“My favorite travel pants are jeans,” said no one ever. That’s because denim — despite never going out of style and pairing well with practically everything — is synonymous with being stiff and unforgiving. Jeans are oftentimes the last things you want to wear on a long flight, and they’re the first things you want to take off when you get back to your hotel after a day of exploring. Or are they?
As it turns out, when it comes to the denim department, travelers no longer have to sacrifice comfort for style, or need to break the bank to shop name-brand jeans. I know this for a fact because I’ve traveled the world in my Signature by Levi Strauss & Co. Gold Label Pull-On Skinny Jeans, a budget-friendly pair that are as little as $21 at Amazon, and arguably more comfortable than my favorite leggings or sweatpants.
To buy: amazon.com, $21 (originally $30)
Don’t get me wrong: I’m a jet setter, not a trendsetter. These pants have been popular long before I discovered them in 2020. In fact, they have more than 52,100 perfect five-star ratings, and are ranked as Amazon’s number one best-seller in the women’s jeans category. That said, “jeans” may be a bit of a misnomer. Technically, they’re jeggings.
From a distance, the Signature by Levi Strauss & Co. Gold Label Pull-On Skinny Jeans look like they’re made of solely traditional twill denim. But they’re not. The signature fabric comes together with a super soft cotton-polyester blend featuring two percent elastane. In other words: These pants are almost as stretchy as my favorite Lululemon joggers, which know no bounds when it comes to range of motion. And, like my go-to sweatpants, these jeans are perfect for curling up on the couch and lounging around. I also feel confident that if I ever did a split, these pants wouldn’t rip. They’re basically workout leggings disguised as jeans.
Currently, they come in 15 colors, including classic light, medium, and dark blue washes, as well as versatile hues like black, tan, and burgundy. They’re available in standard and plus sizes ranging from 2 to 28. They’re also available in three lengths: 28 inches, 30 inches, and 32 inches. Prices vary by color, size, and length, but even the most expensive pair is less than $30.
Because there are so many options (and because I’m not sure if I’ll ever find a pair of jeans this comfortable again), I own multiple pairs — and I’m happy to report that each one fits like a glove and goes well with the majority of the shirts and shoes in my travel wardrobe. I have the 28-inch inseam version, which hits right at my ankles and looks really good with my go-to sightseeing shoes, white sneakers. It also pairs well with the leather wedges I scored in Italy last summer, proving that these Levi jeans are perfect for any occasion.
Meanwhile, my pair with the 30-inch inseam are what I wear when I want to tuck them into my favorite fall booties. Plus, since they all feel like leggings, I can comfortably kick back in them or be active and do things like ride a bike or practice yoga. Sometimes, I even wear them on overnight flights.
To buy: amazon.com, $23 (originally $30)
Features-wise, less is more when it comes to the Signature by Levi Strauss & Co. Gold Label Pull-On Skinny Jeans. For example, they don’t have any hardware. I definitely appreciate not having to mess with a stubborn zipper or tricky buttons all the time. These jeans also don’t have belt loops. So, when I’m packing really light or I’m tight on space, it’s nice not to have to worry about packing a belt. Another perk: I also like not having to worry about taking a belt off when I’m going through TSA.
As for pockets, all of my pairs have the traditional five pockets that most jeans have. I love that four out of five of the pockets are deep enough to fit my entire iPhone 12. That said, some reviewers mentioned that certain versions of the Signature by Levi Strauss Pull-On Jeans came with faux pockets — so pay close attention when adding them to your cart.
Other than that, there’s no shortage of praise. One Amazon customer raved, “These really are my new favorites, [a] total game-changer!” Another shopper wrote, “I’ve never had a more comfortable pair of jeans.” And, they also earned a stamp of approval from a traveler that shared, “They were great to have on a recent trip to Ecuador. They were comfortable and held everything in place. Also, they didn’t wrinkle.” Another avid traveler was happy to report that there was “no zipper digging in at the waist as I sat for hours on end” on a “long-haul flight.”
Furthermore, the Signature by Levi Strauss & Co. Gold Label Pull-On Skinny Jeans are ideal for taking on trips because they’re not bulky. They take up about as much luggage space as a pair of leggings, and are almost just as lightweight.
That said, if you do end up buying a pair, don’t be surprised if they don’t spend much time inside your bag. If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to wear the Signature by Levi Strauss & Co. Gold Label Pull-On Skinny Jeans 24/7. Make sure to grab ‘em while they’re on sale for as little as $21 at Amazon.
To buy: amazon.com, $26 (originally $30)