Guide To Types Of Shorts For Men

With so many different types of shorts to choose from, it can be confusing as to which to choose when that warmer weather comes around. Styles come and go like the seasons. But what most men really want is to find a pair of shorts that are comfortable and make them look good.

Finding the right pair of shorts can be a challenge. Styling it with the rest of the outfit is essential to making the right types of shorts work for you. According to Vogue, men’s shorts are now classy.

Unlike t-shirts and pants, which can be straightforward to pair together, shorts, on the other hand, mean taking into account the latest trend. 

Different Types of Shorts for Men

Fashion statements have a knack for reviving and evolving over time; for shorts, it’s no exception. With so many types of shorts to choose from, we’ve rounded up the different styles of shorts you need to know about.

Chino Shorts

When it comes to shorts for those summer days, chino shorts are a good choice.

The versatility of these types of shorts allows chinos to be dressed up or down for smart or casual wear. When it comes to length, they should fit between two to three inches above the knee.

You can just opt for a neutral tone such as khaki or olive for maximum versatility.  The material should be breathable, with an element of stretch.

How to wear

For a smart look, wear them with a light-coloured shirt, belt, some loafers or espadrilles and a pair of wayfarer sunglasses. For a more casual look, pair the shorts with a plain t-shirt and white leather sneakers.

Printed Shorts

If you’re ready to wear the types of shorts with any print, it usually means it’s time to party. Whether you’re off to the next festival or just flexing your fashion chops at the beach, wear the print with pride.

Printed shorts allow you to experiment and have fun with a summer outfit.

Length-wise printed shorts should sit mid-way on the thigh. Go for a cotton material for breathability. The print pattern should have a summer feel, so opt for a tropical look

types of shorts - Print shorts

How to wear

As these types of shorts fit more toward the casual spectrum, they can be worn with a plain t-shirt or a plain casual henley linen shirt.  Stick to sneakers or sandals for a laid-back look. 

Work Out Shorts

Shorts for working out should be lightweight and breathable. Length-wise, they should sit above the knee and have room for movement.

The material should have a slight stretch for flexibility. Depending on the activity such as running, you may want to opt for a pair with an inner lining.  

Pockets are a good thing for workout shorts for holding keys, so look out for a pair with a zipped pocket or an inner hidden pocket. These types of shorts generally look better in a darker colour.

work out short

How to wear

For workouts, complete the look with a moisture-wicking shirt or tank top. Workout shorts should only be paired with trainers. 

If opting to wear the shorts casually, again stick to trainers for the footwear and a plain crew neck t-shirt or tank top.

Beach Shorts

Beach shorts or swim shorts come in various styles these days, from the short trunk style to longer board shorts.

The general trend is to opt for a style a few inches above the knee. Pattern or plain both work, but with these types of shorts, the fit should not be too baggy or too tight.

Bear in mind the shorts need to transition from beach to sea, so material wise look for recycled polyester.

beach shorts

How to wear 

The shorts can be worn by themselves. No accessories or footwear is needed. The perfect summer style for the beach. Simple.

Cargo Shorts

Cargo shorts had their heyday in the nineties and noughties with their baggy style and streetwear credibility.

Even today, cargo shorts still have an appeal, although not on the scale seen before. They have a useful function at their core with their extra pockets, even the causal wearer can still find them practical.

Lengthwise, these types of shorts should fit above the knee. The material is made for hardwearing use and is typically cotton.

cargo shorts

How to wear 

Pair these shorts with trail shoes or boots for outdoor pursuits such as hiking.  For the casual wearer, pair with a t-shirt or overshirt with trainers.  

Linen Shorts

Linen shorts have a chic style about them and are versatile enough to wear to the beach bar or for alfresco dining on a summer evening.

Due to the absorbent nature of linen, it is the perfect material for wearing in the summer months. It’s worth noting that linen does crinkle and crease. It just adds to the charm and character of the material on these types of shorts.

Opt for shorts that sit above the knee. Keep the tones to beige or white for that summer outfit look.

linen shorts

How to wear 

Linen shorts look best when worn with a loose-fitting cotton or linen shirt. Keep the sleeves rolled up during the day for a casual, carefree look.

Drawstring Shorts

Drawstring shorts sit firmly in the comfort scale in the shorts family.  With their elastic waistband, they provide the ultimate comfort and flexibility whilst wearing during the warmer months.

The material and style for drawstring shorts have evolved to now cater for a tailored chino style, a linen cotton twill, and even corduroy.

The sweatpants style of drawstring shorts is still popular today. They are perfect for a chilled summer day of lounging.

drawstring shorts

How to wear 

Keep it simple and team with  a pair of sneakers and a plain t-shirt.

The shorts should fit above the knee.  For the uber-casual look, opt for a bucket hat to keep the sun at bay during the hot summer days.

Denim Shorts

There was once a time when denim shorts were very much the rage, think the seventies and eighties and early nineties. The fit was on point for those eras but as times have changed so has the fit.

Nowadays, the fit is just above the knee with a slim fit. Expect to see a range of colours with these types of shorts, from white to dark denim, on-trend and in style.

A distressed look adds an element of individuality, too.

denim shorts

How to wear 

With many different types of denim shorts to choose from, opt for a dark distressed pair teamed with a light-toned t-shirt or sweatshirt. To finish the look, add a necklace.


How should I choose the right type of shorts for an occasion?

Consider the event’s formality: Tailored shorts for semi-formal, chinos for casual to smart casual, and athletic or sweat shorts for leisure.
Think about functionality: Choose cargo or board shorts for outdoor activities and athletic shorts for sports.

What length of shorts is appropriate for men?

The most common lengths are mid-thigh to just above the knee. Bermuda shorts can be knee-length.

Are there any fabrics to avoid when choosing shorts?

Heavy fabrics can be impractical for warm weather. Choose breathable fabrics like cotton or technical fabrics for athletic shorts.

By: Stephen Antonio