Levi’s jeans collection review: does the original denim brand still meet the mark?

The original denim label Levi's has upped its game with eco-friendly processes and trend-leading styles.

Woman wearing Levi's denim jacket
(Image credit: Levi's)
Woman & Home Verdict

Levi’s jeans tick all our boxes, offering a broad choice of washes, styles and fits across an inclusive size range.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Inclusive sizing

  • +

    High-quality denim

  • +

    Water

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    No cons that we can find!

Jeans are undoubtedly a wardrobe staple. According to research by Mintel, the average Brit owns four pairs of jeans. But, with so many different types of jeans to choose from, shopping for them can often feel more like a chore than a treat. 

From high-end to high-street jeans, skinny jeans to mom jeans, we have trialled a wide range of denim to help you find the best jeans for you. We’ve uncovered the bestselling styles, examined the quality of fabrics and finish, and reviewed the fashion credentials of every collection. Our purpose? To check they not only look good, but are comfortable to wear, too, and to help you decide whether the jeans in question are worth spending your hard-earned money on. In this review, the spotlight is on Levi’s, the original denim brand...

How much do Levi’s cost?

Levi's Jeans Specifications

Collection size: 140+ Sizes: 23in-34in waist Leg lengths: 26in-34in Sustainable options: Yes Starting price point: £60

You can certainly buy good jeans cheaper than Levi’s, especially if you are a standard size. But if your proportions don’t happen to fit what the high street has deemed “the norm”, then Levi’s extensive range of sizes, lengths and fits will be a welcome alternative.

Jeans start from £60 and go up to £300 from a pair of premium jeans designed in collaboration with another brand. Typically, expect to pay between £75-£100 full price.

What are they made from?

Just like the originals, nearly all Levi’s jeans are made predominantly from cotton, with elastane and polyester added into the mix if the style requires it.

Tighter-fitting styles, like skinny jeans, are crafted with a higher percentage of elastane to hug your figure, whereas looser or more structured leg styles rely on a higher cotton content to help them retain their shape. How rigid the fabric is depends on how much cotton it contains. The higher the cotton count, the more rigid the fabric. 

How sustainable are Levi jeans? 

According to the United Nations, it can take up to 10,000 litres of water to make a single pair of jeans. If fashion consumption weighs heavy on your conscience, then Levi’s has some more sustainable options in their range.  

Levi’s is incorporating cottonised hemp in their collection. Confusingly, it’s not actually cotton, rather a hemp-based yarn that feels and works just like the real deal. 

Hemp grows quicker than cotton, uses less water and leaves the soil behind cleaner and healthier. Levi’s has combined hemp yarn with 77% cotton in their High Loose Jeans – and we couldn’t tell the difference. (Don’t fret about the negative connotations normally associated with hemp; there’s no tell-tale smell here, nor does hemp contain the hallucinogenic compound found in marijuana.)

Also, look out for jeans made from Tencel lyocell, a soft fibre sourced from sustainably harvested wood, according to Levi’s. Blended with cotton or polyester, it makes for an even softer jean that will biodegrade when it finally makes its way to landfill. 

All of the water used producing jeans isn’t just from growing the cotton. To get denim into the soft state we’ve all become accustomed to, it needs to be washed and treated. But instead of using water and fabric softener to get their raw denim shop-ready, Levi’s now treats their jeans in a variety of innovative ways, such as tumble drying with bottle caps and golf balls. 

It’s all part of their Water<Less initiative, which saved an eye-watering three billion litres of water between 2011 and 2019. 

All sustainably produced jeans are marked with an icon on Levi's site to make them easy to identify.

Which Levi’s jeans are best? 

Jeans shopping is highly personal, but these three pairs of women’s jeans are pretty universally crowd-pleasing.

501®

Levi's 501 jeans

(Image credit: Levi's)

Proof that a classic never dates, Levi’s original 501 jeans continue to be one of their bestselling styles. The straight leg shape is simple but flattering, sitting tight around your hips and bum, before skimming over your thighs and calves. It comes in a wide range of washes, so you can find the best fit for your wardrobe. 

Ribcage 

Levi's Ribcage wide leg jeans

(Image credit: Levi's)

Levi’s highest-rise style, their Ribcage jeans sit (as the name suggests) just beneath your ribs. A great choice for anyone wanting to make a style statement, they have figure-sculpting talents, too, creating a smoother, more streamlined silhouette. If you’re petite, these will come up even higher, so might not be right for you. Available in straight leg or boot cut.

711® 

Levi's 711 jeans

(Image credit: Levi's)

Skinny jeans might have a reputation for being uncomfortable, but Levi’s 711s are here to buck the trend. They’ve been carefully crafted from a four-way stretch fabric, so they move with your body, rather than against it. Team that with a universally flattering mid-rise to give you just the right amount of stomach support, and it’s clear why so many people feel they’re on to a winner with this pair. 

How comfortable are Levi’s jeans?

Comfort ratings are always tricky when it comes to jeans, especially as they become more comfortable the more you wear them. We tried on multiple pairs in multiple situations (out for walks, household chores, working, watching TV) and have given Levi’s our seal of approval. However, it’s worth noting that the higher the elastane content, the lower the risk of a restrictive or uncomfortable fit.

Are Levi’s jeans true to size? 

Luckily for online shoppers, Levi’s jeans come up true to size. Having said that, the fit is on the snug side. Our advice? If they just feel a little tight, resist the urge to size up and instead power through the initial tautness. All denim stretches and gives over time, so they’ll be perfectly moulded to your shape within just a couple of wears.

Unlike some jeans brands, which only offer even numbered sizing, Levi’s caters for half sizes, too – especially handy if you normally sit between two dress sizes.

Regular sizing ranges from a 23in through to a 32ih waist, which is equivalent to a UK 4-14. Levi’s plus-size collection works by dress size, from 14 to 24.

If you want what feels like a bespoke fitting pair of jeans for a high-street price, then you should consider their patented Shrink-to-Fit jeans.

Pre 1960, all Levi’s were Shrink-to-Fit, which means they were made from raw, untreated denim. They were designed to be bought big and shrunk down to your perfect size at home. The finish all depended how you wore, washed and cared for them. Levi’s 501s are available in Shrink-to-Fit.

How easy are Levi’s jeans to care for?

Levi’s are really easy to care for as, according to their in-house denim experts, it’s best to wash your jeans as little as possible: ‘‘Wash them once every 10 wears at most to maintain the fit and prevent too much ‘rebound’.” 

Marked your jeans? No problem. “Use a damp cloth or old toothbrush with mild soap to remove small stains instead of washing them. You know the distinct lines and creases you see on your jeans, the ones specific to you? That unique look comes from wearing your jeans for long periods without washing.”

All Levi’s jeans should be washed cold, either by hand or on the gentle setting on your machine. For darker shades like black or indigo, wash inside out to preserve your shade.

Popping them in the tumble dryer can damage the integrity of the fabric, so hang yours up to dry for best results. Just remember, sunshine can distort and fade your shade, so if you love your Levi’s just the way they are, leave them somewhere shady. 

Levi’s jeans verdict

Levi’s tick all our boxes, offering a broad choice of washes, styles and fits across an inclusive size range. If you can afford a pair, then we recommend them 100%.