Skip to Content

What Kind of Jeans Do Cowboys Wear?

Any links on this page that lead to products on Amazon are affiliate links and I earn a commission if you make a purchase. Thanks in advance – I really appreciate it!


We have an annual award ceremony for the kids participating in our local horse riding competition. My grandson expects to be awarded his first buckle this year, so he definitely wants to dress like a cowboy and wear the right kind of jeans.

Most real cowboys wear Wrangler cowboy-cut original jeans. These are the style most often worn by rodeo competitors and ranch hands. But they aren’t the only jeans cowboys wear; some prefer Levi’s western cowboy jeans.

Are you curious about what kind of jeans cowboys wear? Cowboys are icons in American culture, and their fashion is just as iconic. Jeans are a big part of that look, and there are a few different styles that cowboys might choose.

Read on to learn more about the different types of jeans cowboys wear and how to get the cowboy look yourself. In this guide, we cover the following:

  • What brand of jeans do real cowboys wear?
  • What cut of jeans do cowboys wear?
  • And more…
Picture of a real cowboy wearing jeans

What Brand of Jeans Do Real Cowboys Wear?

If you watch rodeos, I’m sure you’ve noticed that Wrangler is the biggest sponsor; this is true from small rodeos to the biggest, which could be one reason their jeans are so popular with cowboys.

Regardless, Wranglers are the jeans most real cowboys wear. But many other brands are popular among rodeo riders, working cowboys, and cowgirls, including Levi’s, Cinch, and Ariats.

Besides sponsoring rodeos, there are practical reasons why Wrangler is the most popular brand among cowboys. First of all, they’re comfortable. Jeans must be comfortable when riding a horse all day long.

Secondly, they’re tough – they can withstand hard work and ride through brush without tearing. And lastly, they look good. Let’s face it – when you’re out on the range, you want to look your best.

Most cowboys may not even know it, but the cotton in their jeans actually makes them better riders. I learned this the hard way one afternoon; I hopped on my horse wearing a pair of sweatpants. For some reason, those $15 pants seemed like they would be a good substitute for my favorite Wrangler riding jeans.

But after a few hours in the saddle, the slickness of my jogging pants was almost too much for me to endure. Even when my horse was walking, I would lose my balance, and sitting in the saddle when my he trotted was impossible. Funny, as a child, I don’t remember having these problems.

 I swore never to wear any other pants than jeans again when riding.

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B008O2FA42&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=horseracin05a 20&language=en US

Jeans are the best riding pants for cowboys and cowgirls.

Cowboys wear jeans in summer and winter. A real cowboy will wear the stiffest pair of jeans in winter for warmth. He might opt for thinner or worn-down jeans where the holes make for some natural air-conditioning in summer. Some even sew patches inside their jeans to extend their favorite pair’s life.

Sure, some ranchers occasionally wear khaki pants while working in the barn, but 99% of cowboys prefer blue jeans. This is one article of clothing they never talk about. There is no argument or discussion about it. Jeans are cut right, fit right, and feel right. Jeans are made for cowboys.

Also Read: Best Bootcut Jeans for Women

Picture of a cowboy wearing jeans.
Ariat Jeans

What Cut of Jeans Do Cowboys Wear?

There are a few cuts of jeans that cowboys wear. Some cowboys prefer a traditional fit, while others like a diamond or boot cut. It really just comes down to personal preference. Here are the most popular cuts of jeans that are favorites of cowboys:


This is the go-to choice for most cowboys, the bootcut style fits and flatters, and it’s also comfortable. Most importantly, it lets you show off your cowboy boots in style. 

Don’t forget to check out my guide on How to Wear Cowboy Boots with Jeans – A Man’s Guide.

Traditional Fit-Straight Leg

The traditional fit jeans are slim through the seat and the thighs and sit just below the natural waist to offer all-day comfort. This cut is versatile and can be used over western boots and work boots.


As the name indicates, the Diamond Cut jeans include a diamond-shaped piece of fabric sewn in the crotch area. Burly yet comfy to the core, this cut of jeans is perfect for wearing around the ranch or doing odd jobs around the house.

Regular Fit

Different brands of cowboy jeans carry the regular cut style of jeans. It fits straight from hip to thigh and has a large leg opening with a mid-rise cut. The wider leg opening makes them suitable for pairing with sneakers, heeled cowboy boots, and ankle or paddock boots as well.

Do check out my guide on Best Paddock Boots for 2022

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B073QWVYRD&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=horseracin05a 20&language=en US

Do Real Cowboys Wear Levis?

Yes, many cowboys refuse to leave their homes without their Levi’s, and I don’t blame them. In fact, I am one of them. Levi’s happens to be a favorite brand of mine and almost everyone else in my household.

Levi’s are the classics, and they are known for some of the most durable and timeless pieces of jeans on the market. They have been making authentic and original western denim wear since 1873. 

The brand also keeps updating its jeans with styles and features that everyone appreciates: the addition of elastane and Lycra allows plenty of ‘give and take’ when you’re on the move.

Also Read: 10 of The Best Cowboy Boot Brands 

Which Levi’s Do Cowboys Wear?

Here are my favorite Levi’s Jeans made especially for ranchers and cowboys:

Levi’s Western Fit Cowboy Jeans

Dress them up or play them down; these babies work it either way. Made with 74% cotton with 1% elastane, Levi’s Western Fit Cowboy jeans offer enough stretchability while keeping you from sliding in the saddle.

Here are some top features of these authentic cowboy jeans from America’s popular denim brand:


  • Combines style with rugged durability
  • Features bartack clipping guard for ease over boots
  • Engineered with strong technology for sturdiness
  • 3-point belt loops for wearing large belt buckles
  • Ergonomic pockets and reversed yoke for comfort

Also Read: 10 Most Comfortable Western Cowboy Boots for Flat Feet

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B0006U69FE&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=horseracin05a 20&language=en US

Do Real Cowboys Wear Wranglers?

Picture of a new pair of Wrangler jeans.

I’m often asked if real cowboys wear wranglers. In my opinion, there are three types of cowboys. There are the working cowboys, the rodeo cowboys, and then there are those who just like to dress the part. All three types usually sport a pair of wranglers.

Wrangler’s 5-pocket style appeals to a cowboy’s comfy style while maintaining its western edge. Wrangler’s Premium Patch collection features soft, lightweight, 100% cotton with cowboy cut. Their straight-fit style is ideal for lounging around or even for an evening out in town. 

For something more rugged and made especially for ranch work, go for Wrangler’s Riggs Workwear or Rugged Wear collection. Also, if you dig the low-rise and stretchable styles, they have that in the Premium Patch collection with a slight difference: they have 2% Lycra with 98% cotton in their denim.

The advantage of choosing Wrangler jeans is that they offer specific lengths – so it is very easy to find the perfect fit. Wrangler’s 20X brand also keeps coming up with various new styles and fits.

Which Wrangler Jeans Do Cowboys Wear?

Wrangler Original Men’s Cowboy Jeans

Made for real cowboys and the choice of real rodeo professionals, these Wrangler jeans are a must-have in your wardrobe if you wish to channel your inner cowboy.

Classic denim is known to withstand the test of time and for its long-lasting durability. It is made with 100% cotton so that you can expect breathability and comfort all day long.


  • Designed for all-round comfort in the waist, thigh, and seat area
  • 100% cotton ensures breathability and superior comfort
  • Heavyweight cotton with felled seams offers long-lasting durability and also prevents chafing
  • 5-pocket style
  • Copper rivets
Picture of me wearing wrangler jeans with a Tecovas snap shirt and Chisos boots.
Tevocas Shirt, Wrangler jeans, and Chisos cowboy boots.

Why Do Cowboys Prefer Wrangler over Levi’s?

A survey conducted in 1997 showed that 98% of Professional Rodeo Association riders preferred Wrangler jeans over Levi’s jeans. This is because it all has to do with fit and comfort.

Wranglers are made to fit a cowboy’s body, while Levi’s are more of a “universal” fit. Plus, Wrangler jeans come in many different styles – from relaxed to straight leg – that suit cowboys’ needs much better than Levi’s.

Wrangler’s ground-breaking and innovative platform – Denim Performance – was started with an understanding of what cowboys needed in their jeans. Their main requirements were simple and logical – toughness, sun-shielding, cool vantage, and water repellence.

Here are some features that cowboys love in Wrangler jeans that aren’t found in Levi’s jeans:

  • Higher pockets prevent the rider from sitting on his wallet while in the saddle.
  • 100% cotton construction – This absorbs sweat and improves balance, especially over rough terrains and during turns.
  • Smoother copper rivets – these do not poke into the skin while riding for long periods. The smoothness also prevents scratching of the soft leather saddles.
  • Extra belt loops – these help cowboys wear those thick and hefty western belts.

What cowboy wear.

The attire of a true cowboy is determined by three factors: weather, work, and style. For people who spend their days working indoors or sitting at desks in an office environment, however, the clothes they wear will not change much from summer to winter – this includes both men as well as women.

But cowboys typically wear durable and comfortable clothing for working outdoors in harsh weather conditions. This includes jeans, cowboy boots, a western shirt, a jacket, and a cowboy hat. Cowboys may also wear chaps, thermals, or other protective gear, depending on the location and time of year.

Good cowboy jeans are essential; they protect their legs, stretch slightly in the saddle, and help maintain balance. Jeans are indeed made for the cowboy.

Picture of me wearing Wrangler jeans and Chisos cowboy boots.
Wrangler jeans and Chisos cowboy boots

Why do cowboys wear jeans?

Denim was invented in France, and legend has it that the sturdy fabric was used for sails and other heavy-duty items. Shortly afterward, in Genoa, Italy, “blue jean” was developed from denim material. But, it wasn’t until the 1850s that the jeans we know today began to be used for clothing.

At this time, the California Gold Rush was in full swing, and miners needed a tough pair of pants that could withstand the rugged conditions. Denim was the perfect solution, and it wasn’t long before jeans became a staple among miners and cowboys.

The reason jeans became so popular with cowboys is simple – they are tough and durable. Jeans can withstand the harshest conditions, and they don’t stain or tear easily. In fact, jeans are so rugged that they are the favored workwear for most people who work in construction or outdoors.

Jeans have come a long way since their inception in the 1850s. Today, there are dozens of different styles and colors to choose from. You can find jeans that fit your body type and personality perfectly. And best of all, jeans are affordable and can be worn with just about anything.

So next time you’re wondering why cowboys wear jeans, remember that they are an American icon for a reason. They are tough, practical, and stylish – perfect for any cowboy (or girl) out there.

Below is a comical YouTube video about what you need to wear to look like a cowboy.

FAQs – What Kind of Jeans Do Cowboys Wear?

What color jeans do cowboys wear?

Cowboys usually wear blue, dark blue, or charcoal-wash jeans. The lighter wash jeans are no longer in vogue. You can go for medium-blue jeans for a daytime look and darker jeans for the evenings.

Why are cowboy jeans so stiff?

Cowboy jeans are meant to be stiff so they remain snug. It will be impossible to do the barn chores in baggy and loose jeans. Many of my friends heavily starch their jeans to keep them stiff.

How tight should cowboy jeans be?

Ideally, cowboy jeans should be snug – not too tight or loose. You should be able to wear them with or without a belt. For riding, you need stretchability, so the jeans should allow that.

Why did cowboys cuff their jeans?

Cowboys cuffed their jeans because they were often too long. They also cuffed their jeans for practical purposes- to keep personal belongings like cigarettes and tobacco in the cuff instead of the saddlebags. Also, in the 1950s, cuffing jeans became a fashion statement.

Why do cowboys wear big belt buckles with their jeans?

Cowboys typically wear big buckles to show off their accomplishments. For example, rodeo competitions often award a big buckle to the winners of each event. Big license-plate-sized belt buckles are the hallmark of cowboy attire, and many have significance.

Conclusion – What Kind of Jeans Do Cowboys Wear?

Cowboys wear snug cowboy jeans that may have the bootcut, regular fit, or straight fit. Most cowboys wear Wrangler jeans, although Levi’s is a popular choice too. Wrangler jeans have many features that take cowboys’ needs into account.

I hope this brief guide helps you rock the authentic cowboy look and find the best cowboy jeans that are as comfortable as they are stylish.