Welcome to EN’s Product Review series! Who doesn’t love shopping, especially when the object of your search is new gear for yourself or your horse? As an enthusiast of all products equine, I LOVE trying out new gear. Please join me as I narrate my personal journey of trying out all of the products featured. While I will make no recommendations, I hope you have fun reading about my many adventures of trying new products, and that hearing about my personal experiences helps you on your own quest for new gear. Go Shopping.
I always get a little bit of a thrill when I slide open my closet door and push all of my daily wardrobe clothes forward, for behind my everyday attire, there is a slightly more special space reserved. It’s been set aside for those pieces of my wardrobe that are a just a little bit fancier.
It’s not like I’ve got a bunch of evening gowns and cocktail dresses hiding in the back of my closet or anything. I sure would love that, because there is just something that I love about getting all dressed up to go out every now and again, but there’s really not enough occasions for me to justify keeping many extra special pieces.
But do I ever look forward to wearing those extra fancy pieces — even if they are just worn on a regular day into the office, to break up the routine a little. With the incoming Spring season, I can say that my pink tweed dress is about to make it’s debut just in time for the start of the lovely warm weather.
Though I can’t ignore the rest of the pieces back there either — the rest of my ‘fancy’ section also contains several more dresses, crafted of tweed, embellished, silk and the like. Then there are some jackets and dressy bustiers to pair with them that provide a totally chic office professional look. And let’s not forget my dressage jacket or my hunt coat either!
As much as I adore the pieces that tend to live in the back of my closet, and look forward to reasons to bring them out to wear, there is a double edge to this particular sword. The only downside to having occasion pieces (in my mind, anyway), is the fact that the require a little extra care. Which means that when I take a peek at the tags, I see those three dreaded words: Dry Clean Only.
And then I sigh. Normally, when I’m out shopping for items to add to my wardrobe, I always check the care instructions for each garment that I’m considering. I always cringe a little bit when I see those three words, but if I really (really) love a piece, a little thing like dry cleaning is not going to stop me from bringing it home. Because if a piece looks that fabulous on, I’m willing to undergo the hassle of visiting the dry cleaners.
Though I have to admit, I’m not a fan of dry cleaning — with my schedule, I always find it difficult to get to the cleaners. Plus there is the consideration of how dang much the bill is after dropping off some jackets, a dress and a coat (geez). And, of course, there is the fact that I think of ‘dry clean’ as another way of saying ‘eternally not clean’.
So, do I prefer to add pieces in my wardrobe that look completely kick-butt and are easy to maintain? You betcha. I guess that is one of the reasons that I’ve had such a great time while riding in the new Free Flex breeches from FITS this season.
I’ve gone on (and on) in the past about how much I enjoy riding in truly comfortable breeches. Awhile back, I tried the FITS Duets breeches, and found them to be oh-so comfortable. And their ‘cousin’ the Free Flex reminds me a good bit of the Duets, but with a really BIG difference: the Flex-Leather synthetic is Super. Easy. To. Care. For.
Let’s take a step back though and look at the whole picture. The Free Flex Full Seat breeches are styled with a front zip, and they also have double hook and loop closure (which looks quite fab, since it is accented with two FITS logo squares). The breeches also feature belt loops, the back of which also features a stylish FITS logo.
The Free Flex Full Seat breeches can also boast that they are crafted out of FITS well-known PerforMAX All Season compression fabric, and I can say with confidence that the PerforMAX fabric is super (and I mean really-completely-and-oh-so-totally) smooth to the touch. It has a really nice amount of stretch to it, and every time that I pull the breeches on, I never tire of the ultra comfortable feeling that I have while wearing them.
Along with being ultra smooth to the touch, the PerforMAX fabric also provides compression properties, which help to keep muscles from tiring out as fast while riding. And the fabric is paired with cooling powermesh sections on the inside of the lower leg – which works to provide a smooth and clean look under your tall boots or half chaps.
And let’s not forget the uniquely leather free, stretch gusseted crotch. No one really wants to stop and consider how the fit and comfort of breeches can be affected by how they fit “down there”. But the stretchy gusseted area of the crotch really helps to make the Free-Flex breeches fit in a comfortably close manner – which also helps to provide a deeper seat, and better contact in the saddle.
All of those features are really terrific. The design of the breeches lend to a comfortable breech that allows the rider to perform at their very best in the saddle. But there is also the new Flex-Leather fabric of the full seat to consider. Flex-Leather is FITS new, exclusive fabric that offers the appearance and grip of leather — but it is actually a synthetic material!
What makes Flex-Leather really appeal to someone like me is that it offers the comfort and performance of other pairs of FITS breeches, but they are super easy to care for! And the best news: they are fully machine washable and dryable! So you really can just toss them in the wash, and they’ll be grand!
The first time (and every time since) that I’ve pulled on the Free-Flex breeches, I marvel at the comfort. The best description that I’ve heard is that they have yoga-pant like comfort — because they sure do. I am entirely serious when I say that they are so comfortable, that I could actually veg out on the couch in them. Though that would be a bit of a waste of their technical capabilities in my mind!
I am definitely happy with the smoothing tummy panel of the Free-Flex breeches as well because I feel like I can always use the extra bit of confidence that they give me (though can’t we all use that extra bit of smoothing?). I’m also (very) happy with the performance of the PerforMAX All Season compression fabric in the saddle. It keeps me comfortable in a wide range of temperatures, and I like the powermesh panels at the bottoms of the legs.
The stretch gusseted crotch really does make a difference in my seat too. With the close and comfortable fit that the breeches provide, I feel like I can sit deeper and get a more secure seat. Plus there is no uncomfortable feeling of a fully lined full seat — double win. The Flex-Leather is also smooth and grippy; in fact, it gives just the right amount of grip. And did I mention that you can toss the breeches in the wash? Just saying.
The Free-Flex Full Seat Zip Front breeches from FITS are available in Stone, Black and Clay. They have a (shockingly low) retail price of $178, and you can find them here.
Go Comfortable Breeches (that you can toss in the wash). Go FITS. Go Eventing.