Choosing the Best Lightweight Work Pants

When it comes to getting through the summer heat or working in a warm climate, wearing the right lightweight pair of work pants makes all the difference. Finding the right pair of work pants to meet the needs and demands of a job starts with understanding material weight, breathability, moisture-wicking fabrics, design functions and durability. Using the tips and information below, finding the perfect pants for summer need not be a challenge.

Material Weight

Work pants are made to be durable, which means they are generally made from heavy fabrics like canvas. Any work pants that are a heavy weight are not going to be suited for summer.

In terms of gauging the weight of material, denim pants are most commonly around 12 to 14 oz. Most work pants are made of fabric with a weight between 10 and 12 oz.

The lower the weight the softer the fabric will be and the more air flow and breathability it will allow. Higher weight indicates a tighter weave, which means a heavier, stiffer fabric. To find work pants that are suited for summer heat, look for lightweight pants with a weight of around 7.5 oz.

Cotton/poly or cotton/nylon blends offer benefits derived from both the cotton and the synthetics in their composition. These blends are great fabrics for summer work pants because the combination of fibers creates a lightweight fabric that is reasonably durable, offers good ventilation and is rip resistant.

An added benefit of a cotton/poly blend is that it also offers UV protection. A cotton/poly blend with a weight of 7.5 oz is what is most often used for lightweight summer work pants.

Breathability & Moisture Wicking Fabrics

Another benefit of using cotton/poly blends is that they offer the softness and breathability of cotton and the evaporative properties of synthetic fabrics. Cotton is naturally breathable and helps absorb sweat. Synthetics dry quickly by bringing moisture to the surface.

Moisture-wicking fabrics pull moisture away from the body, where it evaporates quickly.

Work pants made with moisture-wicking properties combat sweat, stay dry and keep cool. A pair of breathable, moisture wicking pants would be the coolest option for working in the heat.


Warm-weather work pants are designed to be lightweight and flexible. A key feature of lightweight work pants is a design that allows for freedom of movement. One way to accomplish this is with MIMIX workwear.

MIMIX is a design available for uniforms that offers comfort and free movement with the addition of flex panels to areas where mobility is most affected. The design of MIMIX offers increased fabric ventilation without minimizing durability.

Design details to look for with lightweight work pants include not fitting too tightly or narrowly around the leg. Even a lightweight fabric, if too tight around the leg, will only add to discomfort and sweating.

Additional design details are large pockets, reinforced crotch stitching to prevent tears and the use of a crotch gusset. A crotch gusset adds comfort to the design and additional flexibility without adding stress to the crotch seams.

The last thing anyone wants on a job site is a rip to the back seam on a pair of pants. The crotch gusset is generally a diamond-shaped fabric that is stitched in between the inner thigh of both pant legs, reinforcing the crotch. This allows the wearer the extra flexibility to bend, crouch and kneel without adding stress to more vulnerable seams.


A common solution for a lightweight, yet durable, material is the use of ripstop fabric. Ripstop fabrics are often made of nylon and use a special technique of weaving thick reinforcement yarns into a crosshatch pattern.

This design adds to the durability of the fabric, helps discourage rips and tears and provides a lighter material than cotton canvas. Alsco offers a ripstop fabric that is 75% stronger than other poplin workwear fabrics.

Other features that add to durability are reinforced seams around pockets, strengthened cargo pockets and reinforced knees.

Materials at the knee in work pants tend to wear out quickly because people kneel in them and repeatedly stretch the cloth at the knee. The additional fabric adds to overall durability and strengthens the pants at the knee.

What Lightweight Work Pant is Best?

The choice of work pants that best meet the demands of a jobsite will depend on the job. Alsco knows working outside all day at a construction site is different than working in an office on a hot summer day.

Knowing what material weight, moisture wicking and ventilation, durability and design features are necessary for a specific industry or job will make finding the right pair of lightweight work pants to wear in a warm climate or in the summer heat a breeze.

Contact Alsco to find out more about our lightweight workwear options.

Sources Science Direct. (2018). Masterclass. (November 2020). Business of Fashion. National Library of Medicine. (2015).

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