May 222013

I like Firehose pants, they are durable and hold up really well.  I was going to purchase more and wanted to make sure to double check the sizing.  To my surprise the 36″ inseam pants I’ve been wearing were actually 34″ inseam.  Thinking maybe I got a missized batch (they fit fine anyway) I didn’t want to order 36″ and have them be too long.  So I contacted their customer service via email asking:

I’m looking to buy some new pants, however I’m a bit confused on sizing.  I have several pair of firehose work pants that say they are 36″ inseam however if I measure from the middle of the crotch gusset to the end of the pant leg the inseam is about 33″ If I pull the pant leg tight 34″.

Pretty clear question, here’s the bullshit response from customer service:

Dear Valued Customer:

Thanks for your recent email.

We size our men’s pants using outseam (top of waistband to bottom of pant) instead of inseam (crotch point to bottom of pant).

I measured my current 36″ inseam pants outseam and that is 43″.  Their website lists pants sized by inseam, the sizing chart tells you to measure your inseam (as any normal clothing supplier does).   I’m giving them one chance to explain this better, and then I’ll shop elsewhere.

This explanation doesn’t make any sense. Your website lists sizes in INSEAM. Your sizing chart states:

Inseam: Measure a pair of pants that fit you well. Measure from the crotch seam to bottom of pants. If you are measuring 100% cotton pants that have been washed, add 1⁄2″.

But your saying that the outseam is how you measure???? The outseam of my pants that are sized as a 36″ inseam is 43″. Your ‘explanation’ is either incomplete or incorrect.

Care to try again?

These are pretty expensive pants at about $70.. and made in China no less.. maybe that’s the problem, perhaps the Chinese manufacturer just can’t do a good job. In which case what justifies the price?

We apologize that our email didn’t answer your question completely. We size our men’s pants using outseam (top of waistband to bottom of pant) instead of inseam (crotch point to bottom of pant). We do this for the following reason. We have pants with various lengths of rise, depending on style, thus some hang lower below the crotch and some higher.

As an example, 92204 has quite a long rise, and a 5 pocket jean, 86069, has a shorter rise. If we were to use the same inseam measurement for both pants, the 92204 would be dragging on the ground, while 86069 would be short. By using outseam, we give the customer a pant that will hit them in relatively the same spot on the foot, regardless of what the inseam actually measures. In other words, we accommodate for the various rises in order to get the customer a consistent length.

These pants are a good idea, but so far the company selling them is a joke.  Inseam is inseam size, the rise is irrelevant to the inseam size.   Rise determines where the waistband sits not where the bottom of the pants are.  I just took some measurements from other pairs of pants I have and in all other cases 36″ inseam is 36″…period.  I can understand bucking the norm when it makes sense, but in this case it doesn’t.  I guess I’ll be shopping elsewhere.