Written by Amy Scalia

When the temps heat up and days grow longer, it’s time for guys to give those legs a welcome retreat. From a backyard barbecue, taking a jog or a dip, or just lounging around the house, men’s shorts are the summer essential.

But not all shorts are created equal. From breathable materials and sustainable fabrics to fresh colors and functionality, here are a few of our top recommendations that’ll have you covered this summer — well, from the knee up, anyway.

Comfy but Breathable
Two words: Fleece shorts. With the Weekend Short, you get the cozy, soft comfort of a fleece fabric, but it’s lightweight and breathable enough for the hottest summer days. With a range of earth-tone colors, and designed to be a comfy fit, you can wear them anywhere from workout to cookout.

Another fabric typically reserved for cooler weather is corduroy. But this super soft Corduroy Short is pretty much our new summer fave. With a relaxed fix, drawstring waist, lightweight mini cord, you can pull-on, tie-up, and go anywhere.

Active Comfort
There’s something about summer that makes you want to be more active and find adventure around every corner. But no matter the activity, you still want to wear something that stretches and breathes as much as you do.

The Manduka Lunge Short is designed by our friends at Manduka for the minimalist guy who wants an easy two-in-one short. Designed to be a comfy fit, these shorts boast sweat-wicking capabilities, pockets for the essentials and a comfortable built-in brief.

Going for a dip? Then go for these Upwest x Fair Harbor Bayberry Swim Shorts. Made with 82% recycled polyester from plastic bottles, 18% spandex, and designed to be a comfy fit, these performance swim trunks are both comfy and durable.

Opt for the Weekend Short or the Fair Harbor One Short if you need something that goes from beach to bar. These flexible, quick-drying casual cotton shorts help you enjoy comfort and versatility all day long.

Soft Structure
Being comfortable and presentable shouldn’t be such a balancing act for guys. That’s where the Everyday Lounge Short comes in. With an easy fit, functional fly, and internal drawstring, it’s where comfort meets function and softness meets structure.

For a more sustainable option, go for the Hemp All Day Short. Made with sustainable hemp fabric, this pull-on short has a functional fly, adjustable tie waistband and, of course, pockets.

Need some extra stretch with your structure? The Summit Stretch Short gives the comfort and four-way stretch you get with the cargo pant, but now in a short.

A Guy’s Guide to Wearing Shorts
Wondering when — and when not — to wear shorts? The short answer is that shorts are appropriate for summer events like hitting the beach, a poolside party, and outdoor activities like hiking or running. Headed to the Farmer’s Market? Lounging with friends? Shorts. But hold off when business-formal or formal attire is expected. Business casual? That’s a grey area, so maybe opt for a Lightweight Pull-On Pant when in doubt.

When it comes to fit, there are a few golden rules to find the perfect shorts for you:

1) Shorts shouldn’t go below the knee. It’ll make you look shorter. The comfiest fit and sharpest look is to keep your shorts about 2” above your knee.
2) Leg openings shouldn’t be too wide or too tight. You want enough room to be comfortable while sitting and standing, so stick with straight silhouettes for clean lines and comfiest fit.

Keep it clean and simple. Gone are the days of bulky cargo shorts. Look for internal drawstring, functional fly, and low-profile pockets for shorts as simple and gratifying as the best days of summer.