For Spring 2019, Arc’teryx introduced the climbing-specific Oriel Leggings into their line. They traveled with me to the limestone and schist crags of New Zealand, red desert sandstone in Utah, and the polished granite of Yosemite. Here’s how they fared.
I’m pretty darn particular about my leggings. I struggle to find a pair that I’m absolutely in love with. I carry most of my fat around my stomach. Leggings everyone else loves give me muffin top or squeeze me in all sorts of funny, unflattering ways.
Lululemons are generally my go-to. They fit perfectly, hold in all the cookies, and make your butt look amazing. But I balk at the price, in addition to the ethics of Lululemon’s founder. The Arc’teryx Oriel Leggings dethroned Lululemon as my go-to leggings.
The Arc’teryx Oriel Legging specs
|abrasion resistant stretch interlock of nylon and elastane (71% nylon, 29% elastane) with Powernet Stretch Mesh waistband
|2 slip pockets
The $89 price tag is steep on the Arc’teryx Oriel Leggings. I’m trying to advocate less for buying stuff, so when I recommend something, it’s because it is quality and will last. Arc’teryx also has a great warranty policy. (You can mail it in, or drop off at any of their locations.)
I’m 5’ tall with a 29” inseam. I generally wear an XS or a 2 in Arc’teryx bottoms. The Oriel Leggings in XS are ankle-length (or 7/8 when using Lululemon-jargon). I have a short torso, so the Powernet Stretch Mesh waistband ends up being high-rise for me.
There’s a slip pocket on each leg, which comes in quite handy for cell phones and camera lens caps. It fit my iPhone XS with a case with no problems. I received a ton of comments on the slip pockets. Many women were jealous. (Note: the Arc’teryx Sunara Tights also has a slip pocket, but it barely fits my iPhone XS with a case.) Each pocket is accessible even while you’re wearing a harness.
Construction of the Leggings
The fabric is constructed from 6.5oz stretch nylon interlock – 71% nylon, 29% elastane. This allows for a dynamic range of movement for high steps, dyno-ing, any movement you may encounter on the wall. The gusseted crotch increases comfort and durability by allowing a full range of unrestricted motion. It also ensures that you don’t get the dreaded camel toe.
What I like
The leggings seem thin, but I’ve climbed on limestone, schist, sandstone, and granite with them. I’m scared of down climbing, so sometimes I slide down boulders on my butt. I have yet to scrape my first real hole in them. I’ve worn the Oriel Leggings non-stop for 2 weeks straight without washing. They still retain their shape.
I split a hole in the butt of my leggings. I dropped them off for a warranty repair at Stanford Center, and received a patched pair in the mail several weeks later.
These aren’t just for climbing. They are perfect for hiking, backpacking, and wandering around town, too.
What I don’t like about the Oriel Leggings
The lighter colors tend to show liquid stains. Did you spill water on yourself? There’s a water mark. Accidentally peed your pants (I do this all the time)? There’s a water mark. Very sweaty? Yep, there’s a sweat stain. They come out in the wash, but it’s something to keep in mind.
I take spin classes frequently. The waistband will occasionally roll down when I’m huffing and puffing over the bike. I’m most self-conscious about my stomach, so I don’t like tugging the waistband back up in the middle of a session.
I suppose this isn’t really a con, but the side pockets on the Oriel Leggings ruined other leggings for me. I use them so much that when a pair do not have pockets, I’m confused. Where am I supposed to put my phone, or wallet, or keys? The pockets don’t quite lay flush with extended use, but it’s not something I notice, or mind.
The Arc’teryx Oriel Leggings are my favorite leggings. I practically live in them–I wore them every day in New Zealand–because they are just that good. I own them in all three spring 2019 colors. They replaced nearly all of my leggings.
The Oriel Leggings were sent to me for review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
Last updated on August 14, 2020.