Once best known for bedazzling men’s back sides with eye-catching orange stitching and crystal studs, True Religion has since embraced the continuing move toward thoughtful minimalism in menswear.
The brand’s newest launch, a step-ahead take on jogger pants that they’ve dubbed the ‘Runner,’ eschews overt branding and focuses instead on methodical design: A relaxed fit up top eliminates any fear of “tight pants,” a sturdy button fly reminds you you’re not lounging in PJs, and TR’s signature twisted leg seams help fabric sit favorably above the elastic ankle cuffs.
Tech specs aside, the fact is that they look great on, as our in-house photo crew proved when they styled these suckers out. Keep reading to see three ways to wear ‘Runners’—and to catch a Q&A with Zihaad Wells, True Religion’s men’s senior design director.
[Shop: True Religion 'Runner' in Indigo]
MEN’S SHOP DAILY: Tell us about your background—at True Religion and prior.
ZIHAAD WELLS OF TRUE RELIGION: “I’ve been designing denim for the last 15 years for premium brands, both in Europe and the US. I’ve been with True Religion for eight years, and it continues to be my pleasure to be part of a brand that has shaped and changed the industry and has had an enormous influence on the way people see and wear jeans.”
What makes True Religion unique amongst other denim brands?
“I think True Religion epitomizes modern jeans wear. We’re always looking at new ways to construct a pair of jeans. It’s about taking the familiar and marrying it with the unknown, in a way that only we can do.”
How did the new True Religion ‘Runner’ come about?
“We started out making a traditional five-pocket jean, but through the process, we realized that active clothing has had an enormous influence on denim trends—and this would be our way of addressing that.”
What sets the ‘Runner’ apart from the current pack of jogger pants?
“Even the name ‘Runner’ has an energy about it, which is what inspired us in the first place. Think parkour in jeans. It’s a balance of comfort and style—a jean/sweatpant hybrid.”
[Shop: True Religion 'Runner' in Black]
How do you characterize the ‘Runner’ fit—and what should guys know about sizing when ordering online?
“The fit is new—it’s much more relaxed at the top block, and then tapers slimmer as you get to the calf and bottom opening. Whatever size you normally are in True Religion, you would buy the same size.”
The fabric you guys used for these is pretty interesting. For those viewing the photos at home—does it feel like denim to the touch, or more like a sweatpant material?
“We found an amazing denim in both indigo and prepared-for-dye fabric that looks and feels like a knit. All the comfort of a sweatpant, but we could treat it like a pair of jeans in the way we washed them.”
What’s the best way to wear a pair of ‘Runners’? Are they only for the weekend?
“I think times have changed. It’s way more acceptable to wear these to work now than it would have been a few years ago. They can be dressed up and worn with a shirt or even with a blazer. They can also just be worn like a pair of comfortable sweatpants. A lot of guys pull them up around their calves and wear them with a great pair of kicks.”
Do you see jogger pants as a passing trend—or will they become a permanent fixture in menswear?
“I see them being here for a while. They represent an evolution in the way we wear jeans.”
[Shop: True Religion 'Runner' in Grey]