Calves are in season. So are mid-thighs, for men who dare to go there. With the dog days of summer around the corner, your legs will thank you for restocking your shorts supply now.
Shorts come in as many varieties as the men who choose to wear them. Whether you like relaxed fit and full coverage or close-cropped and cut off, there are pairs out there waiting to be seized. We tapped style experts to pick their favorites of the season, alongside top-rated picks from our favorite trusted retailers.
Comfort is coveted more than ever before. Cotton shorts combine a soft feel with clean lines.
Marine Layer Saturday Twill Drawstring Shorts ($78; nordstrom.com)
“Sometimes you just want to throw on a pair of shorts that feel like the ones you wore back in high school or college,” says Nordstrom men’s fashion and editorial director, Jian DeLeon. But that won’t necessarily fly in every social setting. “Marine Layer brings the best of both worlds by mixing a washed twill fabric with an elastic waistband,” DeLeon says.
Goodfellow & Co Men’s 8-Inch Pull-On Shorts ($10.49, originally $14.99; target.com)
Beloved for their comfort, drawstring and subtle elastic waist, these shorts can be dressed up or down.
Polo Ralph Lauren Men’s Flat Front Piqué Shorts ($79.50; nordstrom.com)
“Polo Ralph Lauren takes the same breathable cotton piqué from its classic Polo shirts and interprets it into these versatile, breezy shorts,” DeLeon says.
Gramicci Cotton Shorts ($68; nordstrom.com)
“Gramicci is a heritage brand out of California inspired by climbing culture,” DeLeon says. “Known for their quality hiking gear, their take on the self-belted climbing short is good enough for scaling a cliff or simply walking the dog.”
Mr P. Pleated Cotton-Twill Shorts ($190; mrporter.com)
“You can expect to get a lot of wear out of these shorts from our in-house label, Mr P.,” says Olie Arnold, style director of men’s style destination and retailer Mr Porter. “The single pleat at the front gives off a tailored appearance, elevating them for more formal settings, while their wide, relaxed cut allows for a comfortable fit.”
Under Armour Men’s UA Raid 10-Inch Shorts ($22.99, originally $29.99; underarmour.com)
Available in sizes up to a 4XL, these shorts are a favorite for runners, joggers and really any sort of active man everywhere.
Hanes Men’s 7-Inch Jersey Shorts ($11.99; target.com)
Also available in sizes up to 4XL, with a whopping 800 reviews, these cotton-jersey shorts are great for wearing around the house and exercising.
Linen is a classic summer fabric with a leisurely and versatile look that’s breathable too.
J.Crew 9-Inch Stretch Seersucker Short ($62.99; jcrew.com)
J.Crew’s seersucker shorts transform the dapper pattern into full-length shorts that would fit a more formal occasion.
Goodfellow & Co Men’s 9-Inch Slim Fit Chino Shorts ($13.99, originally $19.99; target.com)
Made from a material that’s 55% linen and 45% cotton, these easy, breezy chino shorts are beloved by Target shoppers and available in a whole array of colors.
Closed Pleated Linen Shorts ($225; nordstrom.com)
“Pleated shorts may not be for the faint of heart,” DeLeon says. “But Closed channels the best of peak ’90s menswear in this nostalgically stylish pair.”
De Bonne Facture Washed Linen-Canvas Drawstring Shorts ($295; mrporter.com)
“De Bonne Facture partners with local French artisans to produce naturally luxurious textiles expressing an effortless French elegance,” Arnold says. “This pair of drawstring shorts is colored with natural dyes for a low environmental impact. Cut from a soft washed linen-canvas, their relaxed, oversized fit is a breezy option for these warmer summer days.”
Whether you fill their pockets or just like the look, cargo shorts are a perennial favorite.
Goodfellow & Co Men’s 11-Inch Cargo Shorts ($15.39, originally $21.99; target.com)
Cargo pants under $20? We’re in. These are a classic silhouette with plenty of pocket space, and Target shoppers love them.
Wrangler Authentics Men’s Classic Relaxed Fit Stretch Cargo Short (starting at $23.38; amazon.com)
Wrangler has been a leading maker of jeans and workwear since 1947. Their shorts are classic, affordable and durable — this pair is also a No. 1 bestseller on Amazon.
L.L.Bean Men’s Tropic-Weight Cargo Shorts ($49.95; llbean.com)
L.L.Bean’s cargo shorts come with a shorter 6-inch inseam for a modern take on the classic silhouette.
Incotex Washed Cotton and Linen-Blend Cargo Shorts ($370; mrporter.com)
“These cargo shorts are what we at Mr Porter call an essential — certain staples that should form the foundation of every man’s wardrobe,” Arnold says.
Jean shorts have a special place in many summer wardrobes, and they come in an array of styles.
Wrangler Authentics Classic Relaxed Fit 5-Pocket Jean Short (starting at $18.99; amazon.com)
Wrangler again makes a go-to bestselling pair, with a relaxed fit in a variety of washes.
Levi’s Men’s Slim Jean Shorts (starting at $26.99; amazon.com)
Levi’s slim denim shorts are affordable without skimping on the brand’s quality and reliability.
Marine Layer Men’s Dock Denim Cutoff Shorts ($98; nordstrom.com)
Marine Layer makes a cutoff pair that retains clean lines for a sharp look.
NN07 Johnny Slim Fit Denim Shorts ($175; mrporter.com)
“A good pair of white denim shorts can go a long way in the warmer months,” Arnold says. “NN07’s Johnny shorts are clean, classic and perfect for a variety of laid-back occasions.”
Shorter men’s shorts
For those who like hems above the knee, this summer is your time to shine.
Patagonia Men’s Organic Cotton Corduroy Utility Shorts 6-Inch ($69; patagonia.com)
As a cargo alternative, Patagonia’s utility shorts retain a workwear look with a unique cut.
Lululemon Bowline Short 5-Inch Stretch Ripstop ($78; lululemon.com)
An appealing blend of comfort and style, Lululemon’s Bowline shorts are a top-rated customer favorite.
Drake’s Slim Fit Cotton-Corduroy Chino Shorts ($295; mrporter.com)
“These shorts from Drake’s are cut with the perfect short-leg profile,” Arnold says. “The pink cotton-corduroy brings some unexpected texture to the style.”
Chubbies Silver Linings Shorts ($49.50; nordstrom.com)
Chubbies have become ubiquitous on social media for a reason. Men rave about their fit, comfort and understated style.