Western Rise Diversion Pants Review
Heavier than the Evolutions, but supposedly just as comfortable. See how Western Rise's newest travel/tech pants hold up in day to day testing.
Introduction To The Western Rise Diversion Pants
Western Rise has been busy this year. They've taken a lot of their successful lineups, and expanded on them. Into active wear. Into accessories. And then in this case, they launched the Diversion Pants, expanding on their already much loved line up of travel/tech pants. We've reviewed a lot of their stuff here, so of course were excited to put these through the meat grinder. You can find reviews for the Limitless Merino shirt, the Movement shorts, and the Session tee on our Travel Clothing Reviews page.
The Diversion Pants are really meant to be more of a jack of all trades pant. A utility tech pant, if you will. But, a utility pant that doesn't feel or look like "utility pants". Hopefully I didn't lose you there. Stay with me for the review, it will make more sense.
Let's see if they can get the job done.
This is my review of the Western Rise Diversion Pants. For full disclosure, Western Rise did send me a pair to test, but this is not a sponsored article and other than sending those, they played no part in this review. The opinions are my own. Funnily enough, I also purchased one of the pairs in this review with my own money. So you can say we're even.
This page does include affiliate links. When used to make a purchase, we make a small commission which helps keep this site running, but this in no way affects the results of our reviews and is at no cost to you.
Western Rise Diversion Pants Overview
The Diversion pants come packing a lot of promise in terms of what they expect to deliver. They are certainly consistent with a lot of Western Rise's key value adds on their pants:
-4 Way stretch (a new addition)
-Water and stain resistant thanks to a DWR coating
-Gusset for additional movement
The pants offer a two layer construction that combines the outer layer durability of utility pants, but aims to offer a soft, internal layer to make them more comfortable overall for longer wears. Or any wears, really.
The interior is a dobby weave for softness, and the exterior is a canvas nylon for that durability. The fabric gauge is 286gsm for those that like to know.
Aside from the overall tech specs of the fabric, they're coming with another couple features you all should like. The fifth pocket in the front which is usually that useless coin pocket - has been extended to be a phone pocket. In the back right pocket, there is a hidden zipper pocket as well as the normal external back pocket.
Sell for $138.00 on their site and come in black, blue gray, and dune (light sand/stone khaki). I have the blue gray and the dune.
Western Rise Diversion Pants Fit
The fit on these pants were a bit of a mixed bag for me in the early going. The story has a happy ending, don't worry, and I'm glad I had these learnings so I can pass them on. But because I have two pairs of different sizes, I can show you the experience here in the pics.
The dune color I had in a size 30. As usual for reference I'm 5'6 and about a buck fifty. Give or take. I'm not over weight, but I'm not climber-slim either. The blue gray, I had gotten a pair of 32 to try out. Western Rise goes in increments of 2 sizes, rather than all the 1 step increments, so you'll need to keep that in mind.
When I first tried the size 30 on (my normal size, by the way, typically in Gap jeans/pants) - I thought they might be too tight in the waist. Ultimately, they really aren't. I just don't need to wear a belt at all. Like no need unless I'm trying to be dressier, but that would be fashion and not function. I'm used to having pants where the belt is actually needed functionally. So, perhaps the pants just fit as they should and I needed to get used to them. Regardless, I can say I've been wearing them off and on for 2 months now, sometimes 5 days a week as I work from home, and haven't had any struggles with the fit of the waist band despite those original thoughts.
The 32, you can see is a very big difference in fit and cut. Now, ignore the length. These are premium pants and come in one length, just like premium jeans. So most of us will need to hem them in some way, and I probably could have made an arm sleeve and tried out for the NBA with what I cut off. But the thing to notice is the change in the fit overall. The waist was of course nice and loose, but the rest of the pants were way too baggy on me. Now again, this is always super personal - your mileage may vary. You might like a baggier fit. Considering this is their slimmest fitting pant, I don't think that's the intention. You want to use that 4 way stretch in all its glory (and it is in fact glorious).
Ultimately, the 30 was right for me, and I made no changes to the tapering, just the length. Below you can see no shoes, sneakers, and a pair of brogues for a night out. Personally, I think the fit is great. While not here, they also look fine with a pair of Toms if you're feeling a little yuppie-hippie. I definitely liked the "fall" of this fabric in both sneakers and shoes.
In terms of the bagging out people like to mention on Reddit - virtually none that I noticed really. They loosened up with wear, but really no more than any other pant I've ever worn, so I see no reason to dock them on this here. And the stretch is there to help them go back in place.
There's a lot to like about these pants. I've really enjoyed wearing them. The material is just as they say - it's comfortable and stretchy. But, it doesn't really look like it's stretchy to outsiders. I like that. You might need to get used to having slimmer pants than you're used to, but it's not actually tight because it moves with you.
I did also spill a bit of water on these here and there, and it does in fact bead mostly. It can't handle a deluge though, let's not be unrealistic. What I will say is the washability is good on these - I just wash them on cold and anything that did happen to spill on them, seems to come right off. Since I wore the dune color, it's easier to see those kinds of things.
I really like the utility of these as well. For me, while they are designed to be tough, I didn't think they looked like "work" pants or anything. Now don't take that the wrong way - nothing wrong with work pants. For working. But not usually what you're looking for in terms of urban travel and versatility in multiple situations. The good thing is though, they are in fact strong enough for a lot of working situations.
But as a travel pant - you could wear these hiking. You can definitely wear them around town and while en route to your destination (I did). Then, you can also wear them with a nice button down and shoes for going out (I also did that). Chase Reeves, who did a whole review on them, also says that you can do yoga in these. So if that's your bag while you're traveling, they got you there too. In terms of just daily wear - you could definitely wear these in any casual work setting, certainly tech offices. I think they'd be an awesome camp pant, too.
They really are kind of just a great every day pant. I'd call them 3 season too - I never wore them in the hot summer, but not sure if they are the pants for then, or for South East Asia or whatever. I think even Western Rise would tell you the Evolutions are better for that (though I'd like to see the Evolutions in this same pattern cut as it's perfectly slim).
But as a travel pant, they succeed very well due to that versatility. The phone pocket and the hidden back pocket are a must for travel pants - and these come through in flying colors in that department. Though the hidden pocket is only on the right - keep that in mind. Being able to cover you in most casual situations is perfect for cutting down your wardrobe in your packing.
For here I'll focus mostly on the sizing. I'm not sure why they went with every other number on sizing - it's probably based on data and demand. But it does really make it hard for the tweeners out there. If the 30 didn't fit me, they would have been unwearable. I will say that their Customer Service is top notch - so don't be afraid to try them out. You can always return them if it doesn't work out. They are fast and polite to work with in that regard. (Note: I did just see they started a Try Before You Buy program, so there you go!)
The Improvement Requests
The feel and the cut on these I think are possibly Western Rise's best judging from the pictures of the other pants in their lineup. I don't think the others are slim enough/skinny enough for today's style (at least below the knee). These I think are. The one major issue I had is the difference in the sizing though. The jump from 30 to 32 is pretty major, so it makes me wonder why there wasn't a 31. Ultimately I was fine, but we're all different so your mileage may vary on the fit of the 30. If that doesn't quite fit, there's a chance you'll need to do some major tailoring on the 32.
Would love to see some odor treatment to these as well, but I am not specialized enough to know which fabrics can take that and which can't. I would think that would add onto the price too, so give and take like always. To be clear I had no issues with this, but I'm thinking about someone that is more active and hiking on a trip, or in some hotter environments, this could cut down on the washing you have to do in-trip.
Only other comment I have is on the colors, as always would like to see a true navy, but the blue gray is a nice color - having that fourth would just cover the spectrum for most dudes.
Final Thoughts On My Western Rise Diversion Pants Review
At the end of the day, the Diversion pants were really designed to be used in almost any casual situation. I've even seen them called the best dad pants out there. And I don't mean in style (I'm not trying to usurp the undefeated streak of cargo pants in dad-style) - I mean in "ready for anything, play in the grass, take the kid for a hike, get juice spilled on your pants". They can handle it.
Style wise, they also can handle most any other day to day or travel situation. I found them comfortable for around town, on the move while heading to my destination, and also out to dinner upscaled with shoes. The entire time, they were comfortable and had enough stretch to move with me. For shorter trips, you really could get away with only one pair of pants. Just keep in mind sometimes that second pair is a backup for unpredicted needs.
Where I think they really succeeded here, is in how the fabric looks. I don't think you can really tell it's a tech fabric - and I think that's what a lot of the guys out there want. They WANT the tech, but don't want the swish. I found virtually no swish here. Ultimately, I think the blue-gray is the most versatile since it is a nice urban color and can also hide dirt or stains better.
All in all these are a great pair of pants that are worth a look for 3 season travel, or just EDC kind of wear. They pretty much nail the Three F's - fit, function, feel. Something that's more rare in this space than you might think.
Hop on over to their website to check them out, and consider using our link if you do wish to purchase. Thanks for reading!
Sign up to be notified of future reviews like this, and head on over to our Travel Clothing Reviews page for more clothing (like the Bluffworks Ascender 5 Pocket pants review, the Aviator Travel Jeans review, or the Aviator Air Dry Travel Hoodie review) to help you make some decisions for your wandering. Don't forget to follow me on Instagram for new review announcements!