I have had both pants since they first came out in 2019. There are a lot of similarities for both except for mobility between. I only bought these to meet the Swordfish rules. There will come a day when the rest of HEMA will require 350N rated pants. I planned to wear these only for events with a long skirt over or padded shorts under if I really needed that padding. I usually wear tights under these because I wont wear any long socks.
LONG - Not a fan (1/10)
Short - Needs improvements but has potential (6/10)
Breaking in: I tried to do yoga and lots of stretching in them to see if I could break them in. After a month of just doing this at home every couple of days, I didn’t notice any difference. I also tried to train in them and wash them a few times. Still no changes. I suspect there’s no break in period for these or you really need to beat them like a SPES jacket to notice any difference. I gave up on the Long after a few months and decided to focus on the short instead.
Durability: Like most SPES products, this would last for years and would need a lot of abuse to have holes. The stitching is top notch. In addition to the breaking in efforts, I’ve also tried to physically pull and stretch them. I was worried that I'd break a few stitches in the seams, but nothing was affected by it. Unless, if you get stabbed in the legs with a lot of force or the pants are loose and getting snagged often, this fabric will hold. I would be more worried if you fought with some burred and jagged swords and get a lot of abrasion there, but that would take a while. The fabric is different from most SPES fabrics. It’s smooth and shiny, also thick and heavy. It reminds me of the AF Coach Black F/Z Men's Elite Stretch Elite Jacket (https://www.absolutefencinggear.com/af-coach-black-f-z-men-s-elite-stretch-elite-jacket.html)
Fitting: For exact measurements, check the “Size chart”. They fit well according to the size chart. More to say about mobility. Protection: There’s no padding in here, so I’d say none if you want to count the Newton rating.
Long - This is where this review got a 1/10. Because the fabric is so heavy and the long pants just make it even more heavy. I had to tie it super tight so it didn’t slide down. Lucky this was a close fit, so it’s not falling down. It’s just the weight of it pulling down. If you like to fight in a low stance, the fabric will catch on your knees and put down on you more. I could not do a full squat or stretch my legs very well in these.
Suggestion: Find a lighter fabric or cancel this product. Also gusset and pockets!
Short – So the short didn’t have the same problem in the long time. There’s some weight and it kinda put on my knees. It’s more work to be in a lower stance but relatively the same to most HEMA pants. I can squat and have about 90% of my normal stretching range in these. On the bright side, it wouldn’t soak up much sweat like a normal HEMA pants. With a skirt on and not soaking up my sweat, this combination actually kept me from getting weighted down from sweating for hours in it.
Suggestion: GUSSET!!! I added a gusset with some hard fabric that I bought (tested to be 700N). Even if this new fabric does not stretch, I can almost do a full unimpeded stretch routine in these. Like if the fabric sits wrong from getting twisted up, then I would be impeded. Also, pockets. These pants are great for going between training and I can easily wear them out and about.
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