Here Are the Most Comfy, Stylish Men's Shorts to Wear This Summer

Summer 2021 Coolest Men's Shorts
These are great all-around shorts for exercising. Gym Plus Coffee

Here are the most comfortable and stylish men's shorts for running, hiking, biking, lounging, traveling and swimming.

After some initial online research, we spent several weeks wearing around each of the shorts mentioned below to see how they performed and to make sure they're up to the task.

To be honest, in the past with shorts, we pretty much defaulted to either khakis or sweats. But since conducting this in-depth sartorial examination, we have gained a new appreciation for all the available variations in fabric, weight and style. To be included on this list, each pair of shorts needed to offer great function, fit and feel.

Thus here are our top dozen picks for summer 2021 for shorts that we will continue to model and recommend to our family and friends.

  1. Prana Alameda—$69
  2. Houdini Daybreak—$140
  3. Roark Serrano—$68
  4. Elevenpine Uprising—$99
  5. Snow Peak Cotton Linen Easy Shorts—$150
  6. ScottEVest Hidden Cargo Shorts—$89
  7. Cozy Earth Ultra-Soft Bamboo Joggers—$72
  8. Gym Plus Coffee Pace—$52
  9. Houdini Wadi—$80
  10. Elevenpine Detour—$120
  11. Snow Peak Indigo C/N—$213
  12. Prana Hybridizer—$75

Keep reading for more info on each of these items and why we love them for summer 2021. As always, the prices listed may fluctuate over time as products go on sale.

Prana Alameda

Summer 2021 Coolest Men's Shorts
Alameda active shorts are available in Dark Iron (above), Cafe or (our favorite) Deep Stellar. Prana

Made from a thin, surprisingly durable, stretchy and sustainable material called ReZion, these wrinkle-resistant shorts—perhaps our favorites of the bunch—are up to pretty much any challenge. They strike the perfect blend between handsome and sporty. Their hidden zipped side pocket is good for stashing cash, cards, keys or sunglasses. Plus, the fact that they offer moisture wicking, quick drying, mesh-lined front pockets and UPF 50+ protection means they're also a good call should your activities turn amphibious.

Buy at Prana.

Houdini Daybreak

Summer 2021 Coolest Men's Shorts
Daybreak are available in True Black, Blue Illusion and the striking Desert Rock Red. Houdini

Stretchy and versatile but with a subtle texture, these lightweight yet outdoorsy shorts rock horizontal zippered front pockets—with a hidden compartment inside the right pocket to keep your phone from bouncing around as you hike or bike. They're made from a durable, fully recyclable ripstop fabric that includes 38 percent recycled fibers. And although they would certainly get soaked in a downpour, we can attest that their fluorocarbon-free water-repellent coating does in fact protect from small splashes.

Buy at Houdini.

Roark Serrano 8-Inch

Summer 2021 Coolest Men's Shorts
These are available in eight designs, including the camo, above. Roark

From Roark's Run Amok collection, these silky, linerless shorts are as functional as they are lightweight and comfortable. In addition to two open side pockets, they feature a small zippered pocket on the side and another in back. So they're great for hanging out, taking on a run or general summer use, especially since they come in a bunch of interesting designs.

Buy at Roark.

Elevenpine Uprising

Summer 2021 Coolest Men's Shorts
Available in Black or Centennial Blue, these are great shorts for any length of bike ride. Elevenpine

Spandex has its place—when riding. But once you're off the bike, you don't want to be "that guy." Elevenpine's Uprising is a revolutionary take on cycling shorts. Not only are they comfortable for biking—or other exercising—but they look cool (style-wise) just walking around in public and keep you cool (temperature-wise), thanks to unique side zippers that let your legs vent. They pair especially well over Elevenpine's chamois-clad Liberator liner or their highly breathable MultiSport Boxer Brief, which includes a handy phone pocket.

Buy at Elevenpine.

Snow Peak Cotton Linen Easy Shorts

Summer 2021 Coolest Men's Shorts
These classy, breezy shorts are available in two solid and two check patterns. Snow Peak

For more refined summer times spent picnicking and kibbitzing around the country club, these snazzy linen shorts reign supreme. In addition to their striking pattern, which begs to be paired with a variety of button-downs and polo shirts, these shorts feature a fabric with the most satisfying feel to the hand. And they're comfy to wear, as well, including a forgiving waistband with unexpected integrated drawstrings, for those barbecues and picnics where you eat one sandwich too much.

Buy at Snow Peak.

ScottEVest Hidden Cargo Shorts

Summer 2021 Coolest Men's Shorts
Available in three colors, these ultimate travel shorts sport eight pockets. ScottEVest

These ScottEVest classics prove that being well-resourced throughout summer sojourns doesn't have to mean bulky, klutzy shorts. Along with magnetically closing rear pockets, they feature dual front pockets on each side, the more forward of which are deep enough to easily bury a passport, paperback, snacks, gadgets or even a water bottle. And thanks to its sophisticated adjustable waistband, these ultimate travel shorts will always be as loose or as snug as you need them to be. We've worn them for years and don't leave on fair-weather trips without them.

Buy at ScottEVest.

Cozy Earth Ultra-Soft Bamboo Joggers

Summer 2021 Coolest Men's Shorts
Available in five colors, these shorts were the softest we tested. Fred Kim

Don't let the dangling drawstring fool you, these highly evolved sweats are not only the ultimate in loungewear, they can complement a dressier outfit than you might expect. And as satisfyingly textured as the linens shorts above were, these are luxuriously soft, smooth and cozy. Absolutely delightful to wear, with their "brushed viscose from bamboo fabric," they're definitely a fun, relaxed take on the gym-to-the-café short.

Buy at Cozy Earth.

Gym Plus Coffee Pace

Summer 2021 Coolest Men's Shorts
These are great all-around exercise shorts. Gym Plus Coffee

Simple and stretchy, these high performance shorts mean business. Their side split hem is a subtle detail that provides a wide range a movement in a variety of activities. And their lightweight, breathable fabric makes them our top choice for playing sports and exercising this summer. They're a great pair of go-to workout shorts. It's no wonder One Direction's Niall Horan became a significant investor in this up-and-coming Irish athleisure brand.

Buy at Gym Plus Coffee.

Houdini Wadi

Summer 2021 Coolest Men's Shorts
These shorts can be folded into their own hidden zippered pocket. Houdini

For outdoor escapades on the hottest of summer days, reach for these shorts. They're tough enough for any hike or climb. And so lightweight that you might even forget you're wearing them. They feature a very interesting thin buckle and loop system on their adjustable waistband. Handiest of all, they actually pack down into their own zippered hidden security pocket. So they'd be great for taking along as a spare pair of shorts, in case the conditions prove too rough for your first set.

Buy at Houdini.

Elevenpine Detour

Summer 2021 Coolest Men's Shorts
Side vents, breathable material and extra pockets make these shorts great for longer rides. Elevenpine

These next-level bike shorts are made from an antimicrobial polyester-spandex blend. They offer deep, open pockets, along with a secret mini-compartment for cash and cards within the extra zippered front pocket. In addition to Elevenpine's trademark zip-up side vents, these super comfy shorts offer a zip fly, as well. At the bottom, instead of Velcro (as with their Uprising shorts mentioned above), the Detour fastens with snaps. Furthermore, Elevenpine founder Jeff Curran tells us that they shine brightest when bombing down hardcore descents, mixing it up on the gravel and on longer multiday road rides.

Buy at Elevenpine.

Snow Peak Indigo C/N

Summer 2021 Coolest Men's Shorts
Part of Snow Peak's Indigo C/N series, these shorts are available in either black or blue. Snow Peak

These may look like a more traditional cargo short, but you'd better believe this Japanese-designed technical garment is ready for adventure. The lightweight, flowy fabric is windproof, water-resistant and makes a delightful "swish-swash" sound as you stride along. Their zip-and button-fly is complemented by a special clasp on a built-in belt that tightens with a little tug. The cargo pouches are gathered, covered and snap closed, all to help prevent your pocketed items from escaping. Rest assured, they're just as tough and fun-loving as they look.

Buy at Snow Peak.

Prana Hybridizer

Summer 2021 Coolest Men's Shorts
These ultra-versatile shorts are available in two inseam lengths (8.5 inches or 10 inches) and in four colors. Prana

At first glance, these shorts may seem ordinary and unassuming. But similar to Prana's Alameda, above, these are fantastic all-purpose shorts that can both go with just about everything and follow you wherever you wander. Truly land-to-water apparel, they even feature an interior drawstring for making the transition from the boardwalk to board shorts. So whether at the beach or on the trail, back at the campsite or bopping around town, these dynamic do-all shorts will hold up just fine in the end.

Buy at Prana.

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