17 best men’s shorts of 2021: all the pairs you need for spring, summer and beyond


The best men’s shorts? Complicated question. Before we dig into the billion and one designs, we need to talk about length and shape. TikTok Teens would have you believe that a five inch inseam is the only length that matters. People like Milo Ventimiglia and Paul Mescal, however, might make you go up a few inches and show a little more thigh. And on the other end of the spectrum, our May cover star Justin Bieber prefers to step out in baggy, baggy shorts that would make the members of the Michigan Fab Five proud. The beauty is, you can go anywhere along the spectrum – or better yet, make a few stops along the way and stock your wardrobe with a wide variety of shorts. Because there is an absolutely insane amount of styles out there.

To help you out, we’ve handpicked the 17 best men’s shorts for every budget and every possible need. Whether you’re looking for an elegant pleated pair – a la Giorgio Armani – or just breathable nylon beaters to go with you all weekend long, we’ve scoured the market to bring you the A-grade options that will set your trunks free.

The best retro-leaning shorts

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For a few years now, Noah has mastered the secret sauce of downtown style. The brand’s aesthetic references are deep and varied, merging New England preparation with New York skateboarding. Case in point: these expertly executed pleated chino shorts, made in Italy from sturdy herringbone twill and cut to look like something your dashing grandpa would have worn on a balmy August afternoon . Crank them up high, pull on a t-shirt, and lean all the way towards the back flavor.


The best all-rounder shorts

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Earlier this spring, a very specific segment of men’s fashion Twitter lost his damn mind to be thirsty this unpretentious shorts of the Swoosh. We were skeptical at first. Then we saw the perfect crotch length, the sleek finish, the understated colorblocking. Taken together, these details make shorts you’ll want to wear all day every day, no matter what your agenda is. As it turns out, Twitter sometimes does things right.

The best DIY-inspired shorts

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Story Mfg Embroidered Bridge Shorts

Don’t let these playful prints fool you: these Story Mfg shorts are one of the most carefully designed and finely crafted pairs on this list. The shorts themselves are ethically crafted from organic cotton, and the block print graphics and embroidery are all carefully handcrafted. And beyond all the crunchy appeal, the shorts would stand out only for their silhouette: they have a long, flowing, relaxed fit, puffing up around the thigh. This last part could be for people used to a shorter haircut. Trust us: not only can you take them off, but you will also look stylish as hell.

The best dressy shorts

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Ernest W. Baker Slim-Fit Pinstripe Shorts

Of course, “dressy shorts” sounds like an oxymoron, like “giant shrimp” or “New York Knicks playoff contenders.” If you haven’t worn a good pair of dress pants in a while, you might have forgotten how good they can make you feel, how grown-up you are. Ernest W. Baker’s subtly striped shorts have a lot of that smart, tailored appeal, but they’re still shorts, which means they’re airy and comfortable too – and perfect for the WFH era.


13 other pairs of men’s shorts we love

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Banks Journal Big Bear Hiking Shorts

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Umit Benan B + “Roberts” pleated shorts

Shorts that refer to the best of 80s couture.

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Rick Owens x Champion Embroidered Logo Drawstring Shorts

When there is no time to switch between the gym and the rave you go after.

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Adsum “Effo” short

If someone had worn them around Prince, there would also be a banger called “Raspberry Shorts”.

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Nanushka “Nagi” floral-print belted cupro shorts

Come for the nifty floral prints, stay for the big double pleats and D-rings.

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Abercrombie A&F Running Shorts

Compact, quick-drying swim shorts that are worth planning a trip.

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Converse x Telfar Tech Basketball Shorts

The ball is life.

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Long gathered shorts Bianca Saunders

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New York Saturday “Steinem” Utility Shorts

Let Nigel Thornberry be your inspiration for spring.

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Casablanca side stripe shorts

Country-club chic for the non-country-club ensemble.

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Outerknown High Tide Terry Shorts

Catch the wave.

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Patagonia Baggies 5 “short

Once a classic, always a classic.

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Carhartt WIP “Terra” Shorts

Distant hiking shorts that will make scaling any peak a breeze.

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