24+ Best Hiking Shorts for Men and Women

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Summer is here. Time to shed some layers.

These are the best hiking shorts you can get this year. All are totally functional and they win huge style points.

No need to get boring, boxy, bland-looking shorts with too many pockets.

Modern, cool, high-performance and sexy hiking shorts are a better choice.

Below you will find the newest and best hiking shorts for both men and women that you can get right now.

Hit the trails and stay cool!

Best hiking shorts for men and women

Best Hiking Shorts For Men + Women

The hiking shorts are mostly organized from heaviest to lightest in weight. Some of the shorts are specifically designed for men, others are just for women, but the most popular are often available for both men and women. You will see this clearly labeled below in the links.

1. KUHL Kruiser Shorts (MEN)

Not the lightest in weight yet still lightweight compared to a lot of casual shorts. The Kuhl Kruiser shorts are cut at the knee and have a modern swim trunks style to them.

  • 56% recycled nylon, 40% nylon, 4% spandex
  • Front hand pockets, back zippered pocket, drop-in phone side pocket
  • Elastic waistband and external drawstring cord
  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • 311 grams

Check REI price

2. Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts (MEN)

The most popular Columbia hiking shorts. They are a durable, moisture-wicking, sun protective, modern take on the classic cargo short. So, if you are a guy that likes a cargo short with plenty of pockets and sun coverage, these are for you.

  • 100% ripstop nylon fabric
  • 10-inch inseam
  • 2 side cargo pockets, front pockets and back pockets
  • Classic fit, cut at the knees
  • Gusseted crotch
  • Elastic waistband with integrated belt
  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • 295 grams

3. KUHL Renegade Shorts (MEN)

An ultra-modern cargo short with a plethora of pockets. These shorts are made of lightweight material but heavier in weight due to the extra material used for pockets and zippers.

  • 95% Nylon, 5% Spandex
  • Durable, anti-abrasion, soft DURALUX fabric 
  • Gusseted crotch for freedom of movement
  • Water resistant finish
  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • 8 total pockets, 2 zippered
  • Available in 8, 10 and 12-inch inseam
  • 280 grams

Check REI price

4. KUHL Horizn RECCO Shorts (WOMEN)

The Kuhl Horizn hiking shorts for women are breathable, moisture-wicking, and offer great sun protection. These shorts are currently on sale at REI Garage.

  • 56% polyester/44% recycled polyester
  • 100% nylon thread adds durability
  • 13-inch inseam (rolls up to 11-inch)
  • Internal drawstring plus belt loops keeps shorts in place
  • Quick-dry and breathable
  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • 255 grams

5. KUHL Trekr Shorts (WOMEN)

The Kuhl Trekr shorts for women are longer in length being cut at the knee and have a comfortable soft supple stretchy feel to them. The polyester nylon blend is durable, moisture-wicking, and dries quickly. These are the newest women’s hiking shorts made by Kuhl and definitely one of the most stylish on this list.

  • 57% polyester, 43% nylon
  • 11-inch inseam
  • Stylish slim fit
  • 2 hidden thigh zippered pockets
  • Internal drawstring and belt loops
  • 240 grams

Check REI price

6. Outdoor Research Ferrosi Shorts (MEN | WOMEN)

The Ferrosi shorts are the best-selling outdoor research hiking shorts. Hikers love them because they are durable, lightweight, breathable, and stretchy.

  • 86% nylon, 14% spandex 90D stretch woven ripstop
    • Tough, durable and abrasion-resistant
    • Lightweight, breathable
  • Straight leg fit
  • 8-inch inseam
  • Zip thigh pocket, back pockets, front pockets
  • Gusseted crotch for freedom of movement
  • Belt loops
  • DWR treated for weather protection
  • Quick-dry comfort
  • UPF 50+ for sun protection
  • 207 grams

7. Prana Stretch Zion Shorts (MEN)

These are the most popular Prana hiking shorts. The Zion hiking shorts for men are durable, abrasion-resistant, moisture-wicking, and quick-drying. These shorts are best suited for the casual, easygoing hiker. This modern-day cargo short is slightly more slim fitting (standard fit leg) and stylish.

  • 97% nylon, 3% spandex
  • 10-inch inseam, cut just above the knee
  • DWR finish for weather protection
  • Mesh pockets
  • Ventilated gusseted crotch
  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • Wrinkle resistant (good for travelling)
  • Weight not available

8. KUHL Silencr Kargo Shorts (MEN)

A stylish pair of cargo shorts for guys that want a sleek slim downed profile. The Kuhl Silencr Kargo shorts are durable, quick-drying, moisture-wicking, breathable, stretchy, and water-resistant.

  • 100% polyester
  • Slim fit design
  • Articulated design and gusseted crotch for easy movement
  • 7 total pockets, 2 zippered
  • DWR finish for weather resistance
  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • Weight not available

Check REI price

9. Patagonia Quandary Shorts (MEN | WOMEN)

A versatile, comfortable, and good-looking pair of men’s hiking shorts that are available in three different inseam lengths. Another more stylish alternative to the classic cargo shorts.

  • 95% nylon, 5% spandex
    • 64% recycled fabric
  • Two front and back pockets, one zippered right thigh pocket
  • Gusseted crotch
  • DWR finish for weather protection
  • Standard straight leg fit
  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • 204 grams

Also available in an 8-inch inseam, and 12-inch inseam for men.

Check REI price: MEN | WOMEN

10. Outdoor Voices Rectrek Shorts (MEN | WOMEN)

These Outdoor Voices hiking shorts are versatile, super comfortable, durable, water-resistant, and stretchy.

I own two pairs of these shorts and they are awesome and I wear them all summer long.

  • 90% nylon, 10% elastane
  • Straight to tapered fit
  • 7-inch inseam
  • Elastic waist band and drawstring
  • Wind and water resistant
  • Front pockets (left is zip) with headphones exit
  • Back right zip pocket
  • Weight not available

11. prAna Alana Shorts (WOMEN)

These prAna women’s hiking shorts are stylish and functional. These are perhaps the most popular hiking shorts for women year after year.

  • Bluesign approved fabric: 95% recycled nylon, 5% spandex
  • 5-inch inseam
  • Mid rise, standard fit
  • Front snap closure with interior drawstring
  • Front and back welt pockets, 2 zippered pockets
  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • Weight not available

12. REI Co-op Beyonder Shorts (WOMEN)

If you are looking for some versatile short hiking shorts for women the REI Co-op Beyonder shorts are a great pick. They are breathable, stretchy, moisture-wicking casual pair of shorts with a relaxed style.

  • 96% nylon, 4% spandex (Bluesign approved fabric)
  • 4.5 inch inseam 
  • Comfortable wide elastic waistband with external drawstring
  • Front hand pockets, back zip pocket
  • Weight not available

13. Fjallraven High Coast Lite Shorts (MEN)

The High Coast Lite shorts are lightweight, stretchy, moisture-wicking and fast drying. Perfect for hiking in warm climates.

  • 85% (recycled) polyamide, 15% elastane
    • Moisture-wicking
    • Quick drying
  • Drawstring cord in waist
  • 2 front hand pockets, 1 front zip pocket on right side, and 2 back pockets
  • 200 grams

Check Backcountry price

14. REI Co-op Sahara Amphib Shorts (MEN | WOMEN)

A quick-drying pair of shorts that is functional on the trails and in the water. One of the more affordable pairs of hiking shorts on this list.

  • 89% nylon, 11% polyester
  • Straight leg fit above the knees
  • 7-inch inseam
  • DWR finish
  • Removable belt
  • Front pockets, zippered back pocket
  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • Mesh lining
  • Weight unavailable

Also, check out the REI Co-op Sahara shorts for women that feature a 9-inch inseam for extra coverage.

15. REI Co-op Sun Up Shorts (MEN)

A good-looking and affordable pair of shorts featuring a straight leg fit cut just above the knee. These shorts are durable, stretchy, sun-protective, and have a gusseted crotch to allow free movement.

  • Bluesign approved fabric: 89% nylon, 11% spandex
  • 9-inch inseam
  • Elastic waistband and belt loops
  • Gusseted crotch
  • 5 pockets in total, including 1 zippered back right pocket
  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • Weight unavailable

16. REI Co-op Active Pursuits Shorts (MEN | WOMEN)

This is a great pair of athletic meets hiking shorts that is budget-friendly, moisture-wicking, fast-drying, breathable for aggressive fast-moving hikers.

The Active Pursuits shorts are available in a variety of inseams for men and women.

  • Bluesign approved fabric in a 86% polyester, 14% spandex blend
  • Anti-chafing flatseam construction
  • Wide waistband with drawstring is comfortable and stays in place
  • Front pockets with zippered pocket in right side
  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • Weight not available

17. Patagonia Nine Trails Shorts (MEN)

Another pair of men’s hiking shorts that will suit guys well that hike and run. Similar to the REI Active Pursuits shorts, but with extra durability and other features that justifies a higher price tag.

  • 91% recycled polyester, 9% spandex
    • 75-denier
    • Wicks moisture, breathes, stretchy and moves with ease
  • 8-inch inseam
  • DWR finish to resist light moisture
  • Supportive and lightweight liner for chafe-free comfort
  • Adjustable waistband with drawstring
  • Two large front zip pockets and a back right zip pocket for secure storage
  • Lightweight and packable
  • 181 grams

Check REI Price | Check Backcountry Price

18. Outdoor Research Equinox Shorts (MEN | WOMEN)

The Equinox shorts by Outdoor Research are lightweight, quick-drying, and offer additional sun protection with a longer inseam, and weather protection with DWR treatment. These are a great-looking cargo short (ugly and boxy!) alternative that has a slimmed-down fit and style.

  • 95% nylon, 5% spandex
    • Lightweight, quick-dry, stretchy
  • 10-inch (men) and 9-inch (women) inseam falls around the knees for extra coverage
  • Gusseted crotch for freedom of movement
  • Water-resistant (DWR finish) and wind resistant
  • Internal drawcord waist (with belt loops) keeps your shorts up
  • Right hand zippered pocket
  • Front and back drop in pockets
  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • 180 grams

19. Outdoor Research Astro Shorts (MEN | WOMEN)

If you want a super durable, lightweight, and stretchy pair of shorts, go for these simple style pull-on shorts with a drawstring and elastic waistband. If you are going to be bushwacking or climbing rocks on the trails the durability of these shorts made of Astroman and Ferrosi fabrics is a plus. A great looking above the knee hiking short!

  • Bluesign approved 84% Nylon, 16% Spandex
    • Lightweight, breathable, quick-drying, and moisture-wicking
  • Right leg zip pocket
  • Interior mesh phone pocket
  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • Gusseted crotch
  • 170 grams

20. Arc’teryx Sabria Shorts (WOMEN)

The Arc’teryx Sabria shorts are durable, stretchy, and provide full coverage. These long hiking shorts for women are moisture-wicking, quick-drying, and very lightweight.

  • 87% nylon, 13% elastane
  • 8-inch inseam
  • Trim fit
  • Low-profile waist accommodates backpacks
  • Two mesh lined zippered pockets
  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • Gusseted crotch
  • 133 grams

21. Mountain Hardwear Basin Pull-On Shorts (MEN)

A simple, super lightweight, durable, versatile pair of pull-on shorts that you could wear working out or on the trails.

  • 94% nylon, 6% elastane
  • 9-inch inseam
  • Standard straight leg fit
  • Elastic waistband with drawstring
  • PFC-free durable water repellent (DWR) finish
  • 2 front pockets, zippered back pocket
  • 116 grams

22. The North Face Wander Shorts (MEN)

These are great-looking and affordable hiking shorts by The North Face. Another great option for fast-moving athletic hikers. This short is one of the best quick-dry hiking shorts that features FlashDry-XD technology.

  • 86% recycled polyester, 14% elastane
  • Standard fit
  • 7-inch inseam
  • Elastic waistband with drawstring
  • PFC-free durable water repellent (DWR) finish
  • 2 front hand pockets, one side zip pocket
  • 124 grams

23. Arc’teryx Taema 6″ Shorts (WOMEN)

Do you like to do run-hikes? These super-light Arc’teryx hiking shorts are perfect for women that like freedom of movement and an athletic feel. Move faster on the trails with these shorts.

  • 93% nylon, 7% spandex
  • Breathable, moisture-wicking, fast-drying fabric
  • 6-inch inseam
  • Elastic waistband with drawcord
  • Gusseted crotch
  • Women-specific design
  • 96 grams

24. Vuori Trail Shorts (MEN)

These are my favorite hiking shorts that I own.

The Vuori Trail shorts are technically a trail running short but they are a great pair of shorts that can be worn hiking.

Perfect for fast-moving hikers that also like to run. These shorts are very lightweight, stretchy quick-drying, moisture-wicking, anti-odor and the fabric feels super soft and comfortable.

I will be buying some extra pairs very soon. Such a good lightweight pair of hiking shorts.

  • 92% Polyester, 8% Elastane
  • Moisture-wicking, fast-drying fabric
  • 6.5 inch inseam
  • 4-way stretch
  • Elastic waistband and drawcord
  • Boxer-brief liner
  • Two front hand pockets, one back zip pocket
  • Reflective logo
  • Weight not available (definitely on the lighter side)

How to choose the best hiking shorts

When it comes to shorts, just any pair won’t do. There are a number of factors that will keep you cool and comfortable.

Understanding fabric properties

Not all fibers and fabrics are equal. A good blend goes a long way on the road to comfort. Before you buy, take a look at the blend of materials used in the shorts that catch your eye. Style is important for sure, but you definitely want to avoid sweating, and you want to ensure that your shorts are durable and last as long as possible.

First, I recommend avoiding cotton or cotton blends. Cotton retains water (rain or sweat) and doesn’t dry quickly. This moisture can cause discomfort and irritation from rubbing and chafing. I won’t buy or wear cotton hiking shorts for this reason. Cotton clothing also stretches in hot humid climates which is also totally annoying and uncomfortable. My experiences have demonstrated there is really no benefit to cotton.

The best hiking shorts are a blend of synthetic fibers. Polyester and nylon are most often used for hiking shorts. Polyester is amazing for moisture management and wicking sweat away from your body. Nylon is the most durable and long-lasting fabric. Spandex is sometimes included to provide some stretch in hiking shorts.

Learn more about fabrics in our complete guide on what to wear hiking.

Gusseted crotch

A gusset is a diamond shaped piece of fabric that is sewn into the crotch area. A gusseted crotch eliminates four seams from coming together in one location This increases your freedom of movement which is always a plus when hiking.

Pockets

Pockets are handy when hiking. When choosing hiking shorts, evaluate your needs for pockets.

Personally, I like hiking shorts with a variety of pockets. Front, back, and at least one zippered pocket to stash important items or valuables that I don’t want to lose.

Many hikers love cargo shorts because of the additional large side pockets that allow stashing of bigger items.

Belt

Some shorts have built-in belts which are great because they are generally lightweight and allow you to get a snug fit. These belts can help prevent your shorts from slipping and sliding around your body which can happen when wearing a backpack.

Liner

Shorts that have a built-in liner or compression liner can eliminate the chance of chafing and discomfort. Liners prevent uncomfortable (or worse, painful) rubbing of your inner thigh skin. Instead, the legs of the liner make contact, and moisture is wicked away from your skin which is even more comfortable.

Quick-dry

Lightweight quick-dry hiking shorts are a plus. Wet clothing feels uncomfortable and can also lead to rubbing and chafing which will lead to an annoying situation for each step of your hike. Polyester fabric shorts will dry the fastest.

Moisture wicking

If you are working hard and moving quickly in warm weather or hot climates sweating is inevitable. Moisture-wicking hiking shorts are highly recommended to keep dry and comfortable. Pair your moisture-wicking shorts with synthetic underwear for the ultimate stay-dry combination.

Durability

Nylon fabric is the most durable fabric. Polyester also has a good level of durability. As previously mentioned avoid cotton for many reasons including that it is fragile and easily tears.

Weight

Less weight often leads to more comfort on the trails. Ultralight hiking shorts are more breathable and will keep you dry and comfortable all day long. Avoid heavy-weight shorts that have thick fabric because you will get hot and sweaty which leads to chafing.

Fit

The overall fit or style of shorts is a personal thing. Shorts that are big or too baggy can catch on obstacles and tear, and hold additional moisture which can lead to discomfort. While shorts that are too tight restrict movement. For women, high-waisted hiking shorts, or low-waisted shorts are available. For men, the waist positioning of hiking shorts generally falls between mid to low waist. Athletic, slim-fit hiking shorts (not tight) with a bit of room to allow for a wide range of movement are a good choice. Look for shorts that have a synthetic fabric blend that includes spandex for a stretch factor.

Inseam length (inches)

Some hikers like athletic short shorts, others prefer knee-length hiking shorts for sun protection. It is a personal preference. When choosing your hiking shorts, pay attention to the inseam length in inches. This is the inside seam that runs along the inner thigh. For men, an inseam length of 5-8 inches is considered short and above the knee (more athletic in style), while 10-12 inch inseams or longer are falling around or below the knees (cargo short style). For women, 4-7 inch seam lengths typically land above the knee, and then 8+ inch inseams fall at or below the knee.

Sun protection

You can attain sun protection in two ways. A longer length of inseam will cover more of your legs. Some shorts will have a UPF 50+ sun protection rating that will shield your skin against harmful UV rays.

Weather resistance

Some hiking shorts will provide you with some weather resistance to help stay dry. In Colorado, this can be handy in the summertime since rain and thunderstorms commonly occur in the afternoon. In other locations, you may also encounter sudden shifts in weather. Look for fabric that has a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish that causes water to bead and roll off the surface of your shorts.