Check our Instagram for chance to
suffer win a pair of the 33.14oz. “Breaker of Legs” jeans.
I have always been fascinated by heavyweight denim, especially as the definition of “heavyweight” has packed on the ounces over the years. And over that time, there hasn’t been a heavy denim “arms race” so much as a friendly game of oneupmanship. (“I’ll see your 18oz. denim and raise you 22oz…and I’ll buy the beer.”)
I’d always planned on doing a challenge of days-in-ounces, and (un)fortunately for me finally got around to it with these current world record holders…33.14 Damn. Denim. Ounces. The madmen who make them are a trio of Swedes behind the brand SoSo…founders Johan Blom, Jannis Hoff, and owner Fredrik Schoultz. They’re arguably the best “custom” denim makers out there, letting you choose fabrics and trim details that result in one-off finished jeans like no other. They’ve taken a lighthearted approach to the heavyweight denim I endured, but before I tell you about my “month-plus” in their jeans, here are the “SoSo Brothers” with their take on their record breaking Breaker of Legs.
Heddels (John Bobey): In coming up with this idea…what the hell were you guys thinking, and how much alcohol was involved?
SoSo (Johan Blom, Jannis Hoff, and Fredrik Schoultz): There’s always a steady amount of alcohol involved in all our crazy ideas! As Swedes, we are always trying to challenge people to step out of their comfort zone, and get them to actually challenge themselves. We also want the most broken-in denimhead to cry a little bit when trying out our 33.14oz. fabric. Call us sadists if you like, but we enjoy causing the pain, blood, and sweat!
H: Other than setting a new “record,” what inspired you to take on this task?
S: Since we began, we have always taken inspiration from the Canadian brand Naked & Famous and their quest to develop the raw denim game. First time we laid hands on their 32oz., we felt that this is something we would like to do in the future. We also believe in going outside the norm. Raw denim rarely changes and it’s always the same talk about fabrics from Japan, etc.
H: For the uninitiated, what are the benefits of heavier weight denim?
S: Definitely better fades, and longevity—when using heavier denim, the construction of the jeans will probably “fail” far earlier than the actual fabric. With most brands today, the fabric breaks much earlier. Heavier denim also tends to have greater characteristics than the lighter weights.
H: With such heavyweight denim, were there weaving or manufacturing challenges you didn’t anticipate? How did you solve them?
S: There have been a number of challenges along the road, but the most complicated was that the factory making the fabric had to stop all its other production of denim. The machines broke, and they had to upgrade most of them to be able to handle the thickness. They could, in the end, only produce 20 yards per day, which is far less than normal production. But as we all know, problems are there to be solved!
H: What has the wearer feedback been like?
S: We wish we could have had feedback from everyone that bought during the first batch, but we do have four brave souls that entered a prestigious fade competition worldwide. They seem to enjoy the blood, sweat, and tears that goes in wearing a pair in the heat. Someone also said it was like wearing a fire hose.
H: What have been the biggest surprises in taking on this project, both the good and the bad?
S: The biggest surprise is the amount of support we’ve received from the worldwide denim community. Good feedback includes people daring to actually try a pair…congratulations that we managed to get the fabric done and actually made the jeans…and of course encouragement that we’re growing as a brand. Of course, there are always a couple of trolls trying to spread negativity, “It’s not Japanese blah blah,” etc. But the biggest effect has been longer production times (since we’re operating only a small factory), broken nails and cramping hands (buttoning these isn’t easy)!
H: This was a limited release – any plans to make it a permanent part of the collection?
S: Since we’re all about limited editions and dead stock, we will most likely move on to another fun project and let the lucky ones that got their hands on a pair of 33’s be the only ones.
H: Let’s say some other brand comes out with even heavier denim—will you rise to the occasion and outdo them?
S: NO. We already know that Naked & Famous has managed to weave a 40oz denim, but not yet been able to make it into a commercial pair of jeans (as of today). We feel that 33.14oz. is at the breaking point of what anyone, including ourselves, are willing to wear and that can actually be produced while maintaining quality and craftsmanship.
H: Any new Swedish nuttiness we can look forward to?
S: We would like to thank the entire denim community for always sharing their feedback with us and supporting us even though we’re not a huge heritage brand, but rather new to the game. We have major news in the pipeline that we can’t disclose yet, but stay tuned…it will pop up sooner than later!
It’s hard to no not like a company with such spirited leadership who are clearly driven as much by having fun as the bottom line. For instance, SoSo has a giant warning on their 33oz. page that harkens back to old B-movie horror trailers…”Beware–this movie is so terrifying, it could quite literally scare you to DEATH!”
Please make sure that you fully understand the massiveness of this product before you continue with your purchase. There is no return or no exchange if you feel like it’s too heavy for you to wear! Don’t use the belt loops to try putting the jeans on, if they break there’s not many that can fix it!
Then there’s the saga detailing the journey toward these Leg Breakers. In SoSo’s own words:
SOSO’s Super Heavyweight 33.14 oz, or 939g, indigo redline selvedge is woven on the vintage Chinese GA1515 shuttle loom, one of the first generation shuttle looms ever produced for the Chinese denim industry.
The denim is so thick it took the whole factory an extra day to tune the machinery to be able to produce this denim. Believe it or not, but this fabric has already been Sanforized, and the composition is a bulky 5s in yarn size. The warp is composed by three piles of 5s yarn and the weft is composed by two piles of 5s yarn. The warp density is a massive 48 per inch. While Weft density is 19 per inch.
Woven from 100% Xinjiang cotton, which has the same quality as Zimbabwean cotton. The fabric has been rope dyed which, is believed to be the best possible indigo dyeing method for yarn. It holds a dark indigo hue with amazing and thick texture and a clean redline selvedge ID. Producing one pair of the 33’s takes our extremely skilled tailors (that are in the right mood to fight and twist with such a heavy fabric) around 1 day per pair. Other details when creating this pair is our 33 edition patch made out of a 4mm special veg tanned hide. Inside you’ll find a a new print with our 33oz. Swedish viking Sten – The Breaker of Legs.
- 100% Long Staple Cotton Chinese 33.14oz. Rope-Dyed Indigo Selvedge Sanforized Denim
- Zip fly only
- 4mm vegetable tanned 33oz. edition patch
- Double belt loop in the back
- Selvedge waistband lining
- Available for $349 at SoSo Clothing
While not specified for the 33’s, I believe SoSo does all their manufacturing in Bangkok, Thailand, and when ordering a pair (8 left as of this writing!), you can, as is the SoSo usual, choose your own thread color, hardware, etc. So there’s all the facts, but as usual, the facts only tell part of the story.
When these jeans arrived in the mail, all folded nicely, they seemed much like any other pair I’ve received over the years. But when unfurled into their full glory, I knew I was in trouble when the cuff of the leg landed on the floor with a thud. (The cats scurried before that happened…sensing danger like they can with earthquakes.) Keep in mind, these are 150% heavier than a “normal” pair of jeans.
Imagine wrapping a denim rug around each leg and going about your day…or as the SoSo guys relayed, not wearing a fire hose, but fire hoses. These jeans are incredibly hard to button. and mercifully they have a zipper fly or, as Elvis Costello says, “accidents will happen.”
The original goal was to go 33.14 days straight (I was going to do 34 because I’m a “round up” kind of guy), but my plans were thwarted by…sigh…gainful employment. My new colleagues may have understood (“Is it just me or is the new guy wearing the same jeans he’s worn for…three weeks? I thought we were paying him enough to splurge on a second pair of pants?), but I didn’t have the courage to potentially become the subject of office gossip (or possibly bleed indigo all over my new Aeron chair). BUT…I have worn these heavies more than 34 times, so I feel satisfied that I’ve fulfilled not the letter but the spirit of the arrangement.
The first day I wore them, I walked around (not effortlessly, and my wife had to tie my Vans) with the quiet pride of a guy wearing new underwear…a secret only I knew. But they were not comfortable. They were, I can say without reservation, uncomfortable…a second skin in the Silence of the Lambs-style “second skin.”
After a “week”/seven wearings, I felt like maybe I was about to turn a corner, that perhaps they were on the cusp of warming to my form, finally understanding who’s in charge (like fighting Mike Tyson and managing to land a clean jab right on his chin). But as with tagging Iron Mike, the seventh wearing just seemed to make them angry.
What followed was dozens of wearings/straight knock outs, the pants more wearing me than the reverse, upsetting the delicate balance of the denimverse. My movement was restricted, I couldn’t get comfortable in any position, and due to the weighty denim in SoCal summer, my sweating had me adding a black towel to my EDC, as I was constantly concerned about leaving blue assprints all over San Diego. And today, the Leg Breakers look much the way they did on the day they arrived. Viking Sten 1, Writer Bobey 0.
You can deny it if you like, but we in this world of stiff, heritage duds do a lot of dumb shit (and I’m dumber than most). As the rest of the world is being served comfort on a platter, wearing 38-way stretch athleisurewear 99.999% of the time (I’d do a Google image search for “getting married in sweatpants” but I’m afraid of what I’ll find), we’re dressing like indoor plumbing is still a crazy dream of the future…paying top dollar for stiff leather, scratchy wool, and these unyielding SOBs.
And much like the Iron Rangers that were the Breakers of My Feet, these jeans have proven that, just because you can make something that can be worn doesn’t mean it should be. At least not by me. Granted, 34+ wearings ain’t a lot and these are far from their first introduction to water (except my bluish sweat), but it would take A LOT to get these to the point where wearing them was anything more than an academic exercise (and actual exercise…they’re an all day “leg day”).
But to their credit, the Soso boys know this. Their 33s were never intended for mass production, but rather as a test of limitations…of fabric, machinery, and imagination. In that respect, they are a resounding success. Naked & Famous may have cooked up a batch of 40oz. denim, but you won’t find me anywhere near it—a suit of blue armor I don’t want. I am, however, still interested in putting some time into a pair of lighter heavyweights…something in the respectable 20s. I know there are some deep, high-contrast fades out there just waiting for me, and after this SoSo marathon, earning them should be a walk in the park.
Think you can still handle a pair? Check our Instagram for our giveaway with SoSo for the 33.14oz. “Breaker of Legs” jeans.