Patagonia Baggies may be the shorts of the summer for two years running because of their ideal inseam length, but what if you want something a little more apt for hiking? Despite the source, the five-inch cut shorts are more apt for swimming or simply chilling than they are for a hike. Once you hit the trails, you’re going to want something a bit more robust — and the perfect shorts for the job just so happy to be trend as well.
Gorp endures as one of the preeminent obsessions of fashion and streetwear, and outdoor-ready shorts are one component where you need not worry about stolen valor. Multiple and sealable pockets as well quick-drying and/or durable materials are just as useful for whatever summer has in store as they are for a hike. So unlike, say a bush parka, wearing outdoor shorts away from their intended environment won’t make you look like a total goof.
To prepare you for any scenario, we’ve put together the eight coolest pairs of shorts you can buy right now. You may notice a large portion of them come from Japan, and that’s simply because that’s where all the coolest outdoor gear comes from today (ditto for Americana and, to a lesser extent, streetwear).
Goldwin Rip-Stop Light ($84)
Goldwin is like the Japanese Columbia, putting function over form for simple but dependable outdoor goods. The former’s shorts here are super thin and still water-repellant — and best of all, on sale down from $120.
Gramicci Packable G-Shock ($78)
Gramicci is beloved by both rock climbers and skaters for its durability and signature built-in belts that are easy to adjust on the fly. The freedom of movement this pair of shorts allow is excellent, with a pre-fading to make it look like you’ve already got several adventures under your belt.
Nike ACG Cargos ($100)
These cargo shorts from Nike’s All Conditions Gear division bridge the line between the tactical and the exploratory with zippered pockets and quick-release buckle. They even come with a carabiner that you may want to take off to use when you’re not wearing the shorts.
Snow Peak Indigo C/N ($177)
If Goldwin is like Columbia, Snow Peak is sexier and more akin to the Japanese answer for The North Face. A Fidlock clasp used for the built-in belt here, while the wind- and water-resistant cotton and nylon blend is given an indigo treatment not dissimilar to your denim.
The North Face Class V Belted Short ($50)
Speaking of The North Face, here’s a super sexy pair of shorts from the San Francisco born-brand that checks all the boxes with great color blocking, a mountain print belt, and a can’t-beat price of just half a Benji.
Cayl Light Trail Shorts ($155)
Cayl has all the thoughtfulness and flair we love from Japanese brands but actually hails from Korea. We’re a huge fan of the contrast that comes from this lightweight pair’s color blocking and conservative use of gridded fabric.
Flagstuff Climbing Short ($209)
Flagstuff is lesser-known Japanese brand with a pair of shorts here all Los Angeles Lakers fans should get familiar with. The mesh cargo pockets show you have nothing to hide besides, if you choose, where you found them.
18 East Hancock Shorts ($95)
A cult following routinely leads to quick sellouts from 18 East, the NYC-based brand with that brings together skateboarding, hiking, and the era of #menswear. Many of its killer shorts restocked today, but you better be quick if you want to get in on the well-kept secret.