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Levis 510 vs 511 Jeans: What is the Difference?

Levi’s invented jeans and continues to be one of the most popular brands in the world today. But the company sells many different styles, some fitted, some skinny, some baggy. When you compare various styles like Levi’s 510 vs 511, what is the difference?

The main difference between Levis 510 and 511 jeans is that the 510 style is skinny while the 511 style is slim. The 511 has a slim fit that will outline the shape of the legs but will not cling tightly to the skin, while the 510 has an elastic, tightly clinging fit. The slim-fit 511 sits slightly below the waist, while the 510 sits at the waist.

In this article, you will learn the key characteristics of the 510 and 511 styles of Levi’s jeans. You will see how the 510 and 511 compare to other popular Levi’s styles. Finally, you will find out how to pick the right pair of jeans for you!

Levis 510 vs 511 Jeans: Key Points

This chart gives you an at-a-glance understanding of the key differences between Levi’s 510 and 511 jean styles.

WaistAt natural waistBelow natural waist
Leg Opening13” for 32” waist sizing14.5” for 32” waist sizing
SeatVery tightTight
MaterialStretchy, composed of denim, TENCEL, and elastaneNot stretchy, composed of denim and elastane
FlyZip fly with buttonZip fly with button

What Are Levi’s 510?

Levi's Men's 510 Skinny Fit Jeans, (New) Brighter Blues, 28W x 30L

Levi’s 510 cut offers a skinny-jean fit made out of stretch denim. This stretchy, close-fitting style will cling to your midsection and legs pretty tightly when worn correctly.

That said, like most Levi’s styles, the cut intentionally provides a little wiggle room. These jeans will give you the narrow silhouette instead of the baggier look of some Levi’s styles. But they also contain a special super-stretchy fabric that makes them a little looser and more comfortable than the average pair of skinny jeans.

Levi's Men's 510 Skinny Fit Jeans, Florentine Hills-Stretch, 26W x 29LThe fabric blend in the 510 combines 70% sturdy cotton denim with 28% TENCEL lyocell and 2% elastane. This creates a durable, flexible fabric that will wear into a nice softness just like any of Levi’s other popular models.

You can find this trendy skinny jeans style in multiple different washes or shades of color. The 510 comes in every shade, from the almost-white McFrosty to the Boat Load and Moto Cross dark wash shades.

The 510 features a small leg opening, a waist with a medium rise that sits around your natural waistline, and a tight fit in the seat and thighs. This style usually fits best on anyone with a slender body, though the moderately high waist can make these skinny jeans a good choice for tall or short men.

What Are Levi’s 511?

What Are Levi 511 Jeans
Levi’s 511 features a slim-fit cut that gives you a slender silhouette and offers extra fabric in key areas to allow for more mobility. The special cut of these jeans means that they do not need to use extra-stretchy fabric.

So, what exactly is a slim-fit cut? Levis defines this modern style as offering a lean fit while still allowing comfortable movement. You can expect a classy, tailored look from these tapered jeans.

The 511 has a pretty low rise, meaning that the waistline will rest below your actual waist, as is common for many tighter-fitting jeans styles. It also features narrow leg openings, though they provide about an inch and a half more room than Levi’s skinny jeans.

The 511 comes in regular denim combined with just 2% of stretchy elastane fibers, which is pretty standard for most men’s jeans.

That said, you can buy these extremely popular jeans in almost any wash imaginable. These denim shades have lots of fun names like Pickles, which is a light blue wash, and Bee Eye and Native Cali, which offer two different shades of black denim. You can also select from several dark and medium blue washes or go super light with the Castilleja wash, which is bright white!

What is the Difference Between Levis 510 and 511 Jeans?

Levi 511 Waist
The main difference between Levi’s 510 and 511 jeans is that the 510 style is a skinny cut and the 511 has a slim-fit cut. This means that 510 will fit more tightly than the 511.

If you walked past two men on the street, one wearing the 510 and the other wearing the 511 style, you might not notice a whole lot of difference at first glance. Both styles provide a narrow, fitted silhouette that closely outlines the shape of the legs.

But on closer inspection, you would quickly notice that the skinnier 510 version has an elastic cling around the legs, while the slim-fit 511 jeans hang in more of a linear, tapered line down the leg instead of clinging to the body.

1. Cut

Besides an overall closer cut, the 510 jeans have a higher waist and a more narrow leg opening than the 511. These key differences contribute to the overall close fit of the skinny 510 and the slightly more tailored, casually elegant appearance of the 511.

If you spread out the 511 jeans flat on a table and placed the 510 version on top, you would quickly see that the slightly looser 511 slim-fit model contains a fair amount more fabric than the skinnier 510. So, the bottom line is the skinny 510 style has a closer cut than the slim-fitting 511s.

2. Waist

The 510 and 511 jeans have close-fitting waists, but the 510 has a higher rise, giving it a higher waistline than the slim-fit 511. The 511 has a fairly low waist that pairs well with its sleek, fitted cut.

That said, the natural waistline of the skinny 510 style makes these jeans comfortable for tall or short slim men. Shorter people will find that the higher waist makes their legs look longer, and taller people will find that the skinny, tight legs make them look slender.

3. Rise

Levi’s 511 jeans have a front rise of 10.25”, while the 510 style has a front rise of 11 inches. The rise on a pair of pants indicates the distance between the top of the waistband and the crotch seam. This measurement tells you where the waistband of the pants will fall on your body.

In the case of the 511 vs the 510, the rise measurement determines that the slim-fit 511 jeans have a slightly lower waistband than the skinny-fit 510 style.

4. Fly

Both Levi’s 510 and 511 jeans have a zip fly with a button on top. This traditional feature also comes with the expected five-pocket style in most Levi’s jeans.

5. Fit

Levi’s 510 and 511 jeans fit quite differently. Technically, the 510 style has a skinny-jean fit, while the 511 style is a slim fit. But what does this actually mean?

You can think of the slim-fit 511 jeans as outlining your body rather than clinging to you like plastic wrap. In contrast, Levi’s 510 skinny jeans will have a bit of a rubber-band-like cling because of the stretch fabric used in their construction.

Are Levi’s 511 too skinny? This depends on many factors, including your body type and how you like to wear jeans. In general, though, you need to expect a tailored fit from the 511 style.

6. Stretch

Levi’s skinny 510 jeans have much more stretch than the slim-fit 511 style. This is partly because of how these jeans are designed to fit–the 510 is intended to stretch over your skin, while the 511 is intended to outline your body without actually sticking to it.

But you can also see in the composition of the fabric that Levi’s 510 is much stretchier. The denim used for these jeans is only 70% cotton, while the denim used in the 511 jeans is 98% cotton!

7. Leg Opening

Levi’s 510 jeans have a much smaller leg opening than the 511 style. This is because the skinny 510’s basically wrap around your leg like Saran wrap all the way down, while the slim 511 leg fits closely but not too tightly down the length of your leg.

The leg opening on a pair of pants measures the diameter of the pant leg where it ends at your ankle.

For pants with a waist measurement of 32”, the 510 jeans will have a leg opening of 13 inches, and the 511 jeans will have a leg opening of 14.5 inches.

8. Material

The material used to make Levi’s 510 and 511 jeans is one of the biggest differences between the two styles. This is because the skinny 510 style uses a very stretchy kind of fabric, while the 511 jeans do not use very stretchy fabric.

510 jeans are made out of a kind of denim containing 70% cotton, 28% TENCEL, and 2% elastane. TENCEL is a special soft, stretchy type of material similar to modal and elastane is exactly what it sounds like–elastic fibers. Blended together into yarns, these threads create a soft and stretchy type of denim!

511 jeans use a much more basic form of denim, compromised almost entirely out of the traditional cotton fibers. A tiny 2% of elastane fibers give it a bit of a supple bend and stretch, but that’s it!

However, as a final note on the subject of stretch denim, you can choose to purchase 511 jeans in a special fabric called flex material. In this case, your 511 jeans will feel more stretchy!

9. Best For

Both 511 and 510 jeans look best on men with slender body types. This is because both styles are designed to closely outline the shape of the body in a fairly straight line.

If you like this tailored, straight-line silhouette but do not like the clinging feel of skinny jeans, try the 511.

If you like the super trendy or perhaps even youthful vibe of skinny jeans, you can’t go wrong with Levi’s 510 styles!

Levis 512 vs 511

Levis 511 vs 512

Levi’s 512 and 511 jeans have a lot in common, but the 512 jeans have tapered legs below the knee, ending in a much smaller leg opening than the more straight-legged 511 model.

Technically, the 511 jean is described as slim-fit jeans, while the 512 is a “slim-taper fit.”

What does the “taper” part mean? Tapered legs form a V shape from the knee down toward the ankle, meaning that the diameter of the circle made by the pant leg grows increasingly more narrow down the length of the leg. For this reason, 512 jeans have a leg opening measuring just 12.75 inches, while the 511 model has a leg opening of 14.5 inches.

Essentially, the 512 gives you a kind of slim-fit jean that looks a bit more like skinny jeans in the lower leg.

Above the knee, though, you can expect the 512 and 511 styles to look quite similar to each other.

Levis 510 vs 512

Levis 510 vs 512

Levi’s 510 and 512 jeans have a similar shape but different fits. The 510 style, as you already know, is a skinny cut designed to cling to the body. The 512 is a slim-fit-taper style that fits closer in the seat and thighs than the 510 but then actually tapers down to an even more narrow leg opening!

The 510 skinny jeans have a leg opening of 13 inches, and the 512 has a leg opening of just 12.5 inches! This is a considerable difference and means that the 512 legs will wrap very tightly around your ankles.

The 512 gives you that extra comfy room for movability in the waist, seat, and upper legs, just like the 511 slim-fit version. But it also presents the illusion of skinny jeans by ending with such a narrow leg opening!

Levis 501 vs 511


Levis 501 vs 511
Levi’s 501 jeans are the original straight-cut style that launched a denim empire way back in the late 1800s. The newer 511 style is like a modern remake of this classic, as it also has straight legs.

The similarities end there, though. You can expect the modern 511 slim-fit jeans to closely frame the shape of your body, creating a narrow silhouette. The original 501 version, in contrast, includes much more fabric and has a much looser fit.

For example, the 511 jeans have a leg opening of 14 inches, and the 501 jeans have a leg opening of 16 inches!

Plus, the 501 jeans will fit very loosely in your seat and thighs. They also have the traditional button fly instead of the more modern zipper.

Before you start thinking that the 501 style is outdated, though, keep in mind that it remains one of the brand’s most popular models! It has a loose, comfortable fit, perfect for yardwork or hard physical labor on a job site. It also suits many body types, while the 511 style looks best on people with a slender build.

What Are the Skinniest Jeans? Levis 510 or 511?

Levi’s 510 jeans are much skinnier than the 511 version, which is designed as a slim fit rather than a skinny fit.

Levi’s 510 jeans are the brand’s first official skinny jeans. They fit very closely over the midsection and down through the legs. That said, the 512 model has an even more narrow leg opening. This means that technically, Levi’s 512 jeans are the skinniest kind of jeans below the knee!

That said, Levi’s 510 gives you exactly what you would expect from skinny jeans: stretch denim made with a hefty percentage of stretchy fibers woven in with the cotton, a tight fit front waist down to the ankle, and a narrow leg opening.

The 511 jeans, in contrast, should not fit you so tightly. If you try these jeans and find that the denim clings to your skin, you may have the wrong size or this style may not fit you very well. You want the denim to frame your body, rather than cling to it, in this slim-fit style.

Which Levis Jeans Are Most Popular?

Levi’s has quite a few best-sellers, including the iconic 501 Original Fit, the 511 Slim Fit, and the 550 Relaxed Fit. To some degree, the popularity of certain style can wax and wane depending on current fashion trends. For example, some years Levi’s makes awesome sales on their skinny jean models, and other years a baggier kind of jeans like the 550 wins out.

Overall, though, Levi’s has played the long game well. You can see this clearly because the original workhorse 501 jeans remain a bestseller today! The brand has stuck to its guns and constantly offered practical, comfortable jeans for the working man (and woman). They then add on “trendier” styles as global fashion trends change from year to year. This is how we get Levi’s styles like the 511, with its more modern, narrow silhouette.

Do Levis 511 Shrink?

Levi’s 511 jeans are made almost entirely out of cotton denim, which can shrink in adverse conditions such as the high heat in a dryer. The company knows this and provides precise care instructions to help you avoid shrinking your jeans in the wash.

For the best results, Levi’s recommends washing your jeans in cold water and hanging them up to line-dry. Heat and friction will endanger the fibers inside your cotton jeans, so to avoid shrinking, you have to avoid the heat!

In addition, you should wash your jeans only when absolutely necessary. You can spot-clean stained areas with a damp sponge and give your jeans a longer break in between cycles in the washing machine.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to follow these steps, you can try buying your 511 jeans a size larger than you usually would and allowing them to shrink down to fit you.

Should You Buy Levis 510 Or 511?

As you decide whether to buy Levi’s 510 or 511 jeans, the main factor to consider is the fit of each style. If you like skinny jeans and a more edgy vibe, you should buy Levi’s 510 jeans. If you like a modern style but want more range of movement in your pants, you should try the 511 jeans.

Another key factor to consider as you compare these styles is that they both tend to fit people with slender, rectangular bodies the best. Of course, you should wear whatever makes you feel happy and confident, so you can take that fashion advice with a grain of salt! But in general, these narrow jeans styles fit people with narrow bodies.

Finally, keep in mind that the 510 jeans are made out of very stretchy denim, while the 511 style features a more solid regular denim. If you like a very supple denim style, you may feel more comfortable in the 510 jeans.