makes awesome pants with amazing fit and just the right amount of stretch. I don’t know if I could have designed a better pair of pants if I tried. Will be buying more of these! I’m a skinny guy, 6’1” with a true 31” waist and these fit like they were tailored.”
Banana Republic Tailored-Fit Cotton Linen Suit Trouser
Take summer excursions in style with this luxe linen twill suit pant. These pants specifically designed for all-important breathability in blistering summer heat. But the tailored fit skews on the modern slim fit side, making them an especially stylish pair of high water pants. Featuring a distinctive break at the hem, a button-extended closure with zip fly, belt loops, front off-seam pockets, double welt buttoned back pocket, and an upscale soft trouser crease. If you like the look, consider buying the matching suit jacket.
Jack Archer Jetsetter Pants
Want a pair of high water pants that you can wear literally anywhere? Enter the Jack Archer Jetsetter Pants. Technically, the hem is cuffed and not cropped, but the versatility makes up for that slight inconvenience. These pants are designed to feel even more comfortable than sweat pants. They feature a diamond-shaped gusset to give the testicles ample room, as well as a wrinkle-feel microfiber construction and stain resistance, plus a true-to-size guarantee.
The Jack Archer Jetsetter Pants feature a 4.9-star average rating on a five-star scale based on 1,044 reviews. One reviewer wrote, “These pants are great. I went all over the internet looking and finally settled on JA. They fit the best (as advertised) and I’ve received some nice comments, not only from my wife, but some other babes, as well!”
AllSaints Tallis Cropped Slim Pants
Slip into these cropped, slim-fitting slacks with a modern take on traditional tailoring. The Tallis Pant feature a pleated front and tapered ankles and a mid-rise. The only downside is they’re only available in brown.
Duer Smart Stretch Tech Pant
With a roomier thigh and a tapered ankle, this trouser offers a clean athleisure look while maintaining effortless sophistication that will dress-up even your laziest outfits. Plus the performance stretch material is natural and upcycled.
Out of 423 reviews, the Duer Smart Stretch Tech Pant boasts a 4.8-star rating on a five-star scale. “These are remarkably comfortable and I can wear 4 or 5 times without a wash I between, and they look and feel new each time. Great for every day, sitting, standing, anything. Highly recommend,” one review wrote. Another chimed in, “Love these pants, with or without a sport jacket! They really run the gamut from work to evening to casual. Very comfortable even for us middle aged, middle spread, dudes.”
Mika Jaymes French Terry Cut Off Raw Hem Sweatpant
The most casual high water pants on this list aren’t the cheapest. The Mika Jaymes French Terry Cut Off Raw Hem Sweatpant features a straight fit with a cut off raw leg hem and pull-on waistband. The raw leg hem provides an easy to wear and stylish cut that can be dressed up or dressed down. But really, you can only dress sweatpants up so much. Featuring cut-off ankle hem, side pockets, and a fabric blend of 50 percent polyester, 38 percent cotton and 12 percent Rayon.
Note that the Mika Jaymes French Terry Cut Off Raw Hem Sweatpant has exactly one review It’s a five-star review from a verified buyer that reads, “Outstanding!!!! I have bought these pants with matching hoodie and several colors. The product is comfortable and stylish. I highly recommend.”
Banana Republic Performance Tapered Pant
From Banana Republic’s more active selections, this performance tapered pant offers moisture wicking, quick dry and stretch properties. The website reads, “Designed to keep you moving with maximum comfort and mobility. Style with endless possibilities that take you from running errands to work ready and everything in between.” Featuring a half-back elastic waistband with rubberized button closure, zip fly and internal drawcord. hidden security side seam pocket with zipper closure on wearers right side, single back pocket with zip closure on wearers right side, and clean tapered hem break for ease of movement.