Hiking requires its own specialized wardrobe. Though hiking boots are critical (nothing worse than blisters and sore feet), the actual clothing you’re wearing can make just as much of a difference in the overall enjoyment of your hike.
When it comes to hiking shorts, you’ll want to look for the same thing you’d look for in a good pair of exercise shorts. Comfort and durability are absolutely key, as well as a material that will wick moisture away from your body to keep you cool as you work up a sweat. But unlike those athletic shorts, you might want to get a longer inseam in order to better protect your skin from not only twigs and branches, but from the sun as well. Furthermore, extra cargo pockets can help hold your phone, trail mix, wallet, or any number of other random things so you can just focus on your surroundings.
Whether it’s for a quick afternoon trek or preparation for the Appalachian Trail thru-hike, make sure you’re prepared with a quality pair of men’s hiking shorts. We’ve got you covered, with the best hiking shorts you can get online right now.
1. Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Short
Columbia’s Silver Ridge cargo short has been the go-to hiking short for experienced hikers for quite a while now — and they’ve only gotten better over time as Columbia has continued to improve their features and construction. Their proprietary fabric called Omni-Shade has included SPF protection. In addition to being moisture-wicking (thanks to its extremely durable Omni-Wick material) the interior mesh lining adds not only comfort but also increased ventilation and range of motion. Comfortable, durable, colorful and affordable, the Silver Ridge should be your first stop for a pair of hiking shorts that’s capable of hitting the trail as hard as you will.
2. Wrangler Canvas Utility Hiker Short
If you’d rather stick with a traditional cotton pair of shorts for hiking, Wrangler’s canvas utility hiking short is a great alternative. Made from 100% cotton for comfort, the relaxed and elastic waistband ensures that the shorts won’t ride up while you’re hiking. The two-side flap cargo pants make it so you’ve got extra storage options, while the deep back pockets will keep your wallet, phone, or whatever else you may slot back there in place. And at $20, it’s a great pair of shorts to get you started on your expeditions.
3. Fjallraven Abisko Shorts
For those who already have a pair of hiking shorts and are looking to invest in a better pair (or for those that are willing to spend more on an initial purchase), Fjallraven’s Abikso shorts have great moisture-wicking and quick-drying properties, as well as stretch panels for additional flexibility and long-lasting comfort for your walks. We also like the front cargo pockets, which are slightly different in size in order to better organize whatever you may be carrying at any given moment.
4. Arc’Teryx Palisade Shorts
Ask any avid hiker, or fashion-conscious rapper, and they’ll quickly tell you that Arc’teryx is the Lexus or BMW of outdoor gear. With thoughtful design consideration and construction, you’re paying more, but for some of the best features and material around. That philosophy is perfectly captured in the Palisade short. Made from tough nylon that’s lightweight and breathable for comfort, the short also has a built-in webbing belt for adjustment. The two side cargo pockets, perhaps the most stylish-looking cargo pockets ever, are low profile and slim and further refine an overall sleek look.
Related: Best Hiking Backpacks
5. prAna Stretch Zion Shorts
PrAna is one of the best eco-friendly outdoor brands making high-quality shorts that are well worth the price point. If you’re looking for comfortable, well-made shorts for outdoor adventures, the Zion shorts are the ones for you. Made from 97% nylon and 3% spandex, these shorts are as durable as they are stretchy. Scramble over rocks and hike your way to the top of a waterfall without fear of ripping your shorts. Plus, there’s room to stretch, so don’t be afraid of twisting into a new position as you climb up that mountain. With a durable water-repellant material, mesh pockets and a cut just above the knee, these are the ultimate outdoorsman shorts. Have fun outside and explore new places with the prAna Stretch Zion Shorts.
Related: Best Hiking Sandals
6. The North Face Rolling Sun Hybrid Shorts
These durable, water-resistant shorts are a great choice for an outdoor adventure. Don’t hesitate to cross that river or log because your shorts will dry faster than you think. The FlashDry wicking technology speeds up the evaporation process which will leave you cool and comfortable before you know it. Sick of wet, saggy shorts while in the middle of an epic hike? Or tired of jumping in the lake to cool off during a hike and your shorts never dry? The North Face shorts will dry quickly so you can stay comfortable on your hike. These shorts also have 50 UPF fabric to shield you from harmful UV rays. Stash whatever you need in the back pockets that have hooks to keep your smaller items secure.
Related: Best Hiking Pants
7. Vuori Aim Shorts
Vuori is known for its high-quality products and its outdoor shorts are a great choice for anyone seeking out a new pair of hiking shorts. Made from polyester, cotton, and elastane, these men’s hiking shorts have a little bit of a stretch as well as a durable base fabric that is great for hiking. And with a hidden zippered pocket, feel free to store little things like keys or snacks in the back pocket, especially on steep trails. Vuori’s high-quality shorts will keep you cool and comfortable on any summer hikes this year.
8. Threads 4 Thoughts Tech Stretch Colorblock Shorts
Great for leisure or travel, these Threads 4 Thoughts shorts are relaxed and comfortable. That also makes them great for hikes or walks or strolls through the woods. These stylish and colorful shorts will keep you cool while out on a hot summer day with their slim fit, elastic drawstring, and proceeds of the profits go to the International Rescue Committee and the great work they do for humanitarian responses.
9. Helikon Outdoor Tactical Shorts
Perfect for the person that takes the Boy Scout’s “Be Prepared” motto a little too seriously, these men’s hiking shorts from Helikon have more pockets than you can shake a stick of jerky at. Designed in mind as more of a tactical option (with two cargo zipper pockets and two front velcro closed pockets), re-purposing them as pair of hiking shorts is a no-brainer. And with the polycotton ripstop material, they’ll stay plenty durable when you (perhaps) overload them with stuff.
10. Columbia Men’s PFG Permit Short
With additional sun resistance built into the fabric of the shorts themselves, the Columbia PFG Permit Short is your best protection (along with sunscreen that is!) for those hikes that are just brutally bright. That PFG material is equally good at moisture-wicking, so you won’t have to make a sacrifice in order to make sure you’ve got an added level of protection for having fun in the sun all day long.
11. Eddie Bauer Guider Pro Shorts
If you’re looking to get a hike in while you’re on the road, the Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Shorts should be the first pair of hiking shorts you reach for. Lightweight and inherently packable, they’ll fit right into your carry-on without taking up too much space or weight. The Guide Pro also includes two side cargo pockets for additional storage, as well as other features like water-repellent nylon, sun protection, and two-way stretch (for comfort and flexibility of movement). With plenty of colors and a price point that’s more than palatable, they’re a great option for those who are always on the go.