Design. The design features that we all love about our Smooth Stride jeans all cost more to make than your $30 Wranglers:
- The seamless inside design requires a special sewing sequence and a special sewing machine called a Feed-off-the-arm, 3-needle Double Chainstitch Machine.
- The seamless inside pattern pieces are also larger and don’t nest together as well, which means less yield per yard of denim.
- The curved waistbands are cut and sewn individually - conventional jeans make straight waistbands by the mile! Smooth Stride waistbands are also lined with microsuede for luxurious comfort and to keep shirts tucked in - more materials, cutting and sewing.
- And that cell phone pocket…we decided that we didn’t want a flap or closure, and so selected a single welt pocket opening - a feature borrowed from men’s suit and sport jackets. You would be surprised at the number of steps it takes to produce that welt pocket. It even has a separate piece of fusing in there to help it hold it’s shape!
- …and lots of little touches like big, deep pockets and 7 belt loops instead of 5.
- We used only U.S. grown and milled denim…until the last U.S. mill closed in 2017. Our most recent production run used denim from Cone Mills. Excellent quality, but milled in Mexico, so shipping, tariff, and import duties and taxes all add to our costs.
- There is no stretch microsuede made in the U.S., and there never has been. Our microsuede is called “Clarino”, is made in Japan and it costs more than 10 times as much as the denim! We have looked into less expensive brands from China and Pakistan, but the material quality isn’t even close to Clarino.
- We don’t skimp on any materials. Zippers are top-quality YKK, buttons and rivets, the same. Name brand thread. We even use real satin for the tags! We have fun with our pocketing material, using a different color for each production run - but even the pocketing is more expensive than cheap silesia used for regular jeans because it must be stretch material.
- Cutting and sewing comprise the largest portion of our costs. We believe in U.S. made.
- We also believe that the folks making our jeans deserve to make a decent living. We’re proud to support our sewing contractor’s move to $15 minimum wage, and Smooth Stride will go out of business before we choose to manufacture overseas to reduce our costs on the backs of poverty stricken workers.
- We pre-shrink the jeans, and what the industry calls the “rinse” is surprisingly expensive. It’s not just water, but a combination of chemicals that set the color and improve the finish and the feel.
- Finally, our production runs are so small that we often don’t meet a manufacturer’s minimum order quantities, and when we do, we don’t get volume price breaks that larger manufacturers enjoy.
We are a very small company, no employees, and very low overhead. The largest component of our discretionary budget is advertising. We are very proud of our product and thankful for the enthusiastic support of our customers. "The most comfortable pants I've ever owned" is our most common customer comment. And they will last. Finally, as Désirée likes to say: "These aren't just jeans - think of them as equipment, tack".
Safe and Happy Riding!
Dez and Eric