Rack with different pants size and color.

Buying men’s pants without understanding how size measuring works is like ordering boots online without knowing your feet size. It’s a gamble at best, which is why we’ve prepared this complete men’s pants size guide for you to help you make the best choice regarding your clothes purchase.

We’ll go over everything you need to know, starting with pants sizes you need to be aware of, to taking measurements yourself, and anything in between.

What Pants Sizes Are There?

In the US, pants sizes range from XS to XXXL. These sizes refer to all of the most commonly worn pants in the states, such as lounge pants, work pants, and jogger pants. In other words, pants sizes are a fairly reliable metric you can look at when browsing for a new pair.

These days, it’s not unusual to find pants sizes that exceed the regular XXXL limit, such as 4XL, 5XL, and so on. What’s different about these pants is that they measure a wider waistline, but not necessarily a longer inseam.

Here’s a breakdown of the waist sizes in inches and their corresponding pants sizes:


Waist in Inches

Waist in Centimeters
































Inseam length measurements are slightly different in that they don’t directly correspond to predetermined size categories such as XS or L. The width of your waistline is a much more important indicator of the pants size you should be wearing, but don’t neglect the length.

Size Length

Length in Inches

Length in Centimeters

Extra Short












Extra Long




Now that you know how pants sizes are determined in the US, we’ll show you how to take your own measurements so that you know which size to get. Before we do that, we’ll explain another common way of representing pants sizes that you could potentially come across.


W/L Sizes Meaning

In some cases, you might see pants sizes represented as two numbers separated by a forward slash or the “x” symbol, e.g., 36/31 or 36x31.

The first number represents the width of your waistline, while the other one shows the length of your inseam. It’s an alternative way to define pants sizes for people who aren’t sure if size categories such as L or XL are right for them.

The sizes shown are always in inches. So, from our pants size example, a person with a waist width of 36 inches and a leg length of 31 inches would find our sample pants to be a perfect match for them.

If you need to convert inches to centimeters, multiply the number by 2.54. In the case of 36/31 sized pants, you’d get 92/79 dimensions in centimeters. When measuring pants sizes, always round up.

How to Measure Waist Size?

Men's pants with measuring tape.

All you need to take waist measurements at home is the good old measuring tape. You’ll want to place the measuring tape above your hips where the waist is. Make sure you’re either wearing a very tight shirt or none at all in order to get the most accurate measurement possible.

For the sake of accuracy, don’t suck in your stomach or you’ll end up with a wrong measurement. Since the measuring tape needs to stay parallel to the ground and level on each side, it’s best to stand in front of a mirror while you’re taking the measurements. Hold one end of the tape in front of your body, then wrap it around the narrowest part of your waist until the tape reaches the starting position. Make sure that the measuring tape is neither loose nor too tight. All that’s left is for you to note down the results and you can move on to measuring leg length.

Alternatively, you could just grab an old pair of pants that feel comfortable and take a look at the label. It could be a decent indicator of the pants size you need, but keep in mind that it’s not strictly accurate, especially if you’ve worn those pants for a long time.

How to Measure the Lenght of the Inseam?

For men, measuring the length of pants is quite straightforward since men’s pants usually show sizes on the label. That means that any old pair of pants that are still the right length will suffice, as you’ll be able to simply read the number listed on the label and get a new pair of pants just like that.

If you decide to measure the length of the inseam (the inner part of your leg), you’ll need a measuring tape and a pen again. Measure from the crotch all the way to the hemline and note down the size. Make sure that your pants are laid out on a flat surface and buttoned up to get the most accurate measurements.

Keep in mind that the shoes you’ll be wearing also matter.

Common Men’s Pants Cuts

Men's Cuts.

The cut and fit of a pair of pants are just as relevant as the size. Not all pants are cut in the same way, and the comfort (and look) of the pants you buy can vary significantly based on how they were cut. The most common cuts include:

  • Baggy pants
  • Relaxed
  • Loose fit
  • Slim fit
  • Drop crotch
  • Skinny fit
  • Regular
  • Boot cut.

Look up different pants cuts before buying to see if it matches your desired style and occasion.

Summary of the Men’s Pants Size Guide

Before you decide to buy a pair of pants, make sure you know what size you’re looking for. While using the pants label as a size indicator is all well and good, it’s best to use a measuring tape to get a more accurate pants size. Find the right fit and the best cut for your needs, and you’ll be able to get yourself a pair of pants that will last you a long time.

Men's pants size