5 Best Men’s Shorts in 2020: Summer Style Essentials

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William Barton Avatar by  William Barton | Last Updated:  Jul 22, 2020
5 Best Men's Shorts in 2020: Summer Style Essentials

Summer’s here and you’re finally giving into the idea that it’s time to fold up the jeans and switch to something a little more comfortable. But with so many options, which pair of shorts do you choose?

We’ve put together a list of the best men’s shorts in several categories so you can find the perfect pair for you.

Our Favorite Overall
  • No Sweat denim fabric is moisture wicking and very breathable
  • Available in slim and relaxed fits
  • Stretchy and comes with a gusseted crotch for tons of mobility
Best Drawstring Shorts
  • All Day Every Day fabric is supremely comfortable
  • Regular and tall inseams available
  • Elastic waistband and zippered pockets
Best Chino Shorts
  • Cotton with a small amount of spandex added for extra stretch
  • 7” short-short inseam or standard 9” inseam available
  • Tons of colorways and fit options
Best Workout Shorts
  • Performance fabric is lightweight, breathable, and water resistant
  • Lined versions available so you don’t need compression shorts underneath
  • Slim fit looks modern enough to be worn as a casual short
Best Budget Shorts
  • Usually on sale for under $30
  • Available in 11”, 9”, 7”, and even 5” inseam
  • Many solid colors and summery prints

If you’re anything like us you have stacks of pants in your closet. 

But now it’s high summer and pants are no longer an option. 

So you fold up the pants and reach for your trusty pair of shorts and realize that you hate them. 

Time to get something new? We got you.

We’ve put together this list of our five favorite shorts for men, broken down into categories. We’ve even thrown in a few cool ways to style your shorts so you can keep your fashion-game strong all summer long.

Let’s Get Shorty.

5 Best Shorts for Men in 2020

1. DUER No Sweat Shorts

model walking toward camera wearing no swear duer performance denim jeans

DUER’s proprietary No Sweat fabric is a game changer for comfort and breathability. These shorts look like jeans, feel like sweats, and the gusseted crotch and stretch fabric offer a ton of mobility.

This is a fantastic short for anyone active (or as the brand would put it: a doer). If you have rock climbing plans, enjoy cycling around town, or have a big camping trip mapped out, look at DUER’s line of shorts. 

Available in a 9.5” slim fit or a 10.25” relaxed fit, the No Sweat shorts are a great choice for adventures and everyday wear.

What We Like

  • They look like jeans, but they’re so much more comfortable.

  • The crotch gusset makes an enormous difference for flexibility.

  • DUER has an excellent environmental record, and all shipments are carbon neutral

What We Don’t Like

  • The relaxed fit only has two color options, but there are more with the standard fit

What Other Reviewers Say

DUER has a sizable community of devoted customers. With nearly 200 reviews for their No Sweat shorts, the consensus is on the comfort. 

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Some like the shorts for their adventure-readiness, others for their style. Many hobbies are represented in the reviews, from cycling, to snowboarding, to base jumping, so it’s safe to say whatever you do, DUER shorts can keep up.

The Verdict

For us, summer is all about waking up early and making every day (or weekend) an adventure. DUER’s shorts are an excellent compliment for that kind of lifestyle. 

Whether you’re kayaking, heading out for a bike ride into town, or just chilling with friends, the sweat wicking fabric and gusseted crotch make for a comfortable experience. 

And even better, because they’re made with performance denim, they’re tough. You don’t have to worry about tearing the No Sweat shorts up, even if you’re in the middle of an intense climbing session. 

DUER No Sweat Shorts

Denim shorts that feel like sweats? Yes, please. DUER built some of the best climbing shorts by combining the rugged nature of denim with the flexibility of performance fabric.

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2. Public Rec ADED Short

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Public Rec is one of the big up-and-coming names in athleisure. We’ve had a few experiences with the brand and are big fans.

Their All Day Every Day short takes the same stretchy comfort as their ADED pants and turns it into a slim-fitting, tech forward, summer bbq must-have.

What We Like

  • The elastic waist and drawstring are a safe choice if you expand a little as summer rolls on.

  • Zippers on the pockets are both secure and avoid the dreaded “pocket wings” you sometimes get with chino-style pockets.

  • Public Rec offers and inseam for if you prefer your shorts above the knee or at the knee. 

What We Don’t Like

  • While we love the comfort of the fabric, it looks more like athletic wear.

What Other Reviewers Say

The ADED shorts have a whopping 4.9-average with over 600 reviews as of writing:

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Yep, it seems that most people love ‘em. 

The 4-star and 3-star reviews had the same complaint, and that’s because the fabric felt heavy for some. So if you run really hot, try something much lighter like the Vuori Kore short below.

The Verdict

For a super stretchy short to wear around the neighborhood, check out Public Rec’s All Day Every Day short

The plethora of zippered pockets means that even though these feel gym shorts, they have added security you need if you’re carrying keys or a wallet.

We’ve never had an unpleasant experience with Public Rec, and the mountain of positive reviews backs us up.

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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3. Everlane Slim Fit Performance Chino Short

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You want something a little more standard, huh? 

For top quality basics at a fair price, Everlane is one of the best. Plus, their fair business practices and ecologically minded giving back programs are a bonus. 

Everlane’s slim fit Performance Chino Short is an excellent choice for those who want a classic chino short look.

What We Like

  • Everlane’s Performance Chino fabric looks just like regular cotton chinos but has spandex blended in for a bit of stretch.

  • They offer a 7” short inseam or standard 9” inseam, both of which work well for the modern trend toward shorter men’s shorts. 

  • The brand has six colorways and a solid variety of size options. 

What We Don’t Like

  • Everlane’s chinos fit on the small side. We recommend choosing the next size up. 

What Other Reviewers Say

Reviews for the Performance Chino short are mostly positive, with a 4.8-star average on the Everlane site.

Most people liked the slim fit through the thigh, which can be tricky to pull off. The only downside appears to be in the waist size. Like us, many reviewers note they feel tight around the waist, though they fit perfectly elsewhere.

The Verdict

Everlane’s collection of minimalist basics is hard to beat, and the slim fit Performance Chino shorts are no exception. 

We suggest you choose the next size up, as many reviewers (including ourselves) note that the waist feels about an inch too tight. 

Otherwise, these are reasonably priced for quality chino shorts, and a slim fit like this is hard to find elsewhere.

Everlane Performance Chino Short

These look just like standard cotton chino shorts but with a little extra stretch in them for comfort. These slim fit shorts taper nicely and end above the knee.

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4. Vuori Kore

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Vuori is a California-based lifestyle brand that focuses on making active weekends and workouts both more comfortable and stylish. 

Their Kore workout shorts quickly made their way to the front of the line for our workout outfits. True, Monday morning is never fun, but we feel a little better wearing the Kore.

What We Like

  • The performance fabric is lightweight, breathable, and water resistant.

  • We tried the lined version, and we prefer it. The lining is supportive and eliminates the need to wear compression shorts underneath. 

  • Unlike other workout shorts we’ve tried, these have a modern slim fit and look good in a super casual setting. 

What We Don’t Like

  • The price can be prohibitive for a pair of workout shorts. That said, we haven’t tried another brand with this level of quality. 

What Other Reviewers Say

Vuori racked up over 1,400 reviews, most of them overwhelmingly positive. 

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Their Kore short has a bit of a cult following, and those who’ve bought one pair tend to buy a week’s worth.

The Verdict

For a pair of premium workout shorts, Vuori has you covered.

Sure, they’re costly, but the Kore holds up to intense workouts and is stylish enough to wear on a weekend. 

Many people don’t like the lining (there’s an unlined Kore, too), but if you’ve never tried a lined workout short, we recommend you give the idea a chance.

Vuori Shorts

Vuori makes a series of shorts, both lined and unlined, that fit perfectly into an active Californian lifestyle.

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5. J.Crew Factory Reade Flex Short

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With dozens of colors and prints and a massive variety of sizes and lengths, J.Crew Factory delivers with the Reade Flex short

J.Crew Factory normally has value-packed prices, but if you catch them during one of their sales (they seem to do a deep-cut sale every season and every holiday), these shorts will hardly impact your bottom line.

What We Like

  • J.Crew Factory carries more preppy styles, like salmon shorts and lobster prints.

  • Vast array of sizing options, including a 5”, 7”, and 9” inseam.

  • If there’s a sale going, you can find these for under $20.

What We Don’t Like

  • These don’t have as flattering of a fit as the other options on this list. 

What Other Reviewers Say

At the time of writing, these shorts have a 4.4-star average with nearly 50 reviews. The price point makes these shorts more appealing for a younger crowd, which is clear with reviewers saying things like “skies out, thighs out amirite?”

But what’s clear is that the Reade Flex Short is an incredible value when they’re on sale.

The Verdict

If you don’t want to invest a chunk of change in a short that fits absolutely perfectly, J.Crew Factory Reade Flex Short is a good buy. 

They’re a fantastic choice if you just want something for the weekends or a trip to the lake. The brand offers the shortest and longest length of any shorts on this list. If you like your shorts especially short, these are the go. And if you like your short to go a bit below your knee, check out the 11” inseam. 

If you head over to J.Crew Factory and don’t see these on sale, wait a day or two and check again. Chances are you can pick these up for a steal.

J.Crew Factory Reade Flex Short

It's difficult to find a better price for a pair of chino shorts. Check out J.Crew Factory's wide range of colors and prints, too.

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Men’s Shorts Outfit Ideas

Shorts are meant to be casual, but there are some options for dressing them up. Try to keep shorts to the daytime and weekends. A pair of pants is always more stylish if you’re going out for a night on the town. 

Besides just a short and t-shirt combo, you can step it up with a button down short sleeve. Remember to cuff your sleeve for a touch of refinement. 

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You can also go fashion forward and pair your shorts with a thicker long sleeve shirt on top and some high-top sneakers. Finding footwear to wear with shorts can be tricky, but the high-top sneaks will get you out of a low-top rut. 

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And if you want to go full out prep-style, add a polo and blazer on top with boat shoes below. 

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When I wear shorts, it’s almost always with a polo or t-shirt. These outfits have a formality best suited to a lazy day at a brewery.

Don’t Short Change Yourself

Shorts and relaxation go together. But how you relax is unique to you. 

So if you chill out by climbing up the face of a gigantic rock or by waking up early and getting a kayak into the lake at dawn, then DUER No Sweat shorts are the go. 

DUER No Sweat Shorts

Denim shorts that feel like sweats? Yes, please. DUER built some of the best climbing shorts by combining the rugged nature of denim with the flexibility of performance fabric.

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.

If a comfortable backyard bbq is more your style, Public Rec’s All Day Every Day short is an excellent simple and stylish choice. 

For a more fashion-forward short, check out Everlane’s chino shorts, or their less expensive cousin at J.Crew Factory.

And for a great pair of workout shorts, Vuori is a solid choice. 

So how do you unwind?

FAQs

What shorts look good on guys?

Look for a slimmer fit for your shorts, even if they’re just for casual wear. Slim fits from brands like DUER, Public Rec, and Everlane are all flattering.

What are the most comfortable shorts?

It depends on what the purpose is. If you’re going to be active, but want something stylish, check out DUER. Their shorts are very comfortable and they’re denim so they’re more rugged. Public Rec ADED shorts are even more comfortable, but they look more like sweats and don’t have the same durability. Vuori workout shorts are just as comfy, but they look like workout shorts.

What is the best length for men’s shorts?

Anything above the knee looks mature and refined. Shorts below the knee look a little “teenager.” Try a 7” or 9” inseam—5” if you want to show a decent amount of thigh.