If you’re wearing shorts, make it count: make them high quality, and if you wait until the last possible second to stop wearing jeans and start wearing shorts you probably want the lightest weight shorts you can get. Many of the shorts I’ve collected below are linen, or hemp, or really lightweight cotton — but there’s one with a stretchy performance fabric that’s surprisingly breathable as well.
1. Alex Crane – Bo Short ($75)
- 100% linen
- 7-inch inseam
- Soft and breathable
- A dozen colors to choose from
- Runs small
I’m dropping this in first because these are the only shorts I have that are 100% linen. Alex Crane is an entire brand dedicated to lightweight fabrics, or “breezy clothes” as they say on their site because,
breeze is a spirit, it’s a reminder to jump in the ocean and watch the clouds and hum a tune.
Who could say no to that? Well, you might, at $75 for a pair but they’re not the most expensive shorts out there and the product has a great story. The linen comes from flax, which is grown in a farming co-op in Normandy, France, and the fibers are separated by a process called ‘dew retting’ meaning they basically let the sun and rain do it throughout the month of August.
The fibers are spun into yarn and woven into fabric in a facility in India that uses 80% carbon neutral electricity, and the facility is certified with a bunch of working conditions organizations like SA 800.
Although linen is sometimes a bit rough and itchy, Alex Crane treats it with biodegradable enzymes so it’s soft from the get go — you don’t have to wear and wash them a bunch of times first. Mine are the “Pine” color that you often see in their advertising, but the shorts come in a dozen other colors.
So it’s a cool company, cool fabric, and a simply designed, logo-free product, just note that you need to size up. My waist is 32 inches and I usually get a medium, but these are a large.
2. Taylor Stitch’s Apres Short ($88)
- 8 inch inseam
- 6 ounce hemp
- Breathable and antibacterial
- Loose, comfy fit
These ones are made of 6oz hemp instead of linen, which is very durable: according to most sources it’s 8 times stronger than linen. It’s one of the most eco friendly fibers as well: an average yield gets you almost twice as much material as linen, and although it does need more water and nutrients than linen to grow, it still requires about half as much water as cotton and it grows much faster and makes more fiber.
Anyway, hemp is great. It’s very antibacterial, so it won’t stink so much during summer adventures, and it’s very breathable because it doesn’t hold a lot of moisture.
It was probably dumb to include it on this list because the product is almost sold out, but it’s super comfy: it’s a pretty loose, easy going fit (even on me and my powerlifter’s butt), it’s got button-through back pockets to keep your stuff secure, and it’s worth getting if they’re still out. If not, sorry to tell you how great these are.[SHOP Taylor Stitch Apres Shorts Here on Huckberry or Here on TaylorStitch]
3. Rhythm. Classic linen Jam ($50)
- 55% linen 45% Cotton blend
- 4 colors
- 7-inch inseam
- Made in China
Rhythm. with a period is an Australian brand that has managed to expand a bit into the American market with their classic, beachy vibes. This is their Classic linen jam, inspired by what they call a timeless design, and they’re really nice: super lightweight and breathable from the linen but fairly substantial from the cotton.
It’s made with an adjustable cord which I prefer for shorts (my weight yo yos a lot) and besides the logo stitched to the bottom of the left leg opening, they’re very simple to look at.
Weirdly they advertise the outseam, which is 17 inches, and not the inseam which is what people actually want to know, but I clocked mine at about 7 inches. They cost just 50 bucks which is pretty reasonable for something of this quality, but it makes sense given they’re made in China.[SHOP the Rhythm Classic linen Jam Here]
4. Flint and Tinder’s 365 short ($64)
- Available in 7- and 9-inch inseams and 7 colors.
- Chino cut, more dressy than the other more beachy shorts
- 98% cotton and 2% spandex
Next up, with hundreds of reviews, we have Flint and Tinder’s flagship short, which is available in 7- and 9-inch inseams and 7 colors. Unlike the other options on this list, it’s cut like a chino, so you’ve got a fly and belt loops for a more dressed up feel.
It’s worth noting this isn’t made with linen or hemp or anything, it’s 8 ounces per square yard of 98% cotton and 2% spandex. That 2% is why I’m including it, because that stretch is what sells it for a lot of guys: it makes it a short that looks pretty smart when you’re out, but also comfy for lying around the house or a pool party.
These are made in Indonesia, in a sustainable factory where they recycle and repurpose 98% of the water used, which is a nice touch. They cost 64 bucks and you get a 20-dollar discount if you get two pairs.
5. Wellen Easy Chino Short ($68)
- 8-inch inseam
- 68% cotton, 32% linen
- Good for athletic guys
- Might have to size up if you have a big butt or thighs
The last one to mention is the Wellen Easy Chino Short. This is the one I’ve been wearing the most this summer, largely because it’s my only blue pair of shorts, but I really dig the 68% cotton and 32% linen material, which is breathable but robust.
Wellen is one of these companies that emphasizes sustainability: the cotton is organic, which matters because organic cotton produces half as much CO2 as regular cotton, uses less water, and there are no pesticides.
The only thing I’d change is to make the drawstring the same color as the shorts (like the Apres short does) because they stand out if you happen to have bought a shirt that’s a bit too short for you. (Which always happens to me because I have a long torso.)
They’re also fairly tight; I got a medium and my butt looks really big in them, so if your butt or thighs are large for your waistline, you might want to size up. But the general consensus is they have more room in the thighs and butt than a lot of shorts out there, so they might be a good pick for “athletic guys” or bigger thighed guys.[SHOP the Wellen Easy Chino Short Here]
Wrapping It Up
I think there’s something for just about every guy here. If you want a comfy, beach ready pair of shorts the Wellens, the Bo shorts, Apres, Jams and Easy Chinos are perfect. If your priority is eco-frendliness, the Alex Crane Bo shorts or the organic Wellen ones are good picks. After something more traditional that you can wear to a casual night out? The Flint and Tinder 365, have the stretch and dressiness you need. Even if you don’t normally wear shorts, give a few of these a go.