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The Men’s Shorts to Wear This Summer

With a pair or two of each in your closet, you’ll be ready for pretty much anything.

A good pair of shorts is as much a summer staple as sunburn and soft serve. But finding the best shorts for men — that is, a well-fitting pair that’s comfortable, breathable, and stylish enough to wear out but won’t feel off if you’re just hanging in the backyard — can be tricky. What length? What material? What vibe? While the latter question is up to you, we’ve got some thoughts on the former. 

There are a lot of opinions out there about what pair of shorts for men is the pair of shorts for men. But we care most about comfort and wearability. That is to say, we prefer shorts you can throw on and be ready for anything the day throws your way. That’s why we think the best shorts for men fall into two categories: Hybrid shorts, and your classic cotton chinos. Hybrid shorts feature stretchy material, are made to stay cool and dry quickly, and can be dressed up or down to fit in pretty much anywhere. And as for chino shorts? The cotton fabric is light and airy, and the design is versatile and a bit dressier. With a pair of two of each in your closet, you’ll be ready for pretty much anything. Here are our favorites — along with some advice for finding a pair that fits you right

4 Great Pairs of Men’s Hybrid Shorts

Mack Weldon makes great clothing, and these hybrid shorts are an excellent addition to your summer wardrobe. The fabric has a slight stretch to it — not too much, just enough for a little bit of give — and they’re water-, wind-, and stain-resistant. They have a 9-inch inseam, making them a bit more traditional in terms of design. But if knee-length shorts are for you, then these will be your all-summer wear.

Combining the straightforward look of chinos with the stretch of a great pair of golf shorts, these hybrids pull off one hell of a balancing act. The fabric is the real kicker here. It’s a moisture-wicking cotton-polyester-spandex blend, which means the shorts feature a ton of stretch and plenty of comfort in the heat. A tailored fit and 9-inch inseam round them out.

How Should Shorts Fit? 

There are a lot of opinions here. If you want to show off some thigh, we’re not going to stop you. You do you. But in general, here are our thoughts. For guys of average to slightly-above-average height, it’s all about inseam length. Everybody’s preference is different, but shorts with an inseam length from 7 inches (a bit above the kneecap) to 9 inches (essentially at the kneecap) work quite well. Whatever the case, your shorts should be somewhat tailored to your leg, so look for “Straight,” “Athletic” or “Slim” versus “Relaxed” fits.

These hybrids feature a polyester-cotton-spandex fabric blend, which helps them move with ease and prevent moisture at the same time. Note the lack of belt loops. This gives them a clean, streamlined look (a belt breaks up your legs and your torso, making you look shorter). Thanks to that design quirk, feel free to tuck in your polo for a dressy finish. Or not. Your call.

Public Rec took inspiration from their best-selling active pants to create these hybrid shorts. They feature all the trappings of chino shorts, including front slant pockets, but the polyester-spandex fabric stretches and dries quickly. Belt loops and a traditional zipper fly add to the classier look, making them a cut above athletic shorts. They’ll fit in anywhere.

4 Great Pairs of Men’s Chino Shorts

Flint and Tinder’s 365 Shorts check all the right boxes. The fabric, a blend of cotton and spandex, is the same found in the brand’s beloved 365 Pants Five. They come in either a 7- or 9-inch inseam, as well as an array of versatile colors enough to suit every palette.

Great-fitting, comfortable and versatile, the Flat Front Chino shorts are an excellent purchase. The stretch Oxford cloth blends the best of both worlds as far mobility and refinement is concerned. It’s also hard to go wrong with a fresh shade of blue, ideal to wear with a crisp white polo, a rugged grey henley, or a white linen shirt.

 

Can You Wear Shorts to the Office? 

Here’s another hotly debated question in the world of menswear. Wearing shorts at the office is less dicey than it used to be, but it’s still frowned upon in professions like finance. Keep this in mind: If you work in an office with a business casual dress code, there’s still a right way and a wrong way to wear shorts at work. Opt for shorts in dark colors (akin to dress pants) with a tailored fit and streamlined pockets. The rest of the outfit should be simple and sharp (think: a well-fitting polo and loafers), and perhaps reserve your shorts-wearing for casual days, not big-time meetings. 

J. Crew updated its traditional chino fabric here with a touch of stretch for ease of movement. These still have enough structure to look great during an evening happy hour or a BBQ, though. They sport a 7-inch inseam and the range of colors, from shades of salmon to olive, is perfectly summer-ready.

These well-fitting, cotton-linen blend shorts pretty much split the difference between the 7 and 9-inch inseam, with an inseam of 8.5 inches). It’s a nice compromise length that looks good on all wearers. And design-wise, these shorts manage to split the difference between modern and classic, too.