Comfortable Pants for People With Athletic Builds

Bottom Line Up Front: I just did a whole bunch of research into pants for those of us with thick thighs. Here is a round-up of the options for comfortable pants for people with athletic builds.


I have not often been able to find pants that fit me well. 25 years ago it was because I was a fat kid. Today it is kind of the same problem – I don’t fit the normal measurements of those who make pants. If I pull a pair of 32-inch-waisted pants off most racks, my thighs and glutes either won’t fit at all or they would split the pants if I sat down. Most of my adult life I just wore larger-waisted pants than I needed to cover for this. Recently with a slimmer style in vogue, it didn’t allow for the tapered appearance I was looking for. It was also annoying to constantly be wearing belts with extra pants material bunched up all the time.

I few years ago, I decided I was going to suck up the tight thighs and butt in favor of wearing pants that matched my waist. I got 10 pairs of new pants & shorts, all that basically allowed me to be semi-comfortable standing only. I had no room for a phone, wallet, or keys (my ass took that all up). This was all in the name of style! It took a few years of this to wear off and I just redid my pants wardrobe. Here it what I learned.

More Expensive Route

I had been hearing adds and first-hand accounts of companies that were making clothes for people with athletic builds just about the time I got sick of my tight pants. Upon checking them out, they seemingly had solved my problem: they gave the extra room in the thighs but kept the waist tight and/or they use elastic in their material. The two most prominent were Mizzen & Main and Barbell Apparel. I also recently found Relentless Jeans. If I had more disposable income that I wasn’t spending on kettlebells (just got 3 more!) and hunting equipment, I may have stopped there. All of these companies have really nice clothes that would have been very comfortable and stylish. I was seconds away from ordering some Barbell jeans, but I decided to visit Amazon to check out some other options because I wasn’t into spending $150 on jeans. I went down a path that saved me money and produced great results.

Stylish Yet Economical

I was able to find multiple pairs of pants & shorts that have some form of elastic (elastane) in them for stretch when sitting and/or larger thigh/butt room built in. Here is what I ordered and tried on with some commentary on each. will let you send ones you don’t like back for free and as a Prime member they shipped to me for free, so a few trips to the UPS store with what I didn’t want was well worth it to find the right pants.

Levi’s Men’s 541 Athletic Fit Jean
I got two pairs of these and kept them. This style of jeans from Levi’s was completely unknown to me and are new. They are stretchy and have thigh room. At $45, they are 1/3 the price of Barbell Jeans and seemingly do the same thing. Available in a ton of colors too. I tried on 32×32, 33×32, and 34×32 and all of them fit, but the smaller ones had a tighter cowboy fit. Due to the elastic material, I could easily sit in them and move around though.

RVCA Men’s The Weekend Stretch Pant
From what I can tell these are skater pants, but I love them. I could wear these to a party and easily go right into a squat rack. They have a slim, modern fit but are almost built for performance. I kept two pairs of these. They look normal, not faddish like you are trying to act 17 (at least that’s what I think…).

Dockers Men’s Alpha Khaki Athletic Tapered Flat Front Pant
Really comfortable and fit as described. Room for thigh movement. I liked another pair of pants better but these are potential keepers.

Volcom Men’s Frickin Modern Stretch Pant
Also skater-ish pants. Better than normal pants but not as good as the RVCA. Fit wasn’t as good for my body style. These aren’t for people with athletic builds – they just stretch.

Volcom Men’s Frickin Modern Stretch Chino Pant
Same assessment as the previous pair. I could make due with them, but the fit of the RVCAs was better.

Volcom Modern Frickin Stretch Short
The shorts from Volcom were spot on. Very comfortable. I kept these ones.

Final Advice

  • Instead of trying to find the exact right pair (color & size) order some options with the full understanding that you will return them. I got 32 x 30, 33 x 30, 34, x 30, 32 x 32, 33 x 32, and 34 x 32 all of the same one pair of pants. Maybe that’s overkill, but I did not want to have any doubts for pants I will wear for years. In a store you would just go back to the shelf, but shopping online you can’t do that.
  • Save some boxes to return pants to Amazon. They send clothes in those industrial strength bags a lot of times, but you probably need to return them in boxes.

I hope the 15 pairs of pants I tried on were of some value to you. They definitely were to me.