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How to Pinroll Jeans: Pinroll in 8 Simple Steps [VIDEO + PDF]


Just because pinrolled jeans look good, doesn’t mean it’s easy to get right. However, if you’re curious about how to pinroll jeans …

… and avoid the most common pinrolling mistakes …

… this how to pinroll jeans tutorial is perfect for you.

Pinrolling jeans and chinos is a trendy look for sure. That said, it isn’t a look for everyone …

… or every occasion.

But if you’d like to try it out, why not?

Here’s what you need to know about how to pinroll jeans:


Cuffing vs. Pinrolling

What’s the difference between pinrolling and cuffing?

While both may look the same, there’s a significant difference between the two styles:

Cuffing is primarily done to shorten the legs of trousers that are too long. Also, cuffed jeans typically rest on the tops of your shoes. On pinrolled jeans, there should be a small gap between the shoes and the hem.

And since a pinroll should look neat and tidy …

… you can’t pinroll jeans that are too long.

In other words:

To pinroll jeans, they need to be the right length to begin with. That’s why pinrolling is, in general, a much more aesthetic thing than cuffing. However, pinrolling does have its practical purposes as well, as you can see below.

Why Learn How to Pinroll Jeans?

Why would you pinroll jeans and chinos that already fit and have the correct length?

Well, there’s three popular reasons to do so.

Reason #1:

I think people go for the pin-roll today because they like the look of this trend. The extra tapering effect you get when you pinroll your jeans, makes you look better than boring pant cuffs ever could.

pin-roll with loafer slip-ons comp

Reason #2:

Others pinroll their trousers because it makes it easier to keep the hems dry. This is typically done at the beach or while sailing.

how to pinroll jeans with boat shoes comp 1

However …

… dedicated sneakerheads have a very different reason for doing it.

Reason #3:

They pinroll to prevent the indigo dye of raw denims from bleeding onto fresh white sneakers.

selvedge denim dye on white paper comp 1

The pinroll is perfect for this. It creates a gap between the jeans and the sneakers, making sure they never come in contact. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about your new Nike Free 5.0 or Air Jordan sneakers getting ruined.

This Is Why You Shouldn’t Pinroll Pants

Now you know why you might want to learn how to pinroll jeans and chinos. But that’s only half the story. Like with so many other things, there’s two sides to pinrolling. And here are some reasons why you shouldn’t pinroll jeans and chinos:

Cuffing and pinrolling aren’t classic looks. I’m not talking about classic as in, people have been doing it for decades. What I’m thinking of is the ‘dinner at a restaurant’, ‘office attire’, and ‘dressy occasions’ type of classic.

If the event is even slightly dressy …

… then the smartest thing you can do is to keep you jeans or chinos plain.

jeans without pinroll and chinos without pinroll comp 1

Another drawback I’ve heard people mention is that the leg openings can become stretched. It is true that the trouser leg gets stretches a bit when it’s pinrolled. But most jeans and chinos will spring back to their original shape after a trip through the washing machine …

… regardless of whether they’re made of stretch or non-stretch denim.

These Pants Can Be Pinrolled

I know some guys who have never worn a pair of jeans …

… and I know others who have never worn a pair of chinos.

I also know many who love to wear both types of pants—me included. The good news is that pinrolling isn’t reserved for only one type of pants. Both chinos and jeans can be pinrolled. Depending on what vibe you’re aiming for, one can be just as good as the other.

With jeans, I would typically wear sneakers, and with chinos, I’d opt for slip-ons.

Trousers and all pants with creases are out of the question. They’re simply too dressy for this casual look. Also, some of the shoes that look best with trousers don’t pair with pinrolled jeans (more on that in a bit).

Here’s the Best Pants Cut for Pinrolling

Before we start to pinroll jeans, we need to make sure that the jeans are of the right type. Don’t forget that chinos can be used instead of jeans. I will, however, stick to saying ‘jeans’ in this tutorial,
because is saves me the trouble of saying ‘jeans and chinos’ all the time. (Hopefully, this will also make the article easier and more pleasant for you to read as well).

As I said, we need to make sure the jeans (or chinos ;)) are of the correct type. You see, some jeans are excellent for a pinroll, and others are good …

… while some just can’t be pinrolled at all without looking corny.

To pinroll jeans perfectly, the key lies in what type of jeans you’ve got. Or rather, what kind of cut your jeans have.

Jeans with bootcut or straight legs have leg openings that are too wide to look good with a pinroll. On those jeans, the trouser legs will balloon out above the pinroll.

The jeans that are most suited for a pinroll are jeans with tapered legs in either a regular or slim fit.

I want to point one thing out, and that is:

Just because we pinroll our trouser legs doesn’t mean we want to look like we’re sporting leggings. Super-tight jeans won’t do the trick.

Here is how to find the correct cut:

If you’re a weightlifter or sprinter, wear jeans that can accommodate your muscular thighs. For those who are not that athletic, regular fit jeans might be too roomy. If that’s the case, opt for slim-fit or skinny-fit ones instead, like Levis 510.

pinroll regular and skinny fit jeans comp 1

The important thing to take away is that:

  1. Your jeans shouldn’t look like they’re painted on
  2. Your jeans should be tapered.

The Important Detail of Pinrolled Jeans

There’s one super-important detail of pinroll jeans I haven’t told you about yet. A detail that separates great pinroll jeans from average ones. That, of course, is jeans with selvedge.

‘Selvedge’ stems from the word ‘self-edge’.

Selvedge denim is denim woven in a way that prevents the raw edge of the fabric from fraying. The edges of denim that’s woven the ordinary will fray. To prevent this, the seam edges of ordinary denim jeans have to be finished off with a sewing machine.

ordinary jeans pinroll reversed side of hem comp 1

On selvedge jeans, the outer seam doesn’t have anything other than the neat finish created by the loom. Sometimes this edge also has a red line incorporated into it. These jeans are often referred to as ‘red selvedge jeans’ or ‘red selvedge denims’.

A good example is Levis 522 jeans. The Levis 522 also happens to be one of my personal favourite cuts.

levis 522 jeans selvedge pinroll reverse side of hem comp

Selvedge denim looms are usually half the width of regular looms. Therefore, they make fabric that is much narrower. This means that it takes a longer piece of selvedge denim to make the same pair of jeans.

So in addition to their unique detail, selvedge jeans are also more expensive to produce. Because of their exclusiveness …

… selvedge denim jeans have become a favourite amongst sneakerheads and others wearing sneakers and jeans with a pinroll (BTW, you can also find selvedge chino pants).

The Affordable Selvedge Alternative

If you can’t get hold of selvedge denims, jeans like the Levis 511 are a good alternative. They have a finished-off edge. This makes them look better than ordinary denims when pinrolled, even though they’re not true selvedge jeans.

Okay, so now you have learned which pants that can be pinrolled; how you pants should fit; and what the difference between ordinary and selvedge jeans is. But, in order to really nail the pinroll look …

… you must also know which shoes to NEVER pair with pinrolled jeans.

Never Sport Pinrolled Jeans With These Shoes

In my article ‘10 Shoes to Wear With Jeans‘, you learned that there are certain shoes that you can never wear with jeans.

The thing is, that article was based on dark jeans worn without pinrolled legs. When dark jeans are worn the plain way, they can be quite dressy. With a few exceptions, most shoes will look at home with dark jeans.

Jeans that are pinrolled, however, change everything.

No matter how dark your pinrolled trousers are, they will never be more than casual. I’m not saying that’s wrong …

… it just helps us understand what kind of shoes we can wear with them.

A time-tested rule is to match the dressiness of your trousers with your shoes.

Since you’re wearing casual trousers (jeans with pinroll), your choice of footwear is narrowed down to casual shoes. We can already see that dressy shoes such as Derbies, monkstraps, and brogues can be excluded.

Also, since the main goal for pinrolled jeans is to show off your ankles, you can exclude all kinds of boots, both dressy and casual ones alike:

  • Dress boots
  • Chukkas
  • Chelsea boots

how to pinroll jeans shoes to never wear 1

The list of shoes we are now left with consists only of casual styles. Which, of course, is just what we wanted. We have sneakers at one end of the scale and loafers and slip-ons at the other.

Classic sneakers from Converse, Vans, and Adidas are probably the best choice here.

chuks sneakerheads pinroll with jeans comp1

If you want to sport technical trainers …

… all you have to remember is to buy ones that are in proportion to the width of your ankle.

how to pinroll jeans with levi's 522 denims comp1

Besides sneakers, slip-ons are another type of casual shoe. Shoes like these usually have a posher look than sneakers. These include boat shoes and canvas-, or leather loafers.

loafer you can wear with a pinroll comp 1

Unlike sneakers, which I think look best with jeans …

… the clean look of loafers and boat shoes is ideal for chinos. This is the typical preppy look you’ll find on men at the seaside and the docks. With that said, you do nothing wrong in sporting them with pinrolled jeans.

Are These the Perfect Socks to Wear With a Pinroll?

Yes, you can wear socks with pinrolled jeans.

For many of us, the first type of sock that comes to mind is ankle socks.

ankle socks to wear when pinroll your jeans comp

The problem with ankle socks is that in order for them to look good with your pinroll jeans …

… the visible edge should be even with the shoe top all the way around.

Ankle socks and pinroll jeans comp 1

For those of us who have worn ankle socks for more than 30 minutes, we know that the look above is hard to accomplish, let alone maintain throughout a hectic day.

Today, I’m here to tell you there’s a type of sock that I think is even better. And here’s where sneaker socks come into the picture.

For years, they’ve gone by the names ‘no-show socks’ and ‘ballerina socks’. Not exactly the type of socks most of us would think of buying. Fortunately, there’s no more of that.

Retail stores have finally picked up on the demand for these socks amongst men and changed their name to …

… sneaker socks!

They do the same thing as ballerina socks and no-show socks, but the name is more appealing to everyone (win-win). Sneaker socks are basically socks without cuffs. That makes them perfect for pinrolled jeans where you show off your ankles. Because whenever you wear them in sneakers, low-tops, and loafers, you can’t see them.

With sneaker socks you do get the benefits of wearing regular or ankle socks, such as:

  • They’re soft and make shoes more comfortable to wear.
  • They reduce the risk of rubbing and prevent chafing blisters.
  • They wick moisture and stop odours from attaching to your sneakers.
  • The sock fabric provides extra cushioning and shock absorption.

3 Mistakes Everyone Who Learns How to Pinroll Jeans Makes

Mistake #1: Pinrolling Too Much

Pinrolling is all about creating a gap between your sneakers or loafers and your pant hems.

However, I sometimes see men who have gotten a little too carried away with their pinrolling. They haven’t stopped after the first three rolls but kept on rolling. Now it looks more like they’re wearing Capris than fresh denims and cool sneakers.

Some do it because they think it’s necessary in order to get a tight-enough roll.

That isn’t true.

You can get a super-tight pinroll that holds up the whole day with just two rolls. In order to get the right length on your pinroll …

… roll it enough times for it to rest on the thinnest part of your leg.

Mistake #2: Pinrolling Too Loosely

A common problem with pinrolling is when they’re rolled too loosely. The pinroll should be tight but comfortable.

If that isn’t the case, it will quickly unravel and annoy you. Adding extra rolls often makes the pinroll hold up better …

… but that can also make the pinroll sit too high up and look very bulky.

The solution is to make sure the first fold is as tight as possible before you start to roll. Practice comes in good hand here, and if you need to freshen up your skills, watch this video again. Once you’ve mastered it, you’ll be able to create a tight pinroll that won’t unravel, no matter what, with just two rolls.

Mistake #3: Pinrolling the Wrong Trousers

Since I went into detail on this above, I’ll just update you on the two most important things to remember.

  • Pants type:
    The types of pants that looks best with a pinrolled are jeans and chinos. Sweatpants, dress pants, or cargo pants aren’t cut out for the pinroll look so avoid wearing a pinroll when your not sporting jeans or chinos.
  • Pants cut:
    Your pants needs to have the right cut. Baggy, bootcut, or straight-leg jeans won’t do. To avoid the balloon pinroll, your pants needs to have a tapered cut.

Now it’s Your Turn:

Are you ready to give pinrolling a shot?

Let me know what you think of pinrolling and this tutorial in the comments below.

Reader Interactions

39 responses to "How to Pinroll Jeans: Pinroll in 8 Simple Steps [VIDEO + PDF]"

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  1. Your styling knowledge is very good. But I couldn’t see pinrool jeans pdf link. Please send me the link.
    Thank you

    • Hi Ayush,

      We are working on a bug in the “How to Pinroll Jeans Pocket Guide” download function.

      In the meantime, I have sent a copy of the free pocket guide to your email address.
      Thanks for checking out my blog.


    • Hi Akshay.

      Thanks, Iʼm glad you liked it! More videos are in the progress. If you want to get notified, subscribe to our newsletter.


  2. Is it okay to cuff selvedge denim with a grey suede derbies?

    Any other suggestions on how to combine denim and derbies?

    • Hi Farras,

      Personally I never cuff my jeans for two reasons.
      1. It isnʼt the classic look I like and
      2. Itʼs quite tricky to get right, when you take the occasion, your leg length and width of the cuffs into account.

      With derbies, I would just have worn my jeans uncuffed. Thatʼs because I think it looks good, is classic, and can be worn to most dressy and casual occasions.

      Hope this helps.


    • I Harry, sorry for the late reply,

      Our comment spam filter had placed your comment in the spam folder so we couldnʼt see it.

      We have been made aware by several readers that the How to Pinroll Jeans download function doesnʼt work.
      We are working on a fix now.

      In the meantime, please check your email as we have sent you a free copy of it to you inbox.


  3. Thanks for this. All of your photos of pinrolled jeans are without socks. What about a pinroll to show off a colorful pair of socks? And, what pinroll with canvass hightops such as converse?

    • Hi Matt.

      Glad you liked it. Personally I showing of a bit of skin is the sexiest option. My “less is more” philosophy.

      Thatʼs why I never wear a t-shirt under my shirts or polo shirts or socks when wearing loafers or pinrolled jeans.

      I guess you could wear pinrolled jeans with high tops. However, make sure it doesnʼt look bulky because of the extra layer the sneaker shaft adds between your leg and the pinroll.