Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Dear Carhartt and rubber boot makers

Doing field work, I've put together a uniform that I wear during almost every field outing. When I first started, I used old pants for field work but I quickly learned they were no match against thorns . So they were all tossed and replaced with Carhartt pants that are tough on thorns. Problem is that it is real tough to find my petite size Carhartt pants. I now wear a large boy size but the fit is horrible. If they accidentally go in the dryer and shrink, I have capris. Don't even talk about the rise and all over too wide legs. They are so wide in the legs that they always catch on barbed wire fences and rub on top of my knee boots. So I have holes were ticks can come in and I have to toss them. Patching doesn't work well.

I was psyched recently to find they are now making ladies Carhartts. Of course they are not as thick and durable as the mens/boys. What gives! Do the thorns magically part when they see a lady? Of course not. But I just saw on the web that they make a version that may be tough enough but I'm scared that these pants will overcompensate size wise and make them super hour glass shaped. Nevermind that the boy's pants are significantly cheaper than mens/ladies even when comparablly sized. Then there's the rubber knee boot situation. Again ladies rubber boots are not as tall as mens. I'm sad to report that the water does not recede when it sees a lady. I have to cross the same stream as the guys. So I have to wear a size 5 mens boots. Real tough to find and I usually only can get the real cheap ones. The ones that make you freeze in the winter and no matter how many insoles you put in, your feet still ache. With my tender lady feet, I also have to wear some big fluffy socks or I get blisters within 30 minutes. Real nice and hot in the summer! I see my male coworkers with their padded and insulated boots and it makes me sad. And the place I buy my boots has discontinued my cheapo tall boots. I bought the last 2 pairs they had in my size. I will likely have to mix and match old ones once these guys are worn and have holes. You probably wonder if I buy those designer flowered rubber boots that have become popular? Well no. I really wouldn't be able to hide/blend into the woods with those on. Plus those boots are not as tall as the work ones.

I think autumn is officially here. Just heard some honking geese fly by. I guess the migration has begun.


Colleen said...

Plus I have a feeling those whimsically-decorated ladies' rubber boots are flimsy.
Lame! Maybe if you found vintage Carharts, since everyone was smaller back in the day...? Seriously though, you should write to them and be like, I'm sure I'm not the only woman with these issues.

lioux said...

I would totally rock those pink rubber boots.

Kartek said...

I think they would just direct me to their boys section. But I just ordered some better boots...they're insulated (for cold times) and have arch support.

John Mozena said...

Dear Kartek:

Actually, we make sure that our Carhartt for Women bottoms are as "thick and durable" as our men's bottoms. Same fabrics (except for one women's jean where we did some stretch that we don't have in the men's line), same quality standards, even usually made by the same people on the same production lines. We're using the same 12 and 13.5-ounce denim and 8.5 and 12-ounce cotton canvas in women's as we do in men's.

What we don't have in the women's line that you may be thinking of is the rigid 12-ounce duck canvas, but that's a very small part of our bottoms business these days -- the sandstone canvas is only 6 percent less durable than the rigid duck, and it's significantly more comfortable to wear.

As for the rise, these are work pants, so they're going to have a higher rise to cover up the parts that should stay covered when you're kneeling, bending over, etc. We do offer three fits in women's bottoms -- traditional, relaxed and dungaree -- so you should be able to avoid those thorns and find pants that fit you.

We've tried to size for actual women and not stick-figure fashion models, and our weartesters are all actual working women in construction, farming, etc., but women just have a wider variety in bottoms fits than men do, it's a simple fact of biology. We're doing our best to do true sizes and realistic fits.

Since this is a new line, we don't have the same breadth of options for women that we do for men yet, but we're working on it. We built our men's line over 118 years, and we've only been doing women's for one season...

- John from Carhartt

Kartek said...

Mr. Mozena

I don't think you ever have to go through what I endure. Imagine that you have to wear a women's dress and heels repeatedly for work. You would search for the best size to work with your body. But obviously, nothing would ever really fit.

If you read my post on thorns, you would see what I endure on a regular basis for years now. I need the toughest and thickest pants to protect from thorns. I also cross barbed wire fences so I need pants that fit properly that are not too baggy. When I wore my regular jeans, I never had a problem with bending or not being able to move when working outside.

With the mens/boys pants, the rise is way too big for me. I would say then that the rise works to my disadvantage since I have a smaller leg range of motion. The pant width is too wide and it rubs on top of the rubber boots (forget about tucking them in) and gets caught on barbed wire.

I will try to women's double front pants. But I can speculate from your comment that I will have more fit problems. I guess that must mean you and Carhartt consider me a fashion model.

I challenge you and Carhartt to include me in your next field test for clothing fit. I am a real working woman and have been at it for 10 years now. I know what needs to be improved and I am sure I am not the only woman out there that suffers from this problem.

John Mozena said...

I do think that our dungarees would work well for you (I did see your photo of the thorns, ouch...), I hope that the fit works for you. We're not making value judgments with our sizing, we're just trying to serve the largest possible group of working women, based on research and testing into sizes and fits. That's one of the reasons that we offer traditional, relaxed and dungaree fits in women's bottoms, to try to cover as many bases as possible.

We'd love to have you as part of our field testing panel, we're constantly recruiting real people who are tough on their clothes to help us make our products better. You can either sign up yourself at or send me an e-mail at with your contact information and I'll pass it along to our testing coordinator.

And, by the way, even if your "Dear Carhartt..." headline was meant somewhat jokingly, we do appreciate the feedback -- I've forwarded your original post to our designers for our women's line.

- John

Kartek said...


Thanks for the interest from Carhartt. I'll reach out to you once works calms down..hopefully next week. I'll definitely let you guys know how the ladies pants work out for me.

Richard said...

I understand your complaints. I'm a fishery biologist myself, and people who don't work in the field have no idea how important good field gear can be. For the boots, I can recommend these:

They're really durable and comfortable for all day work.

Kartek said...


Thanks for the boot recommendation. I found a pretty decent pair of winter rubber boots, if you check out one of my most recent posts. They're la crosse insulated burly (love the name) boots. Comfortable, warm, and tall. So far so good.