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424 of 436 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic, Original, and 501 are meaningless, but these are the old-fashioned style
If you're looking for the old-fashioned style Levi 501 jeans like the ones you bought in the 1970's or 80's, that are made of heavy denim and you bought them oversize and washed them hot to shrink them to size, at least one of the ones listed on this page is the right one: the Color: Rigid STF (at the moment it is the color at the far left).

It took many hours...
Published on September 25, 2009 by Steven Whitney

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I ordered a pair from amazon so I could get a better fitting pair
The jeans sent to me didn't match the photos. They are single stitched on the inseam, the label is fuzzy and looks fake, the hem is shorter and an odd proportion, the stitching on the back pockets differs, the red tag just has a registered symbol on it and doesn't say Levi's at all. From other pairs of 501's I have worn these jeans are of a lighter weight denim and they...
Published 6 months ago by Seadubya


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424 of 436 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic, Original, and 501 are meaningless, but these are the old-fashioned style, September 25, 2009
This review is from: Levi's Men's 501 Shrink To Fit Jean (Apparel)
If you're looking for the old-fashioned style Levi 501 jeans like the ones you bought in the 1970's or 80's, that are made of heavy denim and you bought them oversize and washed them hot to shrink them to size, at least one of the ones listed on this page is the right one: the Color: Rigid STF (at the moment it is the color at the far left).

It took many hours of searching and researching (researching blue jeans!) at several online stores and non-store websites to determine whether equivalents to my old ones were even made anymore, and if so, which ones they were. Levi calls countless styles Classic or Classic Fit, and countless others Original, and the 501 number was apparently successful, so they call a lot of them 501, too, to the point where these adjectives and style number have no meaning anymore. Classic and Original probably just mean they're Levi-Strauss, and 501 is meant to catch your eye. Maybe they hope you'll make lots of mistakes and have to buy lots of jeans while hoping to find the right ones. If it sounds like I'm joking about that, I'm not.

So it was with some relief that I got these, saw that they're the right style, shrank them down, and they're fine. There is even an improvement over the old ones: the button-fly holes are now are reinforced with stitching, which they didn't used to be. Mine say Made in Haiti; quality seems just fine. The denim is heavy-weight.

If you're looking for the type of old-fashioned plain style jeans that I described, the keywords to look for are: Rigid, Indigo, Shrink-To-Fit/STF, Straight Leg, Button-Fly, Rivets, and 501 (even though it can mean almost anything). When you're looking at an item description, the more of these keywords are omitted, the more suspicious you can be that you may be looking at an "impostor", possibly even an impostor style made by Levi itself.

Shop carefully. It wasn't an accident that I ended up with the ones I set out to buy. It took more than a day of traversing the Levi-Strauss style minefield.
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218 of 227 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Original and best, April 2, 2006
These are still made from the original indigo-dyed rigid denim manufactured Cone mills in North Carolina, and are of good quality. The trick with these is to buy a bigger size then you ordinarily would, as they shrink considerably. Especially if you want to be able to roll up the cuffs, you need to buy either 2 or 4 inches longer in the inseam, i.e. if you normally wear a 32, by a thirty-four or 36, because it will shrink almost 3 inches after a couple of washes. If you want to wear them over boots, definitely go up 4 inches. I have found that the waist shrinks about an inch and half, so if you normally buy a 36, buy 38. The other thing is that if you want to avoid whitish streaking down the leg, turn them inside out when you wash them. To avoid spotting from the starch used in new shrink-to-fit fabric, wash then in hot water the first few time. Basically they will shrink through the first three washes and and pretty much stay where they are. After that, when you get them to the color you want, wash them as infrequently as possible and they will get a nice natural fading, which will look much better than any of the "hand finished" jeans they charge so much for nowadays. It will always look better if you do it yourself through natural wear.
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77 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To shrink or not to shrink?, November 10, 2011
I've worn Levi's 505's (zipper fly) from when I was a teenager up until last year, when Levi's changed them from "regular fit" to "straight fit". I am very slim with narrow hips, and the straight fit 505's kept sliding down over my hips. So I tried a pair of prewashed 501's. I wasn't thrilled about the button fly, but I got used to it. The fit was great; very much like the older style 505's.

About 6 months ago, I decided to give shrink-to-fit 501's a try. My "true" size is 30x30. I got my STF's in size 32x31. I wasn't up for the shrinking-them-in-the-bathtub routine. Instead, I put them in the washing machine with hot water, gave them a spin dry, put them in the dryer for just a few minutes, and hung them until dry. The result fit me perfectly, much better than the prewashed 501's. These 501's have been in the washer and dryer many times, and now look like a prewashed pair. They are starting to get a lot of fade over the knees. The fit is still perfect!

I really like the 501 STF's and highly recommend them. The denim fabric feels much stronger and more substantial than the prewashed jeans. If you have the patience to deal with the shrinking, you get much more control over the fit.

I decided I really like the look of the unwashed Denim, so I recently ordered and received 2 pair of 501 STFs from Amazon, one size 32x31 and the other size 30x30. I shrunk the 32x31's, but I am wearing the 30x30's unwashed and unshrunk. I am going to try to wash both pairs as little as possible, using cold water, Dr. Bonner's soap, and vinegar, as described on Levi's web site (and many other blogs), and compare how the 2 pairs age. I'll update this review as things progress.

I got both pair in the "Rigid" color, which is the traditional Levi's dark indigo. Prior to washing, the indigo dye does not fully penetrate into the intersections of the threads in the denim fabric. The un-dyed parts of the fabric form a pattern of white dots, which makes the overall color look much lighter than prewashed indigo jeans.

I shrunk the 32x31 jeans in my front-loading washer, inside out, in hot water, no soap, on the gentle cycle. I skipped over the rinse cycle, gave them a gentle spin for a minute, wore them for a couple of hours, then hung them up to complete drying. I did not use the clothes dryer. I got a perfect fit, just like my last pair. The indigo dye bled on to the un-dyed part of the fabric. This made the shrunk jeans look darker than the un-shrunk pair. The shrunk pair retained the rigid feel. So for now I like the look of the shrunk pair more. But the real test will be how they age later.

Update 1/13/2012

In the past 2 months, I've worn each pair about 1/3 of the time, and other pants the remaining time. So each pair has been worn about 20 days. Neither pair has been washed yet.

The pair that I shrunk have softened up quite a bit, and look almost like pre-washed jeans. They are just starting to show some fading on the knees and around the objects I keep in the front pockets.

The non-shrunk pair still maintain most of their rigid feel, and aside from some creasing, look pretty much the same as they did when they arrived from Amazon.

I like to keep my new jeans fade-free for use as "dress jeans" for as long as possible. So at this point, I prefer the pair that I did NOT shrink.

Update 2/12/2012

It was finally time to wash these jeans. I used cold water, Dr. Bronner's soap, and vinegar, followed by a cold water rinse, as described on Levi's web site. The non-shrunk pair now have a beautiful color, about half way between the original color and that of the pre-shrunk pair. The non-shrunk pair also have most of their original rigidity, and their leather tag looks perfect (the lettering on the tag on the pre-washed pair faded in the hot water).

The fading on the pre-shrunk pair has progressed a bit more, while there is still no visible fading anywhere on the other pair.

Unfortunately I did get some shrinkage in the non-shrunk pair, which were getting wet for the first time. The waist shrunk 1/2" and the inseam shrunk 1". The waist shrinkage isn't a problem, as it stretched out while wearing the jeans. The inseam is more of an issue. I tried to stretch the legs several times while drying, but that didn't work; the fabric shrunk back as soon as I let go.

For my next pair of jeans, I plan to buy them in my actual waist size, but with 1" extra length, and wait as long as possible before washing them in cold water.

Update 11/17/2012

After their first wash, the non-shrunk pair were too short to use. So I recently purchased a new pair in my actual waist size and 1" extra length. I wore these for several days, then washed them. This time I washed them in the bath tub with Dr. Bronner's soap and vinegar. I am hoping that keeping them flat during the wash will reduce fading around the creases that occurred when my other pairs were machine washed. So far the results are fantastic. I plan to use this method from now on.

Hope that helps...
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80 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The original and still great, November 27, 2008
This review is from: Levi's Men's 501 Shrink To Fit Jean (Apparel)
I have found that these shrink a bit less than what Levi's says. In the waist, they shrink about an inch as opposed to the tho inches that Levi's says. The leg shrinks about 2 3/4 inches, rather than 4. So don't buy them too oversized, unless you are going to be washing many times in hot water and a hot drier. Since most people like these dark nowadays, that is unlikely. Also, these are very well made. While much negative commentary concerning Levi Strauss's move away from domestic manufacturing has focused on the button-fly 501s, the bigger problem I have seen is with the old 1970's standby, the 505, which has a zipper as opposed to button fly. The variability on sizing and sew quality with the 505s means you really have to try them on to see how they fit. The 501 are much easier to buy online or by mail order because the sizing is much less critical on the waist, which is the so-called "anti-fit" waist, meaning there is no curve to the rise (the distance between the crotch and the top of the waist), because the original 501s were merely cut down bib overalls which were made to hang, rather than be fitted to the waist. The biggest problem I have noted on the 505's is the variability in size in the thigh area, meaning that some fit baggy and some seem rather tight, even though they are theoretically the same size of a label. The 501s are pretty safe as far as sizing.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I ordered a pair from amazon so I could get a better fitting pair, December 12, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The jeans sent to me didn't match the photos. They are single stitched on the inseam, the label is fuzzy and looks fake, the hem is shorter and an odd proportion, the stitching on the back pockets differs, the red tag just has a registered symbol on it and doesn't say Levi's at all. From other pairs of 501's I have worn these jeans are of a lighter weight denim and they aren't as stiff or rugged feeling. It's hard to believe they are not an outright fake pair of Levi's.
I bought 2 pairs a few months ago at a local store and they are much closer to the 501's I am accustomed to. They didn't have my size as far as length goes so I cuffed them. I ordered a pair from amazon so I could get a better fitting pair. I was extremely disappointed in them once they arrived. Either Amazon is receiving inferior quality Levi's and charging full price for them or they are passing along fake merchandise. Beware! Returned them ASAFP.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 501 styling + heavy weight cotton fabric = classic jeans, August 30, 2011
I am 6 foot 3.5 inches tall and weigh 175 lbs and am fit in lean swimmer/mountain climber manner....not much body fat. My waist is actually 33.25 with an inseam of just a hair over 36 inches as measured by tape means and my wife's cold fingers, brrrrr, watch where you adjusting!

These 34Wx38L Shrink to fit 501 button-fly Levi's were run once through cold water and line dried and are just like the old rough and skin-unfriendly cotton Levi's I've always bought for the last 35 yrs (well, maybe they are 1/2 oz lighter weight cotton than in the late '70s).

Washed once and line dried, they now fit perfectly, and are stiff and cranky to wear. When I wash them in 3-4 weeks, depending on how sweaty I get while wearing them, cold water and line dry again (inside-out to preserve dye) is the plan. I figure it will take some months before they feel softer when freshly dried.

They will get softer with time and last a long time while fitting me, and this is why I keep buying 501 Levi's. The heavy weight cotton is what makes the difference, the heavier the cotton, the stiffer the jeans and more uncomfortable they are until, that one day when they feel great, fit perfectly, and have the look you wore into them; individuality doesn't come easy.

By the way, Levi's 514s are what I wear when I want to looked a little "dressed up"...the lighter weight fabric drapes a little nicer and doesn't shrink on me (cold water, line dry) which is why I buy 33Wx36L 514s.

Lastly, the designation Levi's gives there different sub-genres of 501's are important to note. Some 501's use much lighter weight cotton fabric. Rigid and Shrink-to-Fit go great together and make for a much more classic, long wearing, hard working jean.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Jeans Ever, June 1, 2011
By 
If you like "crispy" jeans as i do...meaning a good stiff pair...you will love these...these are a true shrink to fit pair...so a good rule of thumb...if u like the tighter fit then only buy them one size up...if you like the somewhat looser fit easy through the leg buy them two sizes bigger...will be buying all washes of 501 shrink to fit jeans
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good product, May 27, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Product is as advertised. Shrink rate is very close to instructions,color is as viewed in ad and delivery time was very prompt. All in all, a good experience.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars wash hot, line dry, May 25, 2011
By 
Howard L Lambert (Lemoore, California United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Levi's Men's 501 Shrink To Fit Jean (Apparel)
I agree with the previous reviewer (Great Faulkner's Ghost) , getting the right size (bigger) and washing in very hot water the first few times is the way to get the very best fit in Levi's 501 STF. In fact, I actually boil pots of water to put in my washing machine because my water heater doesn't get hot enough.

Another suggestion is to tumble them once, on highest heat, to shrink them, but, then always hang/line dry after that. Dryers tumble jeans to the point they become soft very quickly - that lack of rigidity makes for a too uniform/bland fading. Keeping that original rigidity as long as possible makes the wrinkles wear and contrast better...giving the most personalized/custom look.

I wear them about 4 days or more before washing (by then, the outside of the jean is pretty dirty anyhow)
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jeans That Fit an Active Guy, November 30, 2009
By 
crazymilo12 "Milo" (Leominster, Ma United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Typically, it's very hard to find jeans that fit an active person with a small waist and developed hips and legs and look and feel good. Relaxed and loose fit jeans just look sloppy, no matter how you wear them. These jeans fit well and look good. They are a straight fit, but since they form to your own body, there is nothing better unless you can get a pair of custom made Levis. However, at this price point why would you even bother.

The button fly is great. I thought that it would take some time to get used to, but I prefer a button fly to zippers now.

These take a bit more work to break in than the already distressed jeans, but it's worth it. Every mark and amount of wear that's put into these jeans will be all yours.

I discovered these jeans about three months ago at a Levi's store and now I swear by them. The STF are great in every color that they come in even if they aren't made in the USA anymore.
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Levi's Men's 501 Shrink To Fit Jean
$46.00 $19.99 - $68.00
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