In the warmer months, shorts are a necessity. And while they don’t have a place in the office, come the weekend (or vacation) you need a few pairs to choose from. Aim for a pair that is both comfortable and fun, and embrace casual elements like linen and drawstrings. The picks below should help you look your best when the heat is on.
Best Overall Summer Shorts: Alex Mill Pull on Button Fly Shorts
Unstructured shorts aren't it! Yes, they're comfortable — ah, basketball shorts — but they pair well with very few tops. As such, opt for something sturdier, like Alex Mill's Pull on Button Fly Shorts. They're made from 97-percent cotton and 3-percent spandex (for some stretch) and feature five pockets — two big ones on the front, two on the back and an extra snap closure on just below.
Best Upgrade Summer Shorts: Kapital Leopard Print Wide Leg Shorts
Cut from quick-drying poplin, Kapital's leopard print shorts look incredible — especially with their wider fit and flowy bottoms. There's an adjustable belt to keep them cinched tight and a zipper closure pocket to store your valuables.
Best Affordable Summer Shorts: Rhythm Classic Linen Jam
For the price, there are few better bottoms than Australian surf brand Rhythm's Classic Linen Jam shorts. The 7 inch inseam sits above the knee and the linen-cotton blend construction affords breathability and a natural look and feel.
Uniqlo Chino Shorts
The most straightforward pair of shorts is probably the chino short. And Uniqlo’s penchant for no-frills quality basics makes it a go-to in this regard. Its Chino Shorts come in an all-cotton twill fabric in a dozen different colors and feature surprising quality details like bound internal seams.
For over thirty years, Baggies have been one of Patagonia’s most popular products. It’s simple, functional design includes recycled fabric that’s lightweight and quick-drying, mesh pockets and a secure rear flap pocket.
Outerknown Nomadic Volley
These shorts go between the water and the land effortlessly with quick drying recycled polyester fabric. They’ve got a drawstring waist, two hand pockets and a rear zip pocket.
Stan Ray Fatigue Short
Drawing on vintage military fatigue pants (which Stan Ray has been making in Texas for decades), this summer-ready rendition features a light and durable cotton ripstop fabric. Classic patch pockets at the front and rear flap pockets round out the details.
Industry of All Nations Ponja Drawstring Shorts
Made in India from organic cotton, these shorts are naturally dyed with indigo (this shade is achieved with 12 dips in a dye vat). The feature a drawstring waist, two hand pocket and a buttoned rear pocket.
Birdwell Corduroy Shorts
You can still rock corduroy in the summer. In fact, Birdwell encourages it. Its loungey shorts feature front patch pockets, a rear flap patch pocket and a button fly.
Gramicci Packable Shell Short
The cult-favorite outdoors brand Gramicci is one to look toward when it comes to shorts. These are made from a nylon fabric that’s tough and lightweight, and they come with a thoughtfully-designed crotch gusset for comfort. Aside from the included belt, front and back pockets, the most unique detail has to be that it’s packable.
Fjallraven High Coast Relaxed Short
Fjallraven's High Coast Relaxed Shorts are made from a mix of recycled polyamide and elastane, offering stretch when needed. An embedded elasticated drawstring waist does, too, and zippered hand pockets help keep your EDC in tow.
Corridor Pincord Camp Shorts
These cotton thin whale corduroy shorts by Corridor balance being casual and yet still pulled together. They're breathable, feature a button tab and zip front, two buttoned back pockets and an inseam of 7 inches.
Battenwear Camp Shorts
Made in the USA, Battenwear’s Camp shorts are wind and water-repellant nylon fabric that has a soft cotton feel. They come in a handful of retro-inspired colors and have more pockets than your average pair of shorts.
Bode Senior Cord Camping Rugby Shorts
Made with a beautifully rustic corn-colored corduroy fabric, Bode’s Senior Cord Camping Rugby Shorts are an elegant solution to the summer heat. They feature an elastic waist, and near imperceptible pockets — plus, plenty of illustrated patches.