The stock, which is listed under the ticker "LEVI," opened for trading Thursday at $22.22, above the $17 offering price and blowing past the originally expected range of $14 to $16. As of Thursday's close, shares popped nearly 32 percent, closing at $22.41 per share. That gave Levi's a market value of $8.64 billion, according to FactSet.

Levi's seems to have successfully convinced investors, at least for now, that it has a lot of opportunities to expand beyond just jeans, from tops to bolstering its women's business. In its prospectus, the company said it plans to use the proceeds from the public offering to expand more aggressively into China, India and Brazil and also build out more retail stores, which as of late last year totaled 824.

Levi's previously went public in 1971, but Strauss' descendants, the Haas family, took it private again in 1985. Today, it stands out from a string of tech companies — from Spotify to Dropbox — that have made their debuts in the public markets in recent months.

"I would like to say we're the original Silicon Valley startup," said CEO Chip Bergh, dressed in 501 jeans and a denim jacket, during an interview at the New York Stock Exchange.