Elevate your everyday looks with our pick of the best jeans from the most reputable and respected brands
The best men’s jeans have been the backbone of casualwear for well over a century. Tough, simple and versatile, they started life as workwear down mines and on ranches in the Western United States. Several decades later, they’d made their way into mainstream menswear via the pop-culture icons of the ‘40s and ‘50s. Soon everyone was wearing denim, and the humble jean’s place as the world’s default everyday legwear was set in stone.
Chances are you’ve owned your fair share of jeans over the years. It’s also likely that you’ve never managed to find the perfect pair. Thanks to the ubiquity of jeans, denim shopping is a difficult thing to get right. With so many options out there, whittling things down and sorting the wheat from the chaff can be tricky, and there’s always some aspect that gets compromised.
To take the trial and error out of the process, we’ve rounded up a selection of jeans that have proven their worth. They’re the best options in the category when it comes to key criteria such as comfort, fit, quality and value for money. And, in some cases, all of the above. Whether you’re looking for something simple and budget friendly or you want to splash out on some heavyweight, premium Japanese denim, you’ll find something that fits the bill here.
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How to choose the best men’s jeans for you
What is raw denim?
When shopping for jeans you might come across the term ‘raw denim’. This is the name given to denim in its post-dyed, unwashed state. That means all of the indigo dye is still in the fabric and will naturally wear off over time. It might sound like a bad thing, but a lot of people like the natural fades and whiskers (that’s the name for the lines on the back of the knees and the upper thighs) it creates.
In fact, there’s a whole style subculture that revolves around raw denim and the goal of creating the perfect worn-in pair of jeans over time. It can be uncomfortable and stiff at first, but it loosens up and moulds to the wearer’s body over time in a way that pre-washed denim just doesn’t. The major caveat is that in order to allow the fades to form, you need to refrain from washing your jeans for up to six months.
Should I buy selvedge jeans?
Another common term in the world of jeans is ‘selvedge’. This refers to the type of denim. Specifically, denim that has been made on a traditional machine called a shuttle loom. This denim is unique in the fact that the fabric is finished with a neat, crisp edge. It’s often white with a small red line that is visible along the seam when the legs are cuffed. Is it better than regular denim? Most of the time, yes. Generally speaking, it’s a marker of quality, and people who wear it like the clean finish it gives to a pair of jeans.
What fit should I buy?
There are lots of options out there when it comes to fit. Choosing one is largely a matter of personal preference, but certain fits work better on some body shapes than others. The general idea is to balance out your proportions. For example, if you have thin, skinny legs, you’d be best to go for a slim jean as opposed to anything overly tight or baggy. If your legs are particularly wide, you’d be better off with a straight leg instead. Tapered fits can work well for muscular guys with big thighs.
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The best men’s jeans you can buy in 2022
1. Levi’s Original 501: Best straight-leg men’s jeans
Price: £65 | Buy now from House of Fraser
Without the Levi’s 501, jeans as we know them today simply would not exist. These were the jeans that started the entire five-pocket, riveted-denim revolution, and they’re still being made to this day. They feature a classic straight-leg fit, a mid rise and are available in more wash options than it’s possible to list here. They’re famously tough, versatile and affordable, which is a big part of why they’re as popular today as they were when they first launched almost 150 years ago. They’re an excellent option for anyone looking for a traditional pair of jeans with no frills that are unlikely to break the bank and, even less likely, to ever go out of fashion.
Key specs – Fit: Straight; Selvedge: No; Wash: One wash
2. Uniqlo Regular Fit Selvedge jeans: Best value men’s jeans
Price: £39.90 | Buy now from Uniqlo
Uniqlo has a reputation in the menswear community as being one of the few high-street chain stores worth buying from. It’s famous for doing wardrobe staples remarkably well, and at prices that leave plenty of room for manoeuvre. The brand’s selvedge denim is perhaps the best example of this. The jeans look and feel like a pair that would set you back three times as much from anywhere else, with a classic straight fit and rich indigo colour. There’s also a slim-fit version available for those who prefer a narrow leg.
Key specs – Fit: Straight; Selvedge: Yes; Wash: Raw
3. A.P.C. Petit New Standard: Best slim-fit men’s jeans
Price: £155 | Buy now from End Clothing
Parisian brand A.P.C.’s jeans are often talked about as being the gateway to the world of raw denim. This is because they’re made using fairly decent Japanese denim that fades well, but they’re a lot more affordable and accessible than what some might call the ‘real deal’. The Petit New Standard is the label’s slim-fit model, and it’s an excellent mid-range option for anyone who wants a form-fitting jean that doesn’t stray into skinny territory. One thing to note is that they’re only available in one leg length, the idea being that you’ll have them adjusted and wear them cuffed (the case with a lot of raw-denim jeans).
Key specs – Fit: Slim; Selvedge: Yes; Wash: Raw
4. OrSlow 105: Best premium men’s jeans
Price: £270 | Buy now from Goodhood
Made in Japan from high-quality selvedge denim, OrSlow’s 105 is essentially an elevated spin on Levi’s iconic 501. It boasts the same familiar fit, but with premium details and construction that put it head and shoulders above the competition in terms of quality. This particular model has what OrSlow calls a ‘two-year wash’, which gives the jeans a realistic lived-in look, similar to a well-worn pair of raw-denim jeans. The tricky thing here is sizing. All the available sizes are Japanese so be sure to carefully check the conversion chart before spending your money.
Key specs – Fit: Straight; Selvedge: Yes; Wash: Mid
5. Samurai S710XX : Best raw denim men’s jeans
Price: £349 | Buy now from Son of a Stag
If you’re after some real Japanese raw denim, and money is no object, then these outrageously heavy, regular-fit jeans from Samurai are about as good as it gets. Made in Osaka from 24oz denim, they’re about as heavy-duty as jeans can be and are designed to develop unique fade patterns as they age. Yes, they’re expensive, but these are the sort of jeans you’ll keep for decades, taking pleasure in the knowledge that they’ll simply get better and better with every wear.
Key specs – Fit: Straight; Selvedge: Yes; Wash: Raw