For some things, there is simply no middle ground. You either like it, or you hate it. Denim shorts, or ‘jorts’ as they’re pejoratively referred to – are quite possibly the best example of this. There is no Switzerland in this sartorial war.
The lines are drawn, the trenches dug, and the arguments and counterarguments repeated ad-infinitum. It is one of those battles that, because it is so pitched, seems to be at a perpetual stalemate. What can’t be denied, however, is that through all of the derision and controversy, denim shorts have endured. Love it or hate it, every year men’s fashion brands release yet more pairs of shorts and, like clockwork, people show up to buy them. So long as folks are buying and selling these shorts, we figured we’d at the very least weigh in on what we believe to be the best denim shorts out there. Take a scroll through and see which side of this fight you find yourself on.
Uniqlo Denim Shorts
If you’re looking for an affordable pair of denim shorts, look no further than this pair from Uniqlo. They’re made from a lightweight denim fabric, feature a bit of fading along the thigh, whiskering along the pockets, and an above-the-knee cut for more mobility. Whether you wear them straight or with a slight roll on the cuff – they’re an easy summer pick. Not feeling the classic dark blue denim? These same shorts come in a lighter blue and white color way.
H&M Denim Shorts
Distressed jeans have always been popular – so, naturally, you’re likely to come across at least a few pairs or distressed denim shorts while on the hunt for your own pair. These particular of shorts are made from a cotton spandex blend fabric for a slightly stretchy fit. This, in combination with the cut of the shorts which sit slightly above the knee, make them all the more summer-ready. Whether you’re out grabbing drinks on a warm night or just idly tossing around a frisbee, these denim shorts are dynamic enough to go with you anywhere.
Pull&Bear Bleached Denim Shorts
Not a big fan of the stretchy denim infused with spandex? Neither is Pull&Bear. The brand that got its start in the early 1990s has always had a penchant for a more laid-back and easy going style that wasn’t too technically focused. Their bleached wash shorts capture that ethos near perfectly. They’re made from a 100% cotton fabric, cut to fit above the knee, and feature a classic look that is matched only by their comfort. To top it off, they’re pretty competitively priced, too.
Levi’s 511 Slim Cut Shorts
It would be weird not to include Levis’ in a list about denim. The inventors of blue-jeans, of course, have a bevy of different options when it comes to denim shorts. Our favorite pick among those is the Men’s 511 Slim Fit Hemmed Short in black. The elastane infused cotton fabric is cut and sewn to fit closer to your legs and come down right above the knee. These fit pretty true to size, so there is no need to do any guesswork when it comes to fit.
Beams Japan Denim Easy Short
Denim isn’t the most comfortable material. If anything, it’s almost a little too thick and stifling to wear during the summer months. This pair from Beams Japan, however, manage to be ideal for summer wear. Made from a cotton body, the shorts feature an elasticized waistband with drawstrings for a loose-fitting, comfortable feel. But don’t take the lightweight cut as a sign that these aren’t well built. The gusseted crotch and tonal stitching on the pair make them more than capable of lasting through a few summer season.
Faherty Asbury Short
Another lightweight denim pick – but this time from the guys at Faherty. Rather than sticking with the classic five pocket design that most jeans have, these shorts have two welt pockets at the back, two slanted at the front, and a smaller coin pocket near the waist. Thanks to the soft wash they get during manufacturing the shorts have a vintage look to them and an incredibly comfortable feel. Without a doubt an ideal pair of shorts for hanging by the beach or even wearing in to work on the hotter days of the summer.
Arpenteur Petanque Short
Mom jeans, meet dad jorts. Seemingly built for the fashion-forward normcore crowd – the same that have an affinity for Kanye’s new ugly sneakers – these have a distinct ‘running errands at Home Depot’ vibe to them. That, in large part, is why we love them. Made in France and cut from 100 percent cotton, they look like your run-of-the-mill pair of jeans, with the added allure of a fancy label. They feature four pockets, a button fly, and ribbed waist-panels for a sturdy fit.
MSGM Cutoff Jean Short
The entrepreneurial spirit of MSGM shows through in these denim shorts. Started less than a decade ago, the small brand has turned into a powerhouse in its own right. These shorts from the brand are made in Italy with a 100 percent cotton fabric. They feature a classic five pocket design, a button closure along the waist, and a zippered fly. The black wash on the jeans has a faded and distressed look, as does the bottom hem of the shorts. All in all a fun pick.
NN07 Washed Denim Shorts
Not all denim shorts are created equal. Just take this pair from NN07 for example. Rather than going for a stiff, new look, these shorts embrace the bleached denim vibe of the 1990s. To add to that look, the shorts are washed and distressed – a process that also makes them considerably more comfortable. The bottom hem of the shorts sit above the knee by just a bit, contributing to their light and summery feel.
Versus Black Denim Shorts
For those who absolutely love black denim, these are for you. With 2-percent elastane and 98 percent cotton, they have a decent amount of give and stretch to them – making the shorts all the more comfortable during the summer. And while they come off as being black as night, the fabric has been given a slight amount of fading for good measure.
Best Men's Style Basics
Looking to add some more classic items to your wardrobe? Look no further than our list of the best men’s style basics.
HiConsumption is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more