Shopping for the best short shorts for men is extremely fun right now. After years of knee-length shorts dominating the genre, the tide has shifted: thigh-exposing shorts—the type that’ll make you feel like a retro hardwood icon or early-’80s Harrison Ford—suddenly look fresher than ever, and designers are responding in kind.
Today, there’s plenty of workout-ready nylon options ideal for racking up road miles or sweating your way through a grueling set of flutter kicks at the gym. But the benefits of going short aren’t limited to extra mobility or pure sex appeal. When paired with a cropped tee or a boxy camp shirt, shorter-length shorts help streamline your silhouette, making your legs look longer (and the rest of you look taller) in the process.
Which means there might not be a single item on the market today with a higher style-per-square-inch, and these pairs—the best short shorts for men to buy right now—prove it. After way too many quarters cooped up indoors, don’t you think your shins deserve a little sunshine?
The Best All-Purpose Short Shorts
Patagonia’s 5” Baggies are an internet sensation (and a surprising source of contention) for good reason. The forgiving leg opening and shorter length offer the perfect combination of style and comfort, while the nylon construction and mesh lining make them ready for whatever the day has in store—even the beach. (They also come in a dozen different colors, costs less than an annual Spotify subscription, and come crafted from recycled fishing nets in line with the brand’s commitment to prioritizing Mother Earth.) In other words, they’re the only shorter-length shorts you need to worry about if you’re still on the fence about the silhouette.
The Best Links-Appropriate Short Shorts
Despite recent inroads, modern day golf style has a long way to go—and golf courses are still dominated by dudes in overly-long sweat-wicking shorts. On or off the links, you’re far better served embracing the look (if not the spirit) of country clubs of yesteryear in a pair of drawstring-enhanced plaid shorts. These, courtesy of Noah’s link-up with British heritage brand Baracuta, are the best we’ve seen in a minute.
The Best Pleated Short Shorts
Once upon a time, Ivy League campuses were full of the best and brightest—at least when it came to shorts. In the late ’50s, it was hard to swing a copy of Atlas Shrugged without hitting a fresh-faced undergrad hoofing it to to an afternoon seminar wearing pleated shorts and loafers. (The unofficial name of the style move? Quads on quads.) Pleated shorts can veer into quirky uncle territory real quick, but the shorter length here allows you to channel the heyday of Ivy style with room to spare.
The Best Gym-Ready Short Shorts
For runners, short shorts serve a functional purpose—less fabric means less weight, which means less getting in the way of shattering that new PR. (And presumably less excuses, too.) But ultra-high running shorts aren’t ideal when you’ve got to get horizontal on the bench. So the folks at Satisfy solved the problem by concocting a stretch jersey running short with an extended compression lining built in. Do jumping jacks, upside down crunches, whatever—that grippy elasticized webbing means you can do it all anxiety-free.
The Best Gateway to Short Shorts
Look, we’re well aware that the inseams on this list can seem prohibitively high. So if you’re new to the idea of wearing shorts that hit well above the knee, one with a slightly lower cut is a solid place to get your feet—er, thighs—wet. J.Crew’s deck shorts aren’t baggy, but they’re not Dr. J-level revealing either. They’ll help ease you into the idea of rocking with a shorter length so you can work your way up to a style included here, or decide you’re happy where your inseam’s at.
The Best Deceptively Comfy Short Shorts
Prefer your workday garms with a touch of elastic in the mix? Now your shorts can get in on the action too. Todd Snyder’s are cut from a stretchy twill fabric that comes pre-washed for extra comfort, perfect for when you want to look semi-presentable before taking down an epic brunch. Their shorter length will look great paired with a spring-ready work shirt—untucked to keep the drawstring a secret between you and your waistline, natch.
The Best Comfy Comfy Short Shorts
Fleece shorts are about as American as apple pie, mostly because if you dribble half a slice of cobbler up the front of ’em they’re no worse off for it. Up until now, though, if you wanted to get your legs into a pair your options were limited to ones that emulated the baggy silhouettes of another sport entirely. These are cut trim enough to warrant wearing outside the house, but will still keep you plenty comfy watching your home team get clobbered by the Dodgers from the couch.