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Levi’s 501 vs 514 Jeans: What is the Difference?

If you’re looking for a loose, sturdy, straight-legged pair of jeans, you can’t go wrong with either the Levi’s 501 or 514 styles! Choosing just the right cut of jeans for your body can seem like a daunting task, though. For example, when you compare Levi’s 501 vs 514 jeans, what is the difference between them?

The main difference between Levi’s 501 vs 514 jeans is that the 514 style has an updated, more modern appearance due to its lower waist. Both jeans feature a straight-leg cut, but the 501 has a higher rise than the 514. Another key difference is that the 514 comes with a zipper fly and the 501 features the original button fly.

In this article, you will find out what characterizes the 501 and the 514 styles of Levi’s jeans. You will learn the key differences between these two popular straight-legged cuts. Finally, you will find out how they compare to other Levi’s styles!

What Are Levi’s 501 Jeans?

What Are Levis 501 Jeans

Levi’s 501 jeans are the first type of jeans that Levi Strauss & Co sold way back in the 1800s. This classic, straight-legged jean has a long, distinguished history as the first pair of denim pants to gain popularity.

Levi Strauss and Jacob Bloom, two immigrants, working in San Francisco, had the idea of turning the tough denim fabric in Levi’s dry goods store into workwear for the local miners. Jacob Bloom had seen that many miners would purchase scraps of denim to patch their clothes because the denim offered such good protection from the dangers of the mines! Together, Jacob and Levi patented the idea of denim pants made even more durable by adding copper rivets at the stress points in the pants.

Everything about the 501 jean style was designed to fit the needs of a working man. The jeans used tough denim and offered a loose, straight-legged fit. This allowed lots of mobility and easy movement.

They came equipped with five pockets, quite a luxury at the time! The tiny pocket you can still find on Levi’s jeans today was originally designed to hold a pocket watch and keep it safe during the workday!

Since zippers had not yet been invented, all Levi’s 501 jeans offered a button fly–a tradition they continue today.

For more than a century, the 501 jean has served as a useful, sturdy uniform for the working man. But the 501 stands for more than just practicality today.

In the 1950s, movie stars lit a fire under the jeans industry. In the post-war world, jeans quickly gained a unique status as the uniform of the rebellious teenager. Movie stars like Marlon Brando and James Dean wore Levi’s 501 jeans in several iconic films in the 50s!

During the 1960s and 1970s, the company expanded its jeans repertoire and focused on offering more casual blue jeans like the extremely popular bell-bottoms of the 70s. That said, the 501 styles remained a best-seller even during these decades!

You may not know that the military used Levi’s sturdy 501 jeans during the Vietnam war. Soldiers quickly discovered that these tough jeans could survive the jungle much better than their regular military uniforms.

Today, Levi’s continues to sell the original 501. It’s pretty incredible that this type of pants has remained a best seller for more than a century!

The modern 501 comes in over 40 different colors, washes, and types of denim, so you can find a lot of variations on the original blue-jean style. That said, it remains pretty similar to its 1800s incarnation. The modern 501 offers a mid-rise waist instead of a more old-fashioned high-rise, but in all other aspects, it looks pretty much the same!

What Are Levi’s 514 Jeans?

What Are Levis 514 Jeans

Levi’s 514 jeans offer a regular straight fit that feels relaxed without looking too baggy. This style features a little more room in the seat and thigh area while still maintaining a leg that forms a straight line from the hip to the ankle. The 514 jeans have a low-rise waist and a zipper fly.

The company describes this modern version of the straight-legged jean as perfect for anyone with a medium to athletic build. You may find that this style comfortably fits folks with many different body types because of the loose legs, the modern rise on the waist, and the fairly slender leg opening.

These jeans give you a nice straight silhouette without all the discomfort of a truly close-fitting style like a slim-fit or a skinny jean cut. The 16” leg opening also pairs well with sturdy work boots.

That said, this style also offers the mobility you need for outdoor work. The one issue you may encounter here is that the 514 features stretch denim, which provides more flexibility but slightly less protection. You will find this denim a bit softer and less durable.

The 514 is a newer style and does not have the history and long-term popularity of the 501 jeans. It serves as an updated, modernized version of pretty much the same style. It symbolizes one of the things that has made the Levi Strauss & Co company great for so many years–the ability to change with the times and constantly offer new styles that match the mood of each generation.

Levis 501 vs 514 Jeans: Key Points

Levis 501 vs 514 Jeans

This chart will give you a quick overview of the key differences between the popular 501 ad 514 styles of Levi’s jeans.

WaistSits at waist.Sits below waist
Leg Opening16”16.5”
RiseMid riseLow rise
SeatRelaxed fitRegular fit through seat and thighs
MaterialHeavy non-stretch denimDenim with small percentage of elastic
FlyButton flyZipper Fly
Best ForCasual wear, outdoor work, heavy laborCasual wear, a night out at the bar, or outdoor work

What is the Difference Between Levi’s 501 and 514 Jeans?

Difference Between Levis 501 and 514 Jeans

The main difference between Levi’s 501 and 514 jeans is that the modern 514 style offers more space in the upper leg. In some ways, you can view the 514 cut of jeans as a modern variation on the classic 501 straight-legged jeans.

Honestly, the difference between the two styles seems slight at first glance. Both jeans offer straight legs and a fairly relaxed fit. But on closer inspection, you may find some variations that help you pick one type of jeans over the other.


Levi’s 514 jeans feature a looser cut than the classic 501 style in the upper leg. When you pair this with the stretch denim used in the 514, you will find that this cut gives you a lot more wiggle room in the seat and thighs, making the 514 more suited for various body types. It may also provide more flexibility for anyone who has to move or bend over repeatedly at the job site.

On the other hand, the 501 gives you a slightly sleeker, more classic look through the upper leg. Anyone who wants a traditional rugged look may prefer this cut that closely mirrors that original 1800s style!


The waist on the 501 and 514 jeans features one of the key differences between these styles. The 501 style has a mid-rise waist that sits right around your natural waist. You may prefer this more traditional style if you like to tuck in your shirts.

A mid-rise waist also offers a comfortable grip for anyone engaged in physical labor, as you do not need to worry about the waist sliding down in an unfortunate way when you move.

Th 514, in contrast, has a low-rise waist. This looks more modern, so you may prefer this style if you want to wear your jeans around town. On the other hand, people with rounder body types may find the low-rise waist less comfortable.

Leg Opening

The 501 jeans have a leg opening of 16.5” and the 514 jeans have a leg opening of 16”. A mere half an inch may not seem like a big difference, but it does give the 514 a slightly more modern silhouette.

Then again, you may want to choose between the two types of jeans based on which leg opening can fit with your preferred type of footwear. In this case, the 501 has a larger opening perfect for fitting over sturdy workboots. The 514 may pair better with less bulky footwear.


Levi’s 501 jeans have a higher rise than the 514. The rise on jeans describes the measurement between the crotch seam and the top of the center-front waistband. You can simply define this as a low, mid, or high rise, or you can list the exact measurement.

In a pair of size 32 jeans, Levi’s 501 jeans will have a rise of 11.75”, putting the top of the waistband right around your natural waist.

514 jeans, on the other hand, have a rise of just 10.25” in size 32, giving you a much lower waistband.


Both the 501 ad 514 styles of jeans have a pretty similar seat with a relaxed fit. That said, the 514 des have more space in the thighs and upper leg, so you may find the seat a bit more roomy in this style as well.

Plus, the stretch denim used in the 514 gives you more flexibility in key areas like the seat and thighs.


Levi’s offers the 501 and 514 jeans in a huge variety of different fabric colors and washes, but both jeans feature high-quality cotton denim. The key difference is that the 514 styles come in stretch denim, meaning that about two or three percent of the fabric composition comes from elastic fibers twisted into the denim fabric.

The 501 jean continues to come in its classic, 100% cotton composition, just as it did way back in the 1800s!


Another small difference between the 501 and 514 jeans is in the style of fly they offer. The classic 501 continues to come with a traditional button fly. The 514 comes with a modern zipper that suits its low-rise waistband.

For most modern jeans wearers, the different types of fly may not make a huge difference, but if you prefer a button over a sipper, you will want to know about this small discrepancy!

Best For

Who should wear Levis 501 vs 514 jeans, and what settings will they look good in? Both styles offer sturdy, durable denim and a loose fit that would do well on many job sites or for any kind of physical labor.

Overall, Levi’s 501 style has a slimmer fit and a classic appearance. You will fit right in at any outdoor event in these jeans. The 501 also has an almost cult following around the whole world as they epitomize what blue jeans stand for.

On the other hand, if you want a more modern look, you may prefer the 514 jeans. They also fit more comfortably on people with a wide range of body types. Plus, the narrower leg opening on the 514 may pair better with more casual footwear and allow you to easily wear these jeans to a bar or a slightly dressier event.

Are Levi’s 514 Discontinued?

Levi’s 514 jeans are not discontinued as you can still purchase them from the company website or many third-party sellers on Amazon or other sites.

However, over time some popular variations on the 514, such as the limestone wash, have gone away. But you can find plenty of other colors and washes in the 514 cut to suit your taste!

What Levi’s Are similar to the 501?

Levi’s 514 and 505 styles offer modern variations on the classic 501 style. All three cuts of jeans have a classic straight-legged appearance. To get more details on how the 501 lines up in relation to other Levi’s models, check out these comparisons!

Levi’s 501 Vs 513

Levi’s 501 jeans have a looser and more relaxed fit than the slim-straight cut of the 513. Anyone who wants a more trendy, narrow shape will prefer the 513 because of its more narrow legs and overall tighter fit.

As you might expect, the 513 jeans also feature a smaller leg opening. Overall, this style gives off a modern vibe but may not offer as much mobility or comfort as the classic straight-legged 501.

Levi’s 501 Vs 505


Levis 501 vs 505 Jeans

At first glance, Levi’s 501 and 505 styles appear quite similar as they both have a relaxed and straight-legged style. The main difference is that the 505 features a loose-straight fit with much more room in the seat and thighs, while the 501 has a regular-straight fit with more narrow thighs.

Both jeans have a mid-rise waist and pretty much the same leg opening, though. The 505 simply offers a roomier variation on the original 501.

Levi’s 501 Vs 511

What Are Levi 511 Jeans

Levi’s 501 and 511 jeans do not have very much in common, as the 511 jeans have a slim fit all over and quite a narrow leg opening.

While the 511 jeans do not hug your skin as closely as skinny jeans, they come in flex fabric. They also have a close fit from the waist through the seat and hips and all the way down to the ankle.

In most cases, you would choose to wear either the 501 or 511 jeans for very different occasions. The 501 works great for physical labor or a classic dad-jean vibe. The 511, in contrast, looks fitted, modern, and could even look more formal when paired with a blazer or nice sweater.

What Levi’s Are similar to the 514?

If you like the modern look of Levi’s 514 jeans, you may want to compare this style with other trendy Levi’s cuts.

Levi’s 514 vs 541

The big difference between the 514 and 541 styles is that the 541s have an athletic-straight fit that allows more muscular body types. This jeans style is newer and is hugely popular with older men and people who like to work out a lot.

The 541 offers the newest variation on both the 501 and 514 as it maintains a straight-legged look but also conforms to a wider range of body types. It offers more movement range than the 501 or 514 and has slightly tapered legs with a 15.75” leg opening to present a modern silhouette, too!

Levi’s 514 Vs 505

Levi’s 514 and 505 jeans have a lot in common. They both feature a pretty relaxed straight-leg cut. The 505 looks more similar to the 501 than the 514 does. This is because the 505 style has the same mid-rise waist as the original 501 jeans.

The 514 looks a bit more modern with its low-rise waist. The 514 jeans also have slightly more roomy hip and thigh areas than the 505 styles.

What is so Special About Levi’s 501?

Levi’s classic 501 jeans are special for many reasons, including their durability, versatility, and powerful symbolism. After all, not many other garments have remained popular for over 100 years of fashion history! So, what is it about this particular style of jeans that has allowed them to transcend all the transient fashion crazes of the past dozen decades?

First, you have to consider the original purpose of these jeans. They have a super-sturdy design made out of durable and affordable denim. This makes the 501 styles perfect for the working man.

You also have to think about the versatility of these jeans. You can wear them to a cookout, to a construction site, or just while hanging around your home. They feel comfortable because of the relaxed fit, provide a good range of movement for anyone doing physical labor, and also offer protection from many dangers like rough brick or unsanded fence posts.

But probably the thing that makes these jeans special is their iconic image. For many people, the 501 jeans symbolize the spirit of America. They embody a sense of freedom, rebellion, and independence.

Levi’s 501 jeans have a worldwide following. They are so popular in some parts of the world that they cost a lot more overseas than they do in the States!

Levi’s 501 Stretch vs Original

Levis 501 Stretch vs Original

The original Levi’s 501 jeans come in 100% cotton denim without any stretchy elastic woven in. But in recent years, the company launched a version of the 501 that comes in a special kind of stretch denim.

If you love the authentic 501 styles but want just a bit more room and a little more comfort, you may want to check out the stretch 501! The Stretch 501s maintain the same cut and appearance as the original 501 jeans. They just offer a more flexible, slightly softer denim fabric.

Levi’s 514 Color Codes

Like all Levi’s jeans, the 514 can come in many different colors and washes, indicated by the last four numbers at the end of the model number. You can find this number stamped onto the lower-left corner of the leather badge on the back waistband of your jeans.

Levi’s uses hundreds of different four-digit color codes to describe all its available colors and washes. For instance, you can get the 514 jeans in 0658, meaning solid black denim. You can also find variations like 0115 for indigo or 4891 for stonewashed jeans.

Levi’s 514 Slim Straight

Levi’s 514 slim straight jeans style has a closer fit than the regular 514. That said, it still features straight legs and the same leg opening and low-rise waist. It simply fits more closely through the seat, hips, and thighs.

If you like the idea of the modern-looking 514 but want a more narrow silhouette, you may want to try the 514 slim-straight styles. The denim in the 514 slim-fit version will more closely hug your upper legs and give you an even more trendy appearance.


The biggest difference between Levi’s 501 and 514 jeans lies in the upper leg area. The 514 jeans offer more fabric in the hips and thighs, allowing more ease of movement and a slightly looser fit. Both jeans have straight legs and a relaxed fit that makes them ideal for physical labor or casual wear.

You will also find that 514 jeans look a little more modern because of their low-rise waist and slightly more narrow leg opening. The 501, on the other hand, offers a wealth of traditional and historical value as the first pair of jeans ever invented.