Come summertime the livin’ is supposed to be easy, but finding the best shorts for men can be deceptively difficult.
Stylish shorts have to strike that perfect balance between casual and dapper, and do it all with only half the fabric available to pants.
Unfortunately, in my experience shorts tend to look great on a store’s website, shelf or catalog models, but not as sharp on your actual legs.
I know all too well how easy it is to waste money on a new pair of shorts that’s too boxy, too tight, too short, too long or just too wrong.
While it’s too late for me to get my money back (or erase people’s memories of what my scrawny-ass legs looked like in board shorts), you don’t have to make the same costly mistakes.
In this post I’ll round up some of the best men’s shorts from a variety of different brands, and recommend a few must-have pairs that will help you step up your warm weather style.
The (Absolute) Best Shorts for Men
Rounding Up the Most Stylish Mens Shorts on the Market
Deep Dive ↓
- I recently did a full, in-depth review of a few different versions of Western Rise pants. Check out my full Western Rise review here.
- 4.4 Stars
- 209 Reviews
- Available in both 7- and 9-inch inseams
I have to admit that I’m a little surprised to find myself adding Lululemon among my list of top picks.
But I’ll be damned if these aren’t some of the best summer shorts to pair with a polo shirt and boat shoes during warmer months.
Available in two different lengths and five unimpeachable neutral colors, they’re made from a breathable and wrinkle-resistant nylon fabric, but have the side pockets and belt loops of a classic chino short.
As a result, they’re a great option for hot summer days where you want to look dressed up and put together, but need a little stretch and water resistance to make sure you sweat stains don’t become an issue.
Great shorts overall. Super comfortable – not baggy but plenty of room to move around.
Excellent fabric and the buttons and zippers are super high quality too. Would recommend.
- 5 Stars
- 3 Reviews
- 8-inch inseam
All Citizens’ Limitless Performance short offer the perfect blend of casual style and flexible comfort.
They’re made from a blend of 90% nylon and 10% spandex, which makes them super lightweight and gives them enough stretch that you can easily move in them.
But they’re styled like a regular pair of five-pocket shorts, making them perfect to pair with a polor or even a button down on a hot day.
Most comfy shorts I’ve ever owned.
These shorts are GREAT. I love that they are super light-weight.
The mesh pockets are a game-changer in breathability, and the the stretch fabric make the shorts incredibly comfortable.
– Michael B.
- 4.5 Stars
- 370 Reviews
Coming in at a very close second to the Western Rise Evolution short above, Public Rec’s Workday shorts are versatile, comfortable, resilient and (this part is crucial) look good as hell.
Made from a blend of polyester and spandex, the Workday shorts stretch in all the right places, but look more polished and put together than traditional spandex gym shorts.
Meanwhile, their Weekend shorts are a casual jogger-style short that’s perfect for around the house or popping out to run some errands.
They have a similar profile and length as the Workday shorts, but are made from a super-short midweight French Terry cloth that’s casual, lightweight and breathable.
Super comfy, great fit. I was a little worried about the length but it’s perfect.
Pocket size is large enough for a big phone without sticking out and the stash pocket is a plus for small items like a loose key.
– Nicholas W.
Deep Dive ↓
- Check out my full Public Rec review to learn more about the Workday shorts, and a few other key Public Rec pieces.
- Athletic, tapered fit
- Stretch waistband
- 4-way stretch
State & Liberty was basically founded to help athletes and other guys who workout regularly find clothes that both fit their frame and move well with their bodies.
Their athletic fit shorts are a little roomier through the quad, making them perfect for guys who don’t skip leg day.
(I know, I know: who would ever skip leg day, right? The shame.)
They’re also made from a moisture-wicking and breathable technical fabrics with four-way stretch, making them great for golf and other outdoor activities where you want to combine performance and style in equal measure.
- 4.5 Stars
- 465 Reviews
- 7-inch inseam
Mugsy specializes in making stretchy, stylish and comfortable clothes, and their Olive shorts certainly fit the bill.
Made from the kind of lightweight, stretcy material usually found in men’s athleisure wear, they’re cut into a timeless five-pocket style that looks great with everything from a plain tee to an Oxford button down.
These shorts are the best. Look great, totally comfortable and perfect for Chicago weather. Couldn’t ask for more. Only a matter of how many pairs i’ll purchase!
– Visa C.
- 5 Stars
- 1,645 Reviews
Myles is an activewear brand that specializes in apparel that not only looks great, but moves well.
Their Everyday short lives up to its name, offering four-way stretch fabric and a waterproof finish that makes it perfect for casual, everyday wear like running errands or even meeting friends for a drink on a patio.
Their Momentum short, meanwhile, is perfect for training and workout routines of every kind.
They’re super lightweight and have plenty of flex, making them great for everything from trail running to intense weightlifting sessions.
I love these shorts. The material is durable, yet soft. The pockets are the best I’ve seen in athletic shorts.
– Benjamin A.
- 5 Stars
- 2 Reviews
Though it’s known primarily as J.Crew’s denim-focused little brother, Madewell also offers a pretty wide range of stylish and casual staples, including shorts.
It’s probably the best place to go for modern jean shorts, but they also offer chinos, swim trunks and sweat shorts, all in on-point styles, patterns and colors.
Elastic in the back, has a button tie in the front, and sits above the knee but the quality is quite good. I have washed it a few times and it holds.
- 5 Stars
- 151 Reviews
- 6 colors available
- Available in odd-number waist sizes
Banana Republic has been one of my go-to stores for years, and with good reason.
Last summer I picked up a new pair of their Core Temp shorts in army green (which is one of my favorite men’s pants colors for both shorts and full length pants) and wore the hell out of them.
I’m happy to report that they not only looked great but held up expertly.
After a full summer they still look brand new, and I’m looking forward to busting them out again next year.
I was looking for some casual, yet dressy appearing shorts, these fit the bill perfectly. I prefer the higher cut and again these delivered.
Now looking at the other colors available. I wear that “hard to find 35” waist and these are true to size.
– Jim G.
Deep Dive ↓
- I did a full review of Banana Republic shorts (back when they called it the “Aiden” line), which you can check out to learn more about the brand and the quality of its shorts.
- 5 Stars
- 478 Reviews
- Available in 9 colors
With a streamlined and simple design and a wide range of colors available, Olivers’ all over short is as sharp as it is versatile.
The classic fit looks good on pretty much every body type, while the variety of colors means you’ll have plenty of options when pairing it with shirts, shoes, shades or any other piece of men’s fashion.
These shorts are extremely comfortable and durable. I wear them when I workout and when I hangout with friends/family.
They are the perfect short for all-around use
- 5 Stars
- 2,337 Reviews
- Available in 6 colors
- Choose, from 6, 7 or 9 inch inseam
Birddogs is an athleisure brand with an irreverent sense of humor, which is about as far up my alley as anything could possibly be.
All of their clothes have a eye-rollingly ridiculous names – these lightweight shorts are called (and I swear to god this is true) “Dildo Baggins” – but some impressive quality.
In addition to the names, one thing that makes Birddogs particularly interesting is that many of their shorts come with underwear built in, which is not really something I had ever looked for in a pair of shorts before.
But it’s great because you don’t have to worry about making sure your boxer briefs aren’t peaking out of the bottom of your shorts, especially if you opt for a shorter inseam.
Best shorts I’ve ever worn. Feels like you’re not wearing anything immediately got back on the website after working out in them and ordered 3 more pairs.
- 4.5 Stars
- 89 Reviews
- Available in 9 colors
- Choose between 11, 9, 7 or five-inch inseam
Bonobos might just be the brand whose overall aesthetic I enjoy the most, and their shorts are no exception.
They offer a wide range of shorts in a variety of styles, lengths and sizes.
So whether you’re looking for slim-fitting short shorts or extended sizes for bigger fellas, they’re a great place to turn for the kind of well made and timelessly stylish shorts you can own for years.
I needed some shorts that weren’t dressy but not as casual as cargo pants.
I bought 4 pair and they were perfect as I could where them out to a nice dinner. They were comfortable and fits well.
- Available in eight colors
- Silicone shirt gripper helps keep shirts tucked in
- Mesh pockets with hidden, side zip pocket
Don’t call it a comeback, although that’s basically exactly what J.Crew did when they came back after filing for Chapter 11 in 2020.
And that’s very good news for those of us who love J.Crew’s modern-meets-classic aesthetic.
Their 7-inch stretch pair of chino shorts are an asbolute stand out, combining soft organic cotton with just the right amount of elastane to provide a hint of stretch.
But the chinos are far from their only offering.
They actually have a pretty diverse lineup of shorts that includes pairs in a wide range of styles, lengths colors and fabrics.
Best Athletic Shorts for Men ↓
- 4.5 Stars
- 1,026 Reviews
Public Rec’s Workday shorts are like a more comfortable version of the kind of dressier shorts that should be a staple of your summer wardrobe.
But their Everyday shorts are like a slightly more stylish version of basketball shorts.
These are my pick for the best workout shorts for men because the elastic waistband and 12% spandex makes them perfect for hoops, running, golf or any other athletic activity.
Meanwhile, the pockets and faux front fly give them a more formal look that can carry you straight through to your post-workout drinks on the patio.
(Oh, no, I’m sorry, no one goes for a drink or two after working out. How silly of me…)
These shorts are what I have come to call sport shorts. They are an athletic fit meaning fitted, but not tight.
They are super comfortable with a great look. This is my first, but not last pair.
– Stephen L.
- 4.5 Stars
- 102 Reviews
- Available in 15 colors
It’s no surprise that the classic Americana brand best known for mastering the chino also sells some of the best shorts for men.
Gap offers a pretty wide range of shorts that vary in style, from vintage and linen shorts to denim shorts and hybrids that can be worn just about anywhere.
Their vintage shorts are a particular stand out thanks to their eight-inch inseam, relaxed fit and a whopping 15 color options, making them easy to pair with lots of different summer outfits.
I also happen to love Gap’s activewear line, and listed them among my picks for the best affordable workout clothes.
I live in the South, where shorts weather can be almost year round, even at the holidays. These are my favorite every day shorts.
Comfortable and well-made, they are true to size and wear well.
– Mark L.
- 5 Stars
- 40 Reviews
The second Western Rise pair on this list is a close runner up to Public Rec’s Everyday short for the coveted title (which I just made up) of Best Athletic Shorts for Men.
Designed with movement in mind – in case you couldn’t tell from the name – the Movement shorts are lightweight, water resistant and stretchy, and can be used as both a pair of workout shorts or a swimsuit.
My favorite active short. Can go from land and sea seamlessly.
They are well constructed with quality materials. I am partial to the blue grey color as they are very unique.
– Stephen V.
- 4.5 Stars
- 122 Reviews
J.Crew’s little brother brand, J.Crew Factory has a similar aesthetic, and sells comparable styles at (somewhat) more reasonable prices.
While not all of their offerings match the quality of their flagship brand, their shorts a pretty safe bet; like J.Crew proper, J.Crew Factory offers a varied selection of colors, fabrics and patterns in both 9-inch and 7-inch lengths.
These shorts are so great for the summer. The material feels like good (not flimsy), and the fit looks great.
They’re such a great value, I bought 6 pairs for my boyfriend.
- Italian stretch cotton
- Elastic waistband
- Multiple color options
I’m a big fan of Suitsupply’s suits, but an even bigger fan of their casual wear.
So it’s no surprise that I love their shorts, which come in multiple styles but are all cut to perfection.
If you’re looking for the kind of stylish shorts that you can pair with a polo for a first date on a hot summer’s night – when you need to bring your A-game, but don’t want to sweat through your pants – this is the place.
- 4.6 Stars
- 901 Reviews
Amazon’s Goodthreads brand has become an absolute go-to for guys who want stylish casual staples at affordable prices.
So it should come as no surprise that Goodthreads offers a wide range of shorts that check all those boxes.
Personally I prefer shorts that hue pretty closely to my thighs (without making my legs look like they’re sausages, of course), so I prefer Goodthreads’ 9″ slim-fit shorts, which are excellently reviewed and available in eight different colors.
These are awesome shorts. They are everything I was looking for in a short:
Breathable material (with better feel than polyester shorts), fashionable inseem length, form fitting, and very stretchy.
– Chris K
Best Mens Casual Shorts ↓
- 5 Stars
- 15 Reviews
OK, ok: whether or not these are the best casual shorts for men is admittedly a subjective question—but they just might be the best value.
Much like Amazon’s aforementioned Goodthreads, Target’s in-house line of Goodfellow & Co. specializes in the kind of timelessly stylish casual pieces you can keep in your wardrobe for years.
(Note to major retailers: including the word “Good” in your brand name is a little thirsty. Show us the quality, don’t just tell us, you know?)
And at about $20, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better deal than their 7″ slim fit chino shorts.
My husband has a harder time finding shorts and pants that fit him because he has an athletic, muscular build. These shorts fit super well!
What are the best shorts for men?
The best shorts for men are any pair that hits about two inches above your knee cap, hue closely to your thighs without making them look like they’re squeezed into sausage casings, and have enough stretch to keep them comfortable and easy to move in.
Where to buy short shorts for men
Most modern menswear brands have embraced the shorter shorts trend, so if by “short shorts for men” you mean shorts that hit above the knee, like I recommend, then any of the retailers listed above will fit the bill.
Where to buy jean shorts for men
The best place to buy jean shorts for men is definitely Madewell. They specialize in all things denim and offer a wide variety of denim jean shorts, along with all the casual staples that go well with them (think tees, sweaters, sneakers, etc).
You Know Where to Get the Best Mens Shorts
Now Learn The Secrets of Sharp Style
Now that you know which retailers offer some of the most stylish and overall best shorts for men, you’ll be able to step up your summer style game and look sharp when the weather warms up.
But knowing where to buy the best men’s shorts is one thing; knowing how to wear them (not to mention the rest of your gear) is another.
The (handsome) devil is in the details, and if you really want to level up your style you need to know how to do the small-but-vital things that add up to make a big difference on how dapper you look.
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More Men’s Style Advice from Irreverent Gent:
- What to Wear in the Spring
- The Best Summer Shoes for Men
- The Best Men’s Shapewear
- The Best Athleisure Brands for Men
- The Absolute Best Men’s Sweatpants and Joggers
- The Ultimate Guide to Men’s Summer Fashion
- The Best Athleisure Brands like Lululemon
- The 15 Best Mens Bamboo Underwear Brands
- Levi’s 559 vs 569 Jeans: The Complete Buying Guide