In matters of style and substance, it’s the little details that make the difference: There’s no doubt this is the case with the best men’s shorts, as well. The category itself calls to mind your standard athletic shorts, sure, but there’s more beneath the surface. That’s what we’re all about at WERD: Style plus substance. So, let’s go streamlined and stylish across the board.
There are shorts best suited for hiking, shorts for lounging, shorts for sunny days on the brewery patio, shorts you can even dress up a bit. You need at least a few different options, in our humble opinion. After all, the right fabric and fit carry the day with plenty of menswear essentials, shorts included. This summer, don’t treat them like an afterthought to be thrown on at a moment’s notice. Here are our favorite shorts in plenty of categories you might not have even considered. Call it Shorts School – class is in session.
What do you turn to when you want the perfect blend of comfort and performance? Hybrid shorts, a simple name that makes a lot of sense. They’re not quite athletic shorts, they’re not swim trunks, but they’re not chino shorts, either.
They’re durable, made from performance fabric, and in the case of the Howler Brothers Pedernales Packable Shorts, they’re made to go just about anywhere with ease, thanks to the 100 percent nylon construction and an elastic waist. Drainage eyelets turn them into swim shorts for quick riverside dips, but the 7-inch inseam makes them polished enough to wear from trail to town.
What’s the difference between the best hybrid shorts and the best utility shorts? Utility shorts are packed with pockets, performance-enhancing features like a stretch waistband and moisture-wicking fabric, sure, but they’ve got the kind of breezy, effortless cool that’s perhaps more at home on the golf course than in the water or on a boat.
When you wear them, you’ll know the difference. And when you try on this pair from Free Fly, you’ll truly feel the difference that moisture-wicking, water-repellent fabric brings to your wardrobe.
Why upgrade your shorts if they’re going to be worn during laidback, breezy days? The better question is: Why not? Lounge shorts still aren’t veering into full-on athletic short territory (more on that in a moment), and that’s particularly true if you’re shopping gear from Relwen.
The brand frequently draws inspiration from old-school military styles, and this double-sided, cotton-mesh blend pair is both a perfect throwback homage and a fresh, modern pair to buy now. The ribbed, elastic waist won’t bunch or ride up, and a zip back pocket is a handy touch, too.
While a pair of hybrid, utility or chino shorts is going to serve you very well in plenty of style scenarios, a man’s wardrobe needs a touch of training-ready gear from time to time, too. Athletic shorts have been leveled up in a big way as of late, with better fabric and a better fit.
Take the Kore Shorts, from Vuori. They’re ultra-comfortable, they wick away moisture from the very first drop, and as Vuori says, they’re designed to be “one short for every sport.” That’s the kind of utility you really can use in your life.
The cargo short of days gone by is a thing of the past. To be clear, cargo shorts are highly functional at their core, with useful additional pockets aplenty, but that doesn’t mean they have to be baggy or look sloppy. In fact, they can look downright cool.
As ever, Nike just gets it: The ACG Cargo Shorts are subtle and slimmed-down, but with durable zip pockets. The nylon and spandex blend is highly durable, and they even come with a removable belt for an added design detail that saves you the trouble of finding a belt to match with your shorts.
When most guys think of shorts, there’s a good chance they’re thinking of the classic chino short, right? The cotton fabric is densely woven and most commonly seen in chino pants. But chino shorts are a reliable style move when you want a simple short that you can dress up or dress down.
Leave it to J.Crew to design as timeless a pair as any, available in colors like Dusty Navy and Aircraft Surplus. It also helps that the 7-inch inseam hits above the knee on most guys for a clean, cool look.
Tailored shorts are an interesting conundrum: Shorts are more laidback by nature (there’s a reason you don’t see them on the red carpet), but there are still times when you want a sharp pair of dress shorts. The fit is more trim, the details are sharp – no cargo pockets or logos in sight – and they’re very easy to wear with a luxe polo, breezy button up or Oxford shirt.
Faherty takes all this into account, and more, with this sustainable recycled poly-blend pair in an easy-to-wear shade of Khaki or Navy. The flat front makes them dressy and eye-catching, and the stretch material doesn’t hurt, either.
Hiking shorts check plenty of the right boxes when you want to pack up and hit the trail. You’re making it easier on yourself to move around while wearing shorts versus pants, and hiking shorts are also well-suited to the demands of being in the heat, the fog or the rain – because adventure never stops.
Prana’s stretch pair has a visually interesting, adjustable waistline for a perfect fit, and hard-wearing stretch fabric, to boot. Best of all, four-way stretch fabric and UPF 50+ protection bolster their outdoor preparedness.
Running shorts have made leaps and bounds from the pair you used to wear in gym class, as designers and brands have taken a tech-focused approach to fabric and fit. They’re cut shorter than other training shorts, typically, with few bells and whistles aside from handy pockets.
In the world of running shorts, you could say that no one does it better than Ten Thousand. They put the brand’s gear through rigorous testing, and the Distance Short takes it all into account perfectly. They’re incredibly lightweight and breathable, and designed to truly go the extra mile.
Board shorts are always a useful tool of sorts to have in your rotation: When you want to hit the beach and hit the waves on a surfboard or boogie board, the longer cut and durable fabric helps protect your thighs from sun, sand and chafing.
Hurley is absolutely a brand you can trust in that regard, with years of experience and a deep commitment to surfing culture. The stretch fabric of their perennial favorite Phantom is also quick-drying, and the scalloped leg vent helps with mobility, too.
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