Pant Leg Opening, Get The Right Fit Consistently

Pant leg opening, or ankle width, is the width at the very bottom of a pant leg. Know your best pant leg opening width in order to get your pants fitting the way you want, consistently.

What is your best pant leg opening width?

Is your best pant leg opening width 8″, is it 7 1/4″?

If you don’t know, determining your best ankle width will be time well spent. It’ll ensure you get all your pants fitting the way you want, consistently. 

To get started, find the two pants in your wardrobe that have the most desirable ankle widths. Measure the ankle width (across the bottom hem) of both. Maybe one pair is 7 1/2″ and the other pair is 8″. Next, think about how those measurements could be improved.

Once you know the opening width measurements of your best fitting pants, and you’ve considered the adjustments for improvement, then you can set your target ankle width.

Once you know your target, you can become consistent.

Hemming and Local Alterations

Once you know your target ankle width, you may be able to have the pants you currently own altered to meet your target. Talk to a local tailor or seamstress, show them your pants and tell them your target width.

In general, you can reduce ankle width, but you can’t widen it.

Finding Pants from Brands That Meet Your Target Width

The most convenient way to ensure you hit your target ankle width is to buy pants that come in your target width. This way you don’t spend the time or money on local alterations. A quick search of a brand sizing charts online will provide measurements for you to compare to your target.

What pant leg opening is in style right now?

Standard leg opening widths only see slight variations over time, with adjustments of plus or minus 1” in reaction to fashion trends. More fashion-forward leg opening widths, those on the extremes, will vary greatly.

A traditional ankle width is 8 ½” and that changes slightly depending on the pant size. Generally, less than 8 ½” is trending towards modern and greater than 8 ½” is trending towards traditional.

pant leg opening measuring
A, the photo on left is the original. It’s 7 1/4″. We altered B, the photo on right, to be closer to an 8″ opening.

A standard and current ankle width is 8” for most guys. Less than 8” trends modern, greater than 8” trends traditional.

How Todd Shelton helps customers with ankle width

At Todd Shelton, we call pant leg opening width Ankle Width. We have developed multiple pant leg opening fit options over years of listening to customer requests.

Our most popular option is called Standard, it’s in-between Straight and Slim. Our Straight option is 1/2″ more wide than Standard. And Slim is 1/2″ less than Standard.

We provide ankle width measurements on our sizing charts (available on jean product page and pant product page).

Our ankle width measurements do not change with inseam length. The published ankle width is the same regardless if the pant is 28″ inseam or 36″ inseam.

Todd Shelton El Capitan Trousers

If you have any questions about pant leg opening, please email

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