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Pants for play.

What are cirques but gigantic playgrounds for mountaineers? Just like children, they run to snowy couloirs like slides and ice climbs like monkey bars, and just like recess, they only have so much time to get it all done while the getting is good. The Men's Cirque Softshell Pants are durable, heavyweight softshell pants that Outdoor Research designed for high-energy climbing, mountaineering, ice climbing, and all-around playing in higher altitudes. Their fabric is resistant against water, wind, and abrasion and comfortably breathable for fast-paced ascents.

  • Technical softshell pants for mountaineering and ice climbing
  • Stretchy, breathable fabric is water- wind- and abrasion-resistant
  • Gusseted, articulated design ensures freedom of movement
  • Ankle zippers slide over mountaineering boots with ease
  • Harness-compatible waist with adjustments and belt loops
  • Reviews
  • Q & A

Favorite Softshells

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: Small

These pants are fantastic. I have a true 29x31 waist/inseam so it is often difficult to find well-fit pants. The Smalls I purchased fit great, and the adjustable waistband is definitely a plus. I wore these about 50 days last year, probably 35 touring and 15 in the alpine hiking/climbing. They have quickly become my favorite pants for the winter.
They move super well with your body no matter if you're touring or getting a high leg ice climbing. I have worn crampons with them a number of times. I've definitely kicked my pants, but there are not any tears yet. They reinforced ankle cuff is really durable. I love that all four pockets zip. It drives me crazy when tech pants don't have zippered pockets. The thigh pocket is especially handy for snacks, phone, map, and even fits a 500ml soft flask well.
These pants are light enough to not be too hot on warm spring ascents, and they have also kept me warm doing skimo races in the low single digits (just don't stop moving!!).
If I could make two improvements to these pants it would be the boot gussets and the front pockets. The ankle zip is handy for securing the pants over your boots, but it does not zip enough to remove the pants over your boots. One thing I like about pants with a full/longer side zip is the ability to remove them over your boots should you need to add/remove a baselayer without taking your boots off. The front pockets are nice and do zip, but they would be perfect if they had another inch or two of length.

Favorite Softshells

Great pants, but not actually black

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: Runs small
  • Size Bought: Large

There are many reasons why the Cirques are the go-to for many a mountaineer. They are a burly set of soft shells that easily repel most alpine water and wind, and yet are breathable enough for those hot summer days on the crag. The versatility is exceptional. With the Cirques, my hard shell pants stay at home unless the weather looks quite sketchy.



Like others have said, the thighs are quite tight. I do not have large quads at all and yet they're pretty tight. Not a deal breaker, but with my phone in my front pocket it's almost borderline too tight. Luckily they do have a decent stretch to them. A bit less than some other soft shell pants I have, but still good enough for most pursuits. The bottoms are definitely a boot cut designed to be large enough to fit around ski boots. This could look at bit odd for anything smaller than a mountaineering boot. I was surprised at how much I like the lace loop at the bottoms. They make gaiters seem almost unnecessary unless snowshoeing or glissading.



My biggest gripe is the fact that the "Black" color is not even close to black. It's a dark gray, and that's being a bit generous. In the attached photo I have a pair of Marmot soft shells that are actually black compared to the OR Cirques. Pretty big difference and that's even considering that the Marmots are old and have been washed many many times.



Other than that, the Cirques are excellent if they fit your body type. Definitely recommended, just be aware that the black is not actually black.

Great pants, but not actually black

Terrible leg zipper design

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: L

The right pant leg appears to have a zipper that was stitched to the top and bottom of the pocket opening, but only adhered/glued to the sides of the opening. After one use this adhesive was defeated and the zipper flops around as shown in other reviews. Very disappointing. Working to get a credit or warranty.

Zip started to peel off!

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
  • Fit: Runs large
  • Size Bought: Medium

I am big fan of OR, but am super disappointed with my recent purchase of Outdoor Research Cirque Softshell Pant. Upon my second use, the pocket zip started to peel off and I realized it is not even stitched, just glued. Not the pant is unusable. Given it is a month since I purchased, backcountry wont take return and I am working with warranty for an return!

Zip started to peel off!

pocket's too small !

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: men's large

I bought the pants for a rainy and cold hiking trip to Scotland. It was rainy, cold and windy as expected. The pants held up great. Even when they were soaked they kept me warm while hiking. They dry reasonably fast and the stretchy fabric makes them comfortable. I was initially worried that they'd be too short, but a men's large worked well for someone used to 34in inseam.
Unfortunately the pants are not perfect. the pockets are ridiculously small. I lost my map twice and had to be really careful with my pocket knife and other stuff I usually keep in my pockets.

Hey Christoph - I will pass this on to OR. Thank you!

Leta

super small

  • Fit: Runs small
  • Size Bought: Medium

I'm 6ft, 175lbs and I'd say athletic. I have tried other OR pants with 32 in waist and they fit just fine, but the Med here fit more mike 30in waist - really small. I have no issue with having something tight through the thighs, which these definitely will be for most people, but I suggest buying a full size up, with the heads up that they don't fit like other OR pants, or try them on at a store to make sure you like them. The three stars is because it's hard to buy these online due to their odd sizing, not their functionality.

Thank you for the feedback, Thomas - I have passed it on!

Leta
OR Rep

I did not find this to be the case... I have a 30" waist, and the medium was slightly too large (est. about a 32-33" waist). They are definitely more fitted through the thigh though, which is fine for me.

Tight thighs, boot-cut fit

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
  • Fit: Runs small
  • Size Bought: Large

I borrowed a pair of these to try out since I have had good luck with other OR pants. The Ferrosi Crag and Iceline pants are two of my favorite pairs I own. I was hoping these would fit in the middle between the lightweight Crag's and heavier Iceline's. The material is nice and it was fairly breathable on a training hike. However, the fit is weird. To me they seem to be cut with skiier's in mind. Where my Iceline's fit my thighs fine (albeit a bit loose in the waist) and have a trim lower leg, these are the opposite. Tight thighs and loose lower leg, obviously sized for big plastic boots or ski boots. And that's with the zippers closed. Not what I want in a climbing pant. For the feature-set they have, they're not super heavy, but they could stand to be slimmed down a little. I used them once and said no thanks, the fit just isn't for me. If these had the cut of the Iceline, they would be fantastic.

Thanks for the feedback, Ryan. They do have more of a specific fit. Thank you for the reviw -

Leta
OR Rep

Excellent pants but a little noisy

  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: Large

I was impressed with the quality, fit and construction of these pants. I would have been very excited about them but I decided to return them because they are somewhat noisy. They have a fairly durable feel to them and I believe the 3 ply softshell construction gives them a bit of sound. I was hoping to use these for both backcountry skiing and hunting and I think they would be a little loud in the woods and the brush. It is possible they would soften up after a few washings and wearing but I decided not to risk it and so I am returning them.

Hey Steven, sorry about that... I hadn't heard that feedback before, but if you are talking about hunting, I know that quietness is so important! Thank you for the review, and I am sorry they didn't work out!

Leta
OR Rep

Awesome winter climbing pants

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: Medium

I love these pants for winter climbing in snow & ice. Very good breathability during high output activities, regulates your body temp perfectly while still blocking the wind and shedding snow & ice like a champ. Nice stretchy, comfortable, and durable feel to them - I like the design and features.

Awesome winter climbing pants

Great Pants!

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: Large?

Really nice mid weight durable pant. I live in ND and the temps and wind can really eat through pants outdoors. These are very durable, fit nice, and work great with BC XC skis and hiking. Love the hook on the ankle to keep pants from riding up. Only wish is that I would have gotten black instead of grey.....but that was my mistake.

Bad Ass!

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: True to size

Extremely flexible. Very comfortable. They wick moisture and keep you dry. Great addition to your mountain gear for any cold weather occasion. And most importantly....you just look bad ass in them! If you're single and can't get a girl...put these on and it's a damn good chance you'll catch a date on the trail. If you've got a flat ass...slide these on and even a latin lady will be jealous!

Bad Ass!

Did you get a medium or large?

Awesome winter pants

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: Medium

Been using these for snowshoeing all winter in the Washington Cascades. Through powder, concrete, and everything in between, have not needed to revert to using gaiters, which makes for much better breathing down low. The front boot hook keeps the pants down over the boots and the cuffs have great coverage. I tend to work up a sweat on steep climbs and these pants are great at keeping warm but allowing good breathing. Very durable - recently took a spill from collapsing snow where one leg sunk under and left snowshoe bit into right leg. I got several raking scratches and a bruise, but the pants did not tear and prevented what would have been an awful gash (mountaineering shoes - big teeth). They also put up with all the abrasion from the snowshoes on the cuffs very well. All pockets zip shut to keep everything inside. Yeah, that sounds simple, but try a glissade without that and you'll be doing a GPS backtrack looking for your wallet. The lower pocket extends back to keep stuff OFF your knee and front of leg, making it much more useful and less irritating during long treks. The Velcro adjustment is nice to take up slack, lessening somewhat the need to yank a belt super tight when packing a bit heavy. Wife has a pair of these too and loves them. Highly recommend these pants.

Best softshell

  • Size Bought: Medium

I have both colors because these do everything. They're perfect for backcountry skiing and also for hikes on the cooler side

Best softshell

Great If You Want Your Pecker To Freeze

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size

They're stretchy, comfy, provide decent wind protection, and are plenty durable. They've even survived the crampon misstep test. Honestly, if that was it I'd have given them 4+ stars easily.

The problem? The two pairs I have seem to have the zipper separate itself when doing any kind of high stepping that puts pressure on it. Starts happening after a few months. The result is that your nether regions go on full display without warning. It's not like it's some kind of effective ice climber mating display either since there's not much to show when it gets that cold down there. After one particularly bad incident on a cold day, I had to put a foot warmer down there since it kept coming unzipped.

Maybe they've improved the zipper since last year's model. But I'm personally not going to risk it again.

Alfredo! PLEASE send these back to OR so they can replace them with a pair that doesn't do that! We saw this issue a while back and have since addressed it. OR's warranty is the best and they will take care of you - I promise.

Thank you so much for writing, and I hope you reach out to OR and get a warranty return happening. Go to: www.outdoorresearch.com and look for "warranty."

Leta
OR Rep

Amazing for snowshoeing/skiing.

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: Runs small
  • Size Bought: Small

I originally bought these over the summer for ice climbing this season, however, have not gotten to take them out for that and probably will not this season. However, I have gotten to use these for skiing and snowshoeing. I wore these during the powder-filled December at Jackson Hole and they were perfect! They stayed dry and kept me warm enough with only a light merino wool base layer underneath. Fabric is comfortable, and extremely stretchy/flexible and durable.

Only thing keeping these from being 5 stars is that while the sizing such as waist and length were perfect, the pants themselves fit tight in the legs. I should have gone with the mediums.

Thank you for the review, Maurice! For a looser fit, but a similar performance, check out the Trailbreaker Pants!

Enjoy your Cirques!

Leta
OR Rep

Another Thumbs Up

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: XL

There are plenty of reviews here telling you how great these pants are and I totally agree. I've had them for a few seasons now and they are still as good as new. Stretchy, breathable, tough, quick dry time, and surprisingly water/snow proof. I've sat down in wet snow for 20 minutes at a time in these pants and didn't even get a wet bottom! Very intuitive and well executed design.

Excellent - thanks Jake!

Leta
OR Rep

Perfect for skiing, hiking/trekking

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: Runs small
  • Size Bought: Medium

Really pleased with these pants. Used them in many applications, but primarily hiking/trekking and skiing. They were my go to pants for the high altitude portions of my Kilimanjaro trek last summer (another guy on the trip had the same exact pants too and also thought highly of them). They are a little tight through the thigh and seat (thus 4 stars, not 5). Still enough room at the ankle when pant leg is unzipped to fit over ski boots.

Perfect for skiing,  hiking/trekking

Awesome!

Great picture!

Leta
OR Rep

Solid outer-layer for cold conditions

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: L

I'm 6'0" 175lbs and the large fits perfect. Waistband has velcro adjustments as well as loops to hook your jacket into. Solid outer-layer for cold conditions. I'd recommend a layer of something warmer underneath though. Looks like they are fairly puncture resistant to crampons and such. All in all, you can never go wrong with Outdoor Research clothing.

Look at the bottom of my review for my contact info. Feel free to email or call if you have any questions about my review or this product.

Hey Devin, depending on temps, this pant is great by itself, or, like you in cold cold temps, you might want something more. We don't line it with anything to allow for maximum breathability. Plus it gives the user the option of how to layer.

Enjoy!

Leta
OR Rep

any winter adventure

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size

Got these pants while guiding winter expeditions backpacking and climbing,. Great softshell that will wick water for snow or light rain. snug fit allowing base-layers under. and zipper pockets. Stretch for hiking or climbing. Fits true to size and hold up will. Only complaint is that i feel suspenders would be a great addition for these.

any winter adventure

Nice review - thank you. We do sell suspenders that work on this pant, but didnt want to just add them, because we like the price where it is at $150. Check out the OR suspenders!

Leta
OR Rep

Sweet Alpine Pants

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: Runs small
  • Size Bought: 32"

These have been my go-to alpine and ice climbing pants this past season and they've been fantastic. The cordura patch on the inside of the ankle is super handy to keep from crampon snags and the whole pant seems to breath very well and dry quickly. Throw a heavyweight baselayer underneath and you'll be comfortable down to 0*F.
Now to the fit: I have a 30" waist but sized up to 32 for extra room for a base layer. These have a very slim fit, almost too slim. They fit perfectly but they are quite tight through the thighs. Try these on before you buy.

Thanks for the review, Josh - I will be sure to pass along the feedback about sizing on these. They are supposed to be trim, but maybe too much!

Leta
OR Rep