Moleskin always looks right in the countryside

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Moleskin has been around for centuries and moleskin trousers have long been a part of a country wardrobe, thanks to their warmth, comfort and durability. Despite the name, the fabric is not made from moles; it is actually created from densely woven pure cotton.

Shooting Times contributor Matt Cross says: “I do have a pair of moleskins, they are fronted with cordura for bashing through brambles and bracken, they are ace.”

Bill Harriman, Shooting Times contributor and director of firearms at BASC commented:  “I wear a lot of moleskin trousers because I find them warm and comfy. I like pleated fronts, turn-ups where possible and wear green or lovat for shooting or blue and wine for smart casual. I like lots of pockets.  A favourite brand is Hoggs of Fife.”

Hoggs of Fife is also a favourite of Charles Grisedale, Shooting Times contributor. He says: “I choose faux moleskin, ie brushed cotton, every time for day wear. Dark green is a good colour because it hides the muck and moleskin is thick enough to wear to walk through nettles etc. I don’t like turn ups but I do look for good, deep pockets for my pipe, pen knife and the like.

Keen Gun Marcus Janssen who is head of country brands Schöffel and Le Chameau says: “Having a good pair of trousers is essential for both comfort and style when it comes to shooting and your country wardrobe. Moleskin trousers are a great option for when you’re out in the field, perfect due to their durability and warmth but also breathable fabric. For me, the perfect style would be a non-pleated trouser without turn ups for a more formal look. Machine washable moleskin is key after a long, muddy day out shooting. Look for a high quality fabric with stretch (say 98% cotton with 2% spandex).”

Robust

Moleskin clothing came into favour in the 19th century and was first worn by farmers who appreciated its robust qualities. Moleskin trousers, waistcoats and jackets then became popular with managers and owners of estates, who recognised its suitability for rural pursuits and appreciated its looks and softness – it feels like velvet or corduroy, but is much hardier.

Moleskin trousers or jeans are an excellent choice for wearing when you’re out in the field. The fabric protects legs from brambles and thorns without tearing or snagging. It’s also wind resistant and water resistant, so will keep the wearer warm and comfortable. Any mud or dirt can be brushed off and most moleskin trousers are usually easily machine washed and line dried.

Versatile

Moleskin will take the wearer from lunch or dinner in the country through to walking the dog, meeting friends in the pub, a spot of gardening or out shooting.

Colours

Moleskin trousers come in a variety of styles and colours – as tailored trousers, chinos or jeans. They also look perfect with a Tattersall shirt or tweed jacket (you’ll find our list of best tweed jackets here.)

Our pick of the best moleskin trousers around

Top choice

1.Hoggs of Fife Monarch Moleskin Trousers £56.07

moleskin trousers hoggs of fife

Best for value and a top choice

  • Material: 16oz 100% cotton moleskin
  • Colours: Blue, green, lovat
  • Sizes: 30-48
  • Length: S, R, L

These are our top choice because we think they represent excellent value, style and durability. In a heavy weight 16oz moleskin, these classic cut moleskin trousers have a button fastening, five lined pockets with a bound lining, zip fly, a hook and button closure plus superior strength and abrasion resistance. The result is a smart tailored appearance. Hoggs of Fife is also one of Charles Grisedale and Bill Harriman’s favourite brands.

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2. Laksen Mens Broadlands Trousers £54.95 (was £109)

Laksen mens moleskin trousers

Best smart alternative to chinos in cold weather

  • Material: 100 cotton
  • Colour:  Bronze, loden, navy, gorsy
  • Sizes: 30-48

With two side pockets, two back pockets, belt loops and a zip and button fly fastening, these moleskins have everything you need. Oh, and there’s also an anti-slip band at the waist so they won’t nudge their way down.

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3. Lothbury Moleskin Trousers from Boden now £49 (was £98)

Boden moleskins

Best half-price bargain

  • Material: 100 cotton
  • Colour:  Olive green, navy
  • Sizes: 30-44
  • Hemming available
  • Dry clean only

At this price you could buy a pair in each colour. Boden clothes have a strong following because they’re well priced and good quality. These flat front trousers have side pockets and a zip fly. Perfect for wearing with a sweater or smartening up with a jacket and tie.

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4. Moleskin Trousers by House of Bruar £89.95

best moleskin trousers

 

Best for colours

  • Material: 100% cotton
  • Colours: Dark tan, beige, blue, dark brown, aubergine, garnet, loden, navy
  • Sizes: 32/31 to 44/33
  • Care: Machine wash inside out at 30 degrees, dry flat, finish with cool iron. Dry cleanable.

These trousers have a button and side clasp, a buttoned rear pocket and a French bearer, to keep the front of the trousers flat. They come in a veritable rainbow of colours, to suit whatever you are doing.

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5. Men’s Moleskin Jeans by House of Bruar £69.95

best moleskin jeans

Best for a winter alternative to coloured jeans

  • Material: 98% cotton, 3% elastane
  • Care:  Machine wash inside out at 30 degrees, dry flat, finish with cool iron. Dry cleanable.
  • Colours: Ancient blue, aubergine, dark tan, dark brown, navy, ochre, olive, red, rust
  • Sizes: 32/31 to 44/33

If you fancy a change from denim, then these moleskin jeans would be perfect (and just that bit smarter and warmer). Made in a traditional five-pocket style that is a classic.

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6. Ladies Moleskin Jeans by House of Bruar £69.95

ladiesmoleskin jeans

Best for a colourful winter alternative

  • Material: 98% cotton, 2% elastane
  • Care:  Machine wash inside out at 30 degrees, dry flat, finish with cool iron. Dry cleanable.
  • Colours: Ancient blue, aubergine, dark tan, dark brown, navy, ochre, olive, red, rust
  • Sizes: 8-20

Cut for the female figure, these cosy yet flattering moleskin jeans will look stylish in a country pub or walking the dog.

7. Men’s RM Williams Heavyweight Moleskin Jeans £134.95

heavyweight moleskin jeans

 

Best for robust longevity

  • Material: Luxury sueded finish 15oz moleskin fabric
  • Care: Machine washable
  • Colours: Bone, doeskin, navy
  • Sizes: 32-44
  • Lengths: R, L
These are heavier weight moleskin trousers in a traditional five pocket jeans style. They are pre-shrunk, dependable and classic with a luxurious sueded finish both outside and inside to keep you warm even when the elements are doing their worst.

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8. Dolby Moleskin Jeans by House of Bruar WAS £59.95 | NOW £39.95

Dolby moleskin jeans

Best for a bargain buy

  • Colours: Mushroom, navy, olive, ruby red
  • Sizes: 34-48
  • Length: S, R, L

Designed for comfort and fit, these soft cotton moleskin jeans should last and last.

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9. Rydale Mens Moleskin Trouser Olive Green or Tan Beige Cotton Fabric Hunting Country Trousers

Rydale mens moleskin trousers

Best for everyday

  • Material: 100% Cotton
  • Colours: Olive, red, sand, lovat
  • Sizes: 32-46
  • Length: S, L

A smart pair of moleskin trousers you could wear in town or on a country walk. At this price you could have them in a couple of different colours.

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10. Walker & Hawkes – Mens Classic Moleskin 100% Cotton Trousers .95

Best for tradition and value

  • Material: 100% cotton
  • Colours: Olive, beige, navy
  • Sizes: 30-48
  • Length: Short

A traditional trouser cut in a straight, regular style. Deep quarter pockets will hold your bits and pieces and your legs will stay warm and protected when you’re out and about.

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Schoffel Mens Moleskin Trousers £119.95

schoffel moleskin trousers

Best for luxurious feel

  • Material: 98% cotton 2% spandex
  • Colours: As shown
  • Sizes: 32-40
  • Machine washable: Yes

Plenty of pockets here from the popular brand Schōffel. Two back pockets secured with buttons and two front slanting pockets. In a soft brushed heavier fabric your legs will stay warm and protected and you’ll smart both in the office or at weekends.

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See our list of the best waterproof trousers here.

This article was originally published in 2021 and is kept updated.