Modern Menswear Skill: How To Pinroll Your Jeans

How to Pinroll Jeans

Jeans are an integral part of the modern man’s wardrobe. And as such, we tend to be terribly particular about the way they fit. From rise to leg length, there are countless factors to take into consideration when choosing your perfect pair. And the sheer number of variables often means we’re left having to compromise.

One of the most common gripes is the width of the leg opening. Men want the comfort of a classic straight leg, but aren’t quite so keen on the excess fabric draping over the top of their favourite shoes or bunching up around the ankles.

The solution? Of course, you could take your jeans to a tailor – but if you’re looking for a temporary quick fix, pinrolling is what you need.

What Is Pinrolling?

Pinrolling is a quick and effective means by which to alter the size of the leg opening on a pair of jeans or trousers. It’s useful as it doesn’t change the size permanently, nor does it require anything to hold it in place.

It’s popular with sneakerheads as it allows the cuff of the legwear to be secured above the ankle. This makes it great for showing off a pair of on-trend trainers that would otherwise be obscured by fabric.

Why Should I Pinroll My Jeans?

If you have a pair of jeans that work well with some of your boots and shoes but not with others due to the leg opening, you might want to consider pinrolling.

Learning how to pinroll your jeans allows you to tailor the fit around the cuffs to suit every piece of footwear you own. Make it wider to accommodate desert boots or tighten it up and go sockless with sandals or espadrilles in the summer.

In short, you should pinroll your jeans if you feel the size of the leg opening could do with a slight tweak.

How To Pinroll Jeans

Starting with the first leg of your uncuffed jeans, pinch some of the fabric on the inside leg at the leg opening between your thumb and forefinger. The more fabric you pinch together, the tighter the pinroll will be.

Next, fold the fabric you pinched back, and hold it in place with your thumb on the outside of the leg opening and your forefinger on the inside. It should feel the same as it does when you’re about to cuff (i.e. turn up) your jeans.

Once you’re in this position, cuff your jeans as you normally would and then cuff them once again. Your new adjusted leg opening should now be locked firmly in place.

Can I Pinroll Any Trousers?

Not all trousers were created equal, and therefore not all trousers can be pinrolled. Here’s a quick breakdown of some key trousers cuts and whether or not they’re fit for pinrolling.

Skinny Fit

Nudie Jeans Skinny Lin Organic Stretch-Denim Jeans, £90 >

If your jeans or trousers already have a skinny leg, they probably don’t need to be pinrolled. Doing so will only result in cutting the circulation to your fingers off as you attempt to cuff them (then your feet and toes if you actually manage it). Instead, leave those leg openings be and if you really feel the urge to pinroll something, wear a looser-fitting style instead.

Slim Fit

ARKET Slim Cotton Stretch Jeans, £55 >

Again, you shouldn’t really need to pinroll any legwear with a slim fit as the leg openings are likely already fairly tight. There are exceptions though and if your pair is one of them then know that pinrolling will work on both slim-fit jeans and trousers.

Regular Fit

Sunspel Japanese Denim Selvedge Jean in Regular Fit, £165 >

Regular-fit jeans and trousers are the ones that most commonly need to be pinrolled. The roomier leg means that there’s more excess fabric around the ankle and that’s not to everyone’s liking. However, be warned that attempting to pinroll trousers that are too baggy does not look good. Not unless you’re a fan of MC Hammer’s dress sense, that is.

Tailored Trousers

Suitsupply Grey Tailored Trousers, £130 >

The clue’s in the name. If you’re getting trousers tailored they should already fit like a glove. Yet even if you have a pair of smart pants that haven’t seen a sewing machine, you should still avoid pinrolling them as it can ruin the material and lining. Plus it just doesn’t look great due to the way suit trousers are hemmed. Just stump up the small cost to get them professionally altered.

Selvedge Jeans

Edwin ED-71 Slim Straight Jean in Unwashed Red Selvedge 14oz, £149 >

Yes, you can pinroll selvedge jeans. But it’s worth noting that these sort of jeans should only ever be pinrolled from the inside leg and never the outside. If you do, you’ll lose your beloved selvedge line in the folds of the cuff.

The Best Shoes To Wear With Pinrolled Jeans

As is the case with different types of pants, not all shoes are made for pinrolling. Smart shoes, for example, are best avoided. As are overly chunky trainers or winter boots. But enough of the styles that don’t work, here are some that do.


Common Projects Original Achilles Leather Sneakers, £290 >

If you follow any sneakerheads on Instagram, you’ll already know that pinrolling is a great way to complement good-looking trainers. Cuffing slightly above the ankle lets the shoe do the talking without any fabric getting in the way. It looks slick and it works with anything from canvas plimsolls to sports shoes to premium leather kicks.

Casual Shoes

Sperry Authentic Original Burnished-Leather Boat Shoes, £85 >

Just because you shouldn’t pinroll with smart shoes it doesn’t mean all non-athletic footwear need be avoided. Pinrolling can work well with casual silhouettes like boat shoes, loafers or suede brogues. Especially during the summer months when you need to give those ankles some fresh air.


Crockett & Jones Chelsea V Boot, £450 >

The bigger, bulkier and higher a boot is, the less likely it is to look good with pinrolled legwear. Luckily, the styles that work best are classics all men should own: the chukka/desert, Chelsea and Derby.

Summer Shoes

Gucci Striped Rubber Slides, £180 >

Summer is where the pinroll really comes into its own. When the sun’s blazing and the mercury’s rising, getting your ankles out is pretty much mandatory. Thankfully, summer footwear and pinrolling go together like cold beer and a barbecue. Think strapped leather sandals, espadrilles and court shoes and you weon’t go far wrong.

Paddy Maddison

Paddy Maddison is Ape's Style Editor. His work has been published in Esquire, Men’s Health, ShortList, The Independent and more. An outerwear and sneaker fanatic, his finger is firmly on the pulse for the latest trends, while always maintaining an interest in classic style.