Cotton Jeans vs Stretch Jeans

Most commonly, men’s stretch denim jeans are made of 98% cotton and 2% stretch. The 2% stretch is made up of synthetic fibers that enable the fabric to stretch.

Todd Shelton All-Cotton Men's Jeans
Todd Shelton’s Pro Original Darks. All-cotton.

For years, we’ve made all-cotton denim jeans and stretch denim jeans. We understand how these two different denims vary in terms of style, fit, and customer.

Comfort is the value of stretch denim

Stretch denim is relatively new for men’s jeans – it was used in women’s jeans well before men’s. For men, it entered the mainstream over a decade ago when men started wearing skinny jeans – the stretch allowed for a tighter fit.

Now, stretch jeans are more popular than all-cotton jeans in America. Stretch denim jeans are sold everywhere in skinny fits to relaxed fits. Comfort is the primary reason.

We have found that men who prefer stretch denim say comfort is what the most want from their clothing.

Aesthetics is the value of all-cotton denim

All-cotton denim is the original or classic – it looks, feels, and breaks-in the way we have learned to believe a jean should.

The look of all-cotton denim is different than stretch denim; all-cotton jeans have a natural sensibility and stretch jeans tend to have a technical sensibility – although to some, the difference may be undetectable.

Todd Shelton Pro Original Mid Jeans
Todd Shelton Pro Original Mids.

All-cotton denim feels different when wearing compared to stretch denim; all-cotton is tighter and stretch is softer.

We have found that men who prefer all-cotton jeans have an aesthetic standard they want to meet and they don’t find all-cotton jeans uncomfortable.

Why we prefer all-cotton jeans

Our design priority at Todd Shelton is to make hyper-consistent fitting clothes, across all pant categories: jeans, pants, and trousers. After years working with stretch denim, we determined that stretch fabrics are too unstable to consistently meet our products specifications across categories.

We have found that during the washing process, stretch denim shrinks and stretches unpredictably. All-cotton denim is more predictable in our experience, we know exactly what to expect during washing, enabling us to deliver a consistent fitting jean order-to-order, year-after-year.

We have also found that stretch jeans and other pants with stretch – stretch out differently as the man wears them. All-cotton jeans stretch out predictably with wear and stretch jeans tend to stretch out with greater variance.

We understand the value of stretch denim. But for the hyper-consistent fit we need and for the aesthetics we endorse, we believe all-cotton denim provides the best results for our customer.

If you have thoughts on stretch denim vs cotton denim, we’d love to hear from you – regardless of which you’ve chosen and why. Please reach out to us at

Quality basics handmade in America.