The best men’s shorts

  • A good pair of men’s shorts should look good, fit well, and comfortable to wear.
  • With large selections of styles and colors, the best places to buy men’s shorts are J.Crew, Club Monaco, Brooks Brothers, and REI.

Whether it’s dealing with summer heat or you live in warmer climes year-round, a good pair of shorts can go a long way toward helping your body keep cool. You don’t have to throw out the rules of style to stay comfortable, however, and a well-fitted pair of shorts can provide a clean look that’s as crisp as it is pleasant to wear all day.

Although shorts are very casual, there are still some rules for wearing them. In fact, the casual nature of shorts is more of a reason, not less of one, to keep the fit on-point lest you start looking sloppy. From a style perspective, the guidelines are pretty simple: Keep your shorts slim, make sure they end above the knee (with a 7-10-inch inseam being the sweet spot), and avoid cargo shorts unless you’re going hiking or something. Of course, we acknowledge that style is subjective and rules are meant to be broken sometimes.

If you’re looking to ditch those long, baggy shorts and upgrade your style, you’ll find great options for men’s shorts at these stores, whether in summer or winter.

Note: All prices mentioned are starting prices.

Here are the best places to buy men’s shorts:

Updated on 12/13/2019: Updated formatting, pricing, and links.


J.Crew

source
J. Crew

J.Crew’s high-quality shorts look classic yet modern. Its 7-inch shorts offer everything you need to complete your cool, comfortable, and stylish outfits.

J. Crew has earned a top place among American menswear labels with its high quality and classic yet modern styling. One excellent example is its 7-inch shorts. They’re made of durable yet soft cotton twill with a touch of elastane for stretch. Think of them as a shorter version of your favorite chinos.

There are ample great colors to choose from. For your workhorse pair, you can’t beat “dusty khaki” but pick a shade that best matches the ensemble – all are great.

J. Crew offers these shorts with a 9-inch inseam, too, but there are fewer color options than the 7-inch. If you’re not in love with this style, J. Crew offers plenty of other great shorts.


Club Monaco

source
Club Monaco

A stylish cut and the unbeatable breathability of 100% linen make Club Monaco’s Maddox shorts the best pair to wear on those sweltering days when it’s just too hot for cotton.

When the sun’s beating down on you and the air feels humid enough to swim in, then there’s no better fabric to have on your body than linen – wrinkles and all. As a woven cloth derived from flax fibers, linen has been used to make fabric for thousands of years and breathes better in hot weather than just about any other clothing material you’re likely to wear.

Since one of the main reasons you’re likely wearing shorts is to keep cool in warmer weather, it makes sense to have a pair or two that are made of linen. Our pick is the Maddox shorts from Club Monaco. The Maddox linen shorts feature a timeless trim cut, flat front, and nine-inch inseam that look great and ensure that they’ll never go out of style.

Although linen is notorious for wrinkling, this is far less of an issue for shorts than it is for other clothing items. Shorts are meant to be casual and comfortable, and when you’re hot, wrinkles are the least of your concerns – plus, that’s part of the relaxed look of linen. The Club Monaco Maddox shorts won’t leave you sweating the heat, and you shouldn’t sweat a few wrinkles, either.

The Maddox linen shorts are a little pricey when not on sale, but it’s worth it to have at least one pair in your stable. The unrivaled coolness and comfort of linen are a godsend on days when the mercury pushes past 90, the humidity is stifling, and even your everyday cotton shorts aren’t enough to give you relief from the heat.

If you want a different style, Club Monaco has tons of great shorts on its site, which you can shop for here.


Brooks Brothers

source
Brooks Brothers

Seersucker is another great fabric for beating the summer heat, and the Brooks Brothers Bermuda shorts are cool and stylish.

When woven a certain way, cotton can be surprisingly cool. One common and well-known cotton fabric purpose-made for hot weather is seersucker, which was made famous in the American South and remains highly associated with Southern culture to this day (the Kentucky Derby, in particular, tends to conjure up images of mint juleps and striped seersucker suits).

But you don’t need to put on your bow tie and head to the horse races to get away with wearing seersucker. While it’s an iconic American suiting fabric, seersucker has grown increasingly popular for single daily wear items like trousers, jackets, and, of course, shorts. Brooks Brothers is a historic menswear brand that’s as American as seersucker itself and is no stranger to this excellent fabric, as these excellent Bermuda shorts show.

Owing to its unique weave, seersucker has a distinctive “puckered” appearance and is usually paired with thin stripes that complement the fabric’s distinct visual texture. There’s no reason seersucker can’t be worn in solid colors, however, and the Brooks Brothers Bermuda shorts are available in both the classic light blue striped pattern along with dark navy blue.

The trim cut and flat-front style give the Brooks Brothers seersucker Bermuda shorts a classic yet modern look, and while the 10-inch inseam is appropriately short, it may prove a bit long on guys with shorter legs.

If you prefer a different look, Brooks Brothers has plenty of excellent shorts that you can check out here.


REI

source
REI

With a great casual style and quick-drying polyester material, the REI Co-op Active Pursuit shorts work just as well for a casual afternoon out as they do for a day at the pool.

REI is a brand well-known for its solid outdoor gear but the company also offers a wide range of well-made outdoors and active clothing, much of which features innovative designs and materials that make them more suitable for both casual and outdoor wear. The REI Co-op Active Pursuit shorts are no exception: Made of quick-drying polyester, they look just as great for a day out on the town as they do at the beach or on a hike.

The Active Pursuit features a classic plain-front design – complete with a zipper pocket to keep stuff from falling out – and a 7-inch inseam that lets them pair easily with your favorite tee or polo shirt. The classic colors play nicely with just about everything in your closet, too.

While it isn’t swimwear, we wouldn’t hesitate to jump into a pool in these, thanks to the quick-drying polyester. While the material won’t be as cool as linen or seersucker, this lightweight weave is still comfortable and wicks moisture away from you rather than absorbing it.


Olivers

source
Olivers

Workout clothes don’t have to feel or look like workout clothes, and that’s why Olivers has created the All Over Shorts.

Olivers’ first well-known article of clothing was the All Over Short, a comfortable and functional pair of athletic shorts that can be worn outside of the gym.

The shorts have an inner pocket for you to securely stow and carry keys, phones, and other essentials. They’re made of a lightweight nylon spandex blend whose 4-way stretch and water repellent qualities make it ideal for all scenarios.

Oh, and by the way, Olivers promises that your clothes will last for at least a year with its Olivers guarantee. The company will replace or repair any product “with a fault outside of normal wear and tear for up to 12 months” after your initial purchase.

Check out all of Olivers’ other shorts options. – Lulu Chang