13 Best Short Shorts for Men in 2024, According to GQ

After decades of swishy athletic styles dominating the category, the best short shorts for men have reclaimed the limelight. The face (as it were) of their resurgence might just be the actor Paul Mescal, who takes any opportunity to show off his thighs, only last week confirming to GQ that he remains a “big advocate” for shorter inseams. But what, exactly, makes a short a short short? To us, a short short is any design that has a 5-inch inseam or less. Naturally, we’ve applied that mindset to this extensive guide, taking special care to source plenty of 3-inch options as well.

Any guys looking to feel the rays on their thighs imminently are in luck. Our survey of short shorts unearthed plenty of workout-ready nylon options to help you rack up road miles or float your way through flutter kicks at the gym, along with just as many coffee-run-only pairs for sunny weekend mornings. Their benefits extend beyond an increased range of motion: When paired with the right T-shirt, shorter shorts help lengthen your silhouette, making your legs look, well, leggier (and the rest of you look a whole lot taller) in the process.

There might not be a single item on the market with a better style-per-square-inch rating right now, and these pairs—the best short shorts for men to buy right now—prove it.

The Best Short Shorts for Men, According to GQ

The Best Short Shorts for the Gym: Lululemon Fast and Free Split Shorts


Fast and Free Split Shorts

Serious runners wear split shorts—which have seams cut up the side of each leg—to give themselves a freer range of motion. But whether you’re a speedster or a self-proclaimed sloth, there’s plenty to love about Lululemon’s sweat-wicking, super-breezy, quick-drying Fast and Free Split Shorts. They clock in at a truly short 3-inches, but boast Lululemon’s proprietary four-way stretch fabric so you’re covered no matter which way you move, and they also have a liner to ensure you never, well, come loose. Even better, there’s still enough space for a small zippered pockets for keys or AirPods.

The Best Short Shorts for the Courts: Todd Snyder Champion Mesh Shorts

Todd Snyder

Champion Mesh Shorts

Whether Challengers turned you on (pun very much intended) to tennis or not, you likely know the sport’s signature style by now: short shorts, often of the white variety, paired with a polo or sporty tee and some sneakers. And while most professional player’s shorts today are nylon, if you dip back into tennis’ sartorial archive, you’ll find a ton of mesh styles not too dissimilar to these Todd Snyder Mesh Shorts, made in conjunction with the American sportswear juggernauts at Champion. With a 5-inch inseam and double-layered construction (so your base bottoms don’t show through), these fit the throwback bill exceptionally well. All you need next is a chip on your shoulder and you’ve gone the full McEnroe.

The Best Designer Short Shorts: Fear of God Virgin Wool-Gabardine Drawstring Shorts

Fear of God

Virgin Wool-Gabardine Drawstring Shorts

Short shorts with elegance and some heft: what a concept! While showing off a touch too much thigh in a pair of linerless running shorts might get you booted from somewhere with a stricter dress code, it’s hard to imagine the same happening while you’re wearing Fear of God’s godly Virgin Wool-Gabardine Drawstring Shorts. They have a wide leg and a drop crotch, so they actually don’t look all that short, as well as a super-long drawstring that intentionally hangs well beyond the short’s hem, even when tied in a knot.

The Best Cotton Short Shorts: Polo Ralph Lauren Cormac Pleated Cotton-Twill Shorts

Polo Ralph Lauren

Cormac Pleated Cotton-Twill Shorts

Short shorts have always had their place in the prep wardrobe—in fact, to many minds, short shorts probably bring back memories of Sperry-wearing private schoolers on the way to their soccer games or Nantucket summers. So it makes a whole hell of a lot of sense that the capital-P Prep god himself, Ralph Lauren, would offer more than a few short shorts in his catalog. Our favorite is this pared-down, ready-for-action style, featuring a fancy pleat on the front, two slanted side pockets, a button pocket on the back, and an invisible (but always appreciated) elasticated waist.

The Best Short Shorts for the Beach: CDLP Swim Shorts

The ideal “hot dogs or legs” short from one of our GQ Recommends All-Stars, CDLP’s boxer-like, nylon-poplin swim trunks come in ten Swedish summer hues. With a 2-inch inseam at their smallest and a 3-inch inseam as an XL, these verge on Speedo territory—but don’t let the scantiness scare you, especially not during the hottest time of year. For you don’t yet know the sweet relief that comes from slipping into swim shorts that are barely even there, with a cross-breeze cooling the areas that used to swelter before you’d been converted. There’s no going back.

The Best Trending Short Shorts: Adidas x Wales Bonner Layered Nylon Shorts

Adidas x Wales Bonner

Layered Drawstring Nylon Shorts

Taking its cues from boxing shorts as well as retro track and field uniforms, these Layered Drawstring Nylon Shorts—from Adidas’ latest collaboration with red-hot ready-to-wear brand Wales Bonner—have a thick, cinched waistband, multi-layered, multi-colored legs, and a softly patterned drawstring. The insider-y nature of the style might make it seem hard to pull off, but it’s anything but. There are several directions you can aesthetically take these: with a tank for a kind of campy, midwest American summer moment, with a tonal, more loose tee for a streetwear look, or with a mismatched vintage tee should you want to project an “I was running marathons in the ‘70s, long before people ran them simply to post about them on social media” energy.

More Short Shorts We Love

Abercrombie & Fitch All-Day Shorts

Abercrombie & Fitch

All-Day Shorts

A lot of brands tout their shorts’ ability to be multiple things at the same — a two-way player, if you will: stretchy and dressy, performance-minded and office-friendly. You get the gist. The problem is, however, most of those shorts end up looking like a whole lot of one thing and only a splash of the other. Abercrombie & Fitch’s surprisingly A1 All-Day Shorts give you a good range of motion and look like a classic chino short, especially in the brown, green, or khaki colorways, all while giving you a hidden zippered pocket, quick-drying capabilities, and an elasticated waistband.

Dries Van Noten Belted Frayed Cotton-Gabardine Cargo Shorts

Dries Van Noten

Belted Frayed Cotton-Gabardine Cargo Shorts

Short shorts already have an aura about them. Why not up the ante? Dries Van Noten’s Belted Frayed Cotton-Gabardine Cargo Shorts definitely do. In fact, they’re probably the fanciest, least gas station-y cargo shorts we’ve ever seen. An even mix of high-end tailoring and distressed streetwear, the hems are all kinds of ripped up (without being risqué), the pockets have classic flaps, and the belt dangles well past the longest fabric shred.

District Vision Race Shorts

District Vision

Race Shorts

Set a new personal best or simply flex that rectus femoris in trendy (yet aggressively technical) running brand District Vision’s Race Shorts, a style you’d be as likely to see on a broom-bodied supermodel as you would a hunky, Olympic-level sprinter. Deep side splits on these 2-inch shorts give you unfettered forward mobility and a near-full-frontal to those around you. Dedicated runners will appreciate the seamless construction and the uncertain will be comforted by four-way stretch liner.

Y,IWO Slim-Fit Logo-Print Mesh Shorts


Slim-Fit Logo-Print Mesh Shorts

Everything about Y,IWO (Yeah, I Work Out) screams ’80s-era action hero, Gold’s Gym-at-its-peak, “pick stuff up, put it back down.” Think: Arnold, Mike Mentzer, Lee Haney — the heavyweight, heavy lifters who wore just about as much fabric on their sculpted frames as they did on their feet. There’s not much to these Y,IWO slim-fit logo shorts, but that’s the point. Pair these thick-banded boxing-referencing bottoms with a mesh shirt to look pulled from a fitness VHS tape you found in your parent’s basement.

Tracksmith Twilight Split Shorts


Twilight Split Shorts

If gym-bro jockcore isn’t your north star, maybe Tracksmith’s Twilight Split Shorts are up your alley. They’re definitely preppier, and a bit more J.Crew than Gymshark, if that makes sense. Designed with cross-country runners in mind, they measure out to a modest three inches, have split sides, and come with three pockets for mid-run fuel. Most colorways come with contrast piping, too, adding prep school top recruit lore.

Stòffa Washed Linen Drawstring Shorts


Washed Linen Drawstring Shorts

Short shorts are definitely #menswear coded, but Stoffa’s Washed Linen Drawstring Shorts take the crown. Made from fine fabrics with traditional tailoring features like a button fly, inverted box pleats, and both on-seam side pockets and two rear patch pockets, these can be finished with or without a cuff to the inseam of your choice. Want to fully send it and rock 2-inch Stoffa shorts? Their expert tailors can probably arrange that for you.

Adidas Originals 3-Stripes Sprinter Shorts

Adidas Originals

3-Stripes Sprinter Shorts

Fulfill your soccer star dreams with short short cosplay and drip yourself down in these classic Adidas Originals 3-Stripes Sprinter Shorts, which can come stock with a sensible inseam—short but not two inches—but can easily be hiked up to any height. They’re Adidas through and through, though, with their traditional black hue, contrasting white side stripes, zippered pockets, and thick waistband. Whether you’re stuffing energy gels or your house keys and phone in those pockets, however, is up to you.

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