Denim jeans were born out of necessity. Gold miners who were working non-stop in the hills of California with hopes of coming across a fortune needed a pair of pants that were tough enough to keep up with their hard, never-ending work. Levis Strauss was the first to provide those workers with exactly that. His tough, riveted pants made from unused sails in the San Francisco harbor held together for longer than anything else available – making them incredibly popular and sought after. So much so, in fact, that as the gold rush turned into more of a trickle, the interest in denim stayed constant.
Jeans, first used by wild prospectors digging mines or blasting away mountains in search for precious metal, even to this day symbolize a kind of rugged individualism that has been a part of the American west’s psyche since its earliest days. They were as much a character in Rebel Without A Cause as James Dean was, and they were a natural pick for the Hells Angles as they rode stoned and wild eyed up and down California’s coast in the 1960s.
For guys who are looking for a tried and true casual look, denim is a natural first choice. Yet, as the number of cuts and brands have exploded in the past couple of decades – it can sometimes seem hard to grasp where to start. In order to make the pickings a little easier, we trudged through all of the offerings we could come across and tried to narrow it all down to 25 of the best denim jeans for men.
Mott & Bow Crosby
A pair of jeans for the guy looking for the perfect balance of quality and bang-for-your-buck. Mott & Bow’s ‘Crosby’ sport a classic look, courtesy of their dark indigo 12.2 oz denim paired with the mid-rise and slim fitting cut. Thanks to the addition of a little bit of elastane in the fabric (roughly 2%), wearers will still get a good deal of flexibility along with the close fitting wear.
Taylor Stitch Democratic Jeans
100% American made denim jeans are not easy to come by. This pair from Taylor Stitch, however, are made with 14.25 ounce denim from Cone Mills in North Carolina and built in San Francisco California with all American hardware. As far as the fit of the jeans, they are more traditionally loose but still tailored for a slightly more modern look. All things said – an ideal pick for the guy looking for a loose, comfortable, and stylish fit.
H&M x Kenzo Skinny Jeans
If the skinny look is more your style, you should check this pair of jeans from the collaboration between H&M and designer Kenzo Takada. These five pocket jeans have a kind of rock-star look to them with the super slim fit and black cotton build. When you consider the fact that they’re a pair of designer jeans, the price point isn’t all that bad either.
Unbranded Brand UB151 Skinny Fit
Unbranded Brand is, as you may have guessed, all about quality without the flair. Instead of trying to grab your attention with different washes, special branding, or embroidery, they stake all of their work on letting the quality of their craftsmanship speak for itself. Their UB151 is a good example of this. Made from sanforized 21 ounce rope-dyed indigo denim, these slim and straight jeans have a fresh and quality look to them that’ll turn any denim fan’s head.
Naked And Famous Black x Red Stretch Selvedge
For the fan of black denim or the guy looking for a subtle but noticeable touch to his casual wear – these jeans from Naked and Famous are worth considering. Made from a Japanese cotton polyester blend (98% cotton and 2% PU, more specifically) they offer all of the durability and style of selvedge without the break-in time. As far as fit goes – this pair features the ‘weird guy’ fit from the Canadian brand that is slim and medium rise but tapers from the knee down. To top it all off, simply cuffing these at the bottom hem make for a more stand-out and attractive look.
Buck Mason Boss Slim Fit Jean
Not everything has to be made from a heavy selvedge denim. These jeans from Buck mason are made to look and feel like your favorite pair of worn-in jeans. They’re made from 13.5 ounce denim that has been both washed and hand sanded to bring out a light blue from the knee up. They feature a slightly lower rise and a slim straight leg for a clean, modern look.
Crawford Denim Straight Selvage Jean
This pair of selvage jeans from Crawford Denim are made from 100% cotton red line selvage and include an extra couple of inches for you to hem or cuff at your own discretion. The more you wear this pair – or really any pair of selvage denim jeans – the more they will break in to your own specific gait. In addition to the great fit and quality materials, the exclusion of high-contrast stitching make it so these jeans take on a different look than others on the market. It is wild what a small change can do to a piece of clothing.
A.P.C. Denim Petit Standard Jean
French design, Japanese materials, modern style. A.P.C.’s Petit Standard straight low rise 12.75 ounce denim jeans are simple, straightforward, and quality made. They feature a blend of cotton and polyurethane materials that have the look and feel of a classic pair of jeans with the give you’d want from a pair of slacks.
BLK DNM Fulton Black
The Fulton Black jeans from BLK DNM have a classic, aggressive Rock ’n’ Roll look to them that you usually only come across in dark and loud clubs or archival photographs from punk’s heyday. With a tight fit from the hips to the bottom hem, the 10 ounce low rise washed denim jeans are street-ready and good to go right out of the box.
Rogue Territory Stealth Stanton 11oz
If you are a year-round wearer of denim, no matter the weather, than you should consider this pair of jeans from Rogue Territory. Made from 11 ounces of black warp and black weft red-line selvedge denim from Nihon Menpu Mills in Japan, these Stealth Statons are a good deal lighter and cooler to wear during the summer months and require a shorter break-in period than others. Not unique enough for you? In addition to the special light weave, these jeans are dyed black using a sulfur process. Not bad.
Baldwin Henley In Raw Selvage
Made with 14 ounce black line raw selvage denim sourced from Kurabo Mills in Japan, these jeans feature a slim modern fit and all custom hardware and detailing throughout. They may have started their life across the Pacific, but they’re designed, cut, and assembled in Kansas City and intended for the modern guy looking to break in his own pair of jeans.
Tellason John Graham Mellor
Made with a 12.5 ounce denim from North Carolina’s own Cone Mills these sanforized button fly jeans offer a slim straight fit that straddle the line between a tailored feel and a more loose relaxed wear. Pocket bags on these jeans are made to be extra hefty, and the back tag is made with leather from Tanner Goods up in Portland, Oregon. All things said they’re a great all-American pair of jeans.
Studio D’Artisan SD-507
A whole lot of American cut, sewn, and designed jeans make use of Japan’s famous looms, but this pair from Studio D’Artisan are both sourced from and made in Osaka. The SD-507 are made with 12 ounce pure indigo dyed denim and feature a slim but tapered cut that wears in over time. The back patch is made from deer skin, while the belt loops are rolled and the pockets made of canvas.
Railcar Fit X023 Straight Slim Leg
Most all selvedge denim jeans come with extra material left at the bottom hem. Usually you’ll see guys rolling their cuffs up while breaking them in and then taking the jeans in to get hemmed professionally. Often, that hemming comes with an additional cost. Or at least it does with brands other than Railcar. If you pick up their Spikes Fit X023 jeans, a pair made with 12.25 ounce denim from Kuroki Mills, you’ll not only be getting a pair of comfortable and slim fitting jeans, but a pair that’ll be chain stitched to your preference for free. Oh yeah, and they look fresh as hell, too.
Freenote Cloth Avila Slim Taper
A slightly lighter pair of jeans, the Avila Slim Taper from Freenote are made with a 10 ounce Japanese black denim. The black dye gives the pair of pants a more clean and dark look than others out there, and are sure to break-in handsomely.
Made with 14 ounce indigo dyed unsanforized denim made specifically for 3ixteen by Kuroki Mills, these pants feature a special low tension weave that will give the jeans a striking fade after years of wear. In addition to the eye-catching material, these feature an attractive slim fit cut with a taper from thigh to knee.
1967 505 Levi’s Jeans
You can’t do a list of best jeans for men and not include Levi’s. The brand responsible for inventing denim jeans way back in the 1800s is still putting out quality pants like these classic 1967 505s. Billed as a throwback to the ‘Summer of Love’ these jeans are made from a pre-shrunk 14 ounce red selvedge denim and feature both a low rise and a slim fit.
Norman Russel Hammer Straight Raw
The Hammer jean from Norman Russell is as limited as it is striking. Just 270 of these straight-fitting denim jeans will be made, and all of them will use 13.5 ounce selvage denim sourced from Cone Mills. Straight, raw, and simple, they’re a good pick for the guy who wants to rock an all American look.
Left Field NYC 18 oz Collect Heavy Slub
For those who are over wearing tight-fitting pants, this pair from Left Field NYC might be for you. This straight leg pair made with 18 ounce Cone Mills red line selvedge denim are styled after mid-century dungarees for a road ready look. To top it all off, these pants are completely made right here in the U.S. of A.
Samurai Jeans S711VX 21oz
Samurai Jeans’ S711VX are a limited model from the brand that makes use of their popular slim straight cut, but employ a much heavier 21 ounce unsanforized selvage denim instead of the traditionally lighter material. This heavier material makes it so the jeans have a slightly longer break-in period, and the fading of the rope indigo dye fades in a slightly different manner.
3×1 M3 Slim Straight
A pair of jeans worthy of everyday wear, the M3 from 3×1 is made from 10.75 ounce selvedge denim sourced from Kaihara and features a button fly and a blue and white selvedge I.D. Despite the deep indigo hue of the fabric, it’s been washed slightly enough to give it a nice soft feel right out of the box.
Raleigh Denim Jones Jean
If you want to get your hands on a genuinely limited pair of completely American made jeans, you should consider picking these up. Made from 12.5 ounce Cone Mills White oak selvage denim, each pair includes an individually hand stamped numbered leather patch as well as a hand signed inside of the front pockets. Outside of these nice add-ons, the jeans boast a comfortable thin fit and an attractive dark blue indigo dye with contrasting stitching.
Acne Studios Van Three Jean
A pair of simple and quality made denim jeans from Acne Studios. Made with Japanese indigo denim and assembled in Italy, these 100% cotton button fly rigid jeans are a solid pick for the guy looking for a fashionable and comfortable pair of pants for casual wear.
Nudie Jeans Dry Bamboo Selvage
Nudie’s Dry Bamboo Selvage jeans are something else entirely. Made of a 83% cotton and 17% bamboo mix, these jeans manage to be on the lighter side of things (7.1 ounces) but share the same characteristics and wear patterns of heavier denim. In addition to the unique fabric, the weft has been left un-bleached, and is totally organic.
Iron Heart Indigo Straight Cut Raw Selvedge Jean
Made from an ‘ultra heavy raw’ denim that weighs 21 ounces off the shelf and shrinks to an even heavier 23 after wearing, these straight cut jeans are built for years of wear. They feature a deep blue courtesy an indigo rope dye process that fades with relatively high contrast after breaking in. To top it off, these Japanese made jeans are limited – and won’t be made again after going out of stock. Get them while you can.
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