Punching Day: Kicking Jeans 🌭

Folks: the time has come. There’s been discussion of these on the podcast, and on the Discord, and in the martial arts pit Seanbaby lords over on weekends and alternate Fridays. It’s time for an article-shaped look at a real garment called… Kicking Jeans.

Behold that description. And behold this hyperlink! You can visit that web store right now! You can purchase your own pair*, and experience them firsthand**, and toss this blog in a friggin trash can***!

*As of this writing, Kicking Jeans are only available in adult men’s sizes.

**As of this writing, Kicking Jeans are unavailable in every waist size above 29. I wanted to buy a pair and test them in real life and write about that. But I am too big.

***Your computer or phone is dirty now! Ha ha ha. Ha ha!

“Kicking Jeans” are jeans designed for doing regular stuff and doing martial arts. Which martial arts, you ask? “Multiple”, they reply, because they haven’t finished googling “martial arts style names” and need to stall for time.

Kicking Jeans are the Model T of pants. They’re from decades ago (the 1970s), they’re proudly sold in one color (blue), and they make a statement (such as “hi-yaaa”). But maybe it’s more accurate to call Kicking Jeans the impractical, over-optimistic convertible of pants. From their debut in August 1977, “Kickin’ Jeans” sold themselves as more than clothing. They sold themselves as the gateway to a dream lifestyle.

Special thanks to Shawn Robare and the now-defunct website Branded In The ’80s for preserving screencaps of these vintage ads.

“Finally, blue jeans you can kick in.” Finally. Finally! Finally there’s a product that lets you toggle between walking (boo) and kicking (FINALLY). Do you own a bright red sports car? If you did, you could toggle between obligatory errands and a breezy babe-magnetizing joyride. Kickin’ Jeans make that same promise, in a legs sense. They’re not a unique sales pitch. They are a unique modeling task, challenging clotheshorses to achieve “disco casual” and “I’m dressed optimally for this pummeling” within the same magazine spread.

Hey computer: enhance! Because that advertisement features the most squicky word I’ve learned in a long time.

That’s right: “gusset.” The word “gusset” is the central pillar of Kicking Jeans descriptions. Various ads trumpet a “slim gusset”, “exclusive gusset”, “hidden gusset”, and other flashy synonyms for “we let the crotch out by adding a humongous fabric quadrilateral.”

I’ve read the word “gusset” a dozen times now. I’ve learned it’s a pants thing. I still feel like it means “turkey genitalia.”

Also, “gusset” might be the only consistent word in these ads. Even the jeans’ name went through a few rebrands. As you saw above, they changed names when Literally Chuck Norris became their spokesman. Norris repped “Action Jeans”, and also repped the same product as “Karate Jeans”. In those ads, Chuck demonstrates the pants’ ability to encompass the entire adult male yin and yang of “Karate Master” and “A Second Guy Incapable Of Relaxing.”

The company also turned to an array of spokeskickers beyond Norris. They hired not one but two Ernie Reyeses.

I know that ad feels dated now. Back in the day, America didn’t have Big Government telling Job Creators they couldn’t sell Violence Pants to School Children.

Kicking Jeans also hired somebody called “Bill ‘Superfoot’ Wallace” to spokesleg.

I wish I’d learned about this person sooner. He combines DB Cooper’s face with Braveheart‘s main character’s name. For all I know he is immortal and is all three men. Please: let me have that headcanon. I like it. It’s fun to imagine him kicking open the door of a hijacked plane, shouting a Scottish “hi-yaa.” Also, I need any distraction I can get right now. Whenever my brain idles, it goes full Amadeus on new alt meanings for “gusset.”

Today, Kicking Jeans apparently lack the juice to keep the Celeb Train rolling. But I want to celebrate their modern models (“mod-dels”?). The new no-names are no less striking. Such as this guy, who’s trying to strike you with his fists even though he’s already kicking you.

If an action photo of “Mr. Clean Trying To Aneurysm” didn’t sell you on these pants, nothing will. This blog is over. And if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a date in Seanbaby’s martial arts pit. I sure hope they start offering Kicking Jeans in my size before the big fight!

Alex Schmidt is a Kickin’ Brained writer, Jeopardy! champion, and creator of the Secretly Incredibly Fascinating podcast.