All hard-working men need hard-wearing work pants capable of keeping up with their day’s labors.
Jeans are my go-to pants—they’re tough, versatile, and, best of all, grow more comfortable with every wear and wash.
For those days I’m going to get dirty digging ditches for plumbing, cutting lumber, hanging sheetrock, or doing any sort of DIY or contractor jobs, a good pair of work jeans is worth its weight in gold.
Over the last decade, I’ve been obsessed with finding the “perfect” pair. I’ve personally tested at least twenty pairs and combed through hundreds of reviews to scrutinize every pair on the market.
My deep-dive research has led me to put together this list of the very best work jeans to keep you protected, comfortable, and dressed properly for the task ahead.
Flexible, just the right amount of stretchy, and tough as nails. Their relaxed fit and boot cut leg make them the ideal jeans to wear under a heavy tool belt and over my favorite work boots.
Pairing these Ariat jeans with my favorite steel toe boots is a match made in Heaven. Between the heavy-duty hardware, ToughMax DuraStretch denim that blends spandex and polyester with the cotton, relaxed fit, classic boot cut, and the integrated knife pocket, they’re the most reliable and versatile pair of work jeans I’ve worn. Best of all, they’re available in Big and Tall sizes (a must for my 6’6” frame).
Durability meets comfort in all the best ways. The “Kloth” fabric (a blend of cotton and Spandex) flexes and stretches as you move, and the handsome vintage patina dye makes them look casual with a “lived-in” feel you’ll love.
With seven pockets—two for your cell phone, two front, two back, and one coin pocket—you’ve got storage space aplenty for all your EDC essentials.
Plumbers, electricians, roofers, and carpenters, these jeans are for you.
The comfort flex waistband keeps the jeans securely in place while still allowing you freedom to kneel, bend, crouch, or squat. The flex denim and regular fit allows for a great range of movement and keeps the jeans from feeling constrictive or getting in your way when hustling up a ladder, fixing a pipe, or crawling through attics.
For a more relaxed style, I recommend these jeans. They’re sanded and garment-washed to give them a faded, worn-in look and feel right out of the box, and the relaxed straight fit leg keeps things casual-looking while still being boot-friendly.
Work-specific features like a thigh utility pocket, hammer loop, and rivet reinforcements at the stress points ensure they’ll serve you well on any job site.
These jeans are a reminder of why Carhartt is one of my all-time favorite workwear brands.
Though they’re tough enough to use on any job site, they’re flexible and surprisingly stylish, great for wearing on a weekend off.
Thanks to their flannel lining, I’m warm in all but the coldest Canadian winter months, and the exterior is abrasion-resistant so I can trust it’ll hold up to any work.
I’ve yet to find a pair of work jeans as tough as these 5.11s.
The Lycra T400 Tough Max fabric blends cotton and polyester to give them good flexibility, but they still feel like my favorite pure denim jeans, conforming to my shape with every wear until they fit like a work glove.
The nylon-reinforced front pockets, rivet reinforcement at the hand pockets, and double-needle construction guarantee they’ll last for years on the job.
I’ve been a Lee jeans guy for nearly three decades now, so it was a delight to find these work-friendly jeans.
They’re available in both mid- and heavyweight, so I can have a pair each for the warmer and colder seasons. Best of all, they come in a wide range of fits, finishes, and washes, giving me a huge range of style choices to choose from.
If I’m getting up to some muddy or dirty work (mucking stables or digging trenches), these are my go-to jeans.
The right-hand-twill denim is pure cotton and built at a heavier-than-average weight, with a tight knit that shrugs off abrasion and dirt. They’re particularly comfortable when paired with heavy, tall work boots or cowboy boots, and the roomy fit is just right for my thick frame.
Wrangler sticks with the traditional 100% cotton denim for these jeans, delivering a pair that’s immediately comfortable and familiar to wear.
The high rise waist eliminates plumber’s crack while the boot cut leg makes them compatible with even the heaviest work boot.
Features like the front pocket reinforcement, relaxed seat and thigh, and gusseted crotch make them as versatile as they are tough. And there’s no arguing with that affordable price tag.
What I love about these jeans is that they’re built for both hard work and days off. Their classic colorways and relaxed fit pair perfectly with a heavy-duty pair of work boots but still look great with a t-shirt and All-Star Chuck Taylors.
The lightest-duty pair of jeans on our list, they’re ideal for a day when you’re heading straight from the office to the job site to a client dinner or date night.