Aug 04, 2023
Road Tested: The new Saint Engineered armored motorcycle jeans
Many motorcyclists don’t prioritize protective riding pants nearly as much as they should. It’s not uncommon to see riders kitted out in high-end helmets and leather jackets, but regular casual jeans.
Many motorcyclists don’t prioritize protective riding pants nearly as much as they should. It’s not uncommon to see riders kitted out in high-end helmets and leather jackets, but regular casual jeans. Or worse… shorts.
We get it—riding pants aren’t always as comfortable, or as affordable, as a pair of Levis. But the irony is that your legs are often the first thing to hit the asphalt when things go sideways. That’s why a good pair of abrasion- and impact-resistant motorcycle pants is just as essential as the rest of your gear.
The Australian gear company Saint is all about this. Their schtick is single-layer protective riding jeans that score so high on comfort and style, that they could easily handle date night duty. But that combination of function and form comes at a price.
Saint’s flagship Unbreakable jeans use denim woven with an ultra-strong high-tech fiber called Dyneema, which isn’t cheap to source or work with. I’ve tested multiple iterations of their Unbreakable jeans and gushed over every single pair—but at $350 [AU$499 in Australia] a pop, I have trouble recommending them to my friends. The brand understands this, so they’ve hit back with the new, and more affordable Saint Engineered motorcycle jeans.
Instead of using Dyneema, the Saint Engineered fabric uses a combination of cotton and nylon, with a little elastomultiester and elastane added for stretch. According to Saint’s e-commerce manager, Michael Baxter, this denim has a sixth of the Unbreakable fabric’s abrasion resistance, but is still at least 20% more abrasion resistant than regular denim.
In more tangible terms, the Engineered jeans, which ship with armor, score a CE class AA rating. And at $199 [AU$299 Down Under] they’re also significantly more affordable.
The Engineered jeans come in slim and straight options, in either black or black, and there’s a women’s fit too. I usually prefer slimmer jeans, but when Saint offered to send a pair of Engineered jeans over to review, I chose the straight fit for the sake of science.
As with all my previous Saint jeans, these run true to my usual jean size. The straight fit is a boxy cut with zero taper in the leg, so it has a relaxed feel to it. It’s snug around the waist, with the right amount of rise in the seat to make it comfy on and off the bike.
The overall style is classy and subdued; a traditional five-pocket affair with an embossed leather Saint tab at the back of the waist, and the brand’s wing logo stitched onto the back pocket in a reflective thread. The only additional details are the knee armor pocket seams that sit above and below the knees, but they’re barely visible against the black finish.
The denim itself has a fantastic hand to it, with a soft, brushed feel. And if you’re a denim head, I can testify that every pair of Saints that I’ve owned has faded beautifully over time—so I’m expecting the same here. (Text on the inside of the jeans even encourages you to wear them as long as possible without washing them.)
Even though this particular fit is a little more relaxed than I’m used to, it does make the Engineered jeans all-day-comfortable on the bike. And the fact that the denim has a measure of stretch to it helps too.
My one gripe is that Saint cuts their jeans very long, with a fixed inseam length for each size. I typically wear a size 38/32—but the size 38 Engineered has a 35” inseam, so chunky turned-up cuffs are compulsory. On the plus side, Saint has added reflective strips on the inside, which reveal themselves once you fold them over.
The Engineered jeans also come pre-fitted with CE Level 2 hip and knee protectors. They’re ultra-thin, which makes them barely noticeable while riding—but it also means that the hip protectors tend to fold over when you’re putting the jeans on or off. The last time I reviewed a pair of Saint riding jeans, the knee armor wasn’t quite sitting in the right spot—but these are a marked improvement, with velcro to help you fine-tune the fit.
Add all of those considerations up, and the Saint Engineered jeans score top marks on comfort and style. And at a more palatable price point, I can now recommend them with a straight face.
Saint Engineered jeans | Images by Devin Paisley