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Jeans for short men

Inseam length is the biggest problem when shopping for jeans for short men. Hemming is the common solution, but it’s not the best solution.

Photo credit: Todd Shelton

The best solution is not having to hem jeans in the first place

Taking jeans to be hemmed is time-consuming, there’s room for mistakes, and to a discerning eye, hemmed jeans can look inauthentic. The best solution is to find a brand that makes jeans for short men.

About this article

This article intends to match consumers with brands that make jeans for short men. We discuss what fit options short men should look for when shopping for jeans and which brands offer these options. This article is managed by Todd Shelton, a jean manufacturer in New Jersey, specializing in fit solutions for men of all heights.

Detail-minded men who care about fit use us

Detail-minded men who care about fit use us

We specialize in manufacturing a wide range of fit options designed to help men solve fit problems and improve the fit of their jeans.

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3 important fit points with jeans for short men

For all men, primary fit points like waist, seat, and thigh are unrelated to height and should be the top priority when shopping for jeans. After that, secondary fit points like rise, leg opening width, and length should be considered.

Men of all heights and shapes can improve how they look in their clothing by being aware of how proportions, colors, and patterns affect their appearance. We’ve all heard examples like horizontal stripes shorten and vertical stripes lengthen.

For shorter men, being aware of how the secondary fit points: length, leg opening width, and rise uniquely relate to height can improve how they look in their jeans. The priority is to find a balance of proportions to lengthen (or not shorten) their appearance.

Jean fit: rise, jean length, and leg opening
Fit points to lengthen appearance: length, leg opening, and rise

Jean length: the most important

What is the right length for jeans? The right jean length varies depending on preference, but our recommendation for jean length is “stop at the top, plus ½.” Which means the jean should stop at the top of the shoe and extend ½” beyond that. This formula doesn’t create a break and provides enough extra length for the wearer not to feel like the jeans are too short.

We recommend this formula for all customers unrelated to height, to ensure clean lines that visually lengthen the wearers appearance in jeans.

Leg opening width: the second most important

Leg opening width is the measurement across the leg just above the hem, it’s also called Ankle width. For shorter men, removing excess volume or folds of fabric around the ankle can also lengthen their appearance and help them look better in their jeans.

To learn more about finding the best leg opening width for you, read our article about leg opening width

Rise: the lesser-known fit point to consider

Rise is the measurement from the top of the waistband down to the crotch seam. It affects how high a person can pull a jean up onto their waist or how much room they have in their crotch area. Jean rise measurements are described as mid-rise, high-rise, or low-rise.

Rise options for jeans for short men.
The proper jean rise can lengthen appearance.

Height doesn’t necessarily impact rise. Rise measurements relate more to the personal preference of how high or low a person wants to wear their jeans on their waist. However, short men should evaluate if a rise measurement is too long. If the rise is too long, it’ll create excess fabric in the crotch area, which can shorten the wearer’s appearance in jeans.   

How we work with men of all heights

At Todd Shelton, we help men solve fit problems, and jeans is our best-selling category. In our East Rutherford, NJ factory, we make jeans from scratch and to each customers fit requirements.

We make jeans for all heights, but we can offer unique value to short and tall men who have difficulty finding jeans that fit and would like to stop having to take their jeans for alterations.   

Specific for shorter customers, when ordering online, they can select inseam lengths starting at 26” and scaling up in ½” increments. But when a customer needs an inseam shorter than 26”, we start with Home Try-On (a program designed to find a person’s fit before they order) to find their waist, seat, thigh, knee, and ankle width – then we adjust the inseam to meet their needs.

We also offer leg opening widths and rise increases and decreases.

Please visit our website if you’re interested in learning more about how our fit options might help you.

Shopping for jeans for short men

According to our sales data, 31” is the average length for the American consumer. Many brands offer 30” and 32” and 34”. But if 31” is the average, why don’t brands also scale down to 28” and 26”?

The answer is inventory management. Brands would rather have longer inseams in their inventory because they’re easier to sell. A customer who needs 26” can buy a 34” and hem to 26”, but the opposite isn’t true. At the end of a season, a brand would rather have a 34″ length in-stock, and not a 26″.

Unfortunately, only a few brands offer lengths below 28” and many premium niche brands only offer one inseam length, like 34. Here we list brands that offer multiple jean lengths, sorted by price tiers, then sorted by the shortest length options first.

Jeans for short men

If you know a brand that offers jean lengths starting at 28” or lower, please email us. No commissions are made from the links below.

Brands under $100 starting at 28” or below:

Uniqlo – Offers hemming service for any length

Lands End – Lengths starting at 26”

Gap – Lengths starting at 28”

L.L. Bean – Lengths starting at 28”

Dearborn Denim – Lengths starting at 28”

Brands over $100 starting at 28” or below:

Todd Shelton – Any length in ½” increments

Detroit Denim – Lengths starting at 20”

Bonobos – Lengths starting at 28”

Nudie – Lengths starting at 28”

Brands specifically for short men:

Ash & Erie – Lengths starting at 25”

Peter Manning – Lengths starting at 25”

Under 510 – Lengths starting at 25”

Brands that should offer 28” lengths and less, but don’t:

These brands have the scale to offer better lengths for all men who shop with them. If you find an error on this list, please email us.

Levi’s – Lengths starting at 29”

Lee – Lengths starting at 29”

Wrangler – Lengths starting at 30”

J. Crew – Lengths starting at 30”

Ralph Lauren – Lengths starting at 30”

Diesel – Lengths starting at 30”

Madewell – Lengths starting at 30”

Lucky – Lengths starting at 30”

Everlane – Lengths starting at 30”

American Eagle – Lengths starting at 30”

AG – Lengths starting at 32”

Hemming jeans
Photo credit: Todd Shelton

Recommendations for buying jeans you know you’ll need to hem

1. If you know you’re buying jeans that you’ll need to hem, try to buy jeans with a length closest to the length you’ll be hemming. For example, if you know you need to hem at 26”, try to buy 30” (if that’s the shortest available). This will keep the leg-opening width closer to the original width.

2. Try on the jeans with the shoes you’ll be wearing most often before deciding on the hemmed length.

3. Ask the person doing the alteration if they have thread that matches the color and thickness of the original thread. Threads of similar color and size will help the hemmed topstitching look original.

4. If the jean is a washed jean and the hem has color variations, ask the person doing the alteration if they use “original hems.” Original hemming is a process of cutting off the original hem and reattaching it. Using the original hem preserves the hem as it came from the manufacturer and will look more authentic.


Todd Shelton is men’s clothing brand based in New Jersey. Founded by Tennessee native Todd Shelton, the brand’s collections offer industry-leading fits that are manufactured in the company’s NJ factory and sold exclusively online.

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