MO Tested: Aerostich Protekt Jeans Review

Troy Siahaan
by Troy Siahaan

Like me, you probably know Aerostich as the company making funky one-piece motorcycle oversuits that go over your regular clothing. Well, that suit is called the Roadcrafter, there are many derivations of it, and it’s basically the class uniform for veteran moto-journalists. However, many people don’t know Aerostich also makes much, much more. Like this, the Protekt jeans.

Aerostich Protekt Jeans

Editor Score: 83.0%
Aesthetics 8.0/10
Protection 6.5/10
Value 9.0/10
Comfort/Fit 9.5/10
Quality/Design 9.0/10
Weight 8.0/10
Options/Selection 8.0/10
Innovation 8.0/10
Weather Suitability 8.5/10
Desirable/Cool Factor 8.5/10
Overall Score83/100

Sure motorcycle riding jeans are a dime a dozen, but I like supporting the home team, and like so many of Aerostich’s products, the Protekt is made right here in the US of A. Styled after your normal pair of denim – Levi 501’s to be exact – the Protekt then goes a little further to provide a little more abrasion protection for moto use. First, the Protekt features triple-layer construction, with the outer layer (the one visible to the world) constructed from unwashed 14 oz. denim instead of the 10-12 oz. variety typically found in normal jeans. Underneath the outer layer lies 500D Cordura – the same material used in the standard Roadcrafter suits – around the knees and butt areas for optimum abrasion protection. Lastly, the layer making contact with the rider’s skin is 100% cotton.

If you didn’t know any better, the Protekt jeans could easily be mistaken for casual denim.

What makes the Protekt stand out is its hidden exterior pocket at the knees, allowing the rider to insert the (optional) TF3 knee protectors in seconds without having to take off the pants and/or turn them inside-out to access the knee pockets. This is cool for commuters, as they have the option to wear the protectors while they ride, then take them out once they get to work or school.

The whole point of the Protekt is not to stand out from normal, everyday jeans, so extra features are deliberately subtle. Apart from the hidden knee armor pockets, the Protekt resembles your average pair of jeans. There are five pockets, five belt loops, and a metal zip. Double and triple stitching in impact zones is standard, and there’s a gusset in the crotch area for easier movement downstairs. Speaking of “downstairs,” one hidden benefit of the breathable and waterproof 500D layer in the seat of the pants is being able to sit on a wet or damp motorcycle without getting SBS – Soggy Butt Syndrome.

If you squint, you can see the zipper for the knee armor pocket.
Open the zip and the TF armor easily goes in or out – without having to remove the jeans.

Aerostich is straightforward about these riding jeans not being the preferred choice if sporty riding is your thing, stating the Protekt is far superior than regular denim when it comes to abrasion resistance, but is still lacking compared to, say, the Roadcrafter for overall protection. Basically, these are great jeans for commuting and cruising around.

Lately they’ve been my go-to riding jeans for one simple reason: comfort. The Protekt jeans were stiff when I got them, but the more I wore them and the more washes they went through, the more comfortable they became – just like my normal jeans. I opted for the TF knee armor and, as advertised, putting them in and out of the jeans is easy-peezy via the external zipper. The soft armor itself gets more pliable with heat and is virtually unnoticeable when riding.

With the jeans turned inside out you can see the triple-layer construction in the impact zones. The middle (red) layer is the same waterproof/breathable 500D Cordura used in the Roadcrafter suit.

Granted, the loose nature of riding jeans means the armor won’t stay locked in place during a fall, but that’s the risk we take with all riding denim. Also, the combination of thicker denim and triple-layer construction means the Protekt jeans, like any piece of reputable riding denim, is heavier and thus hotter when riding on warmer days. Airflow isn’t completely blocked off, but don’t expect a breezy pair of pants – again, these are the tradeoffs we accept.

Overall, I’m extremely happy with the Protekt jeans. They’re comfortable, look like my normal pair of jeans, and provide some peace of mind when I’m riding around. Thankfully I haven’t had to put them through the ultimate test, and I hope to keep it that way!

When ordering a set for yourself, be sure to order a longer inseam than your normal jeans.

They’re available in waist sizes starting at 32 inches, on up to 40 inches, and in a variety of inseams per waist size. If I had it to do over again, I’d opt for a longer inseam as jeans will move up when in the riding position. I picked a 30-inch inseam, copying what I usually get for normal denim, and now my ankles are exposed if I wear riding shoes. Obviously this isn’t Aerostich’s fault, and for $117 (without the $30 knee armor), the Protekt jeans are a no-brainer in my opinion. And if khakis are more your style, Aerostich also makes the Protekt khaki.

Troy Siahaan
Troy Siahaan

Troy's been riding motorcycles and writing about them since 2006, getting his start at Rider Magazine. From there, he moved to Sport Rider Magazine before finally landing at in 2011. A lifelong gearhead who didn't fully immerse himself in motorcycles until his teenage years, Troy's interests have always been in technology, performance, and going fast. Naturally, racing was the perfect avenue to combine all three. Troy has been racing nearly as long as he's been riding and has competed at the AMA national level. He's also won multiple club races throughout the country, culminating in a Utah Sport Bike Association championship in 2011. He has been invited as a guest instructor for the Yamaha Champions Riding School, and when he's not out riding, he's either wrenching on bikes or watching MotoGP.

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  • Johnbutnotforgotten Johnbutnotforgotten on Nov 22, 2018

    I like both my Protekt jeans and dockers, but as a summer alternative they arent as cool or as well armoured as wearing my Olympia mesh overpants over really light 511 tacticals or shorts (and i can take the Olympias off if im going for a long walk mid ride) winter and fall i go with my roadcrafter or darien light.

  • SteveSweetz SteveSweetz on Nov 27, 2018

    Weird that this article would come out now. If you go to Aerostich's website, they have exactly two waist sizes available for order, 32 or 34, so hope you're one of those or you're out of luck.

    I went to an Aerostich "pop-up" event a month ago specifically looking to try on the jeans and was extremely disappointed in the limited selection. The one rep told me that they don't make the jeans themselves, were changing manufacturers, hadn't approved samples from a new manufacturer yet and were basically just selling out the remaining stock from the old manufacturer. They wouldn't even take an order because they were so uncertain about when they'd have jeans available again.

    So it seems extremely weird that they would send out review samples for a product with an uncertain future...unless these are from the new manufacturer and they're using the press as free QA.

    • TroySiahaan TroySiahaan on Nov 28, 2018

      Weird, the size change must have happened very recently. When I received the jeans several weeks ago, and again when I was writing (and published) this review, there were sizes ranging from 32-40 on the Aerostich website.