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What Are Cowboy Cut Jeans?

A cowboy's life is difficult and not the romanticized career shown in the movies. Here is an in-depth look at cowboy cut jeans and it's different styles.

A row of cowboys wearing jeans and boots.

If you’re a human being, chances are you probably own a pair of jeans (or several). While the purpose of jeans has certainly changed — at one point they were exclusively for workers, now they can help you make a fashion statement for virtually any occasion — jeans haven’t changed much since being released in the 1850s when they became commercially available.

While we love all types of jeans here at Threadcurve, in this article, we’re going to be discussing one distinct style of jeans: cowboy cut jeans. Read on to learn what cowboy cut jeans are and why they’re still so popular today.

Related: The best jeans for men

It All Started With Bootcut Jeans

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Bootcut jeans widen at the knee and continue to widen until the end of the pants. They came from an 1850s sailor uniform. Sailors needed the pants to work with boots.

This was also what ranch workers and cowboys needed. People quickly saw the need and created a new product. Bootcut jeans started to rise in popularity.

Miners wore them first and then cowboys. Most people couldn’t afford the jeans, though. They were usually not available to ranch workers because of this. Despite this, Hollywood still showed cowboys wearing bootcut jeans.

Since western films were so popular, bootcut jeans became just as popular. Since then, bootcut jeans have been used in various styles. Now, they are still worn by millions of people.

Jeans For Cowboys

Rodeo stars and modern cowboys do wear jeans on a daily basis. There are a lot of brands that make jeans just for cowboys and sell them at hardware and supplies stores.

Dickies Men's Denim Bib Overall, Stone Washed Indigo Blue, 34 x 30

If you are a ranch worker, you can get jeans, tools, and other things you need with just one stop. Denim pants and overalls are what people normally buy. They aren’t expensive and they are comfortable and durable.

Most people who are ranch workers and horseback riders say that cowboy cut jeans have the best fit.

Brands of Cowboy Cut Jeans

Wrangler Men’s 13MWZ Cowboy Cut Original Fit Jean, Rigid Indigo, 36W x 32L

Wrangler jeans are usually what cowboys wear because they are comfortable and less expensive than Levi’s.

Here are some other brands that are good:

With so many brands, you can find a pair for everyone in the family.

Bootcut Vs. Cowboy Cut Jeans

Cowboy cut is much more popular for cowboys, even those they are shown as normally wearing bootcut jeans. The cowboy cut is made only by Wrangler. There are brands that have styles that are similar but they aren’t the exact same.

The noticeable difference between bootcut and cowboy cut is the width of the lower leg. With a cowboy cut, the lower leg is tighter. It gives enough room for a boot, but it doesn’t continue to widen like a bootcut style.

Wrangler has various styles of cowboy cut jeans. The original ones have deep pockets, smooth seams, and are comfortable for most bodies. The slim fit ones are for people who are skinnier and who want a snug fit.

Wrangler Men's Premium Performance Cowboy Cut Regular Fit Jean, Prewashed, 29W x 32L

All of the other elements are the same. The Premium Performance jeans are for rugged use and are more durable than the original ones. They also have good pockets and are comfortable.

Why Cowboys Wear Tight Jeans

A stack of folded cowboy jeans.

When cowboys are wearing tight jeans, it is like a second set of skin. It can help protect your body from the impact of multiple falls.

There are no parts of the pants that can get caught on things like a fence or a bull’s horn. Tight pants will also prevent you from getting sore or irritated skin. Typically, loose pants are better for working in a barn. If you are working with animals, then you should have tighter jeans.

What Types of Jeans Are Right For You?

You should find the right pair of jeans that will fit your body perfectly. They will make you look good and will be comfortable. Here is some advice to help you find the best pair:

1. Thin body type

A man wearing cowboy jeans leaning on a tree.

You shouldn’t do skinny or overly loose jeans. The perfect thing would be a regular, straight fit that has a mid-rise waist.

2. Athletic body type

A man wearing cowboy jeans, button-down shirt and cowboy hat.

If you have regular or relaxed jeans then they will fit your body the best. If you want to emphasize the massive upper body, then you should try the low rise style.

3. Heavyset body type

Two cowboys wearing jeans seen from behind.

Jeans that are loose or relaxed can help balance out the body. High rise is the best. Bootleg jeans can work, but they might have too big of flares. Cowboy cut looks great on all body types. They aren’t loose or skinny and are perfect on the waist.

Bootcut vs. Tapered Leg Jeans

Carhartt Men's Relaxed Fit Tapered Leg Jean (Regular and Big and Tall Sizes), Dark Stone, 38W X 30L

Tapered leg is when the leg gets tighter as you go down the leg. Bootcut is the opposite, where the leg gets wider as you go down. These look good but they aren’t comfortable when it comes to horseback riding.


A close look at a cowboy with jeans and boots that has spurs.

While cowboy cut jeans aren’t the most popular jean types out there, especially in comparison to other jean types like bootcut or tapered leg, they can be worth it if you’re looking for jeans that are durable and comfortable.

It’s true that cowboy cut jeans were initially designed for rodeo and horseback riders, however, they have since grown to be an incredible alternative to classic fitting jeans. With this in mind, I recommend purchasing a pair to see how you like them!

If you enjoyed this article about cowboy cut jeans, be sure to stay up to date with the Threadcurve blog where we will be diving into other types of jeans to help you stay up to date on the latest fashion trends.