Levi’s 502 Vs. 511: How Do These Iconic Jeans Compare?

Levi’s jeans are an American classic – they’ve been around since the California Gold Rush in the 1850s. Two of their most popular styles today are the 502 and 511. But what’s the difference between these two fits?

Which one is right for you?

I’ve broken it all down in this comprehensive guide comparing Levi’s 502 vs 511 jeans. We’ll look at the fit, style, sizing, and key features of each jean. I’ll also share pros, cons and do a side-by-side comparison to help you decide.

A Quick Comparison Table

Before we dive into the details, here is a quick overview of how Levi’s 502 and 511 jeans compare:

FeatureLevi’s 502Levi’s 511
Leg Opening17 inches14.5 inches
Best ForAthletic builds, room in thigh & seatSlim builds
Stretch1% Elastane2% Elastane

Now let’s look at each jean in more depth…

Levi’s 502 Fit & Style

The Levi’s 502 is a relaxed straight fit jean designed with more room in the thigh and seat. It has a mid-rise and a loose, straight leg that is wider from the hip through the leg opening.

Some key features of the 502 fit:

Levi's 502 Jeans
  • Relaxed straight leg – The 502 has a straight leg that is loose through the thigh and seat with a leg opening of 17 inches. This provides a relaxed look and comfortable feel.
  • Mid-rise – The 502 has a mid-rise at the waist, sitting below the natural waist but not too low. This flatters most body types.
  • Loose thigh – With its relaxed fit, the 502 allows for more room through the thigh and seat. This accommodates athletic builds nicely.
  • 100% cotton – Levi’s 502 jeans are made from heavyweight 100% cotton denim without excessive stretch. This provides sturdiness and structure.
  • Zipper fly – The jeans have the iconic Levi’s zipper fly and button closure. This allows for easy on and off.

Overall, the Levi’s 502 has a loose, baggy fit through the hip and thigh while remaining straight from the knee down. The generous fit provides comfort while the mid-rise and zipper fly keep the classic Levi’s style.

Levi’s 511 Fit & Style

The Levi’s 511 is a slim-fitting jean tailored close through the hip and thigh. It has a low-rise fit with a slim leg opening.

Here are some notable features of the 511 fit:

  • Slim fit – The 511 is designed to be form-fitting without being too tight. It sits close through the hip and thigh.
  • Low-rise – The 511 has a low-rise, sitting below the natural waistline. This creates a modern, streamlined look.
  • Tapered leg – While slim through the hip and thigh, the leg tapers slightly from the knee to the leg opening of 14.5 inches.
  • Stretch fabric – The 511 incorporates 2% elastane into the 98% cotton denim. This adds stretch for increased comfort and movement.
  • Zipper fly – Like the 502, the 511 has the signature Levi’s zipper fly and button closure.

In summary, the Levi’s 511 creates a contoured, streamlined silhouette. The tailored fit hugs the body while the low-rise and stretch material allow for great mobility.

Comparing The Fits

Now that we’ve covered the styles, let’s directly compare the fits of the 502 and 511:

Levi's 511 Denim Dark Wash Jeans
Levi’s 511 Denim Dark Wash Jeans
  • The 502 has an overall loose, relaxed fit while the 511 has a slim, tailored fit.
  • In the hip and thigh, the 502 is roomy and loose while the 511 fits snug and narrow.
  • The 502 sits at a mid-rise on the waist while the 511 sits below the natural waist in a low-rise.
  • The 502 maintains its straight, loose leg from thigh to hem while the 511 tapers slightly through the leg.
  • At the leg opening, the 502 is wider at 17 inches while the 511 is slimmer at 14.5 inches.

Clearly, the 502 provides a looser, boxier fit while the 511 delivers a contoured, slimmed-down silhouette.

The 502 accommodates bigger builds and athletics thighs better, while the 511 works well for slim to average builds wanting that sharp, tailored look.

Comparing Sizing, Stretch & Durability of Levi’s 502 And 511 Jeans

Beyond fit and style, you also need to consider sizing, stretch, and durability when choosing jeans. Here’s how the 502 and 511 compare:


Both the 502 and 511 come in a full range of men’s jean sizing from 28-42 inch waists and 30-36 inch lengths. Make sure to consult the Levi’s size chart to find your correct size. Keep these tips in mind:

  • The 502 runs slightly large due to its loose fit. Size down for a less baggy look.
  • The 511 runs close to size but stretches with wear thanks to the elastane. Size down if between sizes.


  • The 502 is rigid 100% cotton denim with only 1% elastane for structure. It has minimal stretch.
  • The 511 has 2% elastane woven into the 98% cotton for added mobility and elasticity.


Both the 502 and 511 use thick, heavyweight denim constructed to Levi’s high standards. They will last for years with proper wear and care. The 511’s extra elastane does not reduce its durability significantly.

Pros & Cons Compared

To summarize the key differences, here are the pros and cons of Levi’s 502 vs 511 jeans:

Levi’s 502 Pros & Cons


Levi's 502 Jeans
Levi’s 502 Jeans
  • Roomy thigh and seat
  • Accommodates athletic builds
  • Classic straight leg
  • Sturdy mid-rise fit
  • Rigid 100% cotton denim


  • Looser fit not ideal for slim builds
  • Limited stretch
  • Runs large

Levi’s 511 Pros & Cons


  • Tailored slim fit
  • Stretches for comfort
  • Streamlined low-rise
  • Sleek and stylish
  • Tapered leg


  • Too tight for some
  • Low-rise not ideal for all body types
  • Less durable than rigid denim

As you can see, the 502 is ideal for guys who want an old-school loose fit jean with room to move. The 511 suits slimmer builds wanting a modern slim style with added stretch. Choose the one aligned with your fit, style and comfort preferences.

Outfit Ideas

To complete your Levi’s jeans look, here are some outfit ideas with 502s and 511s:

Levi’s 502 Outfits

  • 502 jeans with a graphic tee, hoodie, and sneakers for a casual streetwear vibe
  • 502s with a denim or leather jacket and boots for rugged flair
  • Pair the 502 with an overshirt or flannel for grunge or workwear style

Levi’s 511 Outfits

  • 511 skinny jeans with a fitted button-down or bomber jacket for a sharp, tailored outfit
  • Dress up 511s with Chelsea boots and a tucked-in collared shirt
  • Go for monochrome with a black 511 jean and matching black tee and leather jacket

Both styles pair well with tees, shirts, jackets, and boots when crafting looks. Choose pieces that complement the fit – tailored with the 511, relaxed with the 502.

Levi’s 502 Vs. 511 Jeans: Which Should You Buy?

So which of these iconic Levi’s jeans is best for you? Here are some guidelines:

Get the Levi’s 502 jeans if you:

  • Have thick, athletic thighs or a bigger seat/hips
  • Prefer old-school straight leg jeans over skinny jeans
  • Want serious denim durability and rigidness
  • Like a roomy mid-rise over low-rise

Go for the Levi’s 511 jeans if you:

  • Have a slim to average build
  • Want a contoured look that flatters your shape
  • Prefer stretch jeans over rigid denim
  • Seek a low-rise jean for tucking in shirts
  • Appreciate a tapered leg
Levi's 511 Men's Denim Dark Wash Jeans
Levi’s 511 Men’s Denim Dark Wash Jeans

Both the 502 and 511 are great choices loved by Levi’s wearers.

Make sure to try them on, assess your build, and consider the comparison points above to choose the pair that’s perfect for you.

With some 502s or 511s in your closet, you’ll have a versatile pair of jeans that can anchor all sorts of casual to smart casual looks.

And remember – take care of your Levi’s!

Wash infrequently, line dry instead of machine drying, and avoid over-washing to preserve the color and structure of the denim.

With the right care, your 502s or 511s will last for many seasons.

For more guidance, check out Levi’s own care instructions. And browse their full selection of washes, colors and additional fits to expand your denim selection.

I hope this detailed comparison between the Levi’s 502 and 511 has helped you decide which one is your perfect pair! Let me know if you have any other questions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the difference between Levi’s 502 and 512?

The main difference between the Levi’s 502 and 512 jeans is the fit through the thigh and leg. The 502 has a loose, relaxed fit through the thigh and a straight leg opening. The 512 has a slimmer fit through the thigh and a tapered leg that gets narrower from the knee to the leg opening. The 502 provides a looser, roomier fit overall while the 512 is more tailored and slimming through the legs.

What is the difference between 502 and 512?

See the previous answer for a full comparison between the Levi’s 502 and 512 fits. In short, the 502 is a straight, loose fitting jean while the 512 is slimmer through the thigh and tapers down the leg.

How do Levi’s 502 fit?

The Levi’s 502 fit is relaxed and roomy, designed to accommodate larger thighs and seats. It has a mid-rise and loose straight leg that remains wide from thigh through the 17 inch leg opening. The thigh, rear and hips have a generous, baggy fit. The 502 is great for athletic builds wanting a classic straight jean.

Are Levi’s 511 too skinny?

The Levi’s 511 has a very slim, skinny jean fit that may be too tight for some guys. With its contoured waist, narrow thighs and tapered leg, the 511 hugs the body closely. For men with larger thighs or who dislike very tight jeans, the 511 could feel too constricting. Trying them on and assessing your build is recommended. The athletic 502 or 512 fits may be better alternatives.

Wrapping Up

In summary, Levi’s 502 and 511 jeans have distinctly different fits. The 502 is a relaxed, loose fitting jean ideal for guys with athletic builds. Meanwhile, the 511 has a slim, streamlined fit tailored for slender to average body types.

Assess your build, style preferences, rise needs, and desired leg shape before deciding between these two iconic Levi’s jeans. Both are quality options – just select the one suited to your shape and denim needs.

Clayton S. Johnson

Well, I am Clayton who writes, manages, and does overall stuff for this website. I live somewhere in Stone Mountain, Georgia, and used to have a full-time job. But the pandemic taught me to do more do with my life. So, I quit my job and travel a lot! Since I have tons of time now, I write about all the stuff I have done, used, and have first-hand experiences.

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