How to Pick Carhartt Jeans


Carhartt work jeans aren't your ordinary denim bottoms. They're crafted for workers who depend on their gear to be durable and long-lasting. Made from the most reliable materials and built to be abused, Carhartt denim has been a working person favorite for over 130 years. Picking Carhartt for your jeans is the easy choice; perhaps more challenging is picking which jean is right for you. This guide outlines different Carhartt jean fits and features to help you better understand which styles are best suited for your vocation.

Fits & Sizing

Features and fabrics are important, but understanding fit and how to find your size may be the single biggest factors when choosing your next jean.


Carhartt jeans come in three different fits – slim, relaxed, and loose (also known as dungaree fit or loose-original fit). Deciding which of these you need depends on your body type and personal preferences.

Carhartt Pant Fits

Slim: Carhartt slim fit jeans have the slimmest fit through the seat and thigh and include a mid-rise that sits slightly below the natural waistline with tapered leg openings. Of the three options outlined here, slim fit jeans have the closest fit.

Relaxed: Most of Carhartt's work jeans fall in the relaxed fit category. These jeans will be roomier than slim-fitting jeans, but slimmer than loose. They sit right at the natural waistline and feature straight leg openings.

Loose: The loosest fitting jean that Carhartt makes. These jeans also sit right at the natural waistline, have ample moving room and wide leg openings.


Finding the right Carhartt jean size is simple. For your waist, use a measuring tape to measure around your natural waistline. The natural waistline hits at the area between the top of your hip bone and bottom of your rib cage. For inseam, find jeans that fit you well, lay them flat with the front and back crease smooth, and measure from the crotch to the bottom of the leg. If you don't have jeans that fit comfortably, measure from your crotch to your desired jean length. Generally speaking, if your waist or inseam measurements fall between sizes, we recommend ordering the larger or longer size, respectively.

Denim Weights

Generally speaking, denim is a strong cotton fabric made using a twill weave. As technology has evolved, additional materials have been added to denim weaves to make the finished material lighter and/or more flexible. While all Carhartt jeans are designed to be more durable than the average pair, their weights do differ slightly depending on fabric composition.

15-Ounce Denim: Most legacy styles of Carhartt jeans are made from 15-ounce, 100% cotton denim. This weight is noticeably heavier and, in most cases, more rigid than lighter weights. A couple of Carhartt's newer jean styles are also made from 15-ounce fabric, but feature a 98% cotton/2% elastane warp stretch denim. The resulting material is still tough, but includes a small amount of stretch.

13-Ounce Denim: More recently, Carhartt started producing jeans that are made from 13-ounce, ringspun cotton that is stronger, softer and durable. These jeans will feel slightly softer and lighter than the 15-ounce styles mentioned above, offering more comfort for the wearer.

12-Ounce Denim: Carhartt also produces jeans that are made from 12-ounce, 85% cotton/14% polyester/1% spandex denim. These jeans will also feel slightly softer and lighter than the 15-ounce styles mentioned above. Most importantly, this fabric composition produces a denim with stretch. In the Carhartt line, products that feature this patented technology fall in the Rugged Flex® family.

Rugged Flex®: Denim with Carhartt's patented Rugged Flex® technology is comprised of cotton and a very small amount of elastane denim. This combination produces subtle, but noticeable stretch in places where workers need it. The result is a durable, rugged pair of jeans that feel less rigid and offers maximum flexibility and comfort. This technology is now available in a wide variety of Carhartt work jean styles.

Extra Features

Now that you understand fits and fabrics, you'll need to pick the features that'll help you most on the job. Whether you need a hammer loop, extra pockets or more protection, Carhartt work jeans offer a sneaky number of extras made just for workers.

Carhartt Double Knee Jeans Carhartt Utility Pocket Jeans Carhartt Hammer Loops Carhartt Jeans with Linings

Double Knees: Like the name implies, Carhartt double-knee jeans are constructed with not one, but two layers of fabric that start below the knee and run up toward the thigh. If your jeans typically wear out on the front thighs and knees or if you kneel a lot on the job, then this style may be for you. Not only does that extra layer of fabric extend the life of your jean and add protection, but most double-knee styles accommodate knee pads via a small opening at the bottom of the extra piece of fabric. For workers who are on their knees a lot, that added protection and cushion can be a lifesaver.

Utility Pockets: What worker doesn't appreciate extra pockets? Sure, some Carhartt work jeans feature the standard 5-pocket construction, but many are outfitted with some extra storage for your tools and accessories. You'll have to examine each jean closely to see where those utility pockets are placed.

Hammer Loops: Don't worry, Carhartt hasn't forgotten about a not-so-new accessory – the hammer. In addition to convenient pocket arrangements, a number of Carhartt jeans feature a handy hammer loop to keep one of the most powerful tools at your side at all times.

Linings: Carhartt lined jeans feature an extra layer of flannel fabric inside the jean leg. If you've ever worked outside in the cold (or inside a freezer) for an extended period of time, you know how important lined jeans can be. Linings can be found on both jeans and pants with varying fabric types and pocket arrangements.


Jeans are a versatile part of anyone's wardrobe, but they're especially important to workers. For those who spend hours on their feet and need reliable gear, there's no better investment than Carhartt. While Carhartt work jeans come with a number of options and features, choosing the right pair comes down to a few simple questions:

  1. What fit best suits your body type and preferences?
  2. What denim weight suits your job and needs?
  3. What features will help you be more efficient, safe and mobile while working?

Answering these will point you toward the Carhartt work jeans that you can rely on, day after day, job after job.

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