6 Best Casual Shorts for Men in 2022: Your Most Stylish Summer

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by  William Barton | Last Updated: 

Let me guess, the last time you opened your drawer to look for shorts, you only found old wrinkly cargo shorts from 2004. Aren’t there good casual shorts out there?

There are. And in this guide, I’m going to show you the best of the best so you can shop with confidence and hit every summer BBQ while you can.

Best Overall
  • Elastic waist looks like classic chinos but is extremely comfortable and forgiving
  • Two zippered pockets in the back and one in the front allow for convenient and secure storage
  • Super lightweight and quick drying 4-way stretch fabric
Best for Summer
  • Available in lined and unlined versions
  • While technically a workout short, the style looks good when worn casually
  • Secure interior pocket for wallet and keys
Best Slim Fit
  • Zipper waist pockets help you keep the profile slim
  • Super soft and stretchy technical fabric
  • The drawstring allows you to have full pockets without weight the shorts down
Best for Big Guys
  • Available up to size 40 with an eight-inch inseam
  • Wrinkle resistant for easy wash and dry
  • 4-way stretch fabric with quick dry capabilities for hot days
Best on a Budget
  • 30 colors available
  • Size 28-44 in select colors
  • 100% cotton for the classic look
Best for Tall Guys
  • 10-inch inseam available for tall guys
  • Up to size 46 available
  • Water repellent fabric so they can stand up to backyard bbq spills

Summer barbecues, backyard brews, waking up early and hitting the river…

These are some of my favorite things about summer. 

Least favorite, you ask? 

Swamp-crotch. Four months out of the year. Total disaster. 

But a great pair of shorts can fix that problem. And if anyone has tried to minimize the onset of swamp-crotch, it’s me. And I’m not likely to do so without considering style. 

So here, I’m going to share with you my favorite casual shorts that will keep you breathing and looking good at the same time. 

6 Best Men’s Casual Shorts

Best Overall: TRUWEAR Prodigy Shorts

TRUWEAR shorts navy on model

TRUWEAR’s Prodigy Shorts are basically overengineered for comfort. And there are a few reasons why I put them at the top of my list for casual shorts.

They have a hidden elastic waist. From the outside, you’d never be able to tell that the waist is elastic—they look just like a classic chino short waist. For one, this makes them extremely comfortable. 

TRUWEAR prodigy shorts profile view

I don’t know about you, but I tend to put on a few pounds during summer. It’s usually the time I’m most off my routine. It seems like my pants and shorts fit the tightest around the time where I really need them to be looser. 

With the elastic waist, you get that extra inch of room when you need it. 

Besides that, the Prodigy Shorts have two zippered back pockets for added security, and there’s a hidden zipper in one of the front pockets so you can store a card safely. 

model wearing TRUWEAR polo and shorts

What I Like

  • The 4-way stretch moisture-wicking fabric is super lightweight and breathable, so if you’re caught in a spontaneous game of ultimate frisbee, you’ll crush it. 
  • The waistband is the most comfortable and forgiving for any short I’ve tried, plus there’s rubberized branding on the inside if you like to keep your shirt tucked in. 
  • They have three zippered pockets so you can safely stash your wallet and keys.

What I Don’t Like

  • TRUWEAR only has three color options at the time of writing—blue, navy, and black—which are strong staples, but I’d love to see more color options.

What Other Reviewers Say

On TRUWEAR’s site, these shorts have nearly 50 reviews at the time of writing, and they’re almost completely positive. Reviewers seem to like that the shorts are professional looking, stay clean, and are comfortable throughout hot days.

The Verdict

The TRUWEAR Prodigy Short is my go-to casual short. It’s so lightweight and breathable, and I love that the elastic waistband is more forgiving and can stretch a little. But it’s critical that the waistband looks like a standard waistband—I don’t want to go around looking like I’m wearing kids shorts. 

Whether you’re playing a round of golf, sprinting through a match of ultimate frisbee, or just heading to your best buds for a backyard barbecue, the Prodigy is my top recommendation for a casual short. 

Best Overall
TRUWEAR Prodigy Performance Commuter Stretch Shorts
This is my go-to casual short. It’s so lightweight and breathable, and I love that the elastic waistband is more forgiving and can stretch a little. But it’s critical that the waistband looks like a standard waistbandu002du002d-I don’t want to go around looking like I’m wearing kids shorts.
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Best for Summer: Vuori Kore

model pushing tire while wearing vuori kore workout shorts

Vuori is all about the active fit lifestyle. Their Kore workout short is the most light-weight short on this list. So if you need that summer breeze to come by to relieve your pals (you know the ones), then these shorts are my top choice. 

And to make things even more comfy, you can get these shorts with a liner, which eliminates the need for underwear. Unlike other lined shorts, the liner here isn’t too tight or constricting.

model tipping over tire in vuori kore workout shorts

Yes, they’re workout shorts, but the look is simple enough and the fabric has a certain texture that, to me, works well in casual situations.

What I Like

  • The fabric is the lightest and most breathable on this list. 
  • There’s an interior pocket on the front right side that can keep your phone secure. 
  • Despite being a workout short, the fabric has a texture that can work in most casual style situations.

What I Don’t Like

  • Because they’re workout shorts, they don’t have the structure to carry a lot of things at once, like a wallet, keys, and phone. 

What Other Reviewers Say

At the time of writing, the Kore has over 7,000 reviews with a 4.8-star average. Many reviewers weren’t sure whether they’d like the lining in the shorts, and after trying them, they are converts. 

If you haven’t worn a lined short before, I recommend it—especially in summer. 

The Verdict

There are a lot of comfortable shorts, but when you take the boxer-briefs out of the equation, it’s all comfort, baby. 

The Vuori Kore is an excellent casual short if you’re an active guy and want next-level breathability.

These are definitely the most casual on this list. I wouldn’t wear them to any event, but instead, they’re a great option for Saturday afternoon strolls. And of course, you can always wear them when working out. 

Best for Summer
Vuori Kore Shorts
The Vuori Kore is an excellent casual short if you’re an active guy and want next-level breathability. These are definitely the most casual on this list. I wouldn’t wear them to any event, but instead, they’re a great option for Saturday afternoon strolls. And of course, you can always wear them when working out.
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If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Best Slim Fit: Public Rec All Day Every Day Short

Leg Shot Of Model Wearing Public Rec All Day Every Day Short Holding Tennis Racquet

Public Rec is one of my favorite brands and the combination of their fabrics and style make them a unique option for casual shorts. 

The Public Rec All Day Every Day Short (or ADED) is made with a thicker fabric that’s super stretchy—they almost feel like workout shorts, but they look like casual dress shorts. I wouldn’t say that “dress shorts” are a thing, but you get the idea: these are shorts that you can wear to a country club.

Reverse Shot Of Model Wearing Public Rec All Day Every Day Short Holding Tennis Racquet

The ADED Shorts have two zippered side pockets, so when you zip them up, you completely eliminate pocket flair, which is a huge bonus when looking for a slim fit pair of shorts.

What I Like

  • Zippered pockets on the side help with carrying anything important like a phone or keys. 
  • All Day Every Day fabric is super stretchy and comfortable, but it’s substantial enough to look crisp and neat.
  • 7” inseam is the ideal length—comes above the knee but doesn’t show too much thigh.

What I Don’t Like

  • For whatever reason, this fabric picks up a lot of pet hair, so if you have a shedding dog, get a lint roller.

What Other Reviewers Say

With over 1,000 reviews averaging a 4.6-star rating, it seems like many of the reviewers were coming back for their third or fourth shopping experience with Public Rec. They’ve been building a following (you can include me as a part of it, too).

The Verdict

Depending on your body type, slim fit shorts can be hard to find. I have larger thighs and glutes, but that doesn’t mean I want some huge baggy shorts that make my calves look small. 

That’s why I like the Public Rec ADED Shorts as a slim fit casual short. They’re slim through the thigh, have some taper at the knee, and they have two zippered pockets in the sides that eliminate pocket flair, so you’re getting a slim look all the way through your hips. 

Best Slim Fit
Public Rec All Day Every Day Short

It's hard to get more comfortable than Public Rec's All Day Every Day fabric. The drawstring and uber-stretchy fabric make this comfortable enough for a backyard barbecue, but stylish enough for a trip into the city.

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Best for Big Guys: Mizzen + Main ProFlex

Bigger gents will like the Mizzen + Main ProFlex shorts because it’s decked out with 4-way stretch but you’d never be able to tell by looking at it. 

And the fit through the seat and thigh is a bit roomier, though they’re certainly not baggy. Compared to other shorts on this list, they strike a great balance between offering some wiggle room and still looking modern.

What I Like

  • These have 6% Spandex woven into the fabric which is great for when you take a seat or need to bend over and grab something. 
  • Since the majority of the fabric is rayon, they have the classic style of a Chino short, but they’re much more breathable. 
  • These also double well as an active short, so if you want to go golfing or if you’re throwing around a football, these are a great choice. 

What I Don’t Like

  • The colors and inseam lengths are a bit limited—I’d like to see Mizzen + Main expand this collection.

What Other Reviewers Say

Since there are only two colors available, there’s an important note on one of them: some reviewers felt the Heather Grey color looked too much like a pair of sweat shorts. I only have experience with the Navy color, so I can’t really say what they look like in person. But without knowing the full picture, I’d stay stick with the Navy color and wait until Mizzen + Main comes out with more color options.

The Verdict

Finding a comfortable pair of shorts that still looks classic can be tough, especially for bigger guys. 

If you’re just looking for a simple short that doesn’t restrict you but still looks good, check out the Mizzen + Main ProFlex Short.

Best for Big Guys
Mizzen+Main ProFlex Shorts
Finding a comfortable pair of shorts that still looks classic can be tough, especially for bigger guys. If you’re just looking for a simple short that doesn’t restrict you but still looks good, check out the Mizzen + Main ProFlex Short.
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Best on a Budget: Amazon Essentials Stretch Short

It’s true that many of the shorts out there that have all the bells and whistles—4-way stretch, profound breathability, zippered pockets—they’re pricey. 

So where do you go if you want a classic casual short that doesn’t cost a ton? 

The Amazon Essentials Stretch Short is an excellent budget short choice. They offer a ton of different colors and sizes, plus the shipping and returns are as easy as it gets.

What I Like

  • These have a standard, classic chino look because of the 100% cotton fabric. 
  • You have a full range of solid, pastel, and even a few cool patterns to choose from. 
  • The price is right, and the value is solid.

What I Don’t Like

  • These have the most relaxed fit of any short on this list. That actually might be a good thing for you, but I prefer a slimmer, more modern style.

What Other Reviewers Say

Reviews for these shorts are mainly positive. Many reviewers say these run a bit roomy, so just be aware that the seat and thighs are larger than other shorts on this list.

The Verdict

For a budget short, you’ll have to sacrifice some of the fancy stuff like elastic waistbands and zippered pockets. 

But in terms of classic, casual shorts, the Amazon Essentials Stretch Short fits the bill, and does so for a wallet-friendly price.

Best on a Budget
Amazon Essentials Stretch Short

If 4-way stretch, secret zippers, and high-tech waistbands all sound a little much for you, and you just want a simple, classic golf short for a value-driven price, then the Amazon Essentials Stretch Golf Short is your best bet.

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Best for Tall Guys: Lululemon Commission Short

How often do you hear how’s the weather up there?

If the answer is “more than once in your life,” then the Lululemon Commission short is your best option. 

The Commission Short has a 10” inseam, which is perfect for taller guys. If you’re 6’4” or taller, you’ll no doubt have noticed that most normal shorts land somewhere in the mid-thigh. 

The 10” inseam likely won’t reach down to your knees (like it does for me, and I’m 6’1”), but it’ll get you close enough to feel comfortable. 

What I Like

  • Because these shorts are water resistant, they stay clean looking for a long time, which means you can wear them multiple times in between washes. 
  • There’s a zipper on the right thigh that’s perfect for securely storing a credit card or wallet. 
  • I like the addition of a buttoned back pocket—it’s secure, but easier to access than a zipper pocket.

What I Don’t Like

  • These are the most expensive shorts on the list, so if price is a major consideration, check out TRUWEAR instead.

What Other Reviewers Say

As a new product at the time of writing, these don’t have a ton of reviews, but the few reviews on them almost all mention the comfort. The high dosage of elastane in these shorts means they can easily stretch no matter what you’re doing. And they have a modern, almost futuristic look to them which I think is a good option if you’re looking for a short that’s a little more interesting that the standard chino short.

The Verdict

If none of your shorts even come close to hitting your knees, then you might want to check out the Lululemon Commission Short. With a 10” inseam, you get the length you need to cover up those thighs, no matter how tall and lanky you are.


3 Crucial Considerations to Make When Choosing Casual Shorts

1. What’s the Occasion?

Here in the south, in the dog days of summer, it’s OK to wear shorts to church. But they need to be nice shorts—workout shorts won’t do. 

Best Golf Shorts for Men Model Wearing TRUWEAR Prodigy Performance Commuter Shorts
TRUWEAR Prodigy Stretch Shorts

Same goes if you’re heading to a golf course or you’re thinking about wearing a pair of shorts for a date: you’re going to want something that’s more “high-end” than basketball shorts. 

That’s one of the reasons I like shorts like the TRUWEAR Prodigy. They have the classic look of a chino short, so they’re appropriate for dressier occasions, but they’re just as comfortable as workout shorts so you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. 

2. Storage Space

What do you carry on you every day? I’ve got a minimalist wallet, a gigantic cell phone, and a ring of keys that’s definitely got too many keys on it. 

Keap active workout shorts in green back pocket

I can’t leave home without all three. And it takes a lot of space. 

I want deeper pockets for my shorts, and preferably at least one zippered pocket so I can store all my essentials without worrying if something important is going to fall out. 

3. Fabric

I like technical fabrics for shorts. Why? Well, they’re way more comfortable, for one thing. 

Keap grey original shorts

But another reason you probably haven’t considered is how easily you can wash and fold technical fabric shorts without ending up with a wrinkled mess. 

You ever see the guys who look like their shorts have been crumpled in a damp ball for two months before they put them on? Not a good look. 

TRUWEAR shorts on model

Because shorts are such a casual piece, they can easily look sloppy. But if the fabric is smooth and crisp, they look really good. And with technical fabrics, you essentially don’t need to worry about that part at all. It’s done for you. 

Shortened

My personal favorite casual shorts are the TRUWEAR Prodigy. I love the waistband and the look is classy enough to wear on a Saturday night if the weather calls for it. 

Our Top Pick
TRUWEAR Prodigy Performance Commuter Stretch Shorts
This is my go-to casual short. It’s so lightweight and breathable, and I love that the elastic waistband is more forgiving and can stretch a little. But it’s critical that the waistband looks like a standard waistbandu002du002d-I don’t want to go around looking like I’m wearing kids shorts.
Check Best Price Read Our Review
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

I also really like the Vuori Kore for when things are super casual. Because they’re more workout shorts than everyday wear shorts, I wouldn’t wear them to a country club, and certainly not on a date. But the fit is great, and I like the lining for breathability. 

Of course, there are some amazing shorts from Public Rec, Mizzen + Main, and Lululemon to consider also, depending on your body shape. 

But in any case, picking up a stylish pair of casual shorts can make a world of difference in your comfort throughout summer. So which pair are you thinking about getting? 

FAQs

What men’s shorts are in style?

Men’s shorts are trending toward shorter styles. Look for a short with a 7” inseam, which should fall about two inches above your knee. If you’re a little more adventurous, try a 5” inseam, which will fall mid-thigh. A 5” inseam won’t look out of place, but it’s still short for a lot of guys. 

What shorts are good for summer?

The best summer shorts are usually made with a technical fabric like polyester or rayon—something that has a lot of stretch and breathability.

How tight should men’s shorts be?

Men’s shorts shouldn’t be tight, but instead you should look for a slim, modern fit that leaves a little room in the seat and thigh for comfort and mobility.