How to Measure Legs

by Krissi Maarx

Outseam measurements also help you hem pants properly.

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Leg measurements help you find the right fit for clothing, such as trousers and stockings, as well as for bicycles. For some measurements, you will need another person’s assistance. Take each measurement multiple times to reduce the chance of misreading or improperly measuring an area. A soft measuring tape makes the process easier. If you’re still not confident in the numbers you recorded, ask a tailor or professional seamstress to take your measurements for you.

Trouser Measurements

Step 1

Stand up straight while wearing shoes and a pair of well-fitting pants.

Step 2

Instruct another person to measure from the top of the waistband to the bottom of the pants (or your ankle) on the outside of your leg. Repeat this on the opposite leg to find your outseam measurements.

Step 3

Have the person measure from the crotch to the bottom of the pants for your inseam measurement. Round that number to the closest half-inch.

Stockings or Compression Socks

Step 1

Wrap a soft measuring tape around the ankle, directly above the ankle bones, and record the measurement.

Step 2

Wrap it around the thickest area of your calf and record the measurement. Sizes for compression stockings are based on the circumference of your leg.

Step 3

Wrap the tape around the thickest portion of your thigh to measure that area for thigh-length stockings.

Bicycle Fitting

Step 1

Stand against a wall without wearing shoes. Spread your feet about 7 inches apart to place a shoulder-width distance between them.

Step 2

Hold a hardcover book between your legs, with its spine raised against your crotch as if it were a bicycle seat, while keeping your back straight.

Step 3

Instruct another person to measure the distance from the book’s spine to the floor.

Tips

  • Measure your inseam and outseam without assistance by laying your best-fitting pair of pants on a flat surface.

    When measuring to determine pants length, don't assume that both legs will have the same measurement; a difference of 1/2 inch or more is common.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images