Searching the internet high and low for the best athletic fit jeans on the market? Well, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got all the crisp, comfy denim your Crossfit legs can handle. Because no matter how outlandish and out there menswear will be a nice pair of jeans will always be an unconditional wardrobe essential. Unless, of course, you’re a guy with fantastically developed quads or a naturally fuller figure, in which case jeans are just a (literal) pain in the ass. Even with The skinny jeans era is thankfully behind us, it can be difficult for larger guys to find denim that fits flatteringly and comfortably. Or at least it was before a handful of denim brands began tailoring their denim pants specifically to the needs of thicker physiques. Go into athletic fit, a roomier, more forgiving silhouette that accentuates your legs instead of hiding them under a baggy, JNCO-esque curtain of fabric. If you’re a dedicated leg day practitioner or just the proud owner of a dad stall, these are the best athletic fit jeans for any budget that will look and feel incredible right off the rack.
The best jeans with an athletic fit – an overview
Great tips from guys with big thighs
We consider ourselves pretty big denimheads, but we’re not. So we tapped some real heads with real big thighs for tips on how to find the perfect pair of jeans.
Fit is relative
“There are so many different bodies, and they can all achieve similar looks,” he says Albert Muzquiz, a fashion influencer, actor and denim expert whose resume includes shoots at Self Edge and Heddels. “But they have to look at different carvings that have different names.” There is endless talk about the Levi’s 501 as the ultimate jean. Aside from literally giving birth to a new type of garment, the 501’s iconic fit is basically a benchmark for every other straight-leg silhouette out there. But it doesn’t fit in the same way for a rail-thin body as it will for someone with thunder thighs. You might be looking for a straight leg fit, but you’ll probably have to shop around to find out which models actually offer the fit you want. What is marketed as a slim jean only fits comfortably on a handful of frames. For people who have larger legs, they can achieve a slimmer, tailored look, but they need to look at different models.
Taller jeans are your friends
“I’m looking for a high waist,” says Musquiz. “I tend to find that any jeans that are cut with a high rise almost always have a more accommodating thigh.” Muzquiz also notes that people who exercise a lot tend to have a smaller waist relative to their frame. Because of that, higher-waisted jeans tend to accommodate that difference better. Mahler says he looks for higher-waisted jeans because those jeans sit higher up on the body, which naturally gives you more room in the upper block. Not only does it give the wearer more room, it also allows them to wear the jeans higher or lower, depending on their preference.
Size up and find a tailor
The perfect pair of jeans is like Atlantis – it probably doesn’t exist. Or at least, for most people it doesn’t exist right off the rack. That’s why both Muzquiz and Brandon Mahler, a visuals manager in New York, advocate taking your jeans to the tailor. The jeans journey is enough of a hassle, so why in the name of Ralph Lauren would you add another step to it? Well, you can actually spill more time to look for those Atlantis jeans. What you want to do instead is get yourself a pair of jeans that fit tight enough and take them to the tailor. It’s important to make sure they fit well in the upper block – meaning the area around the hips, seat and crotch – as that area doesn’t stretch very much and is harder for a tailor to adjust. “I tend to size up in a lot of jeans in general,” Mahler points out. “I usually like the leg opening to be a little wider. I would size up and then I would take them to Self edge and be like ‘Yo, take the waist in an inch and a half.’ You can always start bigger and make it smaller.” The waist, thighs, legs and inseam can all be tailored. (Hopefully, you won’t need to have all of these areas adjusted.)
Also, keep in mind that denim changes over time. With wear and washing, the fit will shrink and expand. So once you’ve landed the right pair of jeans in a size that’s close enough, wait until you give them a wear and a wash before taking them to the tailor. And one last plea that could help the distressed denim: “If you can get rid of this little leg opening,” says Muzquiz, “if you can accept straight-leg jeans or even a wide-leg jean in your life, then you have far less trouble finding a good fit.”
The best jeans with an athletic fit
Levi’s 501 can rule most of the world. Even then, it’s not for everyone. The legendary denim brand’s selection of iconic fits, do include a pair of jeans made especially for the thunder thigh’d homies among us. Levi’s 541 cut is the brand’s athletic cut and features a classic medium rise with a roomy thigh and an ever so light, perfectly balanced taper. These jeans won’t give you an extreme thigh-to-seam gap that other jeans fall victim to. Instead, these aim to give you that classic silhouette while keeping your well-endowed thighs in mind.
The best budget jeans with an athletic fit
Don’t let the broad name fool you. (Remember, fit is relative.) Although Uniqlo’s jeans are indeed wide-leg, the generous silhouette will look a little roomy on athletic frames, but definitely not baggy.
Denimhead Approved Athletic Fit Jeans
Denimheads also have thick thighs. There’s no shortage of vintage-y, mid-century reproduction jeans to satisfy the uber-discerning denim lover out there. In fact, smart repro jeans are a good place to look for high-end denim if you’re bottom, as jeans from the era were often very wide. But if you’re looking for something a little more tailored with the pedigree to back up your blue jeans bona fides, 3sixteen’s CT-100x jeans are the pair to slip your legs into.
The best bootcut jeans for big thighs
Okay, so we said fit is relative. Different people can make a straight cut jean look like a skinny jean and vice versa. The bootcut silhouette can’t really be fingered. Slinky, sleazy dressing and cowboy aesthetics are extremely trendy (a revival and reinvention of Y2K fashion), so if you’re gearing up to look your grooviest or need to get your rootin-est, Wrangler’s Cowboy -cut jeans paired with your fancy boots. But as tempting as it may be, don’t go for Wrangler’s slim fit version of the Cowboy cut—the original is better suited to your build.