Thunderbolt Jeans in Switzerland!

Sam Pfeiffer takes his Thunderbolt Jeans and visits the sometimes rainy homeland of Schoeller Textiles.

October 7, 2023

I probably should have checked my passport before we left.  Looking at it now, the day before we head to Switzerland, I realize that it expires one day after our scheduled return.  A little too close for comfort.

I choose to not sweat the (hopefully) small stuff, and focus on my upcoming week of exploring the Swiss Alps.  The trip is especially sweet since I only have to take one pair of pants, my Thunderbolt Jeans.

Thunderbolts are ideal if you want to keep your travel wardrobe light.  I can wear them up the mountains in the pouring rain, and then throw on a collared shirt and be ready for the hotel bar.


Unable to sleep and being at the base of the Eiger (pictured left), I went out for an early morning hike.  With a lengthy wait for the sun to rise, I was thankful that my legs stayed warm and dry the entire time.

Later in the day, with variable weather conditions, we attempted to get as close to the north wall as possible.   We ascended above Grindelwald, where the clouds turned to mist, and the mist ultimately into a full-on downpour.

Notice the ONE article of clothing not being hung to dry.





Thunderbolt Softshell Jeans are featured in the March 2012 issue of Climbing Magazine. It is very exciting for us because this is the biggest industry coverage we have yet received. (We consider them straight leg rather than skinny jeans, but that is ok!)

View the full size magazine article here

Review text:

“Skinny jeans with full four-way stretch, these crag-ready pants are made from Schoeller Dryskin that looks just like denim. It’s super abrasion-resistant, but also weather repellent. On a blustery climb of New Hampshire’s Moby Grape (5.8), when the weather at Cannon Cliff turned from cold and damp to warm and dry in the afternoon, with a few sprinkles thrown in, our tester was comfortable the whole time. The Dryskin fabric is wicking, wind-resistant, and treated with Nanosphere, a DWR (durable water repellent)  treatment. Whether it’s raindrops or a spilled beer, liquid runs right off them. Nanosphere also repels grease, dirst, stains, making these the ultimate all-around road-tripping pants. As the price suggests, Thunderbolt jeans are made from fancy fabrics, but they look just like jeans: double needle stitching, brass zipper and waist button, bar-tacked belt loops, and a coin pocket are all standard.

$188 / thunderboltsportswear.com / Full range of men’s inseam and waist sizes / Nylon, polyester, spandex for maximum stretch.




Gear Review from Zach at The Clymb

Our new buddy Zach at The Clymb has written a great review of his Thunderbolt Softshell Jeans. We plan to have Zach and two fellow climbers wearing Thunderbolts on their El Capitan climb in a few weeks!

Go to Zach’s review here

About  The Clymb: “For those who find their passion in the outdoors, The Clymb inspires human-powered adventure by delivering member-exclusive 72-hour sales on premium brands and experiences, hand-picked by our team of fellow enthusiasts and experts. Membership is free, allowing users to shape the community by inviting like-minded friends. The company is based in Portland, Ore., and was founded in 2009 by a seasoned team of outdoor and sport industry veterans.”




Scouting magazine review

Thunderbolt Sportswear has received some great magazine reviews this winter. Here is the first of several that we will post over the next couple weeks. This is from Scouting magazine, featuring a review from our favorite gear junkie, Stephen Regenold. Scouting magazine has over one million subscribers!

View the full size magazine article here

Here is a close-up of the review text:




Thunderbolt Sportswear “Triathlon” contest and interview

Ok, we have not updated the blog in a while but we have lots of new blog stuff coming this fall. Here is some video from earlier this year at the Outdoor Retailer show. Thunderbolt Sportswear and Schoeller Textiles sponsored a “triathlon” at the show where contestants would do circuits on the climbing wall, cross the slackline and do a yoga set. The athletes with the three fastest times won Thunderbolt Softshell Jeans.

Note that the contestants competed in their own pants, since they did not win pants until the end of the contest. We had a great time and people were really competing hard to win some of our jeans. Look for gear reviews from the winners in future posts!




Revolution Parkour gets airborne in Thunderbolt Softshell Jeans

A few weeks ago, I was excited to discover Matt Antis and his Revolution Parkour studio was located right in my own neighborhood. I met up with Matt to find out more about his studio and of course to talk pants. I don’t know too much about Parkour yet but I enjoy the videos you can find on Youtube and I know that there is growing awareness of this dynamic sport. I thought that outdoor Parkour would be a great activity for Thunderbolt Softshell Jeans and I was right. Matt and his crew were very enthusiastic about the pants and we teamed up for a day in the park, as you can see in this 1 minute video:

It was great fun to be a part of this video shoot and we have more videos planned so stay tuned. The fellows in the crew have been giving me great feedback on their jeans, and in the next few weeks I will have some of their comments to post here also.

-Chris Payne, Thunderbolt Sportswear




Outside Magazine - Gear Junkie Review!

This week marks a huge milestone for Thunderbolt Sportswear - we received a great review from Outside Magazine blogger Stephen Regenold aka The Gear Junkie. Below is an excerpt but please follow this link to read the full article:

The Gear Junkie: Thunderbolt Softshell Jeans

Outside Magazine blog review of Thunderbolt Softshell Jeans

Categories: Thunderbolt Softshell Jeans, Media Reviews




Our TV feature with Big Budha & the Butts

In January 2011, Thunderbolt Sportswear attended the huge Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City. Our Softshell Jeans caught the attention of the Big Budha, an entertaining reporter for local news channel Fox13. He selected a few innovative products at the show to feature and have some fun with.

Categories: Thunderbolt Softshell Jeans, Video, Rock Climbing Pants




Inaugural Blog Post

Hello and thank you for visiting Thunderbolt Sportswear! This is my first blog post, and it will give you some background about why I started this business.

This began as a MYOG project. That’s short for Make Your Own Gear, a term which has been popularized at backpackinglight.com and elsewhere. In 2008, I found some Schoeller softshell fabric at a fabric store here in Portland Oregon. As some may know, it is very rare to find Schoeller softshell fabric by the yard in any retail store. I recognized it as a “miracle fabric” and I decided to have some custom pants made with it because I have never been totally satisfied with any of the outdoor pants in my collection.

My first custom pants maker was not that great, and I basically got a pair of softshell sweatpants, but now I was on a mission. As I brainstormed about the ideal pants to make with this incredible fabric, I had the EUREKA MOMENT that started this venture. Why not make a pair of softshell jeans?

I have some previous experience as an owner of an ecommerce business, and I love outdoor sports. I realized this was more than a MYOG idea, this was a potential product. So I researched it and found no one was doing this. There were some nibbles around the edges of this concept, but no one was making classic style jeans using non-cotton high performance softshell fabric. (If you are not sure what softshell fabric is, please visit our page called The Jeans).

I “staked my claim” by registering the domain softshelljeans.com in 2008, along with several other related domains I will discuss in a future post.  By late 2009, product development was underway and I dedicated myself to this business full time. Look for a future post about the product development experience, which will feature the local sourcing of most of my vendors in the Portland Oregon area. Did you know our jeans are 100% sewn in the USA?

This website launched on a very exciting day in September 2010. One of my goals for this business is transparency. I am proud of what I have accomplished, and I want to tell the story so that this venture becomes as special to my customers as it is to me. In the future this blog will have more info about the business as well as trip reports, customer stories, media reviews. And of course I love to talk about this awesome product – Thunderbolt Softshell Jeans. There will be more photos too.

In the meanwhile, if you like what you are seeing here, please feel free to buy a pair today. You will get an exceptionally high quality pair of pants and I will really appreciate your purchase. No kidding!

Chris Payne
Thunderbolt Sportswear




Welcome to the Thunderbolt Blog

Welcome to the Thunderbolt Blog! We have just launched our blog, we are assembling some articles now so please check back and see our progress!

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