We may be on the downward slope of summer, rolling slowly toward fall, but there’s no reason to ride out the remaining weeks of summer in the same old shorts. The season is still in full force, and you’ve got the sweat marks to show for it. Consider this a golden opportunity to up your shorts game, once and for all.
Comfortable as shorts are – and should be – that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be chosen as thoughtfully as everything else in your wardrobe. There’s a right way and a wrong way to go about wearing shorts this summer.
First, you need to find the right style and price for your budget (we did the leg work for you here). Next, find the right length (we’ve got you covered there, too). Most men’s shorts are cut to three common lengths, by inseam: 5 inches, for showing off some thigh; 7 inches, the length suitable for most guys; and shorts with a 9-inch inseam, or the taller fellas among us. We dive into each below.
And finally, allow yourself to have a little fun with color and pattern this summer. The best men’s shorts for summer clear each of these bars quite handily. These are our favorite pairs to shop, buy and wear all season long (or what's left of it).
Switch things up from the ordinary ever so slightly with a pair of lightly striped shorts, the sort that wear well with anything (especially vibrant polos and garment-dyed T-shirts in cool colors). The 7-inch short is the standard for most guys of average to slightly taller heights — it shows off some thigh without overdoing it, and it’s neither too short nor too long. Plus, the fabric of these Bonobos shorts is lightweight and breezy, as the name implies.
Best For The Beach
At first glance, these might seem like your standard, plain old shorts, but look again: They’re done up in a throwback corduroy fabric, with texture and retro style. The front patch pockets add a nice touch of visual interest while keeping with that old-school vibe, too. And the 7-inch length hits the sweet spot. Wear these with a garment-dyed grey pocket tee and canvas sneakers for a casual BBQ.
For an agreeable sub-$50 price, step into subtle style with these cotton-blend shorts done up in a garment-dyed fabric for plenty of eye-catching style. The Burnt Olive shade in particular is a nice change of pace from standard tan or navy, while the elastic waistband provides so much comfort, you won’t want to take ‘em off. Team them with an easygoing slub T-shirt, or dress it up just a touch with a grey short-sleeve buttondown shirt.
Best In Comfort
That’s right: The same fabric that makes up your favorite soft shirt has been translated into a pair of laidback yet polished 9-inch shorts. The 9-inch inseam works well on taller guys while still hitting above the knee for a clean, not baggy, look, and it also works well if you prefer a touch more coverage. The chambray here also features a touch of stretch for comfort and ease of movement. Team these up with a white polo and brown leather loafers for an ever-so-slightly dressy summer evening.
Best Biggest Statement
Summer is a great time to go a bit more bold with your fashion choices, like rocking some camo shorts when the occasion calls for it. The cool grey camo tones things down just a bit, though, and be sure to note the lack of cargo pockets here. Because these shorts are more vibrant in terms of pattern, keep it simple on your top half with a navy polo or a crisp black T-shirt.
Best For Going Out
Todd Snyder has knack for taking the ordinary, like a set of 9-inch cotton-blend shorts, and ramping things up just a touch, as seen with these rugged utility shorts. They’re like a streamlined, much cooler version of cargo shorts, and they’re inspired by vintage hiking shorts for plenty of, well, utility. You can wear them for work, thanks to the plethora of pockets, but we think they’re best suited for kicking back with an ice-cold beer on the patio. A pricey investment? Yes, but a worthwhile one.
Best To Beat The Heat
Shorts like these are best-suited when the mood is ultra-casual and fun — the stripes are seriously cool and breezy, and the seersucker fabric is a nice seasonal touch, too. The elastic waist is also a comfortable touch, too. Think of these like your go-to beach vacation shorts.
Best For Toned Legs
When you want to amp up your summer style with a shot of color (and showing off some extra leg, of course), go with these aptly named, super easygoing shorts in a washed cotton fabric. The Rust color in particular is eye-catching and made to wear with subtle summer style staples like a grey short-sleeve henley or a white short-sleeve button-down shirt for a bit of a preppy yet fun edge.
Best For Active Days
Planned out an action-packed summer day that’ll take you and the family from the trail to the town, and perhaps elsewhere? Go with shorts you can move around in, shorts that move with you in a recycled nylon fabric. The color-blocked design of the Foliage colorway in particular is sporty and visually appealing, while the breathable design is perfect for hot summer days and nights.