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Soft-Shell Pants vs. Stretch Pants

Ask Dr. Flake

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Hey Dr. Flake: What’s the difference between soft-shell pants and old-school stretch pants?

Dr. Flake has two words for any male considering stretch pants: Brian Boitano. Stretch pants are glorified sausage casings from the ’70s—an era that can be celebrated for its Funkadelic albums and good Francis Ford Coppola movies, but not its three-legged ski apparel. Today’s soft-shell pants, on the other hand, are loose enough that wearers can still lead normal lives: Men can father children; women needn’t endure undue chafing. And while soft-shell trousers may feel spongy like garage-sale Roffes, they’re actually much more technically advanced. Those made with Schoeller Dynamic fabric, for instance, have a moisture-wicking lining. Softshells also repel water and snow. Stretch pants just repel women. This much Dr. Flake knows.