It’s an 80-degree day, and you head up from the beach to sneak in a run before dinner. You pull on your favorite pair of running shorts, zip your keys in your back pocket and go for a sunset run. The wind from the water cools you down, and the views are enough to help you eek out that final five miles. As soon as you finish, you practically strip down before your feet stop moving. The rush of the cold water instantly calms your nervous system, and now all you need is a beer to complete the trifecta of vacation perfection. Except, you didn’t bring a towel, your shorts are beyond soaked and are simply not drying as fast as you would’ve hoped. It’s a rookie mistake — time to upgrade to shorts that do it all.
Boardshorts are now versatile enough to handle your sweaty runs, power lifts and CrossFit classes. Now that shorts are no longer held back by restrictive materials, the possibilities for wear and use are unlimited. Say goodbye to that pair you only wear to the beach and hello to a surplus of shorts that have the capabilities to do everything.
Lululemon Current State Short 9″ Updated
These shorts look like they’d fit right in at the gym, even though they’re built for surfing. You can powerlift and run in these inseam-less shorts and never worry about chafing. The nine-inch length provides a bit more coverage in the gym, and the side pockets allow you to hit the boardwalk with your keys and credit card safely packed away.
Vuori Equator Boardshort
Vuori’s Equator boardshort is perfect for just about everything. You can swim, bike, hike and run in these four-way stretch shorts. Thanks to a quick-drying and anti-odor material, you can lift weights in them, then hit the sand for some beach volleyball, all before taking a dip. The legs each have a slit to help the shorts move with you and not show too much skin. As one buyer review notes, “These shorts are making me re-think life.” That’s a pretty strong endorsement.
Outdoor Voices Swim Trunk
The primary goal of Outdoor Voices is to get you outside in workout gear that feels good and looks great. Many of our staffers love the Sunday Shorts for chasing around kids and fitting a workout in. But to get wet, the new swim trunks are a better pick. The OV Swim Trunk comes in four primary colors and also features a mesh liner. And whether you’re hiking or running, the five-inch inseam is perfect.
United by Blue Upstream Boardshort
United by Blue specializes in American-made goods that also give back. For each product you purchase from United by Blue, a pound of trash is eliminated from our waterways, so you can help contribute to the over one million pounds of waste they have already removed. Beyond feeling great about everything you purchase from here, the lightweight and quick-drying linerless shorts are ideal for campsites — hike, canoe, explore and then jump in the nearest body of water. The Upstream boardshorts have a classic cut and a nine-inch inseam. Also, the shorts are constructed from a polyester fabric that’s 82-percent recycled.
Nike Signal Short
The four-inch inseam makes these short shorts ideal for runners looking to go fast. A volt diagonal stripe will be all passersby can catch when you’re sprinting by them. The color is so bright, you can run early in the morning and late at night knowing your leg is practically glowing. And because Nike designs its activewear to be durable and perform in all conditions, the Signal shorts will survive the rest of this summer and many more to come.
Patagonia 7-Inch Baggies Swim Trunks
While our staff might not take these shorts to the gym, they do pretty much everything else in them. Some prefer these for long runs, all-day Sunday wear and even casual biking. The quick-dry material has an elastic waistband, cinched with a drawstring, so you don’t have to worry about losing them in the surf. They are also available in a 5-inch, in case you like to show a little skin — as one staffer says, “it depends on the day.”
Bonobos Anywhere Shorts
If you’re a fan of the Patagonia Baggies but are looking for a few more color options, these Anywhere Shorts from Bonobos fit the bill. The Anywhere shorts dry just as quick as Baggies (making your transition from day-hiking to floating down the river seamless) and come in a washed-out orange, pink and navy. The seven-inch inseam length is the Goldilocks of shorts — not too short and not too long. The two side pockets look like regular shorts-pockets, and the back zipper pocket will secure your most important possessions while in the water.
Free Fly Hydro Short
These bamboo-polyester-nylon-spandex blend shorts look like cotton, but deal with water in a much more successful manner — after all, they are built to wear on a boat. The UPF 50+ sunblock protects your skin while you’re kayaking, surfing or fishing all day long. The mesh-lined side pockets drain efficiently, and a back zipper pocket holds gear that you can’t afford to lose.
Prana Mojo Short
The soft microfiber material of the Mojo short doesn’t snag while you’re ascending the crag (or exploring a coral reef). It stretches with your every foot placement and keeps the sun in check with UPF 50+. These shorts work for every activity — from basketball to yoga to running to swimming — and are incredibly durable and comfortable to boot.