Dickies and Carhartt are both excellent.
the 510s are even worse. the crotch rips out *every time* at yea, almost exactly the six month mark.

the interesting thing i've noticed, and googling will bring up other people who noticed the same thing, is that levis makes different "grades" of the same styles of jeans. the ones they sell at fred meyers are worse than the ones they sell at some other stores, and the ones at walmart are even worse.

i've completely given up on them at this point.


I'm with you. I have a ton of levis and the knees wear out on all of them. One time I bought a new pair and during the second wearing I bent over and the butt seam exploded. WTF levis?
I'm too cheap to buy expensive jeans. Whats a decent alternative?
Levi's no longer makes their denim to the same standards they used to. When Levi's downgraded their equipment several Japanese companies bought all the old equipment and now make high quality jeans. As a consequence, it's no longer possible to get high quality denim in the US.
Levis suck. I've had three rip at the crotch in a little over a year. Don't give them any more of your money, man. I know I won't.
501's are built to last
@8 second that.
You can get really great jeans if you're willing to cough up $200 for Japanese selvage denim, which @6 pointed out is now made using the old Levi's machines.
I have the same problem- plus, their sizes aren't standardized anymore. I bought my same old size and they were too big...
I'm a fan of the 511 fit but also noticed the "pre-wear" on many models quickly deteriorates into holes.
That said, I've been pretty happy with the "Commuter" cycling line lately though. I've only tried the commuter slacks though. If you are a cyclist I'd say give them a try.
I's always the crotch/ass for me.
The denim went downhill a while back. I have always worn Levis and it sucks that they suck now! I have been searching, looking for a good cut and thick denim. As a cyclist, my legs are way to big for skinny, and for most regular cut. Banana Republic jeans seem to be okay.
Brooks Brothers sells a durable, domestically made version of the 511, but they cost almost $200. I've given up on being fashionable and started buying LL Bean jeans. They're $30 w/free shipping, the fabric is soft yet sturdy, and they last for years. They're preshrunk and prehemmed. The fit, however--I'm tempted to call them dad jeans, except my dad wouldn't be caught dead in pants as baggy and unfashionable as these. They also sit high on my waist, near the belly button. If anyone gives me grief about them, I hit them with my cane and tell them to get off my lawn.
Also, here are some more options:…

I've been pretty impressed by clothing being made by Swrve
Carhartt, Ben Davis, All American Clothing Company, Raleighdenim, or Roundhouse if you want bibs
I love my Lucky jeans, for both durability and fit. Not super pricey either. Not cheap either. I'm pretty sure they were bought up by some huge multi-national, but I haven't noticed the product suffer.
I get my jeans at Wal*Mart, $15.
I'm a big fan of GStar jeans, as well as Lucky. YMMV. I've got big thighs and hips, so skinny/straight jeans are right out for me. Crotch always wears through first, along with the back of the hem. I now shop at Nordstrom Rack and get all my jeans tailored to length for the nominal extra charge ($13 or something, refunded if you use your Nordstrom card).
Oh, and about fashion.

Anywhere outside of the Time Tunnel known as Seattle, the only "fashionable" jeans are those ones chicks wear with swirly patterns of silver studs on the butt.
RaleighDenim is great and made in the USA, but so so expensive ($300/pair). It's a really sad that there arent any decent affordable made in the USA denim options anymore.…
I've worn only Levis for many decades. I usually get 501 shrink-to-fits, and they have never let me down.
While I don't stoop to @21's level, I figure a decent cheap pair is just fine for me - I get my Kirkland brand at Costco and they actually fit OK and wear as well as you need a $12 pair of jeans to wear. Of course, I'm old, old, old and don't give a shit about fashion anymore..... (loved my button-front Levis as a teen.)
Levis ALWAYS wear out at the knees. That was true in the 80s.
Yo. Ben Davis, Dickies, Carhartt are all awesome if you want them really loose at the bottom, ie, irritating.
I get mine from deeply unstylish Penney's...though they have jeans that to my unstylish eye look just like the hipster/cool/overpriced ones. Typically get four five five years of wear out of them.

BTW your post prompted me to google jeans, I then discovered there are entire forums devoted to just jeans, some of them with _millions_ of posts.
Fiber length also makes a difference. Buy a package of nice fluffy cheap white cotton sox at Walmart and the heels will develop holes within 6-8 wearings, whereas a name brand like Gold Toe will last much longer. Why? Because the fibers in the cheapest sox are extremely short (like dryer lint) and the yarns disintegrate rapidly. Same for the fabric used to make trousers.

Sadly, there's no easy way to tell what grade of fibers have been used in your article of clothing. Off-shoring exacerbates the problem, and some name brands coast on their historical reputations.

Could a hypothetical consumer protection agency perform unbiased sampling and analysis of clothing items and provide a numerical rating on a tag which would be required for retail sale? Yes, but that would be SUCH A HORRIBLE REGULATORY BURDEN ON FREE ENTERPRISE!! BAWWWWWW!
You might want to look into Unbranded denim. They make fashionably cut, 100% cotton sanforized 15oz raw selvedge denim. They are a great value at $80 a pair. Since they are raw denim, not pre-washed, they will last for years. They take a bit of breaking in but eventually fit like a second skin. You can find them a Blue Owl Workshop in Bellevue or online at
Out of curiosity I checked Consumer Reports online, but they only rated a few brands of women's jeans in 2010, and the results were inconclusive. Note that Costco sometimes sells their own Kirkland-brand jeans. REI carries several brands, but then there's those REI price$$...

Amazon Best-Sellers in Men's Jeans
@* - Who's joking?
I can't speak to the men's styles, but J Crew makes jeans that have a fairly decent lifespan. Their sizing, unfortunately, no longer suits my figure, so I've moved on to other brands. If you're willing to shell out the money, J Brand, Current/Elliott and Rag & Bone all make their jeans in the US, and are all pretty fucking well-made. They're also pretty fucking expensive. However, Nordstrom and Barneys often have them on sale at the end of the season for >50% off.
Like Marie the parrot sea: Buy cheap. Get cheap.

If you're "upgrading" from thrift stores to Levi's my advice is to learn to sew.
Blackbird in Ballard sells amazingly sturdy men's denim and some of the brands are made in the USA. It will cost you more, but you only need two pairs of really great jeans (buy your play jeans from thrift stores). My husband shops at Blackbird and he always looks so. good.
Good luck.
Finding jeans that look good, don’t cost a fortune, and last has been rough go for a long time.

The Low Rise Boot Cut Levis 527 has lasted me a few years. Not too baggy and not too tight. Carhatt does the trick for more rugged wear.

Both are reasonable when on sale. Jeans shouldn’t cost that much.
The Levis brand makes several different qualities of jeans to sell at different retailers at various prices. Meaning that a pair of 511s that sells for $30 at Target or The Rack is a different, lower quality (cheaper materials, shoddier construction, etc) pair of pants than an "identical" pair of 511s bought for $80 at Nordstrom or the Levis store. In short, there is no way to "score a deal" on a pair of Levis - not all Levis are the same, and you will always get exactly what you pay for. The only way around this is to luck into a good pair for cheap at a thrift store.
Just something to consider.
I don't were denim but I do like heavy duty pants. I used to wear Carhert's but found that they wore out rapidly when I actually used them as work clothes. These days I like Blaklader from Sweeden and have found that they stand up to heavy use. Other folks have said that Arborwear actually lasts too.
I wear Levis exclusively, damn near every day of my life, generally have about 3-4 pair in rotation at any one time, and they typically last me about a year. (Usually the crotch/taint area wears out.) That said, I walk just about everywhere, so this doesn't strike me as particularly unreasonable.
I gave up on Levis too, and as a former skinhead (the good, non racist kind) that was a big thing for me. It's all diesel for me now.
I recently bought a pair of Levi's they called 501s directly from Levi's, on line. Paid full price. The fit is nothing like the fit on the style formerly known as 501s, there are only four buttons instead of five, and altogether they are not the same style or quality Levi's I wore five years ago when I bought 501s. I am not happy about that -- the old 501s fit me, and the five buttons made the fly sit properly. The new 501s are loose in the butt and the fly won't lie flat no matter what combination of buttons I use, from all four to just one the damn thing lumps up. And they did not shrink to fit. To hell with 'em.
Seconding the comments about quality levels of Levi's varying from store to store. The past few pairs I bought at Walmart were noticeably thinner & cheaper than those I bought at Fred G Meyer 5 years prior, which didn't last as long as the ones I bought at the Bon Marche in the 90's. Those finally shrunk too much at the waist (ha!), but never did wear out.

Now, the best deal I've found is on eBay. Discontinued Eddie Bauer jeans for $18, other Macy's caliber house brands, etc.. Assuming you have "normal" dimensions, you can find a good pair online and trust they'll fit after a washing or two.
why are you spending so much time on your knees? That's the problem right there!
Levi's makes a line of jeans (their "Signature" line) that are made cheap for stores like Walmart, Target, KMart, etc. If you buy your Levis at this kind of store, you're getting the cheap stuff. If you can stay away from the Signature line, you may find the quality to be more what you're used to.
Strange... I've purchased about 6-8 pairs of 510s and 511s in the past couple of years from either Levi's website or their stores when they're on sale and I haven't had any issues. I've been really happy with them.
@25, Agreed. 501 Shrink-to-fit is a sturdy, yet still comfy garment.
@21 EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it! Tasteless shit purchases tasteless shit.

@23 Do you ever get sick of proving that you know fuck-all about anything?
I like gap jeans. 1969 line. Decent price (60-80 range if I remember correctly), fits good and I get a few years out of them before they start to fall apart and become yard work pants.

Do you wash your jeans every time you wear them?
You know, I was about to comment on how this was the most civil slog thread I have ever read, and then @48 showed up.
I used to wear the "jeans style" dickies, which fit great. Eventually I realized they weren't for me because my bike seat wore through the crotch within a few months. I almost got fired from a job because I wor my favorite, but hilariously butt-patched, pair to work every day. Oh, youth.

I eventually moved on to Carharts for about a month. Problems: way to huge and heavy for riding bikes in, and when they got wet, they never dried. Plus, the baggy-factor overwhelmed me.

Now I wear REI "adventure pants." Dorky, sure, but lightweight and higher quality than the old Dickies. I've always hated normal denim jeans anyways.
Typing on an iPad makes me look like a bigger idiot than I already am.
I'm a crotchety old man who still remembers the days when Levi's 501s were made in the USA, had amply serged buttonholes, lasted until you wore something out you couldn't patch, and only cost $7.50 a pop. If try really hard, I think I can even recall when they were $5.00 a pop. Halcyon days...

Nowadays, it's Kirkland Signature jeans from Costco because they're around $13. They last a reasonable amount of time and the color and fit aren't intolerably bad. Unless your ass is spectacular all on its own, though, no one's going to be checking it out because of your Kirkland jeans.

I did pick up a pair of Kühl Rydr pants from Costco that turned out to be pretty great. They fit very nicely, they look pretty cool, and they seem like they'll last a long time. But they were in only in stock at Costco for one or two days -- at $45 versus $75 everywhere else, no surprise there -- and they're not really jeans. (Sorry everyone; I haven't seen them there since.)

If you're of an age where having the perfect fit and style is still worth a degree of effort, you could try checking this place out:

I don't have any personal experience with it, but I'm pretty sure they've been around for at least three years. You provide your measurements (optionally taken from a pair of jeans that "fits you perfectly"), you choose your fabric, style, cut, and features, and they make your jeans to order and mail them to you. If the fit's a little off, you tweak the measurements for your next order. I think it's an Indian outfit, but if you want custom-made jeans from a manufacturer that pays First World wages, you're probably looking at whole other price range. I'm guessing that a lot of the really pricey off-the-rack jeans sold here are made in low-wage countries anyway. If you want to be patriotic and show class solidarity, there's a website somewhere that lists "made in USA" or "union-made in USA" products, and I'm pretty sure jeans are one of the sections. I might be off on this, but last time I checked them out, I got the impression that those jeans were pretty "middle American" in style and more utilitarian than chic.

Well, that's it. I guess I'll just go back to being crotchety now. I also remember when candy bars and cokes were a dime and you could visit National Parks and National Forests for free, but I'll save that for another post.
I don't know who designs Levi's, but it can't be a dude. They are tight in exactly the wrong place. Surprisingly, Wranglers, although they are tighter have more room in this crucial region

Lately, I have been wearing Luckys. They fit me best. I can't wear the skinny jeans. I don't think anybody who has ever walked past a gym can.
@54 - It's not just Levi's. I help the Mr. pick out jeans and every place we go (in the $60-$100 price range) they are getting smaller and smaller in the crotch. I don't know if it's meant to be a sexy thing or if the entire male population is experiencing a decrease in penis and testicle size or what, but it sucks.

I LOVE my Momotaros!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I finally broke down and bought a pair of Citizens of Humanity jeans at Nordstrom for $200, and I'm never looking back.

They look better, fit better, and I'm getting more wear per dollar from them then I ever got with Levis.
I've just been throwing caution to the wind and buying the super cheap Denizens that Levis make for Target. they're like $30 and if you buy two pairs you'll probably be set for at least 6 months.

don't you wish it was still socially acceptable to wear Sta-Prests all the time?
Also, isn't there some Scottish company that sells new vintage cut Levi's made out of selvedge?
Wrangler sucks now too, which makes me sad.
Grant, you're scale has obviously been skewed; 511s really are that skinny.
I have never worn out the knees or crotch of a pait of levis, or any jeans, what are you doing?. I have several pairs that are more than 5 years old..

No, seriously. The longest lasting, most comfortable, best looking jeans I have bought in the past 10 years have all been Kirkland Signature.
Man, I'm not reading 63 comments relating to a fashion-specific post. Continue to go to thrift stores and buy pants in your approximate waste/inseam size (I'm a 31-ish, but can belt a 33 and squeeze into a 30 with no problem) that look like they'll fit. You may occasionally miss, but at ~$6/pop, the cost of those misses is worth the time/monetary/headache savings of searching otherwise.
@55 Didn't you hear? Feminazis shrunk our junk. Or maybe it was Oxycontin abuse. Rush Limprod isn't sure.
Wore 501's as a teen and still wear them now. Nothing like looking fine in a pair of 30/32 501's.
@65: Is that what it was? Somehow my magic feminazi bonerkilling isn't working on the hubby, and I've sure as hell been a total nightmare with the man-hating.
Ever since one of my younger siblings started working for American Eagle in the men's denim production department I've been wearing those. So far I've only had to replace a pair after I lost a whole bunch of weight. They've been shockingly durable, even if I only wear them on weekends.
For those men who need more room in the crotch, try Diamond Gusset Jeans -

Most embarrassing slog post I've ever read. Tons of bad looks in here.
APC "New Standard" jeans from France are pretty cool. Raw selvedge (sp?) denim. Take a bit of breaking in, but start to look awesome pretty quickly and then get awesomer over time. I've come to the realization that good jeans cost money. I'm totally at peace with it. If you find a pair/brand that looks good on you and lasts, buy'em. APC isn't crazy, less than $200 for sure. Levi's premium line in Canada is called Levi's "Matchstick." They too, are raw denim and look great, but will cost you close to $200. I also recommend the zip-up hoodies at American Apparel. I blinked at the price the first time I bought one, but two years later and the colour is true, the fit is great and like new after a wash, and they come in a variety of colours. Totally a solid buy. Now if I can just find a great shoe...
@60 Wrangler denim jackets are still great. Stiff as a board when they're new. Fade to awesome. Plus the salesguy at Herbert's Western Wear in Alliston, ON told me,

"This is what Nebraska cowboys wear."

#60, Wranglers are the same as they ever were. It helps that a pair of 13MWZ cowboy cut Pro Rodeo jeans are $20 at Same goes for 936 slim fit, which is what I wear. Of course, you fat Seattle yuppies might have to buy the relaxed cut, prewashed versions for more money. Levis have always been flimsier and more expensive.

There's a reason why Wranglers are what just about every cowboy and ranch hand wears. They have always been cheaper yet more durable than Levis. Wranglers are tough like a Ford truck, or like a Ford truck used to be until Ford turned them into video games for suburban wannabes.
p.s.: People who are paying $60 or $100 or $200 for a pair of jeans are out of their fuckin' minds.
Betabrand in SF makes a nice quality jean, sons of britches is the line, made right here in the US of A for under $100.
Marc Ecko Cut & Sew has great jeans!
Today I learned that clothing companies are actually making knock-off versions of their own products to scam poor people with. Late stage capitalism is hilarious.
I am wearing Lees these days, which is not as cool at Levis, but they last longer, fit WAY better and are comfortable.
However, I do notice a difference in the pair I got at Fred Meyers - less nice - so I started getting them from Lees online
@77: Not just clothing companies. The KitchenAid mixer you buy at Walmart is lower quality than the seemingly-identical one for sale at Williams Sonoma. Same is true for countless other products, particularly ones that tout being made in America. The secret is that only the expensive versions are made in the States, everything else is made with cheaper components overseas.
SRSLY what mitten said @36. Blackbird in Ballard has awesome jeans, many made in the USA. Not the cheapest, but they've also got an in-house brand (Blackbird Denim) that is made in the USA and not TOO pricey:…
@77, maybe that's where my poor impression of modern Wranglers comes from. Some of the pairs I've thrifted lately have, I think, originated at Wal-Mart, and they suck. They suck bad.
Wranglers. $15 at Target and I haven't worn out a pair yet. (I have had to buy different sizes due to weight gain/loss, but the ones I wore for 5 years were still going strong when I got fat.)

Link to jeans-made-in-USA, FYI:
The denim in Wranglers is made in the U.S., but the jeans are fabricated in Mexico. Wranglers are the best. I wear "rigid" 936 (slim fit cowboy cut), meaning that they're not treated or prewashed in any way. I do my own prewash: inside out, hot water, bleach, hot dryer, three times in a row. If I didn't do that, I've got no doubt they'd last for a decade.

Of course, it helps to have a half-dozen pair. (at $20-$25 per, it's not hard to have half a dozen.) But they are all that I wear, except when going out to dinner. I swear by 'em, and have sworn by 'em for many years. The slim fits perform an essential secondary service, which is to let you know that you've hit the top of the weight range and need to back off the snacks.
@55 "Why are Levi's like a fleabag hotel?" "No ballroom."
They may not be trendy, but Gap jeans are pretty well made and seem to last me.

If you want something a little more stylish Banana Republic may work for you, but their pants aren't cut for bears like me. Gap's are though. I have a closet full of them. I'd avoid Old Navy. They're cheap for a reason.
@50 Hahahahaha! Your user name should be Tampon666.
Hey Levi's! Thanks for RUINING the 505s! Ever heard of "NEW" coke?! I find it ironic you now label these as "straight" when they're anything but--unless of course a gay has and wants to show off his lower back tattoo. Again, NOT straight!
You need to check out the Lamasini Jeans catalog RIGHT AWAY. They'll meet all your needs. In fact, you'll probably want to spend the whole weekend gawking at the magnificence of their spectacular clothes. Ladies too. And one terrified-looking child.…

You'll thank me.
Oh geez, where do we start on Lamasini? With the white taco hat, white belt, and white boots combo, or with those (searching for an adjective here) embroidered shirts? Okay, if you're in a Mariachi band, maybe. But I don't think you'd want to show up at a rodeo wearing that stuff. Actually, I know you wouldn't want to show up at a rodeo dressed like that.
501 shrink to fit. the ones at Fred Meyers still hold up. My last pair was made in Poland.
Volcom makes jeans, skaters skate in them, I have a pair of "solver" that fit great 3 years later.
I just was given a pair of Levi's 513, black with a little spandex (1%? ) that I've worn for 2 weeks straight.
My biggest complaint with the new styles is the "low-rise". Love my 501's.
@89, thank you. I got to the white hat pages and now I can't stop masturbating.
Ranchero meets Ed Hardy.
@75: I don't care how good their products are or how ethically they run their business-I refuse to patronize a company that gives their pants cutesy names like "cordarounds" and "sons of britches."
@90, no mariachi band would be caught dead in gear like that. Lamasini is pure cumbia, the Mexican kind (or Mexican-American, to be precise). Or banda. Mariachi band uniforms are very traditional, with the metal discs down the pants leg, the short jackets, the braiding just right. A mariachi would no more be seen in a cowboy hat than he would in a gimp suit. He probably wouldn't even know what one was.
Here's the TIP! DULUTH makes the best jeans on Earth right now. Go for the middle-weight "fire-hose" jeans. If you live in a cooler climate, they also have lined jeans, which are w-a-a-y too hot even for Northernmost California.
God I stopped looking at comments when I saw Carhartt mentioned twice. Carhartt makes cotton duck, NOT denim. Yes, there is a difference, and no, they do not make a slim fit Carhartt pant unless you get the collaboration with Adam Kimmel or go to NYC to "work in progress." you want a good fitting (slim, tapered, slim tapered, slim straight or skinny, but not TOO skinny) check out Levi's "Made and Crafted" line. Tuck or Shuttle. They are raw denim (like 501 STF) or even selvedge. And they are the only Levi's still "made in USA". Next up Is APC. Also made in America, raw selvedge denim. They last years. Same with Levi's made and crafted. And the longer you wear them the more personal they become with great fading. Lastly I'd suggest naked and famous, or nudie. But Levi's M&C and APC (check out APC "new standard) are my two favorites. Now go. Don't ever buy 511's again you fool, you're slave to the fashion ideals of the capitalist hipster pigs at urban outfitters. Also, try e bay for vintage made in USA 501's STF. Or vintage Wrangler Bluebells. Yes wrangler used to make dope ass jeans. Anyways, good luck.

Levi's always stand up to my rugged work environment (welding). Carhartt make the double front which last longer, only due to the extra layer of denim.
Well actually Levi's brought back a tapered jean that fit very well in the early to mid 2000's. They were the 512's. For some odd reason around 2008 or 2009 they switched to a flimsier type of material and sales dropped off the face of the earth. So what did Levi's do? They discontinued them.
Last year I noted I needed a new pair and found they were discontinued. Levi's really irritates the heck out of me. Back in the 80's they used to make the 501's with a tapered cut. The 90's came and they started following trends and forgot tradition.
I was fortunate enough to find a pair of 512's on EBay a month or so ago that was made of the 100% cotton.
Levi's really needs to listen to 'ALL' of their customers. They are too busy trying to keep up w/ the Abercrombies etc... Believe me the 80's generation is a big segment of the market and we are being puked and picked on by them.

I don't know when the myth began of Japanese businesses buying all the old looms at White Oak, but that never happened. They were stored out in a field next to White Oak and eventually sold for scrap metal. The ONLY vintage looms left at White Oak are from the 1950s. Japanese selvedge denim is awesome, but don't ever buy it under the impression that they were made with old U.S. looms - that's a flight of fancy.
I always wear Levi's, which is as cool at others, and they last longer, fit WAY better and are comfortable. Its my decade experience.
Sadly, Levi jeans took a huge dump on us consumers about a decade ago. Levi's are now made in a couple different third world countries where quality isn't of issue, where five pairs of Levi's, the same exact size and style, all fit differently from one another. In addition, the denim is of low quality, the stitching is inconsistent leaving us with a brand new pair of Levi's only lasting several months only after moderate wear (a couple/three times a week).

The odd thing is, these newer Levi's come apart, wear out and so on, in many different, unique ways (How did that happen?). On top of all that, they certainly haven't come down in price.


What was once an American institution of style and quality, is nothing more than a third rate, no name, discount store product.

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