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Every guy needs at least one pair of go-to jeans, the kind he can rely on day after day, week after week. There’s a catch when shopping for the best men’s jeans, though. Sure, jeans are a wardrobe staple, but they’re not always the most comfortable garment, especially for anyone on the go. Simply put, stiff raw denim isn’t always the most accommodating for a crosstown bike ride or a cross-country flight. The best stretch jeans for men make it easy to keep things comfortable without going full-on athleisure.
However, not all stretch jeans are created equal. Synthetic fabrics such as Spandex, elastane and polyurethane can give your jeans flexibility, but too much can make your jeans look like jeggings. That’s why the sweet spot for stretch men’s jeans tends to be around 1% to 2%. Jeans with a lot of stretch fabric might make it comfortable to move, but that stretch can detract from the look of the denim.
Fortunately, it’s easy to find stretch jeans in every color, price and wash. Whether you like your jeans to look fresh off the loom or well-worn and vintage, there’s a pair of stretch jeans that’ll fit your budget and taste. These are some of the best stretch jeans for men, and we’ve also got some handy tips on what to look for in your next pair.
What To Look For in Stretchy Jeans
Like we said, not all stretch jeans are created equal, so it’s best to find the pair that fits your personal needs and lifestyle. Some need plenty of stretch; some only need a bit. Some jeans go heavy on the stretch-minded design we mentioned earlier, amping up the use of elastane and other stretch fibers. Different styles take traditionally stiff cotton selvedge denim and turn it into a stretch denim blend.
The key is to search for jeans with the right amount of stretch, but not too much. Think sturdy and substantial, but still able to be dressed up. It’s also best to reach for slim-fit, or straight-leg jeans rather than skinny — no matter your body type, slim or slim-straight jeans will look best on most everybody and avoid the “jeggings” look we mentioned earlier that has fallen out of fashion.
How Your Jeans Should Fit in 2022
That also raises an age-old question: what fit of jeans is in style right now, and should you trade skinny jeans for boot-cut jeans? For most guys, we recommend going neither too skinny nor too wide in terms of boot cut — we recommend landing right in the middle with tailored jeans, not baggy or relaxed-fit jeans. Although Y2K fashion is coming back in style with a vengeance, boot-cut jeans for men haven’t fully re-entered the mainstream yet. We’re of the mind that boot-cut jeans are a trendy move, but one that can stand out if done wrong (make sure you buy your regular jean size, for instance, and avoid pairs with excessive distressing or adornments).
Overall, simple and classic is best. We say steer clear of rock star-skinny jeans these days but tread just as carefully when it comes to boot-cut jeans. Here are a few favorites that check the right boxes and hit the sweet spot as far as the best men’s stretch jeans are concerned.
1. DU/ER Performance Denim Slim
BEST STRETCH JEANS OVERALL
“We got so used to being comfortable due to COVID-19. Athleisure like joggers and hoodies became the norm because of just how comfortable they are to wear no matter what you’re up to. But, sadly, on a visual level, sweats aren’t up to par with what most of us want to wear outside. That’s why we’re obsessed with DU/ER’s Performance Denim Relaxed Jeans.
“They’re the inside sweatpant transformed into the most comfortable pair of jeans you’ve ever draped on your body. In these, you’ll look fresh when out and about, but with all the moveability you’d expect in a pair of gym leggings. Cross your legs. Jump in the air. Do a split. Because in these jeans, you can,” from The 2021 Man.
Our favorite DU/ER jeans use 28% Coolmax all-seasons polyester, wicking away moisture. The remainder of the denim fabric consists of 70% cotton and 2% spandex for comfortable movement. A range of colors is available.
2. Mott and Bow Slim Crosby Jeans
BEST EVERYDAY STRETCH JEANS
Although stretch jeans aren’t going to show the same aging as a pair of sturdy selvedge, there’s still a case to be made for getting as much wear out of your stretch jeans in a given week as possible (provided they stay clean). Mott and Bow make classic men’s denim that blends both soft cotton and an expert washing process with just enough stretch to keep you moving from day to night in style. They’ve billed these as medium-weight jeans, which makes them perfect for wearing in most types of weather, provided the rest of your gear is seasonally appropriate. Thanks to a dark wash and without too many fussy details, these are perfect for the office or a weekend date night. Note the slim fit and the agreeable price for designer-quality jeans, too.
3. 5.11 Tactical Defender-Flex Stretch Jeans
BEST RUGGED STRETCH JEANS
Jeans were initially intended to be worn on dusty days out West by pioneers, explorers and hard-working people aplenty. So it only makes sense that you should be able to find a pair of the best stretch jeans made with more rugged, tactical functionality in mind. Enter 5.11 Tactical, known for crafting rugged outerwear, tactical boots and sleek everyday carry accessories and bags. These jeans, in a sturdy but not-too-heavy 10-ounce weight, feature polyester and mechanical stretch to go along with that hard-wearing cotton construction, and they’re bolstered even further by Lycra T400 Tough Max fabrication. Seven pockets offer up an astounding amount of everyday carry space, and the front pockets are reinforced with nylon for a tough finish, too.
4. Loro Piana Slim-Fit Jeans
BEST DESIGNER STRETCH JEANS
Yes, even lauded luxury brands are making jeans with stretch, which look undeniably crisp and sharp while still moving with you (not against you). Loro Piana has done an outstanding job delivering handsome indigo jeans you can wear with a lightweight navy blazer and an Oxford shirt to the office, and then again on the weekends with a cashmere cardigan and a thermal henley or T-shirt. Talk about the perfect blend of high-low style from a lauded luxury company. Two percent polyurethane gives these just enough stretch, while the Italian cotton denim is as premium and eye-catching as it can be.
5. Banana Republic World Traveler Jeans
BEST DAY-TO-NIGHT STRETCH JEANS
Without a doubt, you could feasibly wear every pair of stylish stretch jeans on this list from day to night (say, to the office — even your home office — and then out on the town). But what about when you want to go even further? As in, from a day at the office to a cross-country flight without missing a beat (or changing into baggy sweatpants)? Enter the aptly named World Traveler Jeans from Banana Republic, assuredly made for the modern man on the go. Lycra gives these jeans their crucial stretch, while sustainable materials like recycled polyester add eco-conscious appeal and lightweight comfort. Select your chosen fit, including a Tapered fit that’s pleasing on most body types, and pick up an inky blue or washed black pair for maximum versatility.
6. Todd Snyder Slim-Fit Stretch Jeans
It’s hard to buy new jeans that authentically look this well-worn, but menswear maestro Todd Snyder puts a lot of thought into what he makes. These slim jeans have faded thighs and natural-looking whiskering. They’re made from 85% cotton, 13.5% polyester and 1.5% elastane, keeping them comfortable regardless of the situation.
7. Everlane The Slim Fit Jean
BEST SOLID WASH
Flattering fits, fair prices — need we say more? Everlane is an excellent one-stop shop for guys looking for essential wardrobe upgrades. These jeans are available in a solid blue rinse or black and use Japanese denim with two-way stretch courtesy of the 2% elastane.
8. Mavi Men’s Marcus Straight-Leg Jeans
BEST STRAIGHT-LEG STRETCH JEANS
You’ve heard of American denim and Japanese denim, but how about Turkish denim? Mavi is an Istanbul-based brand that’s made a name in the premium men’s and women’s denim market. These jeans have a comfortable and relaxed slim straight fit, and they’re made from a blend of cotton and polyester, with 1% spandex.
9. Polo Ralph Lauren Varick Slim Straight Jeans
BEST WHITE JEANS
Polo makes some of the best designer denim around, including perfectly tailored trucker jackets and denim shirts. The Varick jeans are a flattering slim straight cut made from cotton and elastane. The jeans come in various colors, including white, an excellent warm-weather alternative to the standard blue and black.
10. Madewell Athletic Fit Flex Jeans
BEST VINTAGE LOOK
If you’re looking for something with a more vintage look, Madewell’s Becklow wash jeans have that perfectly worn-in look. Made from 99% cotton with 1% elastane, the athletic slim fit leaves room in the seat and thighs to keep you comfortable.
Read more: Men’s Baggy Jeans
11. Calvin Klein Men’s Skinny Fit Jeans
BEST SKINNY FIT
Most of the options on this list are tapered or slim, but Calvin Klein’s jeans are a good option if you prefer a skinny fit. They come in various colors, including this dark “Forever Black” wash which uses 1% elastane.
Read more: Best Black Jeans For Men
12. Gap Slim Jeans in Gapflex
The Gap may have recently attracted the attention of the streetwear set thanks to its collaboration with Kanye West, but the Gap will always be the Gap — a reliable place to get basics like chinos, tees and of course, jeans. These jeans fit slim but not skinny for a more casual, relaxed style. The jeans use cotton, 5% recycled cotton and 1% elastane.
13. Uniqlo Stretch Selvedge Jeans
Fifty bucks for selvedge jeans? It’s no surprise when it’s Uniqlo, a perenially affordable store for reliable yet stylish wardrobe-essentials. These jeans come in black or blue and have a solid wash throughout. They come in waist sizes ranging from 27 to 44, in addition to two inseam lengths. They’re made from 98% cotton with 2% Spandex.
14. Abercrombie & Fitch Straight Jeans
BEST CLASSIC JEANS
Haven’t set foot in an Abercrombie since high school? You’re missing out. In recent years, the brand has stepped up its game, toning down the moose logos and turning up the style. These straight-cut jeans made our best stretch jean list because they have a classic look and use with 95% cotton, 4% polyester and 1% elastane.
15. Amazon Essentials Men’s Athletic-Fit Stretch Jean
It’s hardly the sexiest brand, but when you need anything (really, anything) on short notice, Amazon Essentials is an excellent place to turn. And yes, they make jeans. These are made with 1% elastane and come in a wide range of colors.
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