Finding great-fitting pants doesn’t have to be a challenge. When you know how to measure pants, you will have a much easier time finding the perfect pair for better comfort and appeal.
To help with this, we put together a handy guide that explains how to determine each measurement. Some guys might think measuring pants consists of only the waist. However, there is actually much more involved, especially if you’re serious about getting a proper fit.
By knowing each section to measure and how to do it, you can be sure to achieve an excellent fit that suits you well.
How to Measure:
Before measuring, find a hard, flat surface and lay your pants on it. You want your pants open (not folded) with the front-facing up. Next, smooth them out so that there aren’t any wrinkles.
With your pants zipped up and lying flat, measure the distance from one side of the waist section to the other. Before recording your answer, you need to know the proper conversion rates for men. Here's a separate guide going in-depth on how to measure your waist.
For example, if you get between 30 and 32 inches from one side to the other, your actual pants size is 28. Be sure to stick around until the end for more conversions.
Find a pair of pants that fit you well and lay them on a hard, flat surface. With your tape measure starting at the very bottom of either pant leg, measure the distance between that point and the bottom of the crotch. Check out our full guide to measuring inseam.
To determine the rise of your pants, lay your pants flat and pull the crotch area so that it is taut. It’s best to pull both the top of the front waistband and the bottom of the crotch seam.
Keep this flat, and then measure the distance between the bottom crotch seam and the top of the front waistband.
Flip over your pants and flatten them out again. Gently pull the back of the crotch and the top of the back waistband to ensure that you get an accurate measurement. Place your tape at the top of the back waistband and bring it down the bottom of the back crotch area to get your back rise.
Once again, you need your pants to be lying flat on a hard surface. You’re going to start your tape measure on the top of the waistband. But this time, you want to make sure that it’s on the very outside edge (either side will do).
Then, follow the tape all the way down to the bottom of the pant leg. This distance is your outseam.
Be sure to save your measurement, as it will come in handy when you shop for new clothes. Combined with your other measurements, you can look forward to wearing clothing that complements your body perfectly.
With either pant leg, measure the distance from one side of the bottom to the other in order to learn your leg opening. It’s a good idea to use your most comfortable pants when measuring the leg opening.
If you believe you would be more comfortable in another size, buy pants that fit your needs the most. For example, if your leg opening measures 9 inches but you think you’d be more comfortable in a 9 ¼-inch opening, you can buy accordingly.
You can double the measurement you got if you want to know the total measurement of your pant leg opening.
Men’s Pants Conversion
30 to 32 inches: 28 pants size
30 ½ to 32 ½ inches: 29 pants size
31 to 33 inches: 30 pants size
32 to 34 inches: 31 pants size
33 to 35 inches: 32 pants size
34 to 36 inches: 33 pants size
35 to 37 inches: 34 pants size
37 to 39 inches: 36 pants size
39 to 41 inches: 38 pants size
41 to 43 inches: 40 pants size
Be sure to write down each measurement you got from the steps above. With these figures in hand, you will be sure to invest in excellent-fitting pants.
Remember to always keep your pants zipped or buttoned up when taking measurements. This ensures you get an accurate measurement from top to bottom.