I’ll admit it: I do not wear full gear every time I ride. I know I should. I don’t have a good reason for it. I can tell you I live in Florida, and it gets HOT. It isn’t just hot; it’s humid where I live on the coast. When you stop at a red light in July or August, you can feel the sweat pouring down your back.
The few times I wore full gear in summer, I almost passed out from overheating. I know not wearing gear means I could get seriously hurt or die. Which is why I have been looking for protection alternatives. This has led me to armored jeans like the Street & Steel Oakland Women’s Riding Jeans.
This review is purely based on my experience with the product as a result of an unsolicited purchase. I will not profit from you clicking the link, heading to the website, and making your own purchase.
Street & Steel Brand
Before I get into the jeans, I want to talk about the Street & Steel brand. I have bought a few things from them before, and the experience wasn’t great. I bought a pair of gloves while I was at Sturgis. The stitching came completely undone through the fingers before Sturgis was over. I also bought a hoodie. One time through the wash, and it shrunk. So why buy their jeans? There are a few reasons I decided to give them a try. First, they were on sale. Instead of being $160, I got them for $100 each, plus my husband’s military discount. This made them comparatively cheap to other armored jeans.
Now, before you come for me. I do not typically buy gear based on price. You tend to get what you pay for, and I would rather invest in long-lasting and effective gear. However, I have never worn armored women’s riding jeans before. I wasn’t sure if I would like them or want to wear them. Buying a budget pair lets me try them out before I commit to an expensive pair. These fit the bill.
Once I decide what I like and want in a pair of armored jeans, I will look for a high-quality pair that I can invest in. In addition, my experiences with faulty Street & Steel products were several years ago. I figured it was time to give them another shot. Maybe they have raised their standards in recent years.
The basics of the Oakland women’s jeans.
- Price: $149.99
- Color: Blue or black
- Sizes available: US 2-16
- 12oz. stretch denim riding jeans
- Low rise
- 5 pocket design
- Boot cut
Safety and Protection
I’ll start by saying that I knew I wasn’t buying the most protective women’s riding jeans out there. At the price point, I’m just happy they have any armor. The Street & Steel Oakland jeans have heat- and tear-resistant Aramid reinforced in seat, hips and knees. They also come with removable CE approved knee armor. The knee armor is not adjustable. This makes the jeans more protective than fashion jeans, but lack some of the features that are common in other riding jeans.
The Dainese Denim Brushed Skinny Women’s Pants have removable hip and knee protectors that are certified to Standard EN 1621.1. Or there are the Klim Betty Women’s Riding Jeans that use denim that is a heavier weight and abrasion/cut resistant. The BMW RoadCrafted Women’s Jeans have a stronger brass rivet construction with flex knee and hip protectors. Then there are the BMW City Women’s Jeans and Icon 1000 MH1000 Women’s Jeans. Both of these jeans have external knee pockets so that you can quickly remove the armor. You can upgrade the protectors and take them out when you get where you’re going.
- Stretch denim
- Longer inseam for riding
- Deep pockets
I wouldn’t say that I’m in love with these women’s riding jeans. However, I’m not mad or disappointed with my purchase either. I feel like these served my intended purpose. I will happily wear them with a long shirt or belt. I will also look for a better, more protective pair for a future purchase.
The buying process took some time. I tried on several pairs of these women’s riding jeans in the store. I had heard that riding jeans run notoriously small. So I started by sizing up. That was a mistake. These jeans run large. So I grabbed my regular size and the next size down. I’m 5’10” and weigh about 200 pounds.
I have a solid bone structure and muscle. I go to the gym five days a week. I normally wear size 12 in jeans. I tried on the 10, 12, 14, and 16. The size 16 was HUGE and fell right off me. The size 10 was TIGHT, and I struggled to get them over my hips. So I focused on the 12 and 14. The 12 fit me much better through the legs and hips.
Unfortunately, the low rise of the jeans in the back created a problem. When standing, then 12s were perfect. As soon as I got into riding position, I was flashing crack. So I sized up to the 14s. They are a bit looser through my legs, but not so loose that I’m bothered by it. They give me more fabric in the backside, giving me the coverage I need while riding.
I’m really happy with the length of these women’s riding jeans. As someone who is tall, I regularly deal with pants that are too short. Even when I put my legs on the pegs, these jeans are a nice length. First walking around in the jeans, I noticed the knee armor. It felt a bit stiff. However, walking around for a bit I quickly forget about them. Once on the bike, I totally forget I was wearing them. I rode all day in the jeans and found them to flex and move with me. I didn’t have to readjust the jeans as I got on and off the bike.
The jeans material is really nice. It felt thick and stiff at first, but I expected that. With wear, they soften and break-in, making them more and more comfortable. The included knee armor is nice. Some of the jeans I found only come with armor pockets, and you have to buy the armor separately. I love that the pockets are so deep! I can put all kinds of things in them.
The biggest problem with these women’s riding jeans is the waist. First, the jeans have a modern rise that makes them pretty low. While low rise works well for fashion jeans, it isn’t ideal for sportbike riding. The natural body position on a sportbike means the low-rise jeans are going to have you flashing major crack. That’s not a good look. The waist is also cut disproportionately large compared to the rest of the jeans. Both pairs I bought fit me through my legs and hips. Then, the waist has a large gap in the back.
The Alpinestars Stella Angeles Riding Jeans address the hip-to-waist size issue with a curved waistband and triangular side panels. This reduces the bulk around your waist while also retaining comfort while in the riding position. Given that I have more curves through my hips and rear, I think this might be a great alternative pair of women’s riding jeans. While the Oakland jeans work well for me, I’m unusually tall at 5’10”. The Alpinestars Courtney Women’s Riding Jeans are nice because they have a multi-position internal pocket for the knee armor. This lets riders of all heights adjust the armor to where they need it to be.
The Verdict on Street & Steel Oakland Women’s Riding Jeans
I don’t hate these women’s riding jeans. I definitely think they could be better. However, I think this might be a case of you get what you paid for. While I’m not thrilled with the weirdly large waist, at least this is easily solved with a long shirt or belt. While the jeans feel heavy in my hands, I don’t feel weighed down while wearing them. I also really like that the knee armor is properly placed over my knees. I will happily keep wearing these jeans but look for a better pair in the future.
Comments on Other Reviews
“I am 5’3 and wear a size 16 , these are great jeans but way too long.”
This is simply a situation where someone bought jeans that were not designed for their body. If you are short and extra curvy, these aren’t the jeans for you.
“I am a size 10 and the 10R was perfect for me. For reference I am 5’7” 150 pounds and pear shaped. I also like masculine looking jeans and these are. The one issue that others have raised is the waist is too wide. If you have a small waist you?ll need a belt to keep from flashing people.”
“Being 5’11 I LOVE that these jeans have a longer inseam. I usually need to buy talls or men’s jeans, but not with these! Overall the fit is great, the knee pads are comfortable and hit just right. My only complaint is that they are very low rise and a good belt is a must! If they made these a normal mid-rise they would be absolutely perfect.”
It sounds like these people had the same experience I did. The jeans do have a more masculine design and you need a belt.
“These jeans are super uncomfortable, and have a really weird fit. They’re super boxy and low-rise, with a huge waist and are really long. Not flattering at all, and the knee pads are also pretty uncomfy, especially if it’s warm at all out.”
This person rambled on for a while but later admitted they were a new rider. I always take new rider reviews with a grain of salt. They tend to lack the riding and gear experience to make accurate assessments. We’ve already addressed the fit issues. These jeans were not the right cut for this person’s body. As for the knee armor. Wear any gear with armor in it in warm weather and it will feel hot. Armor also takes some getting used to if you have never worn it before. However, if you buy gear that fits correctly, you quickly forget that it’s there.
“I’ve had these for about 4 months, and finally went down in them yesterday. Landed on my knee at 100mph and slid for about 60 feet. The only place that the kevlar tore open was behind the knee armor. My entire leg was completely protected from the slide, and sustained injuries only from impact, no road rash. They fit great, waist runs slightly large so grab a belt. Wash them alone as they bleed a ton. Will definitely be buying them again if my pair can’t be repaired.”
These are the kinds of reviews that I find the most helpful. I never want to see another rider go down. However, knowing how gear performs in real-world situations is beyond invaluable. This review helped encourage me to give these jeans a try.