Which bootcut jeans are best?

While skinny jeans and mom jeans may fall in and out of style, bootcut jeans remain a timeless favorite with its flattering silhouette. 

Bootcut jeans are easy to dress up or down with the right top, accessories and shoes. They’re available in several washes, ranging from bright white to deep stone. If you’re looking for a pair with a darker wash, Lucky Brand Mid-Rise Sweet Bootcut Jeans is a top choice. 

What to know before you buy bootcut jeans

What are bootcut jeans?

Bootcut jeans fall somewhere in between straight-leg and flared jeans – they’re fitted through the waist and knee and have a slender flared style. Their leg openings are wide enough to accommodate most boots, ranging from chunky Timberlands to long-tipped cowboy boots – hence the name, bootcut.

Bootcut jeans are known for their flattering fit because the flared openings add balance to the jean silhouette and create the illusion of a smaller waist. The style is considered most becoming on wearers when they opt for the right inseam length, in which the hemline falls right above the heel. 

Sizing

Women’s bootcut jeans usually follow number sizing, starting with 00, or pant sizing, such as 28 x 30. Many styles now offer plus-size styles, which start at 12, 14 or 16, depending on the brand. There are some brands that use progressive sizing for bootcut jeans, particularly pull-on styles that lack traditional waistline details. 

What to look for in quality bootcut jeans

Denim blend

In the past, jeans were primarily made with denim, a cotton twill textile. It’s known to give jeans a rather stiff fit that only relaxes when wearers break them in. While some bootcut jeans are still made with regular denim, more and more styles are available as blends. Depending on the style, the cotton twill may be blended with polyester, nylon, rayon, Spandex or Lycra. Not only do these materials give jeans a flexible fit, they also minimize shrinking and fading in the wash. 

Wash

A jean’s wash refers to its appearance after undergoing a unique washing process. Dark wash bootleg jeans, for example, have a deeper color than acid wash jeans, which have somewhat of a marbled-bleach look. Light wash jeans, as their name implies, are light, much closer to white on the color wheel. There are several jean washes available, and fortunately, most manufacturers indicate the wash on labels and in product descriptions. 

Waistline

Like most jeans, bootcut styles are available in low-rise, mid-rise and high-rise waistlines. Low-rise styles are cut around the top of the hip bones, whereas mid-rise styles fall closer to the belly button. High-rise waistlines are cut above the belly button, with some styles reaching as high as just below the bust line. 

Pockets

Traditional bootcut jeans have five pockets, including two larger back pockets that accommodate wallets and phones. The front pockets, however, tend to be notably smaller in most modern styles. Sometimes, the pockets are so shallow that they only accommodate a pack of gum or lip balm. 

The fifth pocket is a tiny compartment located inside a front pocket. Originally used to hold pocket watches, it’s not exactly a useful or functional compartment anymore. Instead, it’s usually present on jeans for nostalgia. 

How much you can expect to spend on bootcut jeans

Basic bootcut jeans made with stretch materials cost $30 and below. Quality styles, many of which are made by leading denim brands like Levi’s, Lee and Lucky Brand, are priced $40-$80. Designer bootcut jeans start at $100 and may run as high as $500.

Bootcut jeans FAQ

How long does it take to break in a pair of jeans?

A. It takes somewhere around half a dozen wears to break in a pair of jeans. Those with high-cotton blends take the longest to break in, whereas stretch jeans may offer the ideal fit after a couple wears. Some people recommend stretching, bending and lunging in jeans to help them loosen up around the hips and knees. 

How do you raise the hem on bootcut jeans with longer inseams?

A. While you can certainly take up the hem on your own, even experienced sewing enthusiasts bring their jeans to dry cleaners or tailors for alterations. Not only do they have the skills to create a fine custom hem, they have sewing machines and needles that are designed to handle heavyweight materials like denim. 

What are the best bootcut jeans to buy?

Top bootcut jeans

Lucky Brand Mid-Rise Sweet Bootcut Jeans

Lucky Brand Mid-Rise Sweet Bootcut Jeans

What you need to know: A flattering cut with a mid-rise waist, these Lucky Brand bootcut jeans are ideal as a go-to pair of dark wash jeans.

What you’ll love: The jeans are fitted through the thighs and hips, which gives them a sleek, polished appearance. They have finely-detailed contrast stitching that plays off brown boots, handbags and tops. The belt loops accommodate wider-than-usual belts. 

What you should consider: The light wash down the thighs may not be flattering on all wearers.

Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s

Top bootcut jeans for the money

Sonoma Goods for Life Midrise Bootcut Jeans

Sonoma Goods for Life Midrise Bootcut Jeans

What you need to know: If you’re looking for an affordable pair, these jeans are a comfortable option with stretch materials. 

What you’ll love: The soft, stretch denim pair is made with a cotton, polyester and Spandex blend. It moves naturally with your body when you sit, bend or crouch. The style has five functional pockets to store essentials. 

What you should consider: Because it’s made with stretch materials, the jeans may loosen or overstretch over time. 

Where to buy: Sold by Kohl’s

Worth checking out

Levi's Classic Bootcut Jeans

Levi’s Classic Bootcut Jeans

What you need to know: A classic style from a favorite denim brand, these Levi’s bootcut jeans are a wardrobe essential. 

What you’ll love: The jeans feature Levi’s signature styling with the rear belt patch and red pocket hangtag. They’re made with a premium cotton and elastane blend that are flexible while still offering a classic denim fit, and are available in several of Levi’s bestselling washes.

What you should consider: The front pockets are unusually shallow, and some wearers said they simply weren’t functional. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Kohl’s and Macy’s

 

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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money. 

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