In 2023, the best work pants for men are ready to put in long hours of service in the name of your fits. Heavy-duty pants have been cutting their teeth on tough conditions for over a century, and are still going strong as the de facto choice among fellas whose gigs require them to get down and dirty, day in and day out. But even if your tool belt is more of a laptop bag situation, a pair of reinforced, beefed-up trousers are a reliable option that’ll add some authentic workwear flavor to your get-ups.
The Best Work Pants Shopping Guide
Hop online after a long day on the grind and you’ll find that there’s a wide selection of reinforced knee, hammer loop-adorned trousers to choose from, while a quick scroll through the algorithm will make it clear that these pants—particularly beat-to-oblivion vintage versions—have become a status symbol among the matcha-sipping, tote bag-hauling masses.
For one, the extra pockets are nice when you need to haul around a phone charger or a pair of sunglasses. Their classic, relaxed fit is also right on-trend in the baggy pants era, which means they’re ready for some steel-toe boots, or as a tasteful counterpart to lug-sole loafers and chunky, retro-inflected sneakers. Most crucially, though, their inherent toughness means you’ve don’t have to baby ’em. They’re designed to get roughed-up, stained, splattered, and scuffed, and only look better the more you lean into their un-precious pedigree.
Work pants are still made in affordable, mass-market batches by big hitters like Carhartt and Dickies, but the genre also represents a blank canvas for some of the most artful designers in the game, who have only one real job in mind: helping you looking cool. No matter where, how, or when you clock in, the 17 pairs below—the very best work pants for men on the market—will help you it right.
The Best Ridiculously Tough, Ridiculously Cheap Work Pants
Dickies’ work pants are a lot more subtle in presentation, but that makes them even more reliable as some trousers you can wear day in and day out. Treat ’em like a particularly sturdy pair of chinos and wear them alongside campus-ready classics (oxford shirts, oversized sport coats, fancy two-tone loafers), or lean into their workwear roots with a beat-to-death denim jacket and boots. The best part? At under $50 a pop, you can afford to pick up a few different colors and never give any of ’em special treatment. Should you need an impromptu hem, skip the tailor and grab some scissors.
The Best Old-Meets-New Work Pants
Just like their world-famous work jackets, Carhartt’s double-knee pants are the signature version of the style that over the last few years has made the crossover from jobsite staple to moodboard must-have. Whether you wear ’em with their natural pairing in steel toe boots or juxtapose them against today’s dainty trainers, their industrial-strength canvas fabric and reinforced leg paneling are what have allowed vintage pairs to remain in circulation for decades at a time. Which, as it turns out, ensures a brand new pair is something you can wear with reckless abandon for years to come.
The Best Work Pants for Guys On the Move
If your modern day work schedule involves banging on emails more than hammers, then a work pant that’s a little more “light duty” is really all you need. Lululemon’s version has some of the hallmarks of the OGs—reinforced knees, pockets galore, etc—but is done up in the Vancouver-based athleisure giant’s signature Utilitech fabric to prioritize business casual-ready comfort. They’ve also got a sneaky drawstring closure to help handle the grind of, y’know, sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day.
The Best Work Pants for Artful Denimheads
The only fabric that can hold a hammer to canvas’ workwear bona fides is denim, so it’s only right that one of the best pairs of work pants come dune up in indigo-dyed goodness. Stan Ray has been churning out these relaxed fit, belt-loop-adorned painter’s pants since the ’70s, and they’ve remained basically unchanged since they first popped up on Lynyrd Skynyrd-sountracked construction sites. They also come in raw denim if you want to earn your fades the hard way, but this mid-wash is ready right off the rack while you stroll down the street bopping to the new Drake.
The Best Werk Pants
Givenchy’s runway-ready work pants are still made of some serious sturdy stuff—said stuff just happens to be ultra-luxe leather instead of the typical canvas. If your idea of “underground” is more of a nightclub descriptor than a job location, these are for you. Ultimately, we can’t in good faith endorse intentionally thrashing a pair of trousers that cost more than a fully-loaded MacBook Pro, but leather pants will only get better with time should you need to justify this big ticket purchase as an “investment piece.”