Why Doesn’t Anyone Climb in Knickers Anymore?

rohan super striders

The latest post in our from the blogs series features a very interesting question from Rock and Ice – The Climbers Magazine  devoted to rock and ice climbing and mountaineering. It was first published in 1985 in Boulder, Colorado USA.

Why Doesn’t Anyone Climb in Knickers Anymore?

(For knickers read breeches)

“Their loose fit provides more freedom of movement than conventional trousers, which can bind at the knee or groin during critical movements. Because knickers are short, they minimize the chance you’ll get a pant cuff snagged by a crampon point, and slide to your death, arms outstretched as if to beseech The Maker for mercy—and knowing there will be none.

Most critically, knickers let you casually see your feet when you are rock climbing…” read more

This is a really interesting question for Rohan who’s first eight years, way back in the early 1970’s, was all about making breeches. Striders, Super Striders, Salopettes, Super Salopettes, Black Striders, Nemises, Splashers and Yes Knickers all finished just below the knee.  All are now a treasured part of Rohan Heritage.

Outdoor world moved from breeches to trousers probably about the time performance fabrics could offer freedom of movement, a high degree of wind proofing, quick drying and durability the hall mark of any good outdoor leg wear. Pushed along by the fact outdoor trousers became multi-pursuit, something breeches could never be. But it’s true you can’t see you feet when climbing when you are wearing most high performance trousers. But it’s my guess that does not appear high on the purchasing radar now. Tell me if I am wrong.

Rock and Ice concludes…

“I suspect that people don’t wear knickers because they can’t find them—most clothiers don’t rack knickers in the logical place, alongside full-length pants. Instead, you must seek them in the beret and scarf section. Don’t forget the accessory belt…” read more

Any thought’s on this one?

Anyone like to see (let’s call them breeches) back on the shelves?

Rohan Heritage


  1. Samuel James says:

    I am still using my Super Striders & Salopettes
    Wouldn’t be without them both.
    Somebody offered me a good price the Salopettes
    I didn’t take it.

  2. John B Winterburn says:

    I would love to be able to buy breeches back on the shelves. Perhaps not the heavy tweed variety but an updated concept made with a technical fabric.

    Breeches and long socks have always been my favorite attire for hill walking and climbing.

    Come on Rohan…..lead the way

  3. Peter Clinch says:

    The last pair I used much were my original Superstriders, and I stopped using them because I bought Super Salopettes which kept my back warmer in Proper Winter conditions. By that time (early 90s?) the breech-length version was discontinued.
    But it was stretch fabrics that, at least for me, reduced the desirability of breeks. With stretch you don’t get the drag over the knee, and you can have a close cut so you can see your feet, and also have less need of gaiters and long socks (and means of keeping them up).

    I did pick up a pair of the more recent Superstrider breeks, and while there was nothing really wrong with them I just didn’t find myself pulling them out and I sold them on to someone who couldn’t find any breeks anywhere that weren’t tweed. Having them but not using them suggests I wouldn’t worry abouyt getting another pair so no great desire to see them back, but that’s thanks to Tracksters, Troggings etc. taking their place as Weapons of Choice.

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