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Meet the Denim Brands Delivering Jeans for Athletic Physiques

The denim market has been guilty of vanity sizing for decades, but a team of new brands is working to offer straightforward sizing for muscular physiques.

Instead of having to size up or tailor jeans, these Kickstarter brands offer men and women with muscular builds true-to-size fits.

Keirin Cut Jeans introduced “athletic” fits to consumers in 2015 through a Kickstarter campaign. The concept was the brainchild of Olympian Beth Newell and business partner Adil Ababakar, who sought to develop a clothing company that made garments to flatter an athlete’s figure.

The brand collected measurements from nearly 100 athletes to inform its jean design, and uses real athletes as fit models. Plus, athlete feedback gets incorporated along each step in the process.

Keirin Cut Jeans jeans are roomier in the seat and thigh, with a slightly tapered leg opening and added stretch for comfort. Styles include straight cuts for women and relaxed leg for men. The brand expanded into chinos last year, applying the same generous fit to work appropriate bottoms.

Barbell Apparel got its start on Kickstarter, too. The brand debuted its Athletic Fit Denim on the platform and became the second most funded fashion project of all time, raising more than $700,000.

The jeans are created to fit the wearer’s actual waist size. Jeans are made with Barbell’s Advanced Flexible Denim and high tensile-strength stitching. Boot cut and slim options are available for women; straight and relax fits are offered for men.

BeBop Society Denim was founded to solve the problem of ill-fitting denim for men with muscular legs and to “redefine premium denim by making great fitting jeans accessible to all men.” The brand launched a Kickstarter campaign last year to get production for its Made in USA denim off the ground.

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Its jeans, retailing for $140, are made with selvedge stretch denim and are designed with a generous fit in the seat and thighs for waist sizes 30-38. Heritage details include custom hardware, selvedge pocket detail and seams.

Los Angeles-based Core Denim Co. also turned to Kickstarter to promote its premium denim line for women. With the tagline, “No room for the weak,” the brand caters to fitness-focused females with muscle tone and build in the legs, hips and waist.

The brand offers two fabrics and two fits, each with the goal of offering more stretch and recovery than traditional denim. Core’s Movement denim delivers power stretch and recovery, while CrossStretch denim’s dual core cotton yarns produce a 4-way stretch that allows 360-degree comfort.

The Lean Machine fit, built for “the long athletic build,” is mid-rise legging with zipper detail on the hem. The Competitor, a fit designed for women with muscle in the legs and a boxier waist, is a low-rise skinny jean that allows for minimal curves from the hips to waist.

Mainstream brands are taking note of the demand for roomier fits. Men’s retailers Bonobos offers an Athletic pant fit that has extra room in the seat and thigh with a distinct taper below the knee for a fitted look. The Levi’s 541 Athletic Fit was designed for muscular builds. The jeans have a relax feel with a slightly tailored finish, according to the brand. Lee also offers an Athletic fit with a fitted waist, tapered leg and wider seat and thigh for improved range of motion and comfort.