A big problem for guys with more muscular builds is finding jeans that fit.
In fact, finding jeans that fit is a downright pain in the ass (pun intended) if you spend any appreciable amount of time in the squat rack.
Believe us, as two men who practically live in the gym we speak from experience.
That’s why in this article we want to take the guesswork out of finding a pair of jeans that fit and show you exactly which pair of Levi’s jeans are the best for guys with more muscular thighs.
I know what you’re wondering, why Levi's?
Although some menswear snobs might turn their noses up at even the thought of buying a pair of Levi’s jeans, we can’t say that we share their sentiments.
In fact, we feel that Levi’s makes a quality product that is reasonably priced, comes in a variety of styles, and can be found almost anywhere.
That’s why we chose to highlight Levi’s in this article.
This is a guest post by Manny De La Cruz and Eli Dion. They are lifelong fitness enthusiasts turned style aficionados. They are founders of Well Built Style, a website dedicated to helping men around the world overhaul their look through style and fitness.
Now that we got that out of the way, there is just one more thing we need to cover before diving in.
Before we find out which style of Levi’s jeans fit Manny and I the best, I think it’s important to go over some of our vital stats so that you can make some valid comparisons for yourself.
Trust me, this will be helpful when it comes to figuring out which style of Levi’s jeans will fit you the best.
- Height: 5'9″
- Waist: 32″
- Quads: 24″
- Seat: 39″
Manny De La Cruz:
- Height: 6’0″
- Waist: 32.5″
- Quads: 25.5″
- Seat: 40″
Also, since we are discussing jeans, I think it’s worthwhile here to briefly cover what to look for in a pair of quality denim jeans (regardless of brand). Here are our 4 most important takeaways:
- Go with a simple, dark wash. Dark denim goes with almost everything and can be easily dressed up or dressed down.
- Avoid any styles with faux distressing and/or excessive fading as that will make them less versatile.
- Straight leg jeans are a flattering cut on most men and will likely never go out of style. Avoid anything boot cut, flared or excessively baggy.
- Forget about skinny jeans as they do not work for most men – especially men with muscular thighs.
Lastly, I want to mention that in this article we tried on 5 of the most common Levi’s cuts including the 501s, 508s, 511s, 513s, and 514s.
Although Levi’s does make a few more cuts, these tend to be the most common styles you’ll find in most major department stores.
Alright, now that we’ve got all of the background information covered let's dive in and see how each of us fared, starting with yours truly:
Best Jeans for A Man of Average Height – Small Waist – Large Quads – Above Average Seat
I normally like to wear the Levi's 508s in 31×30. In fact, we often recommend that guys (even muscular guys) size down in most garments, but when it comes to jeans it really depends. For example, my waist is 32″ but in the following pictures I'm wearing a 31.
Near the end of the article after Manny's photos, I'll discuss some of the factors affecting your choice to either size up or size down, but for now just realize that jeans will stretch out.
Don’t believe me?
Take a look at the waist in the following images of the 508s (I've owned these for over a year).
As you can see these jeans fit pretty well. There's enough room in the seat and thigh but they also have a tapered leg opening which gives me a nice clean fit over my shoe. A common problem I see for a lot of guys is an excessive pooling of denim near the feet. This is clearly not the case with the 508s which definitely makes them good option.
I should mention that for the remaining styles of jeans I had to try on a 32×30 because the store did not carry any 31s. Although sizing up in the waist does allow for more room in the seat and thighs, the drawback is that you'll have to get the waist taken in so just beware of that.
Levi’s 511s: 32×30
I was able to get into these because the 32″ waist size gave more room in the thighs but these are a definite no. They may look ok but I assure you that everything was far too tight. I could barely move.
However, what I do like about these jeans is the width of the taper at the end of the leg. The 508s above have a similar taper at the bottom but much more room in the seat and the thighs so these 511s are a pass.
Levi’s 513s: 32×30:
As you can see the 513s are definitely a strong contender. They fit much better than the 511s and are actually quite similar in how they fit through the seat and thigh as the 508s.
However, the only problem I have with these is that their leg opening isn’t quite as tapered as the 508s, which makes them look a little sloppy when paired with a dress shoe that has an elongated toe.
I would definitely need the leg opening tailored on these ones. Consider the 513s a maybe.
Levi’s 514s: 32×30
Well, what can I say?
These are a definite NO. Although the seat and thigh fit great (I think they have just a bit more room than the 508s and 513s), the leg opening is far too wide. It almost looks as if they are boot cut.
Terrible. Pass on these.
Levi's 501s and 501s shrink-to-fit (STF): 32×30
This could have been due to the batch of the jean cuts for the 501 STFs but I found that the 501s STF in 32×30 were actually tighter in the thighs and seat compared to the regular 501s.
If you like your jeans to fit a little more comfortably while still maintaining a straight leg, then the 501s are a great option. They actually felt more comfortable than the 508s and 513s simply because they have more room in the seat and thigh.
However, similar to the 514s there is an issue with the size of the leg opening. When paired with my dress shoes they look quite sloppy and goofy. Of course, with that said, there's nothing that a little tailoring couldn’t solve. Verdict: a good option if you need a little bit more room and don’t mind a trip to the tailor.
STF 501s in 32×30:
Regular 501s in 32×30:
The overall lessons from Eli's experience:
Depending on how snug you like your jeans your best options are going to be either the 508s, 513s, or 501s.
- If you're my height and have similar proportions then you may need to find a pair of Levi’s in a 28” inseam. In fact, I actually had to have my 508s chopped down by 2” because of my wonky proportions. The 30″ is just too long for a guy like me unless you plan to cuff, or if you like “stacking” your jeans.
- The 513s and 501s have a leg opening that's far too wide so if you decide to go with either one make sure you get the leg opening tapered.
Best Jeans for A Tall Man – Small Waist – Large Quads – Above Average Seat
Manny De La Cruz:
In case you didn’t note it at the beginning, Manny’s legs are more muscular than mine (1.5″ larger) which requires him to size up in the waist.
In fact, I want you to pay particular attention to the fit of the same cuts of jeans when he moves up a size in the waist because the jeans end up fitting a lot better.
Overall the fit is great through the seat and thighs.
However, similar to my experience with the 501s, Manny found the leg opening a bit too wide so he had them tapered. He also had the waist taken in too.
The 501s are still a good option, but just remember that you will likely have to get them tailored for the best fit.
Here are the 501 shrink to fit (STF) in 34×30.
Keep in mind that Manny also noticed that the STF were slightly tighter than the regular 501s.
Levi’s 508s: 32×32 and 34×30
Here is where you can see Manny’s larger thighs can cause problems. While the 508s fit me well, he stills feel that they're a bit too tight for him even when he sizes up to the 34s. These are a pass for him.
Although they are a pass, I want you to pay special attention to what happens when the waist size of the jeans go up: the seat and the legs expand with more room.
For guys with muscular legs, you have to keep in mind that you might have to go up in the waist in order for the jeans to fit your legs. Of course, this means you'll have to get a tailor to bring the waist in.
Levi’s 511s: 32x30and 34×30
As we mentioned above, the skinny look is not something that we recommend for guys with muscular thighs and this is what the 511s can do to you. One thing to note is that with the 32s (his natural waist size) he couldn’t even do up the fly.
As a note, he had to try on the 30” inseams in both jeans because of a lack of sizes. Regardless, these are definitely a pass for him.
Levi's 513s: 32×32 and 34×30
For his size, these are a perfect fit as long as he sizes up in the waist (they are too tight when he wears the 32s). As you can see, the leg opening is perfect for him too. In fact, the reason why the leg opening is perfect for him but a bit too large for me is because the leg opening is actually not a fixed number for everyone – it all depends on your proportions.
In this case, because his calves are larger than mine the leg opening for the 513s is proportionally similar to the leg opening seen on the 508s on me. Verdict: a solid option.
Levi’s 514s: 32×30 and 34×30
The thigh and seat fit very well and they look much better on Manny than the 514s look on me. However, the leg opening is too wide for him. They'd work but you'd need to take in the leg opening.
The overall lessons from Manny’s experience:
- Because Manny is more muscular he needs to size up in the waist even when it comes to the roomier cuts like the 501s.
- The 513s are a great ready to wear option for Manny. They have enough room in the seat and thigh just like the 501s, but without the extra fabric at the leg opening.
- It's often a good idea to size down in length to the 30″ inseam even for a guy who is 6 feet tall. As you can see in the pictures, there's quite a bit of extra break (fabric folds/bunching) with a 32″ inseam.
So what is the best pair of Levi’s jeans for guys with muscular legs?
- For a man with my proportions, the Levi’s 508s are ready to wear off the rack. However, if you want your jeans to have a bit more room in the seat and thigh, then go with the 513s, 514s or 501s, but make sure to have the leg opening tapered for a cleaner look.
- For a man with proportions similar to Manny's, the Levi’s 513s are ready to wear off the rack. However, if you want to have a bit more room in the seat and thigh, then go with the either the 514s or 501s but make sure to have the leg opening tailored.
- The correct amount of tapering will depend on the size of the leg opening of the jeans compared to the actual size of your legs (calves). For example, the tapering of the 508s is perfect for my legs, whereas the tapering of the 513s is better for Manny's larger legs.
- If you have proportions that are similar to mine, then wear a waist size that's the same as your actual waist or go down by one size. If you have proportions similar to Manny's, then you will need to size up by one size in the waist.
Finding jeans that fit a more muscular build is definitely a challenge.
Our biggest issue tends to be finding something that is roomy enough in the seat and thigh, but that also fits well around the waist.
We hope that with this article that we have taken a lot of the guesswork out of finding a pair of jeans that fit more muscular thighs, particularly if you are on the hunt for the best pair of Levi’s.
But even if you’re not a fan of Levi’s, there is still something that you can learn from our experience: try stuff on.
Experiment with sizing up or sizing down. Try on different cuts and styles etc.
Seriously, it’s the only way that you will find a pair of jeans that fit.
Sure, it will require a little bit of work on your part but you’re no stranger to that. Consider it a small price to pay for being in shape.
Here’s to looking sharp.
This is a guest post by Manny De La Cruz and Eli Dion. They are lifelong fitness enthusiasts turned style aficionados. They are founders of Well Built Style, a website dedicated to helping men around the world overhaul their look through style and fitness. Click here to connect with them on Twitter.