Sustainable Fashion

Why Are My Jeans So Uncomfortable?

Why are your jeans so uncomfortable? Discover 3 reasons - and what you can do about it.

Why Are Jeans So Uncomfortable Featured

Compared to leggings or sweatpants, putting on jeans can be a really uncomfortable experience – so constricting! But not all jeans are uncomfortable, and if you’re experiencing discomfort it might be because you’ve got the wrong jeans…

Jeans can be uncomfortable if they are ill-fitting, made of low quality denim, or just too new. You can make your jeans more comfortable by changing the style you wear, wearing properly fitting jeans, choosing the right weight of denim, and wearing them in.

Check out below for more information on the most common reasons why your jeans might be causing you discomfort. Then, I’ll give you some tips and tricks for making your jeans more comfortable, so you can look and feel like a million dollars.

3 Reasons Your Jeans Are So Uncomfortable

Your jeans are probably uncomfortable for one of these three main reasons:

1: Your Jeans Are Uncomfortable Because They Aren’t a Good Fit

Jeans that are ill-fitting are typically either the wrong size or the wrong style for your body shape.

If your jeans are too tight, they will pinch at the waist, restrict your movement, and bunch at the knees. If your jeans are too loose, they will slide down every time you move and bunch in weird places.

woman squatting down in jeans 800
You shouldn’t need holes in your jeans to enable you to bend!

Even in the right size, if you’re wearing a particular style that doesn’t work with your body, it can be uncomfortable.

Either way, unless you find the perfect fit, jeans can be uncomfortable. It’s all about finding jeans that support and mimic your body’s proportions. Read below for my tips on finding your right size, so you can always feel good in jeans.

2: Your Low Quality Denim Causes Irritation

Low quality jeans will lose shape very easily, causing bunching at the knees and crotch area and slipping down all day – definitely not comfortable!

lots of jeans hanging up - 800
Cheaper denim is often less comfortable

They can also be super scratchy and made with chemicals like formaldehyde that can cause skin issues like dermatitis. If you find yourself feeling itchy while wearing jeans, find a pair made with organic cotton without any toxic chemicals.

Jeans should be an investment piece in your closet, but that doesn’t mean they have to be super expensive. Check out our list of the best sustainable denim brands for high quality denim made with organic cotton, non-toxic chemicals, and sustainable manufacturing processes across a wide range of prices.

3: You Are Wearing Heavier Denim, Which Is Less Comfortable

You’ve found jeans made with high-quality denim that fit perfectly, but still, you find yourself uncomfortable–what’s the deal? It might have something to do with the weight of your denim.

selvedge denim 800
Heavier weight jeans take longer to break in

Denim comes in three different weights: light, medium, and heavy. A lightweight denim is thinner and less tightly woven, making it a more breathable fabric. Heavier weight denim is thicker, more rigid, and tightly woven, making it less breathable and more insulating.

4: Your New Denim Isn’t Broken In Yet

Denim, especially heavier weight denim, can be extremely stiff for your first few wears because they haven’t been worn in and relaxed at all. Also, if the tag rubs in your new jeans, it can be super uncomfortable. Luckily, there are some pretty easy ways to remedy this that we’ve listed below.

How to Make Your Jeans More Comfortable

But wait! You don’t have to buy new jeans – there are some things you can do to make your jeans comfier.

jeans in dryer
Try to keep your jeans out of the dryer!

Don’t want to spend more than 15 minutes in your jeans before you want to peel them off again? Let’s see what we can do about that:

  • If they’re slightly too tight, put them on and button them up as best as you can. Then, get them completely wet in the bath or shower. Wear them around until they’re just slightly damp and then air dry. If you’re in a hurry, learn how to dry jeans fast.
  • Do not machine dry your jeans! This will cause them to shrink and lose their shape, becoming very uncomfortable.
  • Wear new jeans around the house while cleaning to break them in with a lot of movement.
  • Use a seam ripper or small scissors to completely remove the fabric tag if the tag rubs.
  • Soak your jeans in white vinegar and warm water and then air dry to soften them. This also helps get rid of any bad smell.

How to Find and Buy Comfortable Jeans

Finding jeans that fit perfectly, both your body and your lifestyle, is the best way to always be comfortable. Let’s break down how to find the perfect pair!

group of women wearing comfortable jeans
Great-fitting jeans will be more comfortable – and look better!

Finding the Right Size

Jeans that fit properly are always going to be the most comfortable, but it’s easier said than done if you don’t know how jeans should fit. Make the most of the fitting room by paying attention to these things when trying on jeans:

  • the waistband should touch the full circumference of your waist, but not dig in or pinch. There shouldn’t be a gap between your back and the waistband or a “muffin top” situation
  • bunching or wrinkling around the crotch, knees, ankles, or back of thighs shows they’re too loose, too tight, or too long
  • stays up when sitting or bending over without a belt
  • enough room in the legs to be able to squat down completely
  • stretchy enough to still be comfortable when sitting for a while

Finding the Right Style

The most comfortable denim style depends on your body shape and lifestyle. This isn’t to say that certain body types should or should not wear certain cuts of jeans, it’ll just maximize your comfort if you wear jeans that match your body shape.

If you’re rocking a short torso, avoid high rise jeans that practically come up to your armpits and choose a low or mid rise pair instead.

If you’ve got super muscular thighs, avoid rigid skinny jeans that restrict. Choosing stretchy jeans or a cut with more room in the legs like boyfriend jeans will be more comfortable.

If you spend your days sitting in an office chair, skinny jeans might be too tight, so a slim fitted cut would work better.

Finding the Right Weight

Each weight of denim comes with different pros and cons.

  • Lightweight: softer and feel comfortable right off the bat; not very insulating or durable
  • Midweight: stretch well, warm, soft, especially when blended with stretch fabrics; can be stiff at first
  • Heavyweight: very durable and warm; not very soft or stretchy

If you consistently have issues with how warm you get in jeans or scratchy denim fabric, change what weight denim you’re wearing.

Finding the Right Fabric

The last thing to pay attention to when looking for a comfortable pair is the denim fabric itself. The most comfortable denim fabric has:

  • organic cotton for ultimate softness
  • other fabrics like TENCEL™ that give your jeans stretch without losing shape
  • non-toxic dyes and preservatives that won’t irritate your skin
Megan Lemon

Megan Lemon

Megan is a sustainability writer based in Fiji, where she lives with her partner in the house they built themselves. In her free time, she free dives, spear fishes, and takes long walks on the dirt roads.