If you’re a guy with an athletic build, you probably struggle to find jeans that fit. Here are 10 places you can buy athletic-fit jeans.
If you’re a guy with an athletic build, you probably struggle to find jeans that fit. Today we’ll review 10 different pairs of athletic-fit jeans for men.
What Do We Mean by “Athletic?”
“Athletic” isn’t a very precise word when referring to someone’s physique. Using the term “Athletic body type,” one might be referring to the sinewy silhouette of a jockey or the burly build of a highlander caber tosser.
While “athletic build” can mean many different things, for the purpose of this article, we’re referring to guys with thighs and or backsides that are larger than their waists.
Finding the perfect fit for men with an athletic body type (per our definition) can be frustrating. Almost all off-the-rack clothing brands create sizes to fit as many people as possible.
However, this system often overlooks “size minorities,” such as athletic men. While you can certainly get jeans adjusted by a tailor, most men would prefer to find jeans that fit off the rack.
How Should Jeans Fit?
While how jeans fit is essentially a matter of personal preference, the general consensus is that most guys look best in jeans that fit close to the body but are not overly tight.
See our complete guide for how jeans should fit.
Here are our top recommendations:
Levi 531’s offer an athletic fit without sacrificing a sleek, modern look. These jeans are great for active men who are on the slim side.
Lounge around the house or go to the office in these super comfortable extreme motion jeans from Lee.
Barbell is the heavyweight in the realm of athletic-fit jeans. They’ve spent years fine-tuning their fits. Try them out– you won’t be disappointed.
Read on for more info and the complete list…
Where To Buy Athletic-Fit Jeans for Men (10 Options)
Below we’ll review ten different pairs of athletic-fit jeans.
Levi’s are readily available and come in many styles, washes, and sizes at affordable prices. What more can you ask for? Before reviewing jeans for other brands, we’ll start off our list with five different Levi’s options for athletic men.
Levi 511’s are a solid choice for a lot of guys– including many athletic men. However, these jeans are quite narrow above the knee, so 511’s won’t work for you if you have huge thighs.
For a similar fit but with more room above the knee, try Levi 531’s.
The 531 are athletic slim-fit jeans. With a 13.5” leg opening, they have a more aggressive taper below the knee than 541’s but still have extra room built into the seat and thighs.
Levi 531’s are best for guys that are athletic but on the slimmer side (a body type that most clothing brands overlook).
Levi’s 541’s are the brand’s original version of athletic-fit jeans for men. They have extra fabric in the thighs and added room in the seat.
541’s are great for men who can’t wear slim-fit jeans but want something with a more modern look than some of Levi’s more relaxed models.
For reference, the leg opening is about 15.75”.
For an even more relaxed fit and a slightly higher rise, test out some Levi 505’s.
Many weightlifters swear by them.
The 501’s are advertised as the “original” Levi’s fit. These have more of a straight-leg fit than the other Levi’s offerings on our list. Most men will look better in jeans that have some tapering to them. However, 501’s can be a good option for men with larger than average calves (yeah, I’m talking about you cyclists).
If you do opt for a pair of 501’s, make sure that you get the length right. With a looser fit, you’ll want to stay between a slight break and a full break.
Search “Levi’s 501’s” on Google images, and you’ll find that most of the photos show men wearing jeans that “puddle” at the bottom– not a good look.
Lee Men’s Athletic Fit Tapered Leg Jean
As an alternative to Levi 541’s, consider Lee Men’s Performance Series Extreme Motion Athletic Fit Tapered Leg Jean (Whew, that’s a mouth full!). With prices starting at just over $20, you don’t have much to lose.
These jeans are built with comfort in mind. For what it’s worth, the reviews compare them to “maternity pants for men” and “stretchy sweatpants.”
In his Barbell Apparel review, The Modest Man contributor Robert Ordway claims that Barbell Straight Athletic Fit Jeans “put Levi 541’s to shame.”
If you’re athletic and you’ve ever searched for clothes online, then you’ve probably come across Barbell Apparel.
One key to Barbell’s success seems to be offering jeans to athletes of many shapes and sizes. Not many other jeans brands receive accolades from both men who are “5’8″ 127 pounds ”with big shoulders and narrow hips” and 6’1” 260-pound gym rats.
We’ve reviewed Everlane several times here on The Modest Man. It’s a brand that offers quality clothing options at reasonable prices.
If you’re looking for quality organic athletic jeans, look no further than Everlane’s Athletic 4-Way Stretch Organic Jean. These jeans have extra stretch built-in for added comfort and are available in sizes down to 28×28.
I love Everlane’s site because it allows you to sort comments by the height and weight of the reviewer. Of course, height and weight don’t always relate to body type, but this can still be a useful tool that allows you to easily sort through hundreds of reviews.
Jimmy Au’s for Men 5′8″ and Under
Jimmy and his son Alan run “the nation’s only and the world’s largest clothing store dedicated to short men.”
Alan recommends their classic fit jeans for athletic men, though he says their modern fit can work too (for a somewhat slimmer fit). Jimmy Au’s jeans use “forgiving denim fabrics with 2-10% stretch depending on the fabric.”
If you’re a shorter guy that struggles to find clothes that fit and find yourself anywhere near Southern California, be sure to pay them a visit. Seriously, nowhere else will you come across as many racks of hard-to-find sizes. While they don’t currently have an online shop, they do take orders by email ([email protected]).
See our full review of Jimmy Au’s.
Which Athletic Jeans Will You Try?
Finding athletic-fit jeans doesn’t have to be complicated. Search online or go to a store near you and buy a few pairs. Return what doesn’t fit, keep what does. It’s as simple as that.
What denim brands offering athletic-fit jeans did we miss? Share in the comment section below to help out other athletic guys.
As someone who has struggled with this problem, I have been doing well with American Eagle’s stretchier denim. It helps that they go to larger waist sizes, and the smaller leg opening looks good with most sneakers if going for a streetwear-inspired look. They have been leaning heavily into more distressed-looking jeans, but they have some excellent regular cuts with no distressing.