I can't bring myself to spend more than $20 for a pair of jeans. I'm glad the Skillers are working for you guys, though...
As fo knee pads:
-I found that I slid around too much with the "hard cap" type.
-Nylon-wrapped foam rubber (the AWP brand from Lowes) has worked very well for me, and they are affordable.
-If I needed more protection, I would look at the "tactical" ones (see www.actiongear.com).
They have stout rubber cups over the foam lining.
Heck, after last week's crawl space, I'm also considering elbow pads!