For most men, jeans aren’t just a part of their wardrobe: they’re a part of everyday existence. The choice between wearing jeans and some other kind of pants for casual occasions is easy.
But, as important as jeans are, finding the best jeans for men – including the Levi’s Men’s 511 Slim Fit Jean – is sometimes tricky. We’re here to help, however, with a review of what we think are the best men’s jeans, as well as some buying and sizing tips.
The task of buying jeans is just too important not to take it seriously. Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
Before you buy: 9 Things to consider when purchasing jeans
The 9 best jeans for men 2020
Choosing your jeans size & getting the right fit
Are jeans different from pants?
How we chose our best jeans for men
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Before you buy: 9 Things to consider when purchasing jeans
Shopping for jeans used to be easy. Your choices were fairly limited and your biggest decisions involved color (blue or black) and cut (and most came in a fairly standard cut).
It’s been quite awhile since it was that easy.
Today, you’ll find jeans in a vast variety of colors, fit, and finish, and finding the best pair for you and your size may be a bit daunting. But we have your back with some jean-buying tips that should help you get the best look and fit possible.
The best-looking, best-made pair of jeans in the world won’t give you any satisfaction if they don’t fit. The fit isn’t everything when it comes to jeans, but it’s at the top.
We’ll get to the fit and sizing of jeans a bit later in this post, but make sure you know your waist size and trouser length before you buy.
An often critical buying error occurs when you don’t try on your jeans first before buying them; what fits in your size with one style may not fit the same with another.
Take advantage of changing rooms! You’ll not only get a sense of how they feel, but most dressing rooms come with mirrors so that you can check out the fit from all angles.
Of course, many people prefer to shop online, which means buying jeans without first trying them on. If that’s your shopping preference, then you might be better off sticking with a certain brand that you know fits perfectly according to your size.
2. Look for Craftsmanship
Check for the finer details when buying jeans, such as zippers, stitching, and pockets. Many people prefer pockets with minimal branding on them, while you should also check to make sure the pockets are well-sewn and easy to open.
Also, your jeans should look naturally worn-in and include branded rivets and accessories – such as buttons, care tags, and leather patches. All are signs of quality craftsmanship.
3. Consider a Simpler Look
If you’re unsure of which style you prefer, it’s OK to buy jeans that are simple and classic. Don’t buy jeans with too much on them, but choose those that have a more subtle look (and are versatile).
There’s nothing wrong with buying a less expensive pair of jeans, especially if you’re on a tight budget.
The biggest downside is that you may have to replace them more often, and the overall quality may not be quite as good as pricier jeans, but you can also extend their lifespan by taking extra care when washing them.
5. Check the Stretch
Stretch and comfort are important – as well as part of the overall fit – and most jeans have a slight amount of stretch built into them thanks to the elasticity built into them.
Check the label for fabric blends that include elastic like spandex, or linen. You’ll appreciate the freedom of movement those jeans give you.
6. Don’t Stress Too Much About Body Type
While we’ll talk more about body type later, men have it a lot easier than women when it comes to jeans, because women often must think about buying jeans that accentuate their natural curves, or hide them.
Again, the jean’s fit is crucial, and a more classic fit is better for relaxed activities.
7. You, Too, Can Wear Skinny Jeans
Some men cringe at the thought of wearing skinny jeans. But if you’re one of them, at least consider that you might look good in a pair of them. With the right cut, you can make a tighter-fitting jean work for you, and it may give you a look of refinement and sophistication.
8. Dark is Good
If you’re confused about what color to pick, or whether you should wear jeans with a lighter shade, then make dark your default hue. Darker jeans are good for day and night activities and, in many cases, all you’ll need to do is make a shirt change.
9. Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment
Don’t be afraid to stretch the boundaries if you’re looking for something beyond a traditional cut and style of jeans. The warmer months are a great time to push the envelope a bit, such as cuffing your jeans or rolling them up for a day at the beach.
Now that we’ve covered some buying tips let’s move on to our reviews of the best men’s jeans 2020.
The 9 best jeans for men 2020
1. Levi’s Men’s 511 Slim Fit Jean
Slim fit jeans represent a popular and trending style these days and fit nicely with the super skinny and baggy jean trends, and is a great mix of both styles.
Levi’s 511 Slim Fit Jean is representative of the slim fit trend and comes with a slightly tapered leg – but not too tapered – and a leg opening that measures 14.5 inches. They sit just below the waist with a slim fit that extends from hip to ankle.
The finishing on the 511 comes in a variety of colors, all of which offer a worn-in look. They also come with five pockets, and a zip fly with button closure.
The folks at Levi’s advise that you hand-wash them in a tub of cool water (while they’re inside-out).
Let them soak for up to 30 minutes with mild detergent and gently swirl them around to help get rid of any stubborn sediment. When finished, place them on a clothesline to dry.
Some reviewers say the sizing is inconsistent between colors
Most reviews of the best quality men’s jeans wouldn’t be complete without a pair of Levi’s in there somewhere. It’s an iconic brand, for sure, but they haven’t come this far without knowing what they’re doing – and their Slim Fit 511 jean is an instant classic.
2. Wrangler Authentics 5-Pocket Regular Fit Jeans
You can trace Wrangler’s history back some 70 years when they first were introduced and became a preferred brand for many American cowboys. Hell, they’re the only jeans endorsed by the Pro Rodeo Cowboy Association.
Wrangler jeans have come a long way since then while losing none of the durability, fit, and relaxed style that’s still favored by people with rough-and-tumble jobs.
But today’s Wranglers, including their popular 5-Pocket Regular Fit Jean, combine function and style that’s great for everyday use, even if you don’t wear them on the job.
As the name implies, these jeans feature a feature fit that includes classic five-pocket styling and sizing that allows them to sit at the waist naturally.
They’re made of durable 100% cotton and also available in Premium Flex Denim that includes polyester, rayon, and spandex to provide an even better stretch.
We also like Wrangler’s heavy duty “hardware” that includes a zipper fly, button closure, and embroidered (but not blinged) back pockets.
Stylish and functional
Waistline may be slightly snug
Wrangler earns its reputation as one of the best men’s jeans brands in the world today. Their Authentics Men’s Classic 5-Pocket Regular Fit brand is durable, comfortable, and stylish. It’s hard to beat that combination, and they’re the most comfortable men’s jeans.
3. Calvin Klein Men’s Straight Fit Denim Jeans
Calvin Klein manages to pull off the ideal balance between snug and loose with its men’s Straight Fit Denim Jeans. The result is a comfortable pair of jeans that look great in any casual situation and even in some more formal outings.
Like Wrangler and Levi’s, Calvin Klein has a powerful brand name to back it up, but their jeans are worthy of attention by more than name only.
Made of cotton and elastane – an elastic, polyurethane commonly used in clothing – their Straight Fit jeans feel comfortable the first time you wear them.
CK’s Straight Fit Jeans sit slightly below your natural waistline and has a slim fit through the hip and thigh and a slightly narrower fit at the ankle.
But, again, it’s not a true “slim-fit” jean because of its slightly more relaxed look and feel. They also have a nice stretch to them, but just enough to allow for easy movement.
These jeans come in a medium to dark blue color that has a slight fade in the thigh area to provide the perfect somewhat-worn look.
They have five pockets – including a smaller coin pocket within one of the front pockets – and roomy back pockets that include Calvin Klein’s signature omega stitch design.
You’ll also find the Calvin Klein logo on the back of the jeans – through which you can loop your belt – in faux leather.
Whether you wear the Straight Fit Jeans with a smooth button-down shirt or a T-shirt, you’ll achieve a cool, casual look that others will admire.
Casual, cool look
Comfortable from the start
May run a bit large in the waist
Another pair of excellent jeans from a top brand name. With Calvin Klein’s Straight Fit Denim jeans, you’ll look good for many occasions.
4. OKilr Pijk Vintage Skinny Fit Destroyed Cotton Denim Jeans
The distressed (i.e., torn and ripped) style of jeans isn’t out of style yet. At least not in 2020, that is, OKilr Pijk’s Vintage Skinny Fit Destroyed Cotton Denim Jeans represent a look that many men still admire.
With open rips on both knees, the Skinny Fit Destroyed Jeans fit perfectly under the “distressed” label but still maintain a fashionable look that makes them OK for a variety of casual activities and even some semi-formal – particularly for someone younger.
This line of OKilr Pijk’s jeans has a tight fit with an edgy style but are fully functional with five pockets and a concealed zipper in front and a button fastener.
Yes, the distressed look is here to stay – for now – and can be a fashionable style when treated with the proper respect and, with jeans like OKilr Pijk’s Vintage Skinny Fit brand, your look won’t like it’s bordering on bad taste.
The skinny fit style that many men like
Tasteful enough for a variety of occasions
Sizing runs small in some cases
You’ll love these jeans if you prefer the distressed style and want to wear it in a way that seems fashionable and not in bad taste. They also have a comfortable fit.
5. Nudie Jeans Lean Dean Jean in Dry Cold Black
Nudie Jeans company is making a name for itself for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is its line of quality jeans.
Nudie’s black Lean Dean Jeans represent a strong reputation for craftsmanship and attention to detail that helps set it apart from many other companies.
It’s a slim-fit jean without the worn-in look – you’re responsible for “breaking them in” – and has a distress-free finish (which means no artificial tears or rips).
The jeans come with encouragement to wear them consistently for six months to realize natural-looking wear and tear.
Made of 99% cotton and 1% Elastane, the men’s Lean Dean Jean has a relatively narrow leg opening and includes the traditional five-pocket style and a zipper fly with button closure.
Their quality jeans notwithstanding, Sweden-based Nudie has earned a reputation for its “caring capitalism” business model that places a huge emphasis on social responsibility and high ethical values.
Social responsibility to them, for example, includes paying workers in India (where they get some of their cotton) living wages instead of just a minimum wage.
Nudie’s emphasis on core values combined with quality products has definitely made it a company to watch.
Slim, comfortable fit
Age well (especially once they look worn-in)
Inconsistent fit if bought online
These are excellent jeans from a company that cares about more than simply making a profit. You’ll look good, feel good, all while knowing that you’re buying from a transparent company.
6. Levi’s Men’s 501 Original-Fit Jean
Talk about an icon. And that’s perhaps the best way to describe Levi’s 501 Original-Fit Jean because it’s truly iconic. After all, what else there to say about jeans which date to 1873 and still earn kudos for style and comfort?
We include Levi’s 501s on our list not because of their remarkable history, but because they continue to be a style favored by many, including big-name artists such as Beyonce, Kanye West, and the late Kurt Cobain.
There’s nothing overly fancy about the 501 Original-Fit Jean, but there’s no need to fix something if it’s not broken, to paraphrase a popular adage.
There’s not even much different from today’s 501 than there is from the original, although – as Levi’s puts it – it’s been “remastered.” For instance, the construction of the fly was modified in 2013 to help prevent tearing in that area of the jean.
But the style remains much the same today, including its straight-leg design and the signature stitching on the rear pocket. It’s still made of 100% cotton and has enough stretch to make it comfortable without feeling too loose.
It also has the classic straight-leg fit, while copper stud rivets help reinforce the denim. Oh, and it also has a button fly, which sets it apart from many other jean styles.
Some reviewers say the fabric isn’t as thick as in the past
While some reviewers suggest today’s Levi’s don’t hold up to past standards, we still think they’re damn good jeans. You’ll like the fit, comfort, and style.
7. ZLZ Slim Fit Jeans
ZLZ Slim Fit Jeans are said to make men look younger, but you should proceed with caution. Why? Because they’re skinny-fit jeans and work best if you have the body shape to make them work.
That said, they’re among the best skinny jeans for men today and have a distinctive look that helps separate them from all the rest. Here’s another thing: they’re very comfortable because they have a lot of stretch to them, unlike some skinny jeans.
Also admirable is the craftsmanship that goes into ZLZ Slim Fit Jeans.
They have triple stitching on the inseam that ensures durability; they have a generous cut that helps make your legs appear longer, and they come in a variety of colors – all of which are tested in multiple washings to ensure that they don’t fade.
The ZLZ jeans also include a five-pocket design, a sturdy zipper, and an overall classic style that looks great in any casual situation, as well as in some more formal occasions.
Note: Be wary of buying fake ZLZ jeans. Zhuole is the only seller of the ZLZ brand, so look at the label carefully before making your purchase.
Limited amount of sizes
ZLZ Slim Fit Jeans represent a solid buying option for anyone who’s into skinny jeans. They’re comfortable, stylish, and suitable for a variety of occasions.
8. Lee Modern Series Extreme Motion Slim Straight Leg Jeans
Lee developed its Extreme Motion line of jeans with active men in mind, but also for any man who appreciates a little extra room in the seat and thighs.
Not that these jeans are baggy, mind you, because they’re a slim-fit, straight-leg design, but they provide unmatched comfort for their style.
That’s not a surprise, however, because Lee is committed to creating jeans that conform to your body and not the other way around.
In short, the Lee Modern Series Extreme Motion Slim Straight jeans have enough stretch and room but don’t look like they fit loosely on your lower body. And another reason to like them is their elastic waistband that’s inspired by the needs of athletic, active men.
It’s a waistband that lets you bid adieu to that binding feeling you get with some other jeans.
They also come with a modern-looking tapered leg that also fits comfortably.
Conform to the shape of your body
Stretchy but not too baggy
Ideal for active men
Size may run long
Lee makes quality jeans, as evident by their Modern Series Extreme Motion Slim Straight Jeans. They’re comfortable, non-binding, and look great.
9. Silver Jeans Co. Men’s Zac Relaxed Fit Straight Leg Jeans
Silver Jeans technically began as the Western Glove Works in 1921, but it wasn’t until 70 years later when they expanded to include their line of jeans. After starting with a unisex brand of jeans called “Frisco,” they now have something for everyone.
And, keep in mind, that they’ve been designing denim for nearly a century.
Their craftsmanship shows in their men’s Zac Relaxed Fit Straight Leg Jeans, which are made of 100% cotton and have a laid-back, comfortable feel that we think you’ll enjoy thanks to just the right amount of stretch.
But there’s also more to like:
Reinforced stitching on the seas and belt loop ensure that there’s no ripping
They’re crafted in durable, premium strength denim
Each size has its own proportioned back and pocket size
The front pockets are inserted into the fly area for a smooth look and feel.
The Silver Jeans Co. men’s relaxed fit straight leg jeans also have classic five-pocket styling, a zip fly, and button closure.
Ideal amount of stretch
Laid-back look and feel
Some customers experience sizing issues
Silver Jeans might not have the instantly-noticeable brand name as heavyweights such as Levi’s and Wrangler, but they make excellent jeans and their men’s relaxed fit jeans are a strong seller on Amazon. They’re comfortable, well-crafted jeans.
Choosing your jeans size & getting the right fit
We already discussed how finding the right fit before you buy a pair of jeans is of utmost importance – and may be the biggest factor of all when making your final choice.
If your jeans don’t fit right, they probably don’t look right, and then it becomes a question of “what’s the point?”
And that begs the question, “So, how do I know it’s the right fit?” Let’s take a closer look to come up with an answer, or answers.
1. A few general rules of the road
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind before you try on your jeans, or as you’re trying them on for that matter:
Get measured if you’re unsure – When in doubt, measure yourself – including waist size and inseam length – before grabbing a pair of jeans off of the shelf. Guessing is OK, and you may want to try a couple of different sizes as you seek the best fit, but at least start with a size that’s in your ballpark.
Try on a size that’s smaller – Men often tend to wear jeans that are too big and result in bulk in the wrong places. Try on a pair that’s a size smaller than your normal. You shouldn’t be able to put more than two fingers between the jean’s waistband and your stomach. If you can, the jeans are probably too big.
Check the stretch – Do a few leg-type stretches in your jeans. Does stretching make you feel that you’re interrupting your blood flow? Or, is getting into a simple crouch next to impossible? If so, do yourself a favor and find a more comfortable pair of jeans.
2. The Waist
How your jeans fit at your waist goes a long way toward determining their overall comfort.
We just mentioned that too many men choose a waist size that’s too loose; a perfect fit, on the other hand, would be one in which you don’t need a belt to keep your jeans from falling to your ankles.
Jeans (should) fit a bit lower than suit pants and their waist should rest on the mid to upper hips, but nothing below that. Your goal is for your waist to sit in a way that they don’t look droopy on your backside – that leads us here:
3. The Ass (pardon our language)
The seat of your jeans should lightly hug your buttocks without being too saggy or too tight.
You’ll know that they’re too tight when it feels like they’re going to split when you squat or sit down, but you don’t want them to sag either. They should be firm but not as tight as a boa constrictor’s grip, by any means.
4. The Length
The length is a critical factor in choosing the right pair of jeans for you. Something to consider is that many men’s tailors suggest that men usually have a smaller inseam than they think.
If you do find a pair that’s too long but otherwise a perfect fit, you can have them hemmed by a tailor to the proper length (and it’ll only cost you a few dollars).
Another general rule of thumb regarding the proper length of jeans is that they should be long enough to cover your socks, but short enough not to hide your shoes. It’s a look that gives your outfit a neat finish without drawing too much attention to it.
Straight cut jeans present more of a relaxed look than skinny fit jeans but look best in a tapered style that pinch ever-so-slightly at the ankle. Doing so ensures that you won’t cover your shoe with a wave of denim.
A turned-up look works well for skinny fit jeans. That includes turning them up with a single roll at the bottom, or a double cuff (with each roll representing one inch). If they still don’t look right, take them to a tailor.
5. Common Fits
Jeans are often labeled by fit:
Skinny – Skinny jeans, the popular new kid on the block when it comes to jean styles, have a tighter fit with a tapered opening and usually a low to mid-rise (we’ll talk about rise shortly).
Slim – Slim fit jeans are tight but not too tight, and loose but not too loose. They’re slimmer through the thigh and have a narrower leg opening.
Regular – Regular jeans feature a mid-rise and a larger leg opening than skinny and slim fit jeans. They’re also straight in the hip and thigh.
Relaxed – A “relaxed” fit jean includes a loose fit from the waist to the leg opening and won’t feel tight on any part of your body, as long as you’ve properly sized them, that is.
Loose – Loose fit jeans are just what their name suggests, i.e., they have a baggy fit with plenty of space in thighs, legs, and ass.
6. The Rise
The rise of your jeans refers to the measurement from the crotch to the waistband, and it basically comes in these measurements:
High Rise – These are great for bigger men and look great when worn with an untucked shirt.
Mid-Rise – Mid-rise jeans work best for men who prefer to tuck in their shirt.
Low-Rise – Low-rise jeans present a more casual look and relaxed appearance.
Low-Crotch – This style is saggy at the hips, seat, and rear. If you think you can pull off this look, then more power to you.
7. Body Shape
Last, but not least, is your body shape, which is an important factor when finding the right size and fit for your jeans. Here’s how to find the best fitting jeans for men by body type.
If you have a slender build, characterized by smaller shoulders, lean muscles, and a flatter chest, then straight leg jeans with a low rise will flatter your body type. You should avoid wide leg and baggy jeans, while skinny jeans make you look even slimmer and create a sloppy appearance. Meanwhile, high-rise jeans will make your butt look flat.
For men with an athletic build – a slim waist, muscular legs, and buttocks – then you should choose slim fit, straight leg jeans that help show off your toned body. Stay away from baggy jeans that hide your body’s form, while regular fit jeans with wide legs will make your legs look larger than your upper body.
If you’re a muscular man, someone who has a stockier build and kills it on your gym’s squat rack, shop for regular fit jeans with a wider leg because it accentuates your build. Meanwhile, avoid boot-cut jeans and skinny jeans that make you look heavier.
If your build includes wide hips – hips that are wider than your waist, that is – you’ll typically look best in relaxed-fit jeans that don’t stretch across your groin, or loose jeans with a wide leg and seat that are comfortable and create a casual appearance. You should avoid skinny jeans and low rise jeans; the latter place too much emphasis on your wider hips.
If you have a large waist, loose-fitting jeans are your best option, especially those with a straight cut and wide leg. You won’t go wrong with relaxed fit jeans, either. You shouldn’t wear skinny or slim-fit jeans, and flared or boot cut jeans make your legs look wider.
If you’re a short man, the best bet is to avoid jeans that are too skinny or baggy. Skinny jeans will make your legs appear too thick (many stocky men have thicker-than-normal legs) while baggy jeans make your legs appear too stumpy.
That said, straight or slim cut are the best jeans for short men.
Are jeans different from pants?
Technically, almost everything you wear on the lower half of your body – that’s not a loincloth or kilt or, you know – may be classified as pants. Including jeans. But jeans are different from pants, however.
First of all, jeans consist of denim and are more rugged – and youthful – in appearance than pants. Their history dates to the latter half of the 19th century (thanks to Levi Strauss) and they’re worn all over the world.
The term “jeans” comes from a certain style called blue jeans, i.e., the style invented by Strauss and his sidekick Jacob Davis. They were initially worn by cowboys, miners, and other men who had tough, rugged work that put too much stress on regular trousers.
These days, jeans still hold up well for the toughest of jobs but also have become a popular fashion item – especially since the mid-20th century when younger people started gravitating toward them and made wearing them “cool.”
Today’s jeans come in my color and designs, including skinny jeans, tapered jeans, low-waist jeans, and much more. Jeans are best for casual occasions although you’ll occasionally see men wearing them in modern office settings.
You wouldn’t be – technically speaking, that is – wrong if you referred to jeans as pants, but some people might not get that you’re talking about jeans when you say “pants.” Again, they’re two different garments of the same thing, if that makes sense.
Pants, or trousers or pantaloons or slacks or chinos … and so on, come in different types but, generally, refer to more formal wear than jeans. Most men wear pants to work, not jeans, and pants are appropriate to almost every formal occasion.
Note: pants also work in many casual settings, as well.
Pants consist of a lighter fabric than jeans and certainly have a “dressier” look. Also, pants come in many styles and colors.
How we chose our best jeans for men
Jeans are everywhere and have been for many, many years and consumers have plenty of buying options. For our purposes, selecting what we think are the best jeans for men entailed many factors – from the fit, to comfort, to style, and price.
We also wanted to include a variety of styles, including slim-fit, regular-fit, and skinny leg jeans. And our goal was to include something that works for every body size and shape.
We also paid close attention to the reviews of consumers, whose overall feedback provides the kind of information that’s otherwise hard to find.
Well, that wraps up another review, and we hope you found it beneficial. Do you have a favorite brand or style of jeans? Have you worn any of the jeans listed here? Your comments and suggestions are always welcomed.