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The Complete Guide To Understanding Raw Denim Weights

Often you’ll see denim weights shown on Heddels, but may have been wondering what it is that they mean. Well, this is our brief guide to understanding what we mean when we call a denim 12 Oz. or 18 Oz., heavyweight or lightweight, or describe a 32 Oz. monster.

The whole idea of categorizing a jean by weight comes from the weight a square yard of fabric weights in ounces, which relates directly to the density of yarn woven in and the weight of said yarn. However, for the sake of simplicity, we’ll break the weights into three main categories:

  1. Lightweight – or under 12 Oz.
  2. Mid-weight – or from 12 Oz. – 16 Oz.
  3. Heavyweight – anything above 16 Oz.

1. Lightweight Denim – Less Than 12 Oz.

Rogue Territory 6 Oz. RK Stanton - Lightweight Denim

Rogue Territory 6 Oz. RK Stanton – Lightweight Denim

Lightweight raw denim is the first, and easiest to wear category. A raw denim under 12 Oz. is particularly easy to break in as it won’t require anywhere near as much wearing time as a heavier fabric to attain a pleasant level of comfort.

A lightweight raw denim is much more comfortable from the beginning, as well as just generally being lighter on your legs. There will be much fewer sweaty experiences caused from claustrophobia around your legs. The only drawback is that the fades achieved with this level of denim won’t look quite as spectacular as a heavier weight of denim.

2. Mid-weight – Between 12 Oz. – 16 Oz.

3sixteen's 14.5 Oz. CS-100x - Mid-weight Denim

3sixteen’s 14.5 Oz. CS-100x – Mid-weight Denim

Second is the mid-weight denim, which is probably the most common of the raw denims in the market today. These are getting to the point where the denim starts off quite stiff, and are potentially quite heavy and hard to the touch.

The positives include the potential for a much better fade, a slightly warmer jean come winter and fall, and a longer lasting jean that is much harder to wear through. You will, however, take a longer break in time, and will have a little bit of lost flexibility upfront.

3. Heavyweight – Above 16 Oz.

Naked & Famous 32 Oz. - Heavyweight Raw Denim

Naked & Famous 32 Oz. Monster – Heavyweight Raw Denim

Finally are the heavyweight jeans, the over 16 Oz. jeans, which can run up to a 32 Oz. monster created by Naked and Famous. These jeans take a real commitment, they’re going to take time and effort and honestly won’t feel great at first.

You’d have to be slightly self-loathing to want to stick your legs into a jean that can stand up on their own, but if you keep at it long enough you’ll be left with a very impressive reward. A number of these jeans will last you a lifetime, as they’re incredibly well built and hefty, but you’ll take up a bit of that lifetime getting them comfortable enough to enjoy.

It’s easiest to enter the raw denim game with something in more of the lightweight category, but even the mid-weights can be simple enough for someone working through their first pair. After that, summer is the best time for the light jeans, and the heaviest of the raw denim can just be unwearable in the warmer months.