If you’ve checked out the label of your jeans, you might find a weight in ounces listed – but what does it mean, and is this really how much your jeans weigh?
The weight of denim jeans is measured by the heaviness of the denim fabric used: lightweight jeans use 5-12 oz denim; midweight jeans 12-16 oz; heavyweight jeans 16 oz+. These are per square yard – to get the actual weight, multiply by 1.5 (the average length denim needed for jeans) or 2.0 for selvedge.
This means the average pair of blue jeans weigh around 18-24 oz. This is an average weight, so women’s jeans weight may be a little lower, and men’s a little higher. Other factors include the size of the jeans, the fabric used, the tightness of the weaving, and more.
If you’re curious how jeans weight is measured, what the difference between lightweight, mid weight, and heavy weight denim is, or how denim weight should affect your purchasing decision, keep reading below! I’ll also cover our top picks for lightweight, midweight, and heavyweight jeans.
What’s The Difference Between Lightweight, Mid Weight, and Heavyweight Denim?
You’ll commonly hear terms like lightweight denim and midweight denim thrown around, and although there’s no standard designation to set them apart, most brands do follow similar rules when using these terms for the material used in their products. The weight of the fabric affects its properties and how you might want to wear it, and your choice of lightweight, mid weight, or heavyweight should depend on how you want to wear it:
Lightweight jeans are typically between 5-12 oz. per square yard. It’s most commonly used in non-jean denim products like chambray shirts. It’s less rigid, thinner, and softer than heavier jeans. However, it will not crease or fade naturally like a heavier-weight jean.
Mid weight denim is the most commonly used weight of jeans for everything from pants, shirts, jackets, and skirts. Between 12 and 16 oz. per square yard, it’s more structured and durable than lightweight jeans, but softer and more flexible than heavyweight jeans.
Heavyweight jeans weigh more than 16 oz. per square yard. They are more rigid and less flexible, but stronger than lighter-weight jeans. They’ll fade naturally with wear for a beautiful, unique result.
What Influences Denim Weights?
The weight of jeans depends on a variety of factors:
Denim Fabrics Used
Although denim fabric is made mostly of cotton, a lot of jeans are now made with some combination of denim, TENCEL™, and other materials that make the jeans stretchier and more comfortable. These add-in fabrics tend to be heavier per square yard, so one pair of mid-blue denim bootcut jeans made of 100% cotton may weight more than a similar pair of jeans made of a cotton-TENCEL™ blend.
Tightness of Weaving
Even denim made of the exact blend of fabrics could have a weight difference if one is woven tighter than the other. Jeans with tighter, more densely woven threads weigh more than jeans with looser, more spread -out threads.
The Amount of Fading On Your Jeans
Even after the jeans are sewn, the weight can change depending on the fading technique. Stone washing and sandblasting, two common jean fading techniques can wear away part of the fabric leaving a lighter-weight pair of jeans. The more faded and worn the pair of jeans are, the less they’re going to weigh.
How Does Jeans Weight Affect Your Purchasing Decision?
For people that run hot or live in hot places, lightweight jeans are the best jeans. If you tend to have a lot of wear and tear on your jeans, just be aware that lightweight jeans are typically less durable, so you may need to replace them more often.
Midweight jeans are great for people that wear jeans year-round in places where it gets cold. They’ll keep you warm in the winter without suffocating your legs in the summer. These are all-rounders that should have a place in most wardrobes.
If you work a trade in jeans, you’re going to want a heavier-weight pair of jeans because they’re more durable and will protect your legs more on the job. Thicker jeans will also keep you warmer than thinner ones.
Lightweight, Midweight, and Heavyweight Jeans – Our Sustainable Recommendations
If you’re looking to buy a pair of jeans in a specific weight, keep reading for our top picks for jeans from sustainable denim brands.
Lightweight Denim Jeans
For lightweight women’s jeans, the Virjinya Slim Jeans by G-Star weigh only 11.5 oz., so they’re the perfect summertime blue jeans:
If you’re looking for lightweight men’s jeans, G-Star’s Lancet Skinny Jeans are breathable, stretchy, and stylish.
Midweight Denim Jeans
For women, the Nudie Breezy Britt is the ultimate 90’s straight cut jeans complete with a 13.25 oz. denim that’s structured, but still flexible.
For men’s everyday dark wash jeans, the 3301 Regular Tapered Jeans from G-Star are a raw, mid weight pair of jeans.
Heavyweight Denim Jeans
It can be difficult to find heavyweight women’s jeans, but the 501 Original Fit Levi’s Jeans is a heavyweight, rigid denim pair that will last years and keep you warm in the winter.
The Tuff Tony Heavy Selvage by Nudie Jeans will convert you to the wonders of selvage jeans–they’re heavy enough to fade beautifully, but still lightweight enough to be comfortable.
So How Much Does a Pair of Jeans Weigh?
As we’ve seen, how much jeans weigh depends on the weight of the denim and many other factors. A lightweight denim is 5-12 oz., mid weight about 12-16 oz., and heavyweight more than 16 oz. If you want to know the weight of the jeans you have, find the weight listed on your jeans and multiply it by 1.5 yards.