The best walking shorts for men

We're on the hunt for the trail blazing men's walking shorts for this summer season.

A man wearing a pair of the best walking shorts for men at the top of a mountain

by Gemma Lavers |
Updated on

As the sun is shining and adventure awaits, the best walking shorts for men become more than just a piece of fabric. That's right, they become a trusted companion as you trek through untamed trails and rocky paths.

Most of us prefer to hike in summer, and it's easy to understand why. There's the undeniable allure of lush greenery and vibrant landscapes. Or maybe it's because of the longer daylight hours that gives us more time to soak in the beauty of the surroundings without feeling like we need to rush off. It could even be because you can stop mid-walk to cool off in a lake or swimming hole. But of course, hiking in the summer months can come with its challenges - staying cool.

The best walking shorts for men, at a glance

• Best overall walking shorts for men: Craghoppers Men's Kiwi Pro Shorts - View on Craghoppers
• Best lightweight walking shorts for men: Montane Men's Terra Shorts - View on Montane
• Best durable walking shorts for men: Rab Men's Torque Mountain Shorts - View on Cotswold Outdoor
• Best sustainable walking shorts for men: BAM Summit Cloughton Belted Walking Shorts - View on Bamboo Clothing

The breathability that shorts and gym clothes offer in the summer months is crucial, as they let air circulate around your legs - unlike a pair of stiff trousers. So, next time you go walking, pack a pair of shorts instead and you won't regret it.

What should I look for in a pair of walking shorts?

When investing in a pair of the best walking shorts, these key factors should be considered to ensure both comfort and functionality.

Material

You're going to want to look for shorts made of fabrics like nylon, polyester, or blends with cotton.

Polyester continually stands out as a popular choice due to its lightweight and fast-drying properties, making it a great option for individuals who enjoy walking but also like to stop and paddle along the way.

Nylon, on the other hand, offers exceptional durability and abrasion resistance. Plus, nylon shorts, more often than not, have a soft, smooth texture that feels gentle on the skin (and super comfortable, too!)

Cotton blends are slightly less common when it comes to walking shorts, but they do provide a natural, breathable feel. Even more so when they're combined with fibres like polyester or elastane. They work together well as a duo, with cotton providing the softness and other fibre giving it a more stretchy feel.

Fit and comfort

Choose shorts that have a relaxed yet slightly tailored fit that still allows good freedom of movement. Your shorts shouldn't feel stiff, and most importantly, you shouldn't feel trapped in them.

Pockets

Consider the number and placement of pockets. Are you someone who can't leave the house without packing the kitchen sink? Or do you prefer to take the more minimalist approach? If it's the first, look for shorts with deep, secure pockets with zips or Velcro to keep your belongings safe.

Durability

Check the construction and stitching of the shorts to ensure durability and longevity. This is even more important if you plan to wear them hike after hike. Reinforced seams and abrasion-resistant materials will improve the lifespan of your walking shorts.

Breathability

The breathability of walking shorts is essential if you want to wave goodbye to clammy discomfort. You'll find that the wrong shorts will affect your walk, your mood and the distance you're able to go.

Water resistance

You could set off in the most glorious sunshine and end with pouring rain - you never know what the elements have in store for you. In such moments, you definitely won't underestimate the value of water-resistant shorts. These shorts will provide a protective barrier against light rain, showers or splashes from puddles. Alternatively, non-waterproof walking shorts will put a dampener on your mood by becoming waterlogged and clingy. So, one up, Mother Nature and be prepared for it.

Our pick of the best walking shorts for men

Please note: All prices are correct at the time of writing. Prices, stock and deals are subject to change without notice.

Best overall walking shorts for men

Craghoppers Men's Kiwi Pro ShortsCraghoppers

The renowned Craghoppers' Kiwi shorts have garnered favour from adventurers such as Bear Grylls and Levison Wood. Noteworthy for their sustainability efforts, these shorts utilize 200g of recycled plastic bottles in their construction. Enhanced with a DWR finish for water resistance and featuring multiple zippered pockets, they offer both practicality and eco-consciousness. Their stretchy fabric ensures maximum freedom of movement and comfort, though they do carry a weight of 241g and lack mesh-lined pockets. Nevertheless, their robust build and durability make them well-suited for rugged escapades, despite being slightly stiffer in texture.

Pros

  • Made from some recycled materials
  • Proven design - worn by the likes of Bear Grylls
  • Water repellent finish provides protection from light moisture to keep you drier for longer

Cons

  • Pockets aren't mesh-lined

Best lightweight walking shorts for men

Montane Men's Terra ShortsMontane

Best for summer hikes, Montane has introduced the Terra shorts, an iteration of their renowned Terra trousers. Weighing a mere 150g, these shorts boast unparalleled lightness, allowing for agile and effortless movement. Their quick-drying nature ensures comfort even in humid conditions, although their sleek design sacrifices a degree of durability for increased breathability. It's essential to get the sizing spot on, as the non-elasticated waistband requires a precise fit.

Pros

  • Adjustable microfleece-lined waistband
  • Two mesh-lined hand pockets with YKK zips
  • Lightweight, only weighs 195g

Cons

  • Better for summer hikes

Best durable walking shorts for men

Rab Men's Torque Mountain ShortsCotswold Outdoor

The Torque Mountain shorts are the stylish younger sibling to the highly sought-after Torque trousers. Crafted from a double-weave nylon fabric, these shorts guarantee unrestricted mobility with every step. Despite weighing in at 226g, their exceptional comfort has put them in our esteemed top three for mountain exploration. Moreover, they're loaded with convenient features, including a partially elasticated waistband, dual snap closures, and a generous four YKK zippered pockets, ensuring ample space for all your bits and bobs.

Pros

  • Double weave stretch fabric for great freedom of movement and durability
  • Part elasticated waistband with double snap closure and YKK zip fly
  • Fast-drying

Cons

  • Heavy material - 226g

Best sustainable walking shorts for men

BAM Summit Cloughton Belted Walking ShortsBamboo Clothing
Price: £27.60 (was £69)

bambooclothing.co.uk

With a focus on merging sustainability and style, BAM, the eco-conscious clothing label, showcases the Summit Cloughton Belted Walking shorts as a standout example. These shorts, expertly crafted from a blend of bamboo, organic cotton, and Lyocell eucalyptus, along with a touch of elastane for optimal flexibility, epitomise comfort in every stitch. Plus, they offer a level of softness that outshines synthetic alternatives, making them a must-have for outdoor adventures.

Pros

  • Great eco credentials
  • The eucalyptus lyocell fabric has added stretch for comfort and freedom of movement
  • Zipped patch pockets finished with triple stitching for durability

Cons

  • Boxy look might not be for everyone

Best everyday walking shorts for men

The North Face Men's Class V Ripstop ShortsCotswold Outdoor
Price: £38.50 (was £55)

www.cotswoldoutdoor.com

Combining flexible, airy material with a stylish aesthetic, The North Face Class V shorts cater to the adventurous spirit. Their standout feature lies in the large front pockets, strategically made to accommodate your essentials - such as your phone or wallet - unfortunately, though without zips. Adding a touch of flair, the adjustable webbing belt not only exudes coolness but also guarantees a secure fit. Meanwhile, the Ripstop fabric, paired with innovative Flashdry technology, ensures you stay dry whether trekking trails or indulging in an impromptu dip.

Pros

  • Comes with an on-trend webbing waist belt
  • Made from Ripstock fabric
  • Zip back pocket for essentials

Cons

  • Not as durable as some other choices

Best walking shorts for men for all-day comfort

Patagonia Men's Nomader ShortsPatagonia

Made from sturdy fabric, albeit slightly weighty, these shorts offer flexibility as you navigate rocky terrain or meander through urban landscapes. Their quick-drying feature proves invaluable when encountering sudden showers, ensuring you stay comfortable and dry. Additionally, the clever design incorporates various pockets - two at the front, two at the back, and a zippered right-thigh pocket, to hold your essentials during your travels. It's also worth noting that these shorts are made in a Fair Trade Certified factory for the more sustainably-minded hikers.

Pros

  • Elasticated waistband with an internal drawcord for a secure fit
  • Two front pockets with coin pocket on the right for essentials
  • Climbing-cord key loop at the right waistband

Cons

  • These shorts don't wash well, so wash gently

Best quick-drying walking shorts for men

Berghaus Men's Senke Stretch ShortsAmazon
Price: $61.40

Berghaus have nailed it with their Senke Stretch shorts. Unlike traditional styles, these shorts boast a modern silhouette reminiscent of running or swim shorts. While they forego belt loops, they compensate with an accommodating waistband and flexible fabric that adapts to your movements seamlessly. As for storage, the Senke shorts feature a practical zip pocket at the rear and two convenient handwarmer pockets upfront, one discreetly equipped with a zipper for added security.

Pros

  • Material has two-way stretch for great freedom of movement
  • Able to keep small items safe in the zipped rear security pocket
  • Meets the KINDER criteria, which means their gear is more responsibly made

Cons

  • Pockets are slightly too shallow

Best cotton walking shorts for men

Mountain Warehouse Lakeside Men's ShortsAmazon
Price: $26.99

Although cotton walking shorts might not be everyone's go-to, cotton is extremely comfortable - which is exactly what you need when walking long distances. These Mountain Warehouse shorts are lightweight, meaning they're easy to pack and great for traveling, plus they're also breathable. If you're someone who likes to stuff your pockets, there's plenty of pockets in the shorts to keep your essentials safe, including two large side cargo pockets. And, there's a great selection of colours available, from navy to beige to orange.

Pros

  • Lots of pockets, including side cargo pockets
  • Has UV protection for bright sunny days
  • Made from a comfortable twill cotton
  • Inclusive sizing

Cons

  • Side pockets are a little shallow

The best walking shorts for men: Buyer's tips

How do I choose the right size in walking shorts?

There is no rule when it comes to choosing the right size walking shorts. Arguably, the best way to find your size is to consult the brand size guide or just opt for your usual size. Unlike some items of walking clothes and gym trainers, there's no need to size up in your walking shorts - just take your regular size.

The shorts should be well-fitted around your waist. Not so tight that they struggle to fasten, but not so loose that they fall down.

Also think about the fabric too. Some materials have more of a stretch than others (like spandex or Lycra for example), while others will be more rigid.

Why should I buy good quality walking shorts?

If you're worried about cost, there are some great quality men's and women's walking shorts on the market that won't break the bank. Beyond merely just covering your thighs, good quality walking shorts should stand the test of time, even when worn on rugged trails and during unpredictable weather. This is because premium walking shorts will have moisture-wicking properties, reinforced stitching and adjustable waistbands. The key is to think of your walking shorts as an investment in your comfort, performance and enjoyment of the great outdoors.

How do I wash walking shorts?

It's best to wash your shorts in cool or warm water - max 30 degrees Celsius, with a mild laundry soap. But, skip the fabric softener when washing your walking shorts, as this will prematurely age them.

Another great tip is that if there's any mud on your shorts, let it dry and then brush off with a brush. This way, the mud won't penetrate into the deeper fibres of your shorts, as you won't be rubbing it in.

Once out of the washing machine, dry your shorts on a clothesline or airer where possible. Tumble drying is a last resort - it's harmful for the environment and it's not great for your clothes either.

It really is as easy as that. Invest in a great pair of walking shorts, use them and then look after them.

Gemma Lavers is a Health & Fitness Writer for What's The Best. From understanding nutrition to practising yoga and Pilates to delving into the psychology of motivation. She enjoys demystifying the latest fitness trends and staying on top of the dynamic health landscape, whether that's the best gym leggings, fitness trackers or the benefits of yoga.

When Gemma’s not writing, she can be found attending Pilates, yoga and Zumba classes. She’s also a bit of a home workout aficionado, constantly trying out new ways to keep her moving at home. Between writing, exercising and shopping, there’s nothing she loves more than hopping on a plane and exploring new cultures.

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