We Spent a Year Testing Shorts. These Are the Best Ones to Buy This Summer

ten thousand interval short
The Most Flattering Shorts You Can Possibly Weareli schmidt

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CALF SEASON IS almost here. But just because the sun will soon be sizzling doesn't mean your style has to suffer. Enter the best men's shorts, which give your thighs plenty of room while still flattering your shape. Our fashion team spent the past year testing more than 50 pairs of shorts on guys of all different sizes to find top tier options that combined function and great looks. Whether it's gym shorts, sweat shorts, or chino shorts, our favorite picks kept us cool and dry, and matched with a wide variety of fits.

Best Men's Shorts

What to Consider


Our fashion director Ted Stafford says to prioritize breathable knits. Fabrics like seersucker, linen, nylon, and cotton are all great for keeping you cool in the blazing heat. In addition, many of our favorite shorts are constructed with a blend of materials nowadays, so you often get the best of both worlds.

When it comes to construction, we also recommend shorts that have moisture-wicking fabrics, which can help prevent swamp crotch or sweat stains. If you're looking for a comfortable all-day short, we recommend finding one with elastane in the waistband for extra stretch.


Inseams will determine the kind of vibe you're aiming for. Anything six inches or less will look a bit bolder, while a seven-inch inseam will be a more understated length. For guys who are more modest, a nine-inch inseam will probably be your best bet.

To find the right inseam length for you, our fashion team recommends a short that hits two inches above your knee. This tip helps create the most flattering proportions for your body type—shorter guys will look more elongated, and taller men will avoid looking they're the newest members of Reno 911.


Baggy cuts are all the rage these days, but don't feel like you have to jump on that style bandwagon. Our editors say that the fit of your shorts depends on the occasion. Going for a dressier vibe? Opt for a slim cut short that feels tailored—it plays well with button-down shirts and even blazers. If you prefer a laidback aesthetic, then you can't go wrong with a floaty short under your go-to T-shirts.

How We Selected

To curate the best shorts for men, Men's Health's editors and writers have personally tried on and tested a range of summer shorts in different styles across a bunch of occasions. For instance, we’ve worn Ten Thousand’s Foundation Shorts to the gym, sported Abercrombie's All-Day shorts to the office, ran errands in Mack Weldon's Ace shorts, and donned Banana Republic's linen shorts to weekend getaways. Then, our testing editors narrowed down the selection by evaluating these tried-on shorts based on their style, fit, price point, comfort, durability, and most importantly, versatility.

You won't find any trend-chasing shorts in here (such as too short, too baggy, too many holes, or too graphic). Instead, our picks focus on timelessness and comfort for the active guy. Read on for our definitive list.

All-Day Short

After weeks of trial and error, we landed on Abercrombie as the short to wear this spring and summer. Stafford says that the short's flat front cut hits the perfect style note between casual and dressy. That means it plays well with a T-shirt, polo, or button-up, and you can dress it up or down as much as you want. The seven-inch inseam is a middle-of-the-road length that flatters guys with giant quads or chicken legs, so it works with a lot of different body types.

We love a menswear essential with performance features, and Abercrombie's All-Day Short delivers on that front. The cotton-blend fabric wicks away moisture, which helped us feel dry during exceptionally hot days. Its waistband has a hint of stretch that's easy to move in. And because the waist doesn't crinkle like other hybrid dress shorts, we found that it still looked polished when we wore it under a tucked-in dress shirt, and without a belt. It comes in eight (!!!) colors, and given its affordable price point, we recommend copping these in a few styles.

Read more: Best Clothing Brands for Men

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.abercrombie.com%2Fshop%2Fus%2Fp%2Fa-and-f-all-day-short-55059320&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.menshealth.com%2Fstyle%2Fg28249026%2Fmost-flattering-shorts-for-men%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>All-Day Short</p><p>abercrombie.com</p><p>$60.00</p><span class="copyright">eli schmidt</span>

501 ’93 Denim Shorts

Finding a top-tier jort; however, was a much easier task. The 501 is one of the most iconic jeans ever designed, and still holds up today. And its shorts version is no exception. Levi's cut its marquee pant down to a 7-inch inseam that hits mid-thigh for a lot of guys. And to save you time, the brand was kind enough to distress the hell out of it, resulting in a great lived-in look that pairs well with casual fits. Because this is the 501, it works with just about any summer casual look, and you know it'll never go out of style.

Yeah, these jean shorts are much thicker than other options on this list, but we found that the 501's straight cut offered enough breathing room through the thighs to keep us relatively cool on a typical summer day. Though you may want to swap these for a chino or linen short on blazing afternoons.

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09N2GB4LC?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C2139.g.28249026%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>501 ’93 Denim Shorts</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$62.55</p><span class="copyright">eli schmidt</span>

Interval Short

Summer workouts call for lightweight gym shorts that are still durable. Enter Ten Thousand, a purveyor of some of our favorite workout clothes, including this one. The Interval Short is made with a polyester blend that's purpose built for tough exercises. Trust us: Our fitness editors have put it through the paces, and found that it didn't rip, and moved like a second skin. That's thanks to its four-way stretch fabric, which also has a bit of compression so it doesn't ride up or cling. We found that the quick-drying material lives up to its odor-fighting marketing claims, and helped prevent swamp crotch during 90-degree runs.

The Interval Short comes in three inseams, though we suggest (you guessed it) the 7-inch length for a universally flattering cut. And while our fashion team mainly recommends wearing this for the gym, its slim cut makes for a decent athleisure fit, and some of our editors frequently wearing this on weekend errands. In fact, the Interval Short is so great that we gave it a 2024 Men's Health Fitness Award.

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tenthousand.cc%2Fproducts%2Finterval-short-no-liner%3Fvariant%3D39812180443223&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.menshealth.com%2Fstyle%2Fg28249026%2Fmost-flattering-shorts-for-men%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Interval Short</p><p>tenthousand.cc</p><p>$68.00</p><span class="copyright">eli schmidt</span>

Lino Linen Short

Banana Republic's Linen Short is a stylish way to beat the heat. First, its featherweight fabric is exceptionally breathable and naturally moisture wicking. In our testing, we felt fresh and cool wearing this in tropical weather, even when the temps hit above 85 degrees. Meanwhile, its breezy design is balanced with a slim cut, so it looks polished enough for beachside dinners, or weekend barbecues.

The Lino's mid-rise waist flatters most body types, even guys with a spare tire, and we find ourselves reaching for this short when we want a casual knit to go with our lightweight polos and camp shirts. In other words, if you're going to pack one vacation short, choose this one.

Read more: Best Men's Linen Shorts

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fbananarepublic.gap.com%2Fbrowse%2Fproduct.do%3Fpid%3D869184&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.menshealth.com%2Fstyle%2Fg28249026%2Fmost-flattering-shorts-for-men%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Lino Linen Short</p><p>bananarepublic.gap.com</p><p>$80.00</p><span class="copyright">eli schmidt</span>

Geared Short

We've been co-signing cargo shorts long before they came back in style. Take this one from Uniqlo, which takes everything we love about the workwear classic—ample pockets, relaxed fit, a durable fabric—and tops it with a water-repellent shell to dry you off during water sports. Our editors have sported this on a boat, lakeside, and during torrential downpours and can attest to its quick-drying capabilities. The polyester belt is non-obtrusive, and cinches in the short during hot weather hikes.

We also appreciate its roomier cut and eight-inch inseam that looks great (without looking sloppy) on taller guys. And this being Uniqlo, the Geared Short is incredibly affordable, so you're getting a great cost-per-wear value. We recommend stocking up on this in multiple colorways.

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.uniqlo.com%2Fus%2Fen%2Fproducts%2FE463870-000&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.menshealth.com%2Fstyle%2Fg28249026%2Fmost-flattering-shorts-for-men%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Geared Short </p><p>uniqlo.com</p><p>$39.90</p><span class="copyright">eli schmidt</span>

Ultimate Pull On Shorts

Draw-string bottoms don't have to look sloppy. Case in point: Dockers, which makes a pull-on short that's smart enough for off-duty fits, and is cozy like our favorite lounge pants. Its cotton fabric is infused with elastane for extra stretch, and has a loose knit that's somewhat breathable and moisture wicking. And while it doesn't move like our tried-and-true gym clothes, we found that the Ultimate Pull On Shorts felt comfortable enough to wear all day, especially when we were on the move.

Take note: though this short has a casual vibe, its draw-string waist keeps it from being too dressy. We recommend pair these with T-shirts and laidback fits, but keep it outside the office.

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fus.dockers.com%2Fproducts%2Fultimate-pull-on-8-5-shorts-a42800003&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.menshealth.com%2Fstyle%2Fg28249026%2Fmost-flattering-shorts-for-men%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Ultimate Pull On Shorts</p><p>us.dockers.com</p><p>$60.00</p><span class="copyright">eli schmidt</span>

Ace Sweatshort

Meet your new lazy day bottoms. Mack Weldon's short has a plush French terry fabric like your favorite hoodies. But unlike OG sweats, this one is cut close like a slim fit chino, so you can pull this lounge pant off in public. Plus, our editors like its suite of pockets that can easily store your keys, phone, and wallet while you're on the go. Though because of its thick knit, it's not ideal for warm weather activities.

Of course you can wear these out and about, but we think the Ace Sweatshort works best as an at-home uniform. We like to use it as a pajama bottom, then throw a dress shirt over it in the morning before our Zoom meetings.

Read more: Best Sweatpants for Men

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fmackweldon.com%2Fproducts%2Face-sweatshort-chambray-heather&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.menshealth.com%2Fstyle%2Fg28249026%2Fmost-flattering-shorts-for-men%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Ace Sweatshort</p><p>mackweldon.com</p><p>$68.00</p><span class="copyright">eli schmidt</span>

XX Chino Authentic Shorts

Just like giant pants, roomy shorts are back. But finding a baggy short that still looks put together was a tough find. That was until we landed on Levi's Chino. It's cut wide and drapes over the thighs for a breezy finish, all while still preserving a bit of structure to it.

We like the seersucker fabric, which is light, breathable, and lends an interesting visual texture that's easy to dress up. Our fashion team recommends pairing with with a solid-colored top—dress shirt, polos, T-shirts, you name it—for a foolproof weekend fit. Unlike our other favorite shorts, this one has zero stretch. But because of its relaxed fit, we found it was just as easy to move in.

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.levi.com%2FUS%2Fen_US%2Fclothing%2Fmen%2Fshorts%2Flevis-xx-chino-authentic-6-mens-shorts%2Fp%2FA46610032&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.menshealth.com%2Fstyle%2Fg28249026%2Fmost-flattering-shorts-for-men%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>XX Chino Authentic Shorts</p><p>levi.com</p><p>$59.50</p><span class="copyright">eli schmidt</span>

Twill Terry Utility Sweat Shorts

Twill might not be the first knit you think of for warm weather fits, but we highly recommend this one from Save Khaki. Based on our testing, we found the fabric to be extremely durable, and can withstand stains (like party fouls), scratches, and tears with ease. In fact, we've been wearing these shorts for a year and found that it still looks as good as new after multiple washes. Beyond its functionality, the twill forms a diagonal pattern that sets it apart from your typical sweat short.

While the terry cotton is thick, we didn't find it to be too heavy for our summer outings. In fact, this has been our-go to short for our spring and summer vacations, especially when it comes to stepping out for a sunset beach walk.

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.endclothing.com%2Fus%2Fsave-khaki-twill-terry-utility-sweat-shorts-sk00628-tt-nvy.html&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.menshealth.com%2Fstyle%2Fg28249026%2Fmost-flattering-shorts-for-men%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Twill Terry Utility Sweat Shorts</p><p>endlcothing.com</p><p>$81.00</p><span class="copyright">eli schmidt</span>

The Different Styles of Men's Shorts

To rely on just a simple pair or type of shorts for every task on your summer checklist would be a mistake—a sweaty, smelling, head-turning-for-all-the-wrong-reasons type of mistake. Below, we break down several of the most popular kinds of shorts for men. Basically, you need to build up a solid arsenal of shorts that’ll make summer dressing a breeze.

Athletic shorts: your active lifestyle requires a few pairs of go-to moisture-wicking shorts for the gym, running, cycling, hiking, and all kinds of sports or sweat-inducing fun. Made with performance materials, these shorts will keep you cool, dry, and comfortable while you sweat it out.

Swim shorts: looking for athletic shorts specifically meant for water activities? Swim trunks and board shorts are a no-brainer. Better yet, most can be worn out of the water as everyday moisture-wicking shorts, easily.

Leisure shorts: if your focus is more on R&R over PRs, you still need some cool, casual stunners that have the versatility to be worn in both daytime and evening scenarios, from your sofa to perhaps a bar. Sweat shorts and lounge shorts will keep you cool and comfy while you beat the heat. On the other hand, denim shorts and utility/cargo shorts let you embrace the outdoors in sharp style.

Dressy shorts: for your office days, dinner plans, summer or beach weddings, and any formal or business casual occasions, chino shorts, Bermuda shorts, khaki shorts, and any pleated shorts—especially those built with a hint of stretch and a comfortable waistband—are foolproof.

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