As Kim explained it to me, there is little to no reason to fear that your skinny jeans will lead to clotting problems. “Arteries will not compress even in really tight jeans that you have a hard time fitting into, because arterial pressure is pretty high,” he says. Vein pressure, on the other hand, isn’t as high, which is why people sometimes get indentation marks on their calves from socks—veins can be compressed by the sock, displacing fluids in the underlying tissue. It’s more feasible that skinny jeans could cause circulation problems than blood clots, but even still, it’s not likely. “Most skinny jeans don’t get tight enough [around the ankle] to manifest in swelling,” says Kim. Your jeans—whether skinny, straight-legged, flared—might be really tight around your butt and your thighs, but they’re usually not as uniformly tight around the ankles as even socks are. And if your non-skinny jeans aren’t causing you health problems, there’s no reason your skinny ones should either.
Additionally, most people who wear skinny jeans are on the younger side, and therefore much less likely to be at risk for the sorts of health issues that wearing really tight jeans might feasibly cause. “These jeans are being worn by a younger group of people who really should not have any peripheral vascular disease or venous disease,” Kim says. “Now, if you’re talking about an 89-year-old lady who’s trying to wear this and go to church and sit down for awhile, that’s another story.” It’s worth noting, too, that the woman who was cut from her jeans had been wearing them in a crouched position for “hours” packing for a move—and that lack of movement likely played as big a role in the leg swelling she experienced as did the jeans themselves. If you’re relatively mobile, and you don’t have any sort of vascular disease, and you’re younger than, say, 89, you’re probably going to be just fine.