Levi’s 514 vs 502: Which Is Better?

Levi is the biggest fashion brand in our present world. Virtually everyone already knows that. The Levi’s have been in existence, even before the current century, aging back to the earlier 1900s and even before.

However, success only has a bit to do with age. The Levi brand has been tagged with quality and comfort, being the highest-rated denim brand. They seem to find it easy to stay on top, having virtually all kinds of jeans anyone can ever want.

Their long stay in the fashion industry gives them that edge with varieties of old and new styles to offer.

Out of the Levi 500 series, two have been picked out for comparison. I personally prefer a tapered fit over straight-cut jeans so I’d pick Levi’s 502 over the 514 jeans, any time and any day.

The major difference between the two jeans is that Levi 514 jeans come in a straight-cut fit while the Levi 502 jeans have tapered legs.

The Levi Brand History

The Levi brand dates back to 1853. That’s even earlier than the 19th century.

Levi Strauss, the original founder of the Levi brand, was an immigrant from Germany. He settled as a trader in San Francisco, where the Levi brand officially began.

There, he opened a branch store for a trading business owned by his brother-in-law, David Stern, who was the manager while Levi Strauss was sales manager.

They imported and sold dry goods till the clothing idea was brought to reality in 1870. Levi Strauss created the company, in partnership with David Stern, and it was named ‘Levi Strauss & Co.’

Another immigrant from Latvia, Jacob Davis, happened to be a tailor in Nevada. Jacob Davis often bought bolts of denim fabric among the many goods offered in the duo’s store (Levi Strauss & Co.’s wholesale house).

The Latvian tailor realized one of his customers had been purchasing the clothes to repair and reinforce torn pants. An idea sprung in his head; copper buttons (rivets) to strengthen a fabric in spots where strains are possible.

But Davis could not afford the amount of money needed to purchase a license so he decided to approach Levi Strauss with the idea. He wrote to Strauss, suggesting that they partner to start the new business.

Levi accepted the offer and, in the year 1873, the partners received their business license from the U S. Patent and Trademark Office. Later, the licensed rivets were later included in the company’s jean designs and advertisements too.

While an advertising campaign suggests that Levi Strauss sold his first denim jeans to some miners during the gold rush in California (around the year 1849), the production of denim pants didn’t begin until the early 1870s.

The first pair of jeans by the Levi company was originally named ‘Waist Overalls’.

In 1890, the Levi products were assigned numbers. The famous ‘Waist Overalls’ with copper rivets were marked with ‘501’. The Levi’s 501 jeans are the first jeans produced by the Levi brand. The second jeans were marked ‘201’, alternatively called ‘No. 2’

The Levi jeans, currently trending, are the 500 series, including a modern recreation of the first pair of jeans; the 501 jeans. The 500 series include 501, 502, 504, 505, 510, 511, 512, 513, 514, 517, 519, 527, 541, 550, 559, 560, 569.

Levi’s 514 Review

Levi’s 514 vs 502

Levi’s 514 jean is the 9th jean produced under Levi’s 500 series. The jeans come in a regular straight cut; slim and straight but definitely not skinny.

There is a relaxed feel in the legs while it doesn’t appear too baggy. The style features some extra room in the thighs and the seating area while keeping up its straight fit from the hips down to the ankles.

The 514 jeans have a low-rise waist (falling on the hips, rather than the waist) and a zip fastener, and button closure. It has belt loops that do the work of holding the jeans on the waist. The leg opening is 16.5 inches.

The straight slim-fitted legs make this jean a must-buy for all men who would like to move a bit from the ugly-but-comfortable vintage denim styles without going for the skinny jeans.

Some 514 jeans are 100% cotton without stretch while some have a tiny bit of synthetic stretchy stuff added to the fabric. However, the stretch turns out to be needless in most cases.

  • Cut: Classic Straight and Slim
  • Leg opening: 16.5 inches
  • Body type: Best for tall, athletic or muscular men
  • Waist: Low rise

Note: Among the Levi jeans, the 514s have the lowest rise waist, falling even below the waist.

Levi’s 502 Review

Levi’s 514 vs 502

While all Levi’s are basically tagged with versatility, this is one of the most versatile styles offered by the Levi brand.

The Levi 502 jean is the second pair of jeans produced under Levi’s 500 series. While Levi 501 was born in 1873, Levi’s 502 was introduced in 1902.

The newest modernized version of the 502 jeans was released in July 2020, by a partnership between the Levi brand and Renewcell.

The Levi 502 jeans would look like the regular 501 jeans or even the 514 jeans, due to the similar room in the seat and thigh area. The streamlined and tapered legs make the difference, giving it a modern casual look.

The moderate slant appearance is similar to the skinny carrot jeans but a lot wider, which makes it befitting for a formal occasion while remaining modern and stylish.

  • Cut: Slim Tapered Fit
  • Leg opening:14.5 inches
  • Body type: Modern office worker
  • Waist: Low-rise

Why The Comparison?

If you have been to a Levi store in search of perfect vintage jeans, then this is for you. If you are thinking of doing that, then this is for you too.

The Levi jeans are very similar in appearance so you might find it hard to tell the difference… but there are differences anyway.

Regular fans of the Levi jeans might have noticed the slight differences including the subtle difference in the sizing. I will stop there before I spoil it.

With an in-depth comparison, you can tell;

  • Which is more trendy at the moment; Many are in love with skinny jeans but, for a while, skinny jeans were no longer hot. They became the usual style for every youngster in town while the ‘awkward’ baggy jeans took over. Then, the ones in baggy pants seemed and definitely felt bigger, wearing the trend of the moment. The same applies in this present moment, as in every other time. The 501 jeans went out of trend for a while and came back bigger and better.
  • Which is more affordable; The Levi’s are luxurious so you expect to spend a fortune to own a pair. Wearing those designer jeans alone can command respect. With comparison, you can know which of the two jeans cost less.
  • Which fits you better; unless you are wearing jeans for the first time, you must already know which style you prefer. Some people go for baggy jeans while some prefer straight-cut jeans. You might want to know which of the jeans provides you your favorite cut before paying a visit to the store. This comparison helps you with that.

Levi’s 514 vs 502: Comparison

Same Brand

Since we are comparing, we can, as well, note that the two jeans are from the same brand. That is technically obvious since it’s in the name and the earlier paragraphs. However, you will find a minor difference that might make you wonder

Vintage Styles

Levi is a vintage but luxurious brand. I call it vintage due to the outdated styles added to their collection. The 502 jeans are technically old-school since they were created in the early 1900s.

However, they have been modernized for our present-day with the tapered legs without sacrificing their vintage vibes.

The 514 jeans are a lot more recent but they were created like the 501 Jeans, making the 514 feel more vintage than the 502 Jeans.

Varieties of colors offered

Asides from the variety of styles- from vintage to contemporary- offered by the Levi brand, the jeans are offered in varieties of colors too.

The Levi 514 jeans come in six different colors. The Levi 502 jeans are also offered in six different colors.

Room in the seat and thigh area

As mentioned earlier, there would be no difference in the appearance of the two jeans if the legs of the 502s weren’t tapered. They both have room in the seat and thigh area, similar to all of the old-school styles in their collection.

Slim Fit

One of the features that make the two jeans modernized is how less baggy they look, despite the extra room in the seat and thigh areas. The two jeans are slim fit to look modern while the comfort remains intact.


This has been mentioned but I am careful to put every fact in. The 514 comes in the classic straight-cut fit so, if you are a lover of that style, you might want to pick the 514 jeans over the 502.

The 502 jeans look a bit more casual with a tapered leg. While the 514 jeans are strictly official and otherwise weird, the 502 jeans look totally nice in an official or casual setting.

Waist Rise

This has been stated earlier but it’s probably not clear. High-waisted jeans differ in how high up they go. Some high-rise jeans have the waistband reaching up to the abdomen.

Some high-rise jeans are 12 inches high, some are 11.5 inches high, and some are even 10.5 inches high. The same applies here, as the two jeans are low-rise jeans.

The 502 jeans are considered low but are pretty high when compared to the 514 jeans. The 514 jeans are designed to sit below the waist so, if you are used to wearing the 502 jeans, you can’t wear the 514 jeans the same way.

If you try to pull the 514 jeans up to the waist, there will be less space for your crotch.

Leg Opening

The leg opening just has to be different due to the difference in style. The 502 tapered jeans have about the same amount of room as the 514 jeans in the seat and thigh area.

While the 514 jeans come straight down and maintain the same space for the ankle, the subtly tapered legs of the 502 jeans lead to the 1- 2 inch difference in the leg opening.


This is where the big difference sets in, as stated earlier. When questions are asked about the sizing of a particular jeans, they are usually directed at the brand e.g. “Do Levi jeans run true to size?”

Basically, different brands have different ways of sizing so, as long as you understand how they size, it’s totally fine for you. The Levi 514 jeans are 1 inch longer than the 502 jeans, which is why I said it’s for taller men.

In addition to that, the waist on the 502 jeans is one size bigger than the waist on the 514 Jeans. The two jeans require a belt eventually but the difference is there.


The price for the two pairs has been stated earlier in their description. The 514 jeans are priced lower, probably because of their old-school vibe.

The 502 jeans cost more but they are still cheap, compared to other big brands. The 514 jeans are sold at $38 but you can even get a discount on that. The 502 jeans are $68 and there are discount offers too.

Which Is Better?

The two jeans have their similarities and their differences too. The 514 jeans can be for people that are strictly official in their dressings.

However, the 502 jeans can appear both official and casual. The 502 jeans cost more but they cost a lot less than similar jeans from other luxury brands.

I will go for the 502 jeans since it can work fine for people who want to go for a vintage style while it still appears modern and trendy.


The Levi’s as a brand are already trendy. Having one of those pairs on you can put you on top of the world.

Other similarities between the Levi 502 and the 514 include fabric quality, comfortable denim feel, and durability.

This applies to every Levi jeans out there so, if you are new to the brand, you might want to check out more of their products.


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