Bootcut jeans have been a staple in men’s wardrobes for decades. Originally rising to popularity in the 1970s, bootcut jeans had a major resurgence in the 1990s and early 2000s as fashion brought back elements of those retro decades. Though not as ubiquitous today as skinny and slim straight fits, bootcut jeans remain a versatile classic that just won’t quit.
Bootcut jeans are characterized by a slim, fitted cut through the hips and thighs, with a slight flare at the ankle that creates a subtle boot-like shape. This silhouette provides a flattering balance for many body types while allowing room to easily layer over boots or shoes.
Compared to other fits like straight leg or relaxed, bootcut jeans elongate the leg while avoiding an oversized, baggy appearance. They still maintain a sense of sleekness and polish. This makes them an easy pair to dress up or down seamlessly.
While current fashion may be dominated by skinnier silhouettes, bootcut jeans remain beloved for their ability to be simultaneously stylish and comfortable. For those who prefer a little extra room through the leg and want that dash of stylish flare, the bootcut jean is a perfect choice.
This article will provide an extensive, in-depth guide to finding and wearing the perfect bootcut jeans for your body type and personal style. Consider it your bootcut jean bible – from the top rated pairs to styling recommendations and care tips, we’ll cover it all.
Whether you’re returning to an old favorite or trying out this versatile style for the first time, read on to discover your perfect fitting, fabulous feeling pair!
The Top 5 Most Popular Bootcut Jeans for Men
In putting together this list of the top five bootcut jeans for men, many factors came into play during evaluation. Fit and style versatility were top considerations – high quality denim that would flatter and complement different body types and styles. Attention was also paid to rise options, wash versatility, fabric blends, and overall brand reputation and value.
Here are the top five that checked all the boxes:
#1 Levi’s 541 Athletic Taper Jeans
Pros: Levi’s 541s are often rated as the top choice for men seeking a quality pair of bootcut jeans. They sit below the waist and feature an athletic tapered fit through the thigh and knee, with a classic bootcut leg opening. Constructed from cotton-stretch denim, these jeans maintain structure while offering comfort and flexibility. They are a great contemporary update to Levi’s classic bootcut 517.
Cons: Some may prefer a higher rise, which the 541 does not offer currently. Those with very slim builds may require sizing down.
With the perfect amount of stretch and a tapered thigh that avoids gaping at the hips, the 541 bootcut is designed to flatter and accommodate athletic thigh muscles. For guys who want the extra room of a bootcut with a streamlined, updated look, Levi’s 541 jeans deliver.
#2 Lucky Brand 361 Vintage Boot Jeans
Pros: Lucky Brand’s vintage bootcut style manages to achieve a modern yet retro feel all at once. They have the perfect medium rise at the natural waist, combined with a slim thigh and straight fit through the knee. The bootcut flare is noticeable but not overdone. The slight whiskering and fading gives them a broken-in look.
Cons: The denim is rigid rather than stretch, so may not allow for as much flexibility.
These jeans capture the essence of a classic bootcut style – flattering, versatile, and effortlessly cool. The rich rinse brings versatility, allowing you to dress them up or down seamlessly. If you love heritage style with a modern twist, Lucky 361s are a stellar choice.
#3 Wrangler Cowboy Cut Slim Boot Jeans
Pros: As you’d expect from Wrangler, these jeans have an authentic American cowboy vibe but tailored in a more modern slim bootcut fit. Made of rigid denim with a hint of stretch, they maintain classic ruggedness while allowing mobility. Sitting right at the natural waist, the rise is comfortable and versatile.
Cons: Those looking for a low rise should opt for a different pair. The longer inseams may require hemming for shorter guys.
For guys that love a traditional cowboy cut jean but prefer a more streamlined silhouette, Wrangler’s slim bootcut is the best of both worlds. They break in easily, molding to the natural shape of your body while holding their structure. You’ll feel like an off-duty ranch hand in these stylish slim bootcuts.
#4 Lee Regular Fit Straight Leg Jeans
Pros: Lee is known for making quality jeans designed to last, and their straight leg bootcut is no exception. Made of durable denim with flex fabric that moves with you, they provide a relaxed but flattering fit through the seat and thigh with a subtle boot flare. The low rise gives them a contemporary feel.
Cons: Some may find the rise too low rise depending on body type. The leg opening may be too narrow for some.
This straight leg pair provides a dark rinse bootcut option with a more relaxed fit through the hip and thigh – ideal for guys who want mobility and comfort while maintaining sharp, rugged style. Great for casual wear, Lee straight leg bootcuts deliver on value and versatility.
#5 Calvin Klein Classic Bootcut Jeans
Pros: Known for their modern, refined styles, Calvin Klein’s classic bootcut jeans have medium rise and a slim fit through the hip and thigh. They give you a tailored appearance that can be dressed up while remaining comfortable. Made with high quality denim designed to hold its shape and resist bagging.
Cons: The non-stretch fabric may feel restrictive for those wanting more flex room.
For guys looking pull together polished, tailored outfits, Calvin Klein’s sleek fitting bootcut is the perfect foundation piece. The defined yet casual silhouette paired with dark, rich washes makes them ideal for both workweek outfits and relaxed weekend looks.
What to Look for When Shopping for Bootcut Jeans
Finding that perfect pair of bootcut jeans involves considering a few fit, fabric, and style factors. Let’s explore some of the key things to keep in mind.
A – Fit and Style Considerations
One of the first things to evaluate when bootcut jean shopping is the specific fit and cut details.
- Bootcut vs Straight Leg vs Relaxed Fit – Bootcut jeans have narrow thighs and knees that flare out toward the hems, creating a subtle boot shape. Straight leg jeans have an even width throughout. Relaxed fit jeans have looser legs and a low rise.
- Low Rise vs Mid Rise vs High Rise – Rise refers to where the waistband sits; low is below the hips, mid is at the hips, high is near the natural waist. Rise impacts comfort and proportions.
- Leg Opening/Flare – Bootcut jeans flare out slightly starting at the knee, but variations exist in how subtle or defined that shape is. Consider your body type and preferences.
- Length – Bootcut jeans come in standard, short, and long lengths indicated by inseam number. Make sure to buy a length allowing for shoes and hemming if needed.
- Athletic/Stretch Fit vs Rigid Denim – Jeans made partly with stretch fabrics allow for more flex room, while rigid denim keeps its structured shape. Comfort vs durability tradeoff.
B – Fabrics and Washes
Fabric content and garment wash also impact the look, feel and versatility of bootcut jeans.
- 100% Cotton vs Cotton Blends – Most bootcut jeans have some percentage of cotton, which provides breathability and comfort. Blends with spandex or polyester add stretch and shape retention.
- Dark Wash vs Medium Wash vs Light Wash – The darkness or lightness of the wash impacts versatility and formality – medium the most versatile. Acid washing and hand sanding create unique finishes.
- Distressed/Ripped vs Clean – Small ripped holes and whiskering add a grunge casual vibe, while clean styles have more polished versatility.
- Raw Denim vs Pre-Washed – Raw denim ages uniquely to the wearer’s use over time. Pre-washing reduces shrinkage and softens the fabric.
C – Brands and Retailers
The brand, retailer, and price point also play a role in jean quality and shopping experience.
- Popular brands for quality bootcut jeans include Levi’s, Lee, Wrangler, Lucky Brand, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Guess, and more. Higher end designers also offer premium styles.
- Fast fashion brands like Zara, H&M, and Uniqlo allow you to try current trends affordably. Designer brands offer luxe materials and prestige at higher prices.
- Department stores, specialty retailers, and online shops all offer a range of brand name and private label options. Shop around for the best selection and value.
- Online shopping provides easy access to brands and styles, especially for hard-to-find sizes, but testing fit first in store helps get the ideal size.
Finding the Best Bootcut Jeans for Your Body Type
Bootcut jeans are versatile, but some styles work better than others depending on your build and proportions. Here are some tips for choosing jeans to flatter your body shape.
A – Bootcut Jeans for Athletic/Muscular Builds
Men with muscular thighs, broader shoulders, and slimmer hips tend to look best in bootcut jeans that:
- Accommodate the thighs while tapering below the knee – seek athletic and relaxed tapered fits and stretch fabric with room to flex.
- Avoid very low or high rises – medium to low rises paired with straight waists complement inverted triangle shapes without exaggerating hips.
- Have moderate, proportional flare – don’t overwhelm athletic thighs with overly loose legs. A subtle bootcut balance the upper and lower body.
Dark washes paired with casual tops help downplay broader shoulders for a balanced inverted triangle shape. Distressed details also add visual interest without bulk.
B – Bootcut Jeans for Tall/Slim Frames
If you’re blessed with a naturally tall, slim physique, play up your long legs with bootcut jeans like:
- Higher rises with defined waistbands – this elongates the legs further and enhances lean lines.
- Dark, even rinses without heavy whiskering or fading – this maintains a streamlined look.
- Minimal distressing and clean hems – sleekness is key, so avoid holes, shreds, frays and tags.
- Inseams long enough to avoid high cuffs – cuffs break up the length of taller frames. Purchase long sizes or allow for hemming excess length.
For a super slim look, size down in a rigid pair with stretch for contour hugging fit. Straight leg openings balance out narrow hips and shoulders.
C – Bootcut Jeans for Shorter Men
Don’t shy away from bootcuts if you’re more vertically challenged. Opt for styles that:
- Have a mid to high rise – this elongates the leg compared to low rise pairs.
- Come in short inseams – shop sizes specifically marked short, 29 – 30″ inseams.
- Can be professionally hemmed – hemming longer jeans prevents baggy bunching at the ends.
- Flare subtly – avoid excessive flares that overwhelm a shorter frame. Keep the opening under 20 inches for petite sizes.
Dark washes and clean designs give the illusion of length on shorter legs. Pair with shoes that match the jean color.
D – Bootcut Jeans for Curvy Body Types
Gents with naturally curvier frames should look for bootcut jeans with:
- Relaxed or athletic fits – this allows room through wider hips and thick thighs without pulling or squeezing.
- Stretch fabric blends – spandex and polyester blended denims provide flexibility through the seat and thighs.
- Medium to high rises – these provide rear coverage and create a defined waist.
- Darker washes and clean designs – these downplay texture and curves compared to heavy fading and whiskering.
Bootcut jeans with stretch are ideal for balancing curvier proportions – they contour the body without constricting or causing muffin top. A dark rinse elongates and streamlines the hips and thighs.
How to Wear Bootcut Jeans
Now that you know what to look for in choosing your perfect pair of bootcut jeans, let’s explore how to wear them stylishly.
A – Shoes to Pair With Bootcut Jeans
One advantage of bootcut jeans is their versatility – they go with everything from sneakers to dress shoes for assorted occasions.
- Sneakers – from chunky high tops to minimalist runners, a clean pair of kicks gives off an effortlessly casual vibe.
- Boots – whether slipping bootcut jeans over biker, Chelsea or cowboy boots, the extra room and flare elongate the leg.
- Dress shoes – wingtips, oxfords and loafers take bootcut jeans up a notch for polished day or nighttime looks.
- Sandals and loafers – laidback slip-ons pair perfectly with bootcut denim for warm weather.
B – Tops to Pair With Bootcut Jeans
Just like pairing options for footwear, the tops you choose allow you to take your bootcut jeans from day to night:
- T-shirts – graphic tees, pocket tees, v-necks all complement the classic cool vibe of bootcut denim. Go fitted or oversized.
- Button-downs – crisp cotton shirts look sharp cleanly tucked in or worn open and flowing over bootcut jeans.
- Sweaters and sweatshirts – knits, pullovers and hoodies provide warmth and balance the sleekness of bootcut legs.
- Jackets – finish a look with a denim jacket, leather moto jacket, bomber, fatigue shirt or Mac for weatherproofing style.
C – Creating Stylish Outfits
Use these formulas to build stylish bootcut jeans outfits for any occasion:
- Casual Daytime – Dark slim bootcut jeans, white pocket tee, tan bomber jacket, white hi-top sneakers
- Going Out – Black rinse bootcut jeans, navy button down partly open, black blazer, black Chelsea boots
- Weekend Casual – Medium wash bootcuts, heather gray graphic tee, marled cardigan, brown suede loafers
- Vacation – Light washed bootcut jeans, breezy linen shirt half buttoned, leather sandals, straw fedora
Have fun mixing, matching, and layering to develop your personal bootcut jeans wardrobe. Start with versatile basics to build multiple outfits for every scenario.
Bootcut Jean Care and Maintenance
Like all denim, bootcut jeans require a little TLC to keep them looking and fitting their best. Follow these care tips:
- Washing – only launder jeans when truly dirty. Wash in cold water gentle cycle with mild detergent. Wash dark colors separately to avoid fading.
- Drying – lay flat or hang to air dry. Avoid putting wet jeans in the dryer which can cause shrinkage and damage.
- Folding and Storage – fold jeans correctly along seams to avoid whiskering and wear lines. Keep jeans out of direct sunlight to prevent fading.
- Replace when damaged – look for signs like blown out knees, fraying hems, warped seams etc. Discard jeans that can’t be fixed.
- Repair small damages – use denim patches to cover holes and distressed areas. Re-stitch split seams and replace broken zippers. Use hem tape on Minor unraveling.
With the right care, quality bootcut jeans can last years. Be gentle, avoid over-washing, and make repairs promptly to maintain their integrity.
I hope this comprehensive guide has armed you with extensive knowledge to go forth and conquer the world of bootcut jeans.
We covered the top-rated bootcut styles that combine great fit, quality materials, and stylish design. You now know what to look for regarding rise, fit, fabrics, and washes to choose jeans that truly complement your body.
Strategies were provided to select bootcut jeans that enhance your shape whether taller, shorter, athletic, slim or curvy. And you’ve got plenty of style inspiration for how to wear bootcut jeans for any occasion.
Finally, we made sure you can keep your bootcuts looking their best with laundry and storage tips.
Bootcut jeans will never go completely out of fashion because of their figure-flattering powers and ease of styling. Approach shopping for them strategically, and you’re sure to find your perfect fitting pair or pairs to become wardrobe heroes.
I’d love to hear from you guys – what are your favorite bootcut jeans and how do you like to wear them? Share your experiences and recommendations in the comments!