The Daily Chinos from Huez* are the latest in a growing market of well-designed, sophisticated, commuter clothing. A happy marriage of quality materials and bike friendly technology make them stand out from the crowd, but there are a few creases to be ironed out before they can really hit the mark.
The name Huez* might be one that's new to you, it was to us, so we'll start with some scene-setting. The brand was created by a pair of cycling enthusiasts with an aim to "create beautiful cycling clothing that blended effortlessly into their every day lives". The team at Huez* have set out with the aim to create clothing that 'make the city commute a more friendly experience' and remove some of the barriers to travelling by bike. They also have on board a former menswear accessories designer at Paul Smith, adding some heft to their sartorial arsenal.
The Daily Chinos themselves are a good quality, well made pair of trousers. They have a tailored fit that's relaxed enough in the leg to be comfortable when turning the pedals. They're made from 98% cotton with 2% Lycra, which gives them a bit of extra stretch when you're in the saddle. Apart from that they aren't exactly dripping with cycling specific features.
What sets them apart as piece of technical cycling apparel is the removable insert. Huez* describes it as a "mesh with integrated chamois"; they're somewhere between cycling shorts and padded boxer shorts. Tight fitting and stretchy, without being thick enough that it feels like you're wearing a full second layer underneath the chinos. The insert attaches to the inside of the trousers by a loop on either side of the waistband which link with a poppered flap on the waistband of the chinos, making it really quick and easy to take them in and out.
The mesh insert is made from 50% cotton and 50% polyester, and produced by Swiss fabric specialist Schoeller. They feature E1 Absorption technology which absorbs sweat and transfers it away from your skin towards the outer layer where it can evaporate. This seems to be surprisingly effective; even on warmer days it managed to wick away the worst of the moisture. The waistband and cuffs feature silicone gripper strips, using the Huez* asterisk logo, keeping the shorts in place when on the bike.
The insert features a CyTech Iron Performance chamois, most often used for triathlons and Ironman events. It's really comfortable, breathable, quick-drying, and flexible enough that you don't really feel like it's there at all when you're riding. It's such a quality chamois that it feels over the top for just riding around town in, but who's complaining about too much comfort? No one, that's who.
I had a slight niggle with the labels for the care instructions and the Huez* branding. Both are irritating against bare skin. The shorts are only undershorts so it seems these could have been placed on the outside without ruining any aesthetics. The care instructions are large and clumsy-looking, almost like they were an after thought, which seems out of place on a product of this quality.
Off the bike the insert becomes a bit of a point of contention, it's not really comfortable to sit or walk around in, so carrying a change of undies is essential. This isn't a massive problem, it's much easier than carrying a whole change of clothing or spare pair of trousers, but it's still a bit of pain. Somehow it makes the transition from on the bike to off the bike a little less seamless than it should be for a pair of cycling chinos. This is where the inclusion of the thicker chamois has its drawbacks. Using a slightly thinner or smaller shaped pad would be a slight compromise on the riding comfort but result in being more comfortable off the bike. Maybe some food for thought in Mk2 of the Daily Chinos?
The chinos are available in two shades of blue: Navy or Poolside. The pair we tested were Poolside, and they're, well, blue: really blue. Fine for the outgoing type, but if you want to blend into the crowd then a Navy pair might be a safer bet. They range in size from extra small (28" waist) to XXL (38" waist), there's no option for leg length though so you get what you're given, which is a downside when you're shelling out a fair whack for a pair of chinos that lend themselves to a well fitted look.
The detailing is what you'd come to expect from a pair of high quality slacks. The cotton is hand dyed in Italy and has a soft, brushed finish. The buttons are real horn, the hems and rear belt loop have a zig-zag stitching pattern, and the inseams have twin needle stitching. There's plenty of pocket space: two rear pockets - one with a button down flap, two front pockets - one with a partition, and a coin pocket.
Cost-wise the Huez* Daily Chinos are going to set you back £130. This is about what you might expect to pay for a pair of cycling trousers with their high level of sartorial sophistication. The quality of materials used, detailing, and construction certainly give the price tag justification. However, some of the slight niggles might mean that you'll pause and suck your teeth before handing over your hard earned dough.
A good mix of quality materials and bike-friendly technology, let down by a few minor niggles
road.cc test report
Make and model: Huez* Daily Chinos
Size tested: medium, blue
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Huez* says the Daily Chinos are "An everyday essential from the Huez* Collection line, the chino lends itself perfectly to both work and leisure."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Made from Italian brushed cotton with Lycra® for added comfort. Finished with real horn tailoring buttons. Mesh with integrated chamois ensures maximum comfort in the saddle. Each item is individually garment dyed, making the colours rich and unique. Signature zigzag stitch detail finishes the leg hems. YKK® zip fly and twin needle inseam stitching. Partitioned pockets assist to keep valuables in order. Classic brushed cotton stretch fabric, woven in Italy.
Really good quality construction, you can tell from the look and feel that it's a quality piece of kit.
Excellent on the bike, apart from slight points about leg length and the labels. Off the bike the insert becomes a bit of an issue.
Comfort seems to be skewed towards on the bike rather than off it.
Materials and quality of construction fit the price tag, but the few downsides make it hard to really justify the price.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Generally well on the bike, comfortable and a nice fit, despite a few minor annoyances. Off the bike the undershorts were an issue but the chinos looked and felt good to wear for general use.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The quality of the materials, and comfort when riding.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The irritating labels and the discomfort of the pad off the bikes.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes. Despite the small niggles.
Would you consider buying the product? Not until the issues were addressed.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably not '' I'd say wait for the Daily Chinos Mk 2.
About the tester
Age: 29 Height: 5'10" Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: KHS Flite 100 Singlespeed/Fixed, Genesis Equilibrium 20 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,
Oli has been a road.cc staffer since day one. He's the graphic design and photography force behind the site, and has got a keen eye for good quality, well designed cycling kit. You'll find him on his bike everyday whatever the weather, he's got a penchant for a steel frame and has had 'fit mudguards' on his To Do list for nearly 6 years now. Likes: cold toast, gin, rugby. Dislikes: fitting mudguards.