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Levis 517 vs 527 Jeans: What is the Difference?

Have you noticed that fashion trends like flared pant legs phase in and out of style every few decades? With bootcut jeans back in style, you can now pair popular brands like Levi’s bootcut jeans with cool t-shirts and cowboy boots, or even with chunky sneakers! Levi’s actually sells two styles of bootcut jeans, which may leave you wondering when you compare Levis 517 vs 527 jeans, what is the difference?

The main difference between Levi’s 517 and 527 jeans is that the 517 has a mid-rise waist and the 527 has a low-rise waist. Another key difference is that the 517 style features 100% cotton denim, while the 527 style uses a type of stretch denim containing some elastic. Both styles have a close-fitting leg above the knee and a bootcut leg opening.

In this article, you will find out what makes the 517 and 527 styles of Levis jeans so popular. You will discover key differences between these bootcut styles of jeans. Finally, you will learn some fun tips for how to style these jeans!

Levis 517 vs 527 Jeans

What Are Levis 517 Jeans?

Levi's Men's 517 Boot Cut Jean, Medium Stonewash, 34x32First introduced in 1969, Levi’s 517 bootcut jeans answered the call for wildly popular bellbottoms in the 1970s. Besides the iconic bootcut leg opening, these jeans feature a slim fit through the thighs and a medium rise that puts the waistline right at the waist.

Like many of Levi’s older styles, they typically contain 100% pure cotton denim, giving them a sturdier feel and greater durability than some newer styles.

During the late 60s and into the 70s, many fashion-forward people took apart regular straight-legged jeans and sewed in a triangular panel at the lower leg to make the jeans into bell bottoms! Levi’s 517 and then the even wider flare of the 646 became best sellers because of the huge demand for this type of jeans.

The company marketed their first bootcut jeans as “saddleman” pants perfect for wearing in the saddle and fitting over cowboy boots!

Even though they came out more than 50 years ago, the 517 remains a solid fashion today. It has a slim fit in the upper part of the legs that give it stylish lines. Plus, the bootcut leg openings pair great with everything from cowboy boots to sneakers to steel-toed work boots!

In the 60s and 70s, flared jeans had more of a flower child vibe. Today, bootcut jeans usually evoke a cowboy, macho type of style.

What Are Levis 527 Jeans?

Levis 527Levi’s 527 jeans offer an even more modern bootcut style that features a slim fit, a low rise, and stretch denim. These jeans have much less of a working-on-a-ranch style and much more of a going to a club appearance! They still provide a comfortable fit and plenty of flexibility, so you may find them a good choice for a day on a construction site as well.

Levi’s officially terms the 527 a “slim bootcut” style. You can expect a very close fit in hips and thighs and a pretty snug seat. The low rise gives this cut a trendier edge as well.

Another modern touch in this newer style is the material used. The 527 contains 99% cotton and 1% elastane in the fabric, giving the denim a bit of ease as you bend and move around. Plus, the company uses its special waterless technology to make these jeans in a more eco-friendly manner!

You can buy the popular 527 style in many different colors and washes, though, and in some cases, you can select a style that uses 100% cotton instead of flex denim.

These jeans should fit true to size, but you may find that they shrink a little in the wash. To avoid this, follow the instructions on the care label, such as washing in cold water and turning the pants inside out first.

Levis 517 vs 527 Jeans: Key Points

Levi’s 517 and 527 jeans both have a similar bootcut style, but the two types of jeans have a few key differences, like the type of material and rise. Check out this chart to get a quick overview of these differences!

 517527
CutBootcutSlim Bootcut
WaistAt WaistBelow Waist
Leg Opening18.25”18.25”
RiseMid riseLow Rise
SeatSnug fitSlightly looser fit
Material100% cotton99% cotton, 1% elastane
FlyZip flyZip fly
Best ForAny occasion requiring boots, from a rodeo to a construction siteLooking more trendy with boots or thick sneakers. Perfect for going out or for yard work!

What is the Difference Between Levis 517 Vs 527 Jeans?

Levi's Men's 517 Bootcut Jean, Black, 28Wx30L

The main two differences between levis 517 and 527 jeans are the type of material used and the height of the rise. Aside from that, these jeans look very similar. Both feature the same bootcut leg opening and both have a fairly slim fit, though the 527 will cling a little more snugly through the thighs.

If you want a really simple answer, it is that the 527 contains just a tiny fraction less material and gives you a closer fitting, slightly more trendy appearance due to its lower waist and slim-fit thighs.

Cut

Levis 517 and 527 jeans both feature a bootcut style. This means that the legs flare out below the knee rather than tapering in to fit more closely at the ankle than at the knee.

However, they do have a few small differences in the overall cut. The key difference is the rise. The 517 offers a traditional rise, meaning that the waistband sits at the natural waist, while the 527 has a lower rise and a low waist.

Another key distinction is that the 527 is technically what Levis calls a slim bootcut, meaning that it fits a little more tightly through the thighs. The denim will outline the shape of your legs more distinctly in this style, which gives you a more modern line from the waist down.

Waist

Levi's Men's 517 Bootcut Jean, Esp Indigo, 29Wx30LLevi’s 517 jeans have a higher waist than Levis’s 527 jeans. The 517, released in 1969, features a standard waist that will hit right around the navel on most people. This classic look pairs well with flannel shirts, t-shirts, or hoodies.

The 527 offers a marginally lower waist. It will rest just below the navel–we’re not talking hip-huggers here! But a lower waist does present a slightly more modern look and can tend to make them look a little edgier.

Leg Opening

Both the 517 and the 527 share a leg opening measuring 18.25.” Because of the bootcut leg opening, the pant legs flare out just a bit from the knee to the ankle, but not a lot.

When you think about it, Levi’s skinny jeans have a leg opening of 13”, and the brand’s most popular straight cut has a leg opening of 16.5”. So the bootcut leg opening isn’t that much wider than a regular straight leg!

The bootcut leg opening just gives you the perfect amount of room to easily pull the legs down over the top of your boots, as it is intended to do.

Rise

Levi's Men's 517 Bootcut Jean, Dark Stonewash, 29x30Levi’s 517 and 527 jeans do feature very different rise measurements, which is one of the key differences between the two styles. The 517 has a front rise of11” s and a back rise of 13”, while the 527 has a front rise of 10.5” and a back rise of 14”.

What this means in practical terms is that the 517 has a higher waist but a tighter seat, and the 527 has a lower waist but a little more room in the seat area.

The rise on pants measures the distance from the crotch seam to the center of the top of the waistband. You have a front rise and a back rise on every pair of pants. The front rise tells you how high the waistband will reach, and the back rise describes how much room you have in the seat of the pants.

Since the 517 style has a bigger front rise measurement, you know that these jeans will have a higher waist than the 527s. On the other hand, the 527 jeans have a bigger back rise measurement, telling you that they offer a bit more room in the seat of the pants.

Seat

Levi’s 527 jeans provide a couple of inches more room in the seat than the 517 cut. This is because the 527 style features a higher back rise that adds an extra inch of material into the pants at your rear. The 527 jeans have a rear rise of fourteen inches, while the 517 has a back rise of thirteen inches.

Both styles fit fairly snugly and should provide adequate room for movement.

Material

One of the biggest differences you will notice between Levis 517 and 527 jeans is the type of material used in each style. The 517 comes in Levis classic, sturdy 100% cotton denim. The 527 usually comes in flex denim, which has a fraction of elastane woven into the denim.

Does adding one percent of elastic make a huge difference between these two kinds of material? Not necessarily, but it is true that flex denim gives you a tiny bit more mobility and flexibility, as the name suggests!

Plus, after decades of wearing stretchier fabrics and jeans with some stretch in them, many jeans-wearers expect a little more give in their jeans as they bend and move. The 527, with its flex denim, will provide that additional range of mobility.

Fly

Both the 517 and 527 jeans have a zipper fly with a button. There’s nothing fancy here, just Levi’s classic zip fly!

Best For

Levis 517 and 527 jeans look very similar at first glance since both have the same bootcut leg, but the slight differences between them make the 527 slightly more modern looking and the 517 a bit more traditional looking.

Both jeans work great with any outfit you plan to pair with boots. The 517 contains denim that has just a fraction more durability. You may prefer to wear these for outdoor work or rugged activities like hiking.

The 527 uses that special flex denim and features a slightly slimmer fit in the thighs and a lower waist. These features combined present a trendier appearance, making the 527 bootcut style perfect for going out to the bar or pairing with an untucked button-down for a business-casual vibe.

Did Levis Discontinue the 527?

Levis did not discontinue the 527 slim bootcut jeans. You can still purchase this style in multiple colors and washes from the company website! You can also find these jeans for sale in other places like Amazon or Kohls’s.

You will see a persistent rumor online stating that the brand discontinued the 527 styles. In the recent past, Levi’s did briefly pause selling the 527 because it had better sales overseas than in the States. But it’s back on the shelves again now!

Are Levi’s 517 Jeans Discontinued?

Levis has not discontinued the popular 517 jeans, which remain one of their bestsellers to this day even though they first sold way back in 1969! The 527 cut offers a more modern take on the bootcut jean, but plenty of Levis fans still think the 517 remains the true classic bootcut style!

You can buy 517 jeans from Levis in various colors and washes today. These include stonewash, black, dark stonewash, and indigo.

Do Levis 517 Jeans Shrink?

Levis 517 jeans probably will shrink a tiny bit in the wash, but the company uses a preshrunk denim process that enables them to sell jeans that fit true to size. The company suggests buying the jeans in your normal size and using careful laundering to avoid additional shrinkage.

The best way to preserve the size and quality of your jeans long-term is to only wash them in cold water. Turning them inside out before washing will help protect the color of the denim.

Also, do not put them in the dryer! The heat and friction in the dryer will cause the cotton fibers inside the denim to shrink, making your jeans smaller. Instead, hang them up to air dry for a more gentle drying process.

Levi’s 527 Bootcut Jeans

Levis 527 slim bootcut jeans offer a slightly modernized version of the classic 517 styles from the 1960s. The 527 comes with a lower waist and a tighter fit, both stylistic aspects more suited to today’s fashions.

The 527 still has a pretty retro vibe compared to skinny jeans or slim-fit jeans with tapered legs. When you wear the 527, it will not stick to your legs like glue! You will have more of a casual cowboy vibe going, especially if you pair these jeans with boots!

Levis 517 Vintage

Because Levis has sold the 517 cuts of jeans for so many years, you can actually buy vintage 517s if you want to! Levi’s even has a special separate store, Levi’s Second hand, that sells classic vintage styles made way back. You can see the 517 styles for sale at the online store here!

You can also buy vintage Levi’s 517 jeans from online sellers like Etsy or Amazon or some antique or vintage clothing stores. You will want to take a few precautions to make sure you’re actually buying vintage clothes!

Authentic vintage Levis have a red tab on the back in which the word “Levis” contains a capital E, like this: LEvis. This is an easy way to weed out any scams!

Which Levis Jeans Are Most Popular?

The most popular pair of Levi’s jeans long-term remains the original 501 that has sold continuously from 1873 to today! Levi’s does a good job maintaining several classics, like the 501 and 505 cuts, while also consistently introducing jeans that fit trends. The 517 jeans with their iconic bootcut that first sold in the 1960s are a great example.

The company saw a new trend in legwear fashions based on the flared and bootcut styles made popular in the 60s and 70s. Rather than letting this trend pass them by, Levis launched a line of bootcut jeans!

Today, the best pair of Levis for you depends on whether you want a classic look like the old-fashioned 501, a bootcut style like the 517, or an even more modern style like skinny or slim-fit jeans.

How Should You Wear Levi’s 517 and 527 Jeans?

Once you decide on a classic bootcut like the 517 or a slim bootcut like the 527, you will have to choose an outfit to wear with these popular Levis jeans!

Check out a few style suggestions here:

  • For an authentic Western look, wear a button-down shirt tucked into your bootcut jeans. Pair this with a belt and leather cowboy boots, cowboy hat optional!
  • For a more modern Western style, try matching an untucked t-shirt and cowboy boots.
  • For outdoor work or a really casual get-together, try work boots and a loose or even boxy t-shirt with your 517 or 527 jeans.
  • Want to dress things up? Wear a slim-fit button-down with the sleeves rolled up, tuck it into your boot cuts at the waist, and pair this with leather loafers.
  • For a day running errands, try an untucked Henley with sneakers paired with your 517 or 527 jeans.

Conclusion

Levis 517 and 527 jeans both feature the same bootcut leg opening, but the 517 comes with a higher waist and less stretch than the 527. The 527 cut offers a lower waist and a slim bootcut fit with less room in the thighs. Both styles have a slightly flared 18.25” leg opening that fits perfectly over the tops of most boots.

While you can wear either style very comfortably for outdoor work, the 527 will give you a slightly more modern appearance if you want to wear the jeans out to a bar or event.

Have you ever tried Levis 517 or 527 jeans? What did you like about these classic bootcut styles? Leave a comment below to let us know!