The Best Pants for Athletic Legs | Men's Picks for Big Legs

These Are All The Best Pants For Athletic Legs

These Are All The Best Pants For Athletic Legs
Shopping picks for big thighs, muscular calves, and bubble butts
pants for athletic legs

By Megan Collins | Last Updated: Jul 21 2022 | 12 min read

Today, we’re talking to the guys with muscular lower bodies.

Specifically the ones with athletic or bigger legs that make pants shopping super stressful.

But first? I want to let you in on a secret. 

Every guy thinks that he alone has a body type that makes shopping off the rack completely frustrating and basically impossible.

But don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Whether you have a super-skinny neck, extra inches around your waist, or find yourself clocking in taller or shorter than the average guy, there’s something about your body that makes shopping off the rack feel particularly painful.

best pants for athletic legs

So maybe you played soccer or rugby in school, or you clock hours on the bike every weekend.

Maybe you’ve got a big butt, or your legs are on the thicc side.

There’s plenty of shopping woes for guys with thicker thighs and legs – but like I’ve said:

This is true for every guy (and girl!) about some part of their body.

As someone with toothpick legs and a watermelon butt, I can definitely commiserate. I hate hate hated shopping for pants until I found a few brands that fits me well (shout out AG Jeans and Madewell!).

Now, I just buy the same styles over and over in different colors because I’ve found the pants that make me feel like a million bucks.

pants for athletic legs

It’s super common to have athletic thighs or heavy legs or bigger calves. That’s just your body type—you’re the guy with athletic legs.

So, whether you’re looking for dress pants for men with bigger thighs, or jeans for guys with a shorter athletic build, this guide’s got you covered.  

Get ready to shop for what you’ve got. No shame or stress invited.

Here are the style tips and shopping guidance you’ll discover in this guide for guys with athletic legs:

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3 shopping tips for guys with athletic legs

image: Rapha

First up, I asked Brian of men’s style blog He Spoke Style to share his tips on finding pants for athletic legs.

As a retired Category 1 bicycle racer, he knows how hard it can be to find a pair of pants that fit properly when you have larger quads.

Here’s what he wants guys to know:

1. Forget about waist size.

Seriously. Instead, choose pants that fit in the seat and thigh. With off the rack pants, the seat is generally 6 inches larger than the waist.

So if you have a 32″ waist, the seat will be 38″.

As with any off the rack, mass-produced garment, sizes are standardized and finding one that fits perfectly will likely be near impossible.

Most men, and especially men with athletic legs, generally have seats larger than their waist. So from a comfort standpoint, it’s best to size up in the waist and have your tailor take the waist in (see No. 3 below).

2. Dress your body, not anyone else’s.

With menswear so focused on slim fit right now, it can be tempting to want to go that route to keep up with the trends.

If you are a guy with muscular legs, though, don’t do it!

Avoid extremely slim-fitting pants, like skinny jeans, at all costs.

If people only saw you from the waist down it would likely be fine. However, a muscular muffin top will definitely put your entire look out of proportion.

Always go with what flatters your body type over what you are being “told” you should wear.

3. Find a good tailor.

The best thing you can do after buying new pants is take them to an accomplished tailor.

It would be great if every pair of pants fit perfectly off the rack, but the reality is that most pants fit best with some alterations.

That’s especially true for men with athletic legs.

I’m not saying it’s impossible, and we’re sharing some great pants picks to shop below, BUT it’s important to manage expectations.

Knowing a tailor—and more importantly, having your tailor know you, your style, and fit preferences—means that your pants will not only be comfortable, they’ll also have the fit you really want.

Yes, you will have to lay out some cash for the alterations, but a visit to a tailor who really knows his or her craft is always money well spent.

Shop the best pants for athletic legs.

Thankfully, brands have finally gotten wise to the needs of guys with bigger legs.

Many brands now offer an athletic fit in addition to the “traditional” and “slim” fits most product lines include.

They go by different names, so it can be helpful to hit the website before you go to the store.

Or, you could just keep reading and find all our #SGapproved picks below!

The best dress pants for big thighs and calves:

Bonobos Weekday Warrior dress pants in Athletic Fit

bonobos weekday warrior dress pants in athletic fit

SG Says: Bonobos recently expanded its offerings to include an athletic fit for their pants, along with straight, slim, and classic, as well as extended sizes for the big and tall guys out there.

Meaning? Get ready for these men’s athletic fit dress pants to become your new work wardrobe go-to’s.

If you’re near one of their guideshop locations, consider making an IRL visit to check out the difference between the fits for yourself.

Otherwise, try ordering one size up and one size down from what you’d usually wear when shopping online to be sure you find your perfect fit.

The best chinos for athletic legs:

Banana Republic Tapered Rapid Movement Chinos

banana republic mason athletic fit chinos

SG Says: Since not every occasion is going to call for jeans, these are the best chinos for big thighs or athletic legs so you’re ready for anything.

Designed by Banana Republic especially for athletic builds, the Tapered fit has a little extra room through the hip and thigh, and are tailored with stretch for more comfort.

Tapered-style pants in general can be great for guys with athletic or bigger legs because they’re cut a little roomier in the hips and thighs.

Guys with bigger thighs will appreciate how they’re tapered through the leg for a slim, modern look.

runner up: J.Crew Essential chino in 484 fit

jcrew athletic fit chinos

SG Says: Every once in a while you get lucky and find a brand that’s basically exactly what you want. For a lot of guys looking for men’s pants for big thighs, that’s J.Crew’s 484 fit.

If you like a slim cut and don’t mind pants being a little tight around the thigh, these pants will work in situations from business to casual to just hanging out.

If you have larger thighs but still want a slimmer fitting pant, check out the brand’s 1040 athletic fit pants that are roomier through the upper leg.

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The best jeans for muscular legs

Don’t worry, we would never forget about the best jeans for athletic legs!

For so many guys, denim is an everyday staple, so you want at least a few pairs that fit you just right.

Here’s our picks for the best jeans for big thighs:

Gap Athletic Taper Jeans with GapFlex

gap athletic fit jeans

SG Says: Affordable AND stylish? What’s not to like about this pair of jeans for guys with big thighs from Gap?

They’re roomier through the thigh, with a tapered leg and a little extra give, thanks to the GapFlex stretch technology.

runner up: FRAME Denim L’Homme Athletic Fit jeans

Frame denim L'homme athletic fit jeans

SG Says: The folks at FRAME Denim makes some of the best jeans in the game, and now they finally—finally!—offer an athletic fit style.

With an extended rise and a relaxed thigh, get ready for a totally luxe-feeling fit from these men’s jeans for big thighs.

The best casual pants for muscular legs

Casual twill pants—sometimes called 5-pocket pants—have the feel of jeans but come in a variety of colors, sort of like chinos.

Bonobos Italian 5-pocket pant in Athletic Fit

Bonobos Italian Soft 5-Pocket Pants

SG Says: The editorial team at Men’s Journal agrees that Bonobos has changed the game with their variety of fits for guys’ pants.

RELATED: What are twill pants and how do I wear them?

We heartily co-sign on these premium 5-pocket pants, which come in the same athletic fit as the dress pants above.

The best joggers for guys with big thighs

Nike Sportswear Tech Fleece joggers

athleisure pants for guys

SG Says: When it comes to the best men’s joggers for big thighs, these from Nike should be your first and last stop.

They feature an updated fit that’s roomy through the thigh, with a tapered design that narrows at the knee. The overall effect is a clean, tailored look and a totally comfortable feel.

RELATED: What to Wear with Joggers

For casual days, a great pair of joggers flatters men with larger calves and thighs because of their tapered silhouette. Just make sure you opt for a pair that’s tailored, like the Nike style above, not sloppy.

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One final plea: seriously, get your pants tailored!

If you care about the fit and comfort of your pants—which I assume you are if you’ve read this far—choose a pant that fits your thigh the way you want, and then take them directly to your local tailor.

Don’t worry about the waist. Don’t worry about the length, and even if you are looking for something on the slim or tapered side, don’t worry about the leg opening.

The tailor can fix all of that!

It’s a small investment that will pay big style dividends.

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Ready to update your wardrobe? SG can help

If you’re ready to level up your style but dread the thought of shopping for new clothes…consider having Team SG shop for you! We’re obviously biased, but clients tell us we’re really great!

Let us rescue you from shopping fatigue and sartorial apathy.

You’ll receive personal attention that will make you feel like the best version of the awesome guy you already are!

Ready to seriously improve your closet and your confidence? Give us a shout.

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I run Style Girlfriend, helping guys develop and grow their personal style, all from a friendly and supportive female perspective.