illustration of the backside of four people lined up with their arms around each other’s waist or back; each person’s backside showcases a different type of butt shape, including square, inverted, heart, and roundShare on Pinterest
Illustrations by Brittany England

Your butt is great. It’s part of what makes your body unique and beautiful.

Just like boobs or other body parts, no two butts are exactly alike.

There also isn’t really an “average” or “typical” butt shape, though plastic surgeons can and do categorize butts into a few broad shape categories as part of their work.

“The main buttock shapes I see are square, round, heart, and inverted V shape,” says Dr. Olga Bachilo, a plastic surgeon in Houston, Texas, who has performed butt lifts, butt implants, and butt enhancements.

Just like body type categorization, butt type categorization isn’t an exact science.

These categories are determined by general ratios between your waist, hips, and thighs.

Still, knowing what kind of butt you have could be helpful in terms of helping you pick jeans or underwear.

So, without further ado, here are the main butt types, as categorized by plastic and cosmetic surgeons.

Square or H-shaped

If the shape from your hip bone to your outer thigh is more or less a straight line, you probably have a square or H-shaped butt.

Some people with this shape have prominent, high hip bones, “hip dips,” or a layer of fat on their flanks (or what some call the “love handles” area).

If this is you, you’ll probably want to avoid underwear that rides up high and opt instead for boy shorts, bikinis, or thongs.

You’ll probably want to skip low-rise jeans, too, because higher-waisted pants might be a more comfortable fit.

Inverted or V-shaped

This butt shape has more fullness at the top, near your waistline, and less volume in the lower butt cheeks, creating a line between your pelvis and hips that angles inward, kind of like a V.

You’ll find underwear without high-cut leg holes — such as hipsters, briefs, and boy shorts — more comfortable, because they provide more coverage for your butt cheeks.

Your butt will look great in jeans with fuller pockets lower on the back or with fading on the bottom.

Stretch-fit jeans will also be a good choice so your bum doesn’t get flattened out by thicker, rigid denim.

Heart or A-shaped

If you have a tapered waistline and fat distributed in the lower part of your butt or thighs, you probably have an A-shaped butt.

From behind, the shape of your hips and butt cheeks gives the illusion of an inverted heart shape.

This butt shape is common if you have a more “pear-shaped” body.

You’ll probably find underwear with high-cut legs or larger leg holes more comfortable, such as high-cut panties, tangas, or bikinis.

Look for mid-rise, curvy jeans in stretchy denim fabric to minimize gaping at the waistline.

Round, bubble, or O-shaped

This butt shape is the result of full hips and fat distribution around the butt cheeks, including the upper parts. This creates a curvy, rounded butt look from behind.

When picking underwear, you’ll want to look for ones with extra fabric at the back so you get full coverage and minimize potential wedgies. Tangas and thongs should work well.

High-rise, bootcut denim jeans with no hand sanding or distressing will look great on you.

There are several factors that determine your butt shape.

Your skeletal and muscle structure plays a big part, including the:

  • position of your hip bones and pelvis
  • size of your gluteal muscles
  • way your butt muscles attach to your thigh bones

Your genetics determine your bone structure and how your body distributes fat.

“People hold fat differently in their bodies per genetics,” Bachilo says. “Some hold their body fat in their hips and glutes, some in their thighs, and others more around their midsections.”

In addition, she says, hormones, weight, and age also factor into the shape of our butts.

“With aging and hormonal changes, especially after menopause, fat distribution changes,” she explains. “More fat gets deposited around midsections as opposed to hips and butts.”

Yep. In fact, most people’s butts change as they age and go through different hormonal changes.

“Nothing is really set in stone with the shape of our bodies,” Bachilo says.

For example, fat distribution, including your butt, will change once you start puberty.

Estrogen will cause fat to be distributed to your butt and hips around this time, which is why you’ll start to see your curves develop.

“In pregnancy and during breastfeeding, [people] tend to accumulate more fat in their hips due to temporary hormone changes in their body,” Bachilo explains. This can temporarily change the appearance of your butt.

Then, as you get older, your skin cell turnover and collagen production starts slowing down. This means you might start losing some of your butt’s firmness or bounce.

After menopause, when your estrogen levels dip, you’ll likely see your fat redistribute once again, leading to more changes.

“Classically, I see my postmenopausal patients lose their hourglass shape,” Bachilo says.

This is why V-shaped butts, for example, can be more common in older women: Lower estrogen levels result in fat redistribution from the butt toward the abdomen or midsection.

Certain medical conditions can affect butt shape, too.

“Insulin resistance and prediabetes can affect body shape,” Bachilo explains. “Patients with insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome tend to be more of an apple shape and carry most of their fat in their midsection. Their buttocks and thighs are often very thin and depleted of fat.”

Well, first of all, know that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with your butt, so if you’re happy with it, no one should make you feel like you have to change it.

However, if you want to change it — for you and because you want to — exercise, diet, or plastic surgery could make some differences.

For example, there are exercises that work your glute muscles and can help give you a more rounded, perky butt.

These include squats, lunge presses, or leg lifts. (As an added perk, some of these exercises can also help lessen back pain.)

Plastic surgeons like Bachilo can also perform certain augmentations and enhancements to change your shape. These procedures could include:

It’s important to remember, though, that exercise, weight gain or loss, and even surgery will only change so much. You can’t change your overall bone structure or how your body stores fat.

“Depending on what the patient starts with will determine what kind of results we can achieve,” Bachilo says. “Not every patient can get the same outcome or look.”

Whatever kind of butt you have, just remember: It’s beautiful and helps make you unique. And like the rest of you, it’s going to keep evolving throughout your life.

Simone M. Scully is a writer who loves writing about all things health and science. Find Simone on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.