What Happened To Levi 505 Regular-Fit Jeans?

When I was in high school, my wardrobe staple was a pair of faded Levi’s 505 jeans. With the sun-bleached light blue denim and worn holes in the knees, those 505s were my favorite outfit completer.

I’d wear them with everything from baggy band t-shirts to cute floral tops. My Levi’s 505s perfectly straddled the line between grungy cool and effortless style. But when it came time to replace my well-loved jeans, I was surprised to find the 505 was no longer being sold.

So what exactly happened to the iconic 505 jeans?

A Brief History of the 505 Jeans

Levi’s introduced the 505 regular-fit jeans in 1967. At the time, they were marketed as “the original zip fly jeans.” The 505 jeans quickly became popular among men who wanted jeans that were more comfortable and roomy than skinny jeans but still maintained a flattering silhouette.

Over the next few decades, the 505 became a wardrobe staple. Their versatility and comfortable fit made them a go-to choice for everyday wear. The 505 was especially popular in the 1980s and 90s when loose-fitting jeans were the epitome of cool.

By the early 2000s, Levi’s was selling over 10 million pairs of 505 jeans globally each year. However, tastes began shifting towards slimmer fits, and the 505 started to lose some of its appeal.

The Decline of the 505 Jeans

In the mid-2000s, skinny and slim-fit jeans exploded in popularity, led by brands like Acne Studios and Topman. Young men increasingly sought out jeans that sat closer to the body for a sleek, modern look.

The 505, with its looser straight leg fit, suddenly felt outdated. Between 2000 to 2015, sales of men’s 505 jeans declined by over 60%. Levi’s tried to revive interest by releasing updated washes, but shoppers continued gravitating towards skinnier denim.

For a while, the 505 maintained a cult following of longtime fans who refused to abandon their favorite jeans. But as Levi’s directed more marketing efforts towards slimmer fits like the 511 and 541, the 505 slipped further into obscurity.

By 2014, the classic 505 jeans were quietly phased out of Levi’s product lineup in most markets.

Year505 Jeans Sales
2000$250 million
2005$200 million
2010$125 million
2015$100 million

Why Did Levi’s Retire the 505 Jeans?

Levi’s has never directly explained their reasoning for discontinuing the 505 jeans. However, based on the falling demand, it appears they made a calculated decision to shift production to more popular modern fits.

Some potential reasons why the 505 jeans declined in popularity and were phased out:

  • Changing fashion trends: As discussed above, men’s fashion moved towards slimmer silhouettes in the 2000s/2010s. The looser 505 fit simply fell out of fashion.
  • Rise of athleisure: Athletic and comfort-focused clothing became increasingly popular. The 505’s stiff denim didn’t align with consumer desire for stretchy yoga pants and joggers.
  • Introduction of “dad jeans”: 505s became associated with being outdated and unfashionable, renamed to “dad jeans.” Levi’s wanted to modernize its brand image.
  • Cheap knockoffs: Copycat versions flooded the market, likely hurting Levi’s sales and brand cachet around the 505 style.

The 505 jeans carried strong nostalgia but functionally no longer had a place in Levi’s core product mix. While discontinuing the iconic 505s was likely a difficult decision, it allowed Levi’s to focus on more contemporary styles.

Where Can You Still Find 505 Jeans?

After being phased out by Levi’s, the 505 jeans didn’t disappear completely. A few avenues still exist for lovers of the 505 fit:

  • Vintage or secondhand stores: Digging through vintage shops can uncover deadstock or lightly worn pairs of original 505s. However, sizing and availability is hit or miss.
  • International markets: 505s are still sold in some Asian and Latin American countries where loose fits remain popular. Stock is limited compared to the past.
  • Special edition releases: Occasionally Levi’s rolls out small batch re-releases of 505s, but these limited runs sell out almost instantly.
  • Alternative brands: Some companies like Wrangler now produce jeans in a similar 505 straight leg style. The denim and construction quality differs from the original Levi’s version.

Domestic resale websites like eBay and Poshmark are another option for finding pre-owned 505s, but expect to pay steep premiums for Levi’s in good condition. With the 505 discontinued worldwide for over 5 years now, stock continues to dwindle.

Will the 505 Jeans Make a Comeback?

The 505 had an impressive 45-year run before being retired by Levi’s. And while they may never again reach the ubiquity of their heyday, glimmers of hope exist for a 505 comeback:

  • Cyclical nature of fashion: Clothing trends tend to move in cycles. As skinny jeans fall out of favor, roomier 90s inspired fits could return, and with them a demand for 505s.
  • Vintage appeal: A new generation is discovering and appreciating vintage clothing. Iconic styles like the 505 have an enduring appeal.
  • Rising loose fit trend: Some modern brands like Celine and Jacquemus are increasingly featuring looser, anti-skinny jeans on runways and ad campaigns. This could shift the market.
  • Nostalgia marketing: Levi’s still leverages 505-focused brand collaborations and ads to tap into customer nostalgia, suggesting potential for a proper re-release.

However, for now the 505 remains an elusive out-of-production grail. For Levi’s to justify re-investing in new 505 inventory, they will likely wait for concrete data that demand has swung back in favor of looser fits.

In the meantime, 505 devotees have no choice but to hunt the secondhand markets and wait impatiently for the tides of fashion to shift once again.

What’s Your Favorite 505 Memory?

The 505 jeans have created countless memories over the decades for those who wore them. If you have a special connection to the 505s, please share your story in the comments! We’d love to hear about your favorite 505 moments and why you miss this classic Levi’s style.


  1. I have worn 505 size 4 short for 40 years.
    I’m on my last pair…..
    they fit so great and lasted so long
    just love the Jeans.
    I will continue to look for them, there are no jeans that fit like them.
    so so sorry to see them gone from the levi’s line up

    • Sorry to hear about the discontinuation of your favorite Levi’s 505 jeans. It’s tough when a trusted go-to item is no longer available.

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