The thing about shorts is that I absolutely hate them. I’m a pants guy through and through, and do my best to stretch out Pants Season (September through May in NYC, IMO) as long as possible. However, sometimes it’s just too hot to pretend that I’m comfortable in thick jeans or even lightweight chinos. Enter, reluctantly, shorts.
I will admit that wearing shorts doesn’t have to be the end of the world—you just have to invest in some solid pairs. The first (and pretty much only) thing to remember when picking out shorts is that we want them to end above the knees. It’s not 2011 anymore, boys, and while you don’t have to wear a Speedo, it looks and feels better to have a shorter inseam. Plus, short(er) shorts are in vogue these days. “I want to Looney Tunes eyeball-unravel Jim Kelly’s micro shorts from Enter the Dragon this spring and summer,” Mary Frances Knapp wrote last summer, in her treatise on short-shorts. “I want to see short-seamed mens’ athletic shorts everywhere—not just during men’s boxing, basketball, skateparks, and other sausage-magnet locales. I want to see them staked out on NYC’s traffic cone bar terraces, or leaving a Sephora. I want them burned into my brain.”
So, fellas, it’s time to give the people what they want, which is why we pulled together some of the best shorts for men, from adventure-ready activewear and relaxed-fit loungers to splurge-worthy designer pairs and more.
You need some basics
We get it, and so do the 11,000 other people that gave this pair of Men's Eight-Inch Drawstring Walk Shorts a 4.5-star average rating. The 100%-cotton shorts are machine-washable and feature a drawstring closure and both side pockets and a single set-in back pocket for your presumably elegant wallet.
We’re not here for bad threads
Nope, we’re here for Goodthreads—specifically this pair of printed, five-inch inseam cotton shorts. These are about as affordable as it gets without sacrificing quality, and with a 4.5-star average rating from over 6,000 people, you know you’re getting a good deal. These machine-washable shorts also feature a button closure and button-through back pockets.
Cords are forever
There’s a reason corduroy has stood the test of time: It’s chic enough to make you look like you know how to dress yourself, but laid-back enough to make it seem like you’re not really trying. These Cord Local Shorts feature front welt side seam pockets, an elastic waistband with drawcords, back welt pockets, a faux fly, and internal diagonal pinstripe binding.
You want to help the planet
Sweat shorts are a great transition piece from winter to spring, especially since they’re super comfortable and will remind you of being bundled up during those glorious winter months. Picking up a pair of these dope National Geographic shorts from the brand’s collaboration with Tentree will not only support the magazine, but Tentree will plant 10 trees with every purchase, so you can feel good about helping the Earth.
Make sure everyone knows you’re sporty
These bad boys are giving serious Miami vibes, and will look great when you’re cutting a rug at rooftop bars. These lined, old-school shorts have side slip pockets and a dope retro look. Plus, if you spill blue curaçao on them while attempting to do a TikTok dance, no one will be the wiser.
Short shorts will never let you down
Trust us—we know a thing or two. These Twilight Split Shorts by Tracksmith aren’t just excellent runners, they’re also a great addition to a pared-down park look. Let everyone know you might be cranking out a quick 10k right after you polish off the rest of that rum bucket.
You’re a sucker for designer
We don’t blame you—these Acne Studios and Rick Owens jawns are both in our spring and summer shopping cart, too. The funky, colorblocked Acnes are perfect for a beach day—with its front patch pocket that’s great for holding keys, earbuds, and poppers—while the vented outseams on the high-rise Rick Owens pair give a more active, sporty look.
We must have the fun shorts
Look, if you’re going to splurge on a new pair of shorts this season, please let it be this pair of Water Sky Print Shorts by Valentino. Sure it might almost cost what we pay in rent, but aren’t you enthralled by its relaxed silhouette, roomy fit, and vibrant design? Us, too.
Now pop on those socks and sandals—it’s time to hit the beach.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.