How To Shrink Raw Denim Jeans

June 11, 2018

We often get asked about the technology behind our 501® Original Shrink-To-Fit Jeans. In reality, it’s more of a simple science. Instead of going through additional steps, the denim we use to craft them is left untouched after the dyeing process, creating a more rigid and durable fabric.


This ultra-pure fabric is called raw denim. Any tension applied to the denim fibers during construction is released in its first wash, which — because it bypasses the pre-shrinking stage of production — you control.

This is where Shrink-To-Fit jeans stand apart from the rest: managing the shrinkage yourself allows the denim to conform to your unique body. The payoff is a pair of jeans with a custom-made fit. No tailor necessary.


Of course, that means how you wash your Shrink-To-Fit jeans for the first time is crucial. We recommend sticking to one of these three tried-and-true methods.

1. Go old school

The bathtub rumors are true. This classic technique requires you to buy your jeans true to size in the waist and two sizes up in length. Put them on, hop into a warm bath and then just kick back and relax for at least 30 minutes. When you’re done soaking, keep them on until they’re dry.

2. Simplify it

You can just machine wash and dry your jeans. If you choose the machine route, we recommend ordering up. For your waist, size up 1” and for your inseam, increase 3″.

3. Keep it real

For the purist who likes their denim unwashed, there’s no need to size up. Buy them true to size. Wear. Repeat.

No matter which way you choose, we want to hear about it. To share your Shrink-To-Fit journey with us, tag @levis on Instagram and use the hashtag #LiveInLevis.


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