While we’re all for a great pair of dark denim or a reliable pair of chinos, there’s something to be said for wearing stylish shorts when summer rolls around. We’re not just talking about any old pair of shorts you pick up off the rack — there are certainly key distinctions to keep in mind when it comes to buying and wearing the right pair of shorts. That’s where our inseam guide comes in.
The inseam is measured from the inside of the crotch to the end of the shorts. Got it? Good. Getting the right inseam length can be the difference between your outfit looking just right and looking, well, a bit off. Different lengths are suitable for different guys when it comes to height. The right shorts are going to seamlessly blend in with the rest of your outfit — it’s all about doing your research and finding out what works for you.
The best place for a short to hit on a man’s leg is a few inches above the knee — not so high that you’re showing half your thigh, but not low enough to impinge upon the knee area. This length is aesthetically pleasing on almost all body shapes and sizes. So, consider your height when trying on shorts and estimate the inseam length you’ll need to hit that mark for the perfect spot.
With that in mind, we’ve rounded the best men’s shorts right now, arranged by inseam length.
5-Inch Inseam Shorts
For those of short or average height who hit the gym — or enjoy showing off a little leg — Chubbies is a reliable go-to (the same could be said for shorts with a 5-inch inseam in general, seeing as they lengthen your legs). The Armadas shorts, at a 5.5-inch inseam, are a safe bet if you want to dip your toes into a shorter pair of shorts — perfect for casual weekends.
Nothing nods toward summer quite like a pair of shorts in a dusty pink, especially a pair cut with a shorter inseam. These are the shorts to wear on your next beach vacation. They’ll look great paired with a simple white slub tee and canvas sneakers.
7-Inch Inseam Shorts
With a blend of stretch and soft fabric — plus an agreeable inseam length for those on the slightly average-to-tall side of the height equation — Flint and Tinder’s 365 Shorts are about as classic and stylish as you could ask for this season.
Made from sturdy twill in a striking bright blue color, the fabric and design aren’t the only things the Carhartt WIP John Shorts get right. Crucially, the just-right 7-inch inseam length is ideal for guys who can’t quite get into wearing a pair of uniquely “short” shorts.
10-Inch-plus Inseam Shorts
For gentlemen who stand taller than average, a pair of shorts with a roughly 10-inch inseam can provide a visual benefit, evening out the length of your legs rather than making you look even taller. And if you want to step out in style? You can hardly go wrong with a classic pair of Stretch Washed Chino Shorts from Bonobos. You’re getting trendy shorts and the right fit, as one would expect from Bonobos.
Who said wearing a longer pair of shorts has to be uncomfortable? These handsome drawstring shorts, done in a fittingly summer-friendly shade of indigo, nail the details in terms of longer length and easygoing style. Wear ‘em with a crisp white pique polo and brown leather loafers.
Now that you’ve got your shorts situation settled, you’re going to need a pair of swim trunks.
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