[Worn] Iron Heart IH-888S-21od 21oz Overdyed Black Selvedge Denim One Year Review

Iron Heart 21oz Indigo Overdyed Black Selvedge Denim

The Iron Heart 21oz denim is their flagship denim and is known for its incredible comfort and softness relative to its weight. The 21oz denim is always a solid pick as an introduction to Iron Heart’s heavyweight denim, but for those who prefer something darker the 21oz overdyed is an excellent alternative. Read our Iron Heart 21oz Overdyed Denim review to learn more about how it starts, stretches, fades, and what you might expect after about a year of wear.

These posts are part of our Worn series where we highlight and showcase some of the pieces we proudly carry to show how they wear over time. Not only so that you have a better idea of what to expect – or look forward to – as you wear them in, but also to have a larger space for us to go into what makes each unique in its own way.


The Iron Heart 21oz overdyed (21od) selvedge denim pair is an excellent tweener pair for those who are looking for an indigo alternative, but also don’t necessarily want a black pair of denim.

Iron Heart 21oz Overdyed Black Selvedge Denim

The 21od denim has been around for several years, and has since rolled out to most of their lineup of cuts (555, 666, 777, 888, and at one time the 1955). They’ve also produced this denim in a couple of their tops (Type III and vest). All this to say, it’s become somewhat of a staple in their lineup of 21oz denim, alongside their flagship indigo and perhaps the Super Black Fades to Grey (SBG) denim.

The specific pair I wore is the IH-888S-21od (formerly also known as the “-01od” on some cuts, i.e. the IH-555S-01od). The 888 cut is their high-rise tapered cut (more on the fit below), which has become my go-to cut from Iron Heart. It accommodates most of what I want in a fit – higher rise due to me getting older, larger than average thighs from lifting (don’t skip leg day), and a slight taper that can be quite versatile (although in this case I had these tapered even more).

I’ve worn this pair of the IH-888S-21od daily for about one year straight, and has since become a consistent pair in my rotation whenever I need a darker pair of denim to swap in.

Iron Heart 21oz Overdyed Black Selvedge Denim


One thing that drew me to this 21od pair initially was the darker shade of indigo, almost like a faded black pair in some angles and depending on the lighting. From a distance, most people will probably see a dark pair and think that you’re wearing a really faded pair of black denim (washed out to a grey with a cast of indigo).

Having a darker pair of denim is an essential for when you are trying to avoid the double denim, double indigo, or blue-on-blue look. The black overdye does its job in making this distinctly not indigo, to pull off some of those looks that might clash if you were wearing a standard indigo denim. As well, the overdyed pair can easily be swapped into any outfit to give it more of a modern look, versus perhaps a more western/Americana look.  See the photos below for some examples of similar outfits but with the 21oz indigo pair vs the 21oz overdyed pair. Note that the 21oz overdyed pair has had additional tapering done, so the cut through the legs isn’t an exact fair comparison as the stronger taper will naturally give it a different look. However, the difference in colors and the impact that makes still stands.

Overall, because if its chameleon color and how it looks different in various lighting, it’s a quite versatile pair. The darker fabric can change up your outfit to a more modern and perhaps more edgy look (whatever that means to you).


The Iron Heart 888 cut is one of their most accommodating cuts – made for those who need that extra space in the top block, yet still want a decent taper. Coming in a higher rise, extra space in the thighs, and cut with a slight taper through the legs, this cut will work best for the guys who lift, have some extra junk in the trunk, or prefer to not have their ass hanging out when they bend over. While the taper isn’t extreme, it offers a respectable taper that will easily fit over boots and doesn’t look all that bad with some Mules.

For me, I have an athletic-slim body build, with slightly larger than average thighs (6’0’’ and currently 165 lbs). I’ve come to thoroughly enjoy the 888 cut due to the mobility it allows me. I typically wear size 32 in most brands, and I take the same size 32 in the IH-888s-21 and the IH-888s-21od. However, at my current weight of 165 lbs, the waist is a little loose on these, but definitely not sagging. Once I’m back at 175 lbs (my usual weight), I’ll certainly be glad I have the 32s instead of the 31s.

The issue I typically have when selecting denim is that the thighs end up being too small for the correct waist size. For example, in the Iron Heart 555 cut, the size 32 fits well in the waist (snug and should stretch to a comfortable fit), but is too tight in the upper thighs. Same goes for something like 3sixteen ST cut (waist good, thighs too tight). So I end up having to size up to 33 in the Iron Heart 555 cut and the 3sixteen ST cut. However, with wear I end up with a size 33 that fits a little better in the thighs, but the waist usually ends up stretching too much and becomes a loose fit fit in the waist (can basically pull off my denim with some effort even with it buttoned up).

The 888 cut solves all of this for the top block, and has a decent taper that if I wanted to only wear the pair with boots, I wouldn’t taper the legs further. However, I was in an experimenting phase and wanted to see how the pair would look with some low-top shoes / slippers during the warmer months. I gave this pair a taper from the knees on down for a slimmer look at the ankles. In general, these days I generally will just size for the top block and taper if so desired.

See below for a table showing the measurements brand new, after months of wear and immediately after wash, and after months of wear and after a day of wear.

*Keep in mind that the Knee, Hem, and Inseam lengths have been altered (tapered and hemmed), so they don’t necessarily provide much context.

IH-888S-21od | Size 32WaistFront RiseBack RiseThighThigh (2″ down)Knee (13″ down)HemInseam
Brand New15.511.515.512.2511.58.57.7534.25
After Months of Wear; Immediately After Wash & Hang-Dry15.811.2515.612.211.258.4*6.5*30*
After Months of Wear; After Wash and a Day of Wear1611.251612.511.58.4*6.5*30.25*
Net Change0.5-*-1.25*-4*



This fabric uses Iron Heart’s flagship 21oz denim and is overdyed in a black sulphur dye. For those who aren’t familiar with the 21oz denim, it is indeed a magical fabric. The 21oz is much softer and easier to wear than other denim even in lower weights (such as in the 16-19oz range that I’ve worn before). It is oddly soft and breaks in very well. Again, this is what makes Iron Heart’s flagship denim special and something that they’ve become known for.

Iron Heart 21oz overdyed black selvedge denim pair compared to a brand new pair, honeycombs around the back of knees

To the untrained eye, the casual observer would probably call it out as a pair of black or faded black denim, which it comes quite close to. Definitely not as deep black as a true black pair, and that’s what makes this a special pair to wear. You get nearly all the benefits of black denim, being super versatile to wear as black goes with pretty much anything, but at the same time it’s off-black enough that it works better with certain colors (i.e. blue).

Further, down the road the pair will fade quite differently than a black pair, as you’ll get more of the indigo underneath instead of a grayish fade as you would find with a true black denim.

Iron Heart 21oz overdyed black selvedge denim pair compared to a brand new pair, inside the button fly selvedge ticker


However, this fabric is quite interesting as in some lighting it will look more like a washed/faded double indigo, but other times it will look like a vintage washed black pair that has faded all around to a grey with an indigo cast. While the photos here predominantly show the indigo cast, to the naked eye I’ve certainly thought “wow that looks like a faded pair of black denim.”


The Iron Heart IH-888s-21od had been my go-to daily pair from November 2021 through December 2022 (then came the UHRs to kick off 2023). Most of the notable fading has come in on the backside of the pair, with some fraying at the pocket edge starting to appear. More fades around the knees due to me crawling around on the ground making measurements and chasing my infant, and some very light whiskering starting to come in on the front top block.

Iron Heart 21oz Overdyed Black Selvedge Denim Faded Review Iron Heart 21oz Overdyed Black Selvedge Denim Faded Review

Iron Heart 21oz Overdyed Black Selvedge Denim Faded Review

The overdyed 21oz pair starts off quite soft and will obviously get softer with wear and washes. An interesting aspect of the denim that I’ve noticed is that it has a sheen depending on which way you brush the fabric. Now typically we don’t “brush” denim per-se, but it’s something that has become apparent whenever I run my hands across the pair – usually it’s me trying to brush off some food or dirt. Brushing downwards on the pair, you’ll get the lighter side of the denim, whereas brushing upwards on the pair you’ll reveal the darker side of the denim. It’s a subtle change in appearance, but it’s visible depending on the angle and lighting of the viewer.

Iron Heart 21oz overdyed black selvedge denim at an angle

The button fly has also gone through some patina-worthy changes as well, starting as a silver and transforming to it’s current light-brass, semi-gold color.

Iron Heart 21oz indigo vs 21oz overdyed black pair, button patina

The denim isn’t as inky as some others I’ve worn (such as the Railcar Fine Goods X034), but it does bleed onto your hands over the course of the day. From putting on the pair, to going to the bathroom, to putting stuff into my pockets, and readjusting the fit, I usually end up with some indigo-stained soap being washed off my hands whenever I hit the sink for some hand-cleaning.

If you’re looking for a non-standard, non-indigo pair of denim, the 21oz overdyed is an excellent pick. Not quite black, not quite indigo, it’s exactly what you would expect with something in between.

Shop our Iron Heart 21oz overdyed collection on our webstore, available in the 555, 666, 634, 777, and 888 cuts.

Iron Heart 21oz Overdyed Black Selvedge Denim Faded Selvedge Ticker Iron Heart 21oz Overdyed Black Selvedge Denim Faded Front Pocket Rivets

Iron Heart 21oz Overdyed Black Selvedge Denim IH-888S-21od and IH-777S-21od