Monday, 28 September 2020 12:47

Acai MAX Stretch Skinny Outdoor Trousers -Tested and Reviewed

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2020 has been a whirlwind of a year, not in the least when it has come to testing gear.

With lockdown restrictions relaxing, and more people then ever taking up outdoor sports including hillwalking, cycling and running, it’s easy to see that outdoor users are turning to online only retailers such as Acai Outdoorwear for their individual clothing pieces. 

 

Acai are a relatively unknown to me, favoured by outdoor influencers and the trendy outdoor millennial clientele. Their range is relatively small, limited to a few coveted base layers and their most recent launch, the women’s water resistant stretch trousers. 

Acai Trousers Jessie Leong IMG 6007

Newcomers to the outdoors will favour Acai Outdoorwear for their clean, modern aesthetic. Acai’s Women’s Max Stretch Skinny Outdoor Trousers combines considered design with technical performance kit that is marketed as more ‘city user friendly’ then more traditional hillwalking gear. 

I decided to give the a go and take them into mountainous terrain to the Isle of Arran, one of the ‘toughest’ terrain to see if the trousers would withstand the harsh granite slabs and cope with mixed mountainous terrain as well as the rigours of every day wear in a normal work environment.  

Acai Trousers Jessie Leong IMG 6011

Technical Features: 

- Extremely stretchy softshell material

- Shower resistant and durable

- Easily wiped with damp cloth (material dries in minutes)

- Machine washable at 30˚

- Extremely quick drying

- High breathability and moisture wicking

- High waisted

- Soft to touch inner waistband material

- Mesh pocket bags

- Zipped pocket at the back

- Skinny/Slim fit

- Stylish walking trousers specifically designed for women

- Suitable as work trousers

The Skinny Outdoor Trousers are available in 3 leg lengths:

Petite (P) = 26" in seam

Regular (R) = 29" in seam

Tall (L) = 33" in seam

and range from size UK 6 to UK 22.

 

Presentation 

Each pair of trousers is individually packaged into a netted bag and luxuriously presented in a silver box- ultimately catering towards the premium end of the day-to-day hillwalker. They’re very much catered towards a user who may be relatively new to the outdoors, preferring to target someone who might not consider themselves ‘immediately outdoorsy’ – the trousers could easily be targeted towards those who are keen horse riders, or equally the trousers would not out of place on someone who merely would want them to wear around town. A neat, embossed leather label on the waistband of the trousers emphasises the trousers association with a more fashion trouser, like a Levis, rather then a standard hillwalking trouser. It’s clean, fashion aware yet there’s more than just style to the Acai Trousers. 

Acai Trousers Jessie Leong IMG 6014

Fit

As someone who is 5’5 , I typically wear a 29 inch trouser – often between a size 8 and 10 and usually in a short leg. Acai offered to send a 28P  - so 28 inch waistband, P for petite length. When the trousers arrived, I was initially sceptical as to whether the trousers would fit sufficiently. The waistband had a ‘hook and eye’ fastening as well as a button popper, which felt rather tight fitting  when I first tried them on. After a few enquiries (and trying a sample Size 12P) the trousers seemed to be the best fit and seemed to have a bit more ‘give’ once they were worn. The size 12 trousers seemed more baggy in the front and whilst they also fit around the waist, there seems to be too much room. When I enquired to whether there was any half sizes , at this stage it seems Acai are sticking to the ‘normal’ range of trouser sizes, from UK 6 to UK 22and in Petite, Regular and Long. 

 Acai Trousers Jessie Leong IMG 9186

Waterproofing

 When I was asked to review a new range of water resistant trousers, the trousers did not immediately seem like they would be water resistant. The material seems a water-repellent treated softshell rather than a crisp, waterproofing material. However, after wearing them in dry, sunny conditions to mixed wet, showery conditions, the trousers revealed their technical prowess. Rain seemed to bead and run off, which was a welcome sight seeing as I normally go out wearing softshell / lightweight hiking trousers. The Acai water resistant trousers seem a little ‘heavier’ then a normal hiking trouser and thus means they are less breathable,  but seem better suited  to those who might go out walking in these and just carry a waterproof. 

 

Durability

The trousers seemed to provide adequate protection against ticks whilst walking through the bracken and heather in the valley of Glen Rosa. Scrambling up granite slabs, including navigating a fair amount of down climbing and ‘shuffling’ along the sharp granite slabs and weaving between the towering tors. The trousers did start to have some noticeable small wear from the rough terrain, which could have been due to the very sharp nature of the Scottish granite. 

 Acai Trousers Jessie Leong IMG 9175

Comfort 

The Acai Women’s Trousers take some getting used to for its body-hugging fit, and may not suit users who would prefer a trouser that skims rather then clings. They are certainly fashionable and a pair of trousers that allowed for movement and stretch when I was out hillwalking. One of the things I would like to see in future design versions would be a ‘diamond gusset’ which would allow greater movement for climbing as it felt like the trousers weren’t as flexible in allowing for high steps and hip flexing moves. 

 Acai Trousers Jessie Leong IMG 9181

Conclusion

Whilst these trousers certainly don't seem the most obvious summer trouser, their features and lightweight material mean they feel like a product that could be worn in ‘everyday life’ as well as in the mountains. Whilst I’ll always have a pair of technical waterproof trousers in the bottom of my mountain pack, for occasions where I’m heading out for a hike outdoors the Acai Trousers show that they can cope with more then just a leisurely stroll round town and can cope with being worn in the hills and mountains and be an alternative to the baggy hillwalking trousers availible. Watch this space – this is only the beginning for fashion/ technical hybrid brands such as Acai. 

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