During the summer, choosing what to wear for a hike might seem a little intimidating. Wear too much on a sunny day hike and you’ll be bogged down, hot, and sweaty! That’s why we always recommend having a few pairs of hiking shorts for the warmest days of the year when you still want to get outside. A good pair of men’s hiking shorts is breathable, lightweight, and flexible so it keeps your legs cool without constricting your movement. We created this guide to the best hiking shorts for men to help you choose a pair (or a few!) that are comfortable for your summer hiking adventures.
Choosing the Best Hiking Shorts for Men
In our opinion, one of the most important aspects of any men’s hiking shorts is their breathability. A high-quality pair of hiking shorts is always made of materials that allow airflow and prevent hot air from getting trapped next to your skin. Otherwise, your legs will get sweaty while hiking and that moisture will build up inside of your shorts, which feels gross and uncomfortable.
There are lots of different materials that are breathable – some of our favorites include hemp fabrics, synthetics like nylon or polyester, and Merino wool (for colder conditions). Our recommendation when choosing the best hiking shorts for men is to avoid all cotton fabrics and instead opt for a material that touts “sweat-wicking” or “moisture-wicking” properties.
Another important trait of any men’s hiking shorts is stretchiness. Any decent pair of hiking shorts needs to provide a full range of movement without ripping or coming apart. This will enable you to scramble over rocks, hop over downed trees, or climb steep trails without feeling like your shorts are preventing certain movements. Similar to breathability, certain fabrics like Spandex are better for this, but the best way to determine stretchiness in any pair of hiking shorts is to try them on.
So you’ve found a pair of shorts that’s breathable and stretchy. Awesome! The next thing you need to look for is durability, because the last thing you want is to buy a pair of hiking shorts that gets destroyed immediately after a few tough hikes. The best hiking shorts for men should last you for many, many miles of hiking.
You won’t be able to test this when you try on a pair of shorts, but reading online reviews and asking friends for recommendations can absolutely help. Additionally, many companies (REI, PrAna, etc.) offer guarantees on the quality of their gear and will allow returns if it fails to hold up on the trails.
Comfort, Fit, & Style
While highly subjective, comfort, fit, and style should absolutely factor into your purchasing decisions for hiking shorts. Any pair of gear you buy should feel amazing on your body and fit in with your preferences and desired aesthetic (and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!).
Here are some of the style and fit elements people often consider:
- Comfort of the materials
- Number of pockets and storage areas
- Color and patterns
Some of these might sound silly, but if you’re going to spend money on some of the best hiking shorts for men, you should absolutely find ones that look and feel great.
While we aim to keep price out of the equation when we’re evaluating each of the individual pairs of hiking shorts for men, it’s absolutely an important factor to consider when you’re choosing a pair for yourself. The best hiking shorts aren’t always the most expensive. Typically, we’ve found that high-quality men’s hiking shorts range from $30-80, but there’s a lot of variability within that range.
Our Reviews: Best Hiking Shorts for Men
Patagonia Quandary Shorts
Overall Best Hiking Shorts for Men
- Materials: 94% Nylon, 6% Spandex, DWR
- What We Like: These shorts have everything a hiker could want: lots of pockets, a durable design, and breathable, stretchy fabric for comfort on any trail
Built with hikers and outdoor adventurers in mind, the Patagonia Quandary Shorts are, in our opinion, the absolute best hiking shorts for men. Designed like chinos, these zip-up shorts are made with a rugged nylon and spandex blend with a durable water repellent (DWR) finish that’s tough enough for any trail with enough stretch to accommodation a wide range of motion. Plus, they’re sweat-wicking and breathable, a huge plus for hot weather hikes where you’ll want to keep sweat at bay. There are also 4 spacious pockets (two in the front and two in the rear) for storing small essentials on the trails.
We struggled to find faults with these men’s hiking shorts. We love how versatile they are – tough enough for strenuous hiking but sleek enough to wear casually while running errands. If you’re looking for a pair of the best hiking shorts for men, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Patagonia Quandary Shorts.
Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Shorts
A Close Runner Up
- Materials: 94% Nylon, 6% Spandex
- What We Like: Built for the toughest trails, these shorts feel very durable without compromising on comfort
Eddie Bauer makes fantastic, rugged outdoor gear for hikers and backpackers, and their Guide Pro Shorts for men are an excellent addition to any outdoor wardrobe. These shorts maximize breathability, but provide enough coverage for scrambling or hiking up steep trails. The men’s version of these shorts has a lot of pockets – 6 of them across the sides and back – providing optimal storage on the trails without looking or feeling bulky.
We love these hiking shorts for men because they’re built to last and are versatile enough to wear in your day-to-day activities, too. They also come in a wide variety of colors, so you’re likely to find something that suits your aesthetic preferences.
Outdoor Research Ferrosi Short
Best Shorter-Cut Men’s Hiking Shorts
- Materials: 86% Nylon, 14% Spandex
- What We Like: These OR hiking shorts are fantastic for men who want a shorter fit without compromising on durability or stretch
Most of the shorts we’ve listed so far are typical cargo-length shorts, which hit above the knee. However, for men that prefer a shorter cut, the Outdoor Research Ferrosi Shorts are arguably the best out there. These shorts have the stretch, comfort and durability of many of the other serious hiking shorts on our list, but come in 8-inch and 10-inch options. Just because they’re short doesn’t mean they’re lacking in features, though – there are 5 whole pockets in these hiking shorts, great for storing your hiking essentials, a wallet, or a phone. We’d wholeheartedly recommend the OR Ferrosi Shorts to any men who want shorter cut hiking shorts made of the highest-quality fabrics and materials.
Little Donkey Andy Men’s Shorts
Best Budget Hiking Shorts for Men
- Materials: Unknown
- What We Like: Affordable and comfortable active shorts that work really well in hot weather and come in lots of colors
Looking for the best hiking shorts for men on a budget? Look no further than the Little Donkey Andy Men’s Hiking Shorts. As the most affordable men’s hiking shorts on our list, these cargo-style shorts offer plenty of pockets for storage and room for breathability. With several colors and sizes to choose from, these shorts are a great value for the money. However, as with many low-budget gear items, you often get what you pay for in terms of durability. If replacing your gear more often doesn’t bother you, these are a great bargain for some fantastic hiking shorts!
- Materials: 97% Nylon, 3% Spandex
- What We Like: The Stretch Zion Shorts offer the same level of durability, toughness, and comfort we expect from PrAna in lots of different colors
We love PrAna gear for hiking, and the PrAna Stretch Zion Shorts are no exception. With excellent breathability and stretch, these shorts are designed for rugged terrain and steep scrambles without being too bulky or stiff. The nylon and spandex blend is soft and comfortable for long hikes or backcountry treks. We’ve adventured for years in our PrAna gear and there’s no doubt that these are some of the best hiking shorts for men.
While many customers love these shorts, some say the belt isn’t great. Not a huge deal, as you can easily buy an outdoor-friendly belt to wear with them. The Stretch Zion Shorts also only have 3 pockets – less than most of the other options on our list – so if you like lots of pocket space you may want to consider a different pair.
- Materials: 100% Nylon with 100% Polyester mesh
- What We Like: Columbia is known for quality gear at a good value price, and the Silver Ridge cargo shorts are no exception
Columbia makes some of our favorite outdoor gear out there, and their Columbia Silver Ridge Shorts are an excellent option for summer hiking. With a cargo-style construction, these are some of the best hiking shorts for men because they’ve got tons of pockets and are super comfortable (and come at a reasonable price, too!). Because of their tough materials and versatile design, we recommend these shorts not only for hiking but for climbing and travel, too. However, they are a little bit less stretchy than some of the other options on our list, so if you prefer more flexible fabrics, we’d recommend some of the other shorts on our list.
- Materials: 86% Polyester, 14% Spandex
- What We Like: They’re lightweight, ultra comfortable, and versatile for many outdoor activities, travel, or casual wear
Made for running, working out, climbing, and hiking, the REI Men’s Active Pursuits Shorts are a fantastic addition to any outdoorsy wardrobe. Made with 14% spandex, these stretchy, light shorts are great in extra hot or humid weather. We especially like them for easy to moderate hikes and for trail running because they’re so breezy and light. Note that these shorts only have one tiny waist pocket (like running shorts), so hikers who like to have pockets for storage may want to consider other options on our list.
- Materials: 90% Polyester, 10% Spandex
- What We Like: A casual, sleek design with high-quality, flexible materials makes these shorts an excellent option for tougher, more strenuous hikes
If you’re looking for a hardy pair of shorts you can also wear casually, The North Face Men’s Paramount Active Shorts are a fantastic choice. These streamlined, simple hiking shorts for men are made of a high-quality, flexible polyester and spandex blend, making these a great option for hiking, scrambling, and even climbing. Moreover, they’re designed like chino style shorts so they’re easy to wear out to lunch or while running errands.
Many men love the comfort and breathability of these shorts, which are two critical characteristics for solid hiking gear. Plus, The North Face has a lifetime manufacturer’s guarantee to ensure you’re protected against manufacturing defaults – we’ve used this before on TNF gear and can confirm it’s valid!
- Materials: 100% Nylon, DWR
- What We Like: These ultra lightweight, breathable men’s hiking shorts are great for minimalist hikers or extra hot environments
If you live in a very hot place or simply prefer to purchase gear that’s ultra lightweight, the Patagonia Baggies are some of the most popular lightweight hiking shorts for men. Made of 100% nylon with a variety of fun colors and patterns, these shorts are especially great for the beach or hikes where you plan to swim because they dry quickly compared to others on our list. Many customers love these shorts and buy multiple pairs because they’re so comfortable and versatile!