Chuck Norris Action Jeans 🥋
Kickin' Jeans entered the market in the late 1970s, but they would feature in a lot of advertising when they scored an endorsement from Chuck Norris in 1981.
At some point in the eighties, my friends and I discovered martial arts magazines at the corner store. It was like a switch was flipped and suddenly martial art stuff was all we could talk about. We read magazines, played video games, and rented any movie with a martial arts theme. The only thing we didn’t do was learn any martial arts.
Over the years, a few martial artists would rise to the top of our list of favorites, people like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Chuck Norris, Donnie Yen, Sammo Hung, and Cynthia Rothrocks. We all had our favorites. My one friend was obsessed with Chuck Norris above all else. This was before all the internet memes about Norris, but if you talked with my friend, you could get a sense of how those memes would start.
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One day, we were leafing through a magazine, and we saw an ad for Chuck Norris Action Jeans. It stopped us in our tracks. Jeans for martial arts? But how?
The Action Jeans actually started way back in the 1977 as “Kickin’ Jeans” and you can find all sorts of fun ads for them in magazines. Because of their novelty of seeing someone high kick in jeans, most of these have been posted online.
It wouldn’t be until 1981 that the company that made them, Century, entered into an endorsement deal with Chuck Norris and they switched the name. He would remain the name on the jeans for about a decade. With his name attached, you actually started to see the jeans advertised in newspapers.
What set these jeans apart from your ordinary denim?
Well, it was all in the design. These jeans were made with a unique blend of denim and stretch fabric that allows for maximum flexibility and freedom of movement. Whether you're running, jumping, kicking, or doing any other high-intensity activity, Chuck Norris Action Jeans wouldn’t hold you back.
But that's not all! Chuck Norris Action Jeans also feature a reinforced slim gusset crotch, ensuring durability and longevity even during the most strenuous activities. The jeans are also designed with a relaxed fit, providing comfort and ease of wear all day long. So you can go from the dojo to the roadhouse without going home to change. Oh, and let's not forget the Norris’ embroidered signature on the back pocket, reminding you that you're wearing jeans that he would wear.
The thing is, the term “action jeans” wasn’t specific to martial arts themed leg wear. Over the decades, many brands would sell dungarees using that moniker. My friends and I were not aware of this. When one friend got a pair of jeans with the action label and attempted to demonstrate their amazing flexibility, they ripped almost immediately (and his kicks were not very high). They might have been jeans built for action, but not the action required to be a skilled martial artist.
It is fun to look back at these jeans and have a little fun with their style and advertising, but they were meant to be used. They were also popular enough to be brought back in 2015 under the Action Jeans name. It appeared to be for a limited time, but some martial arts supply companies still have them in stock. So if you want to live out your high kickin’ jean-wearing fantasies, you can still pick up a pair at a reasonable price. So, gear up, put on your Action Jeans, and get ready to take on the world in unbeatable style.
I was actually thinking about these jeans just recently. Back in the early to mid 80's, martial arts was all the rage with me and my friends then. I remember all the magazines and renting videos. My personal favorites were Bruce Lee and Sho Kosugi. Enter The Ninja was amazing. I even remember on USA Network back then, they even had "Kung Fu Theater" on the weekends.
Man, I wish that I had had these awesome Action Jeans. They seem way more practical on the playground than my Goldigers. The close-up crotch shot in that one ad is priceless.