Gear up for greatness with the best walking shorts

Let your legs breathe this spring/summer.

Four individuals wearing the best walking shorts on a brown background

by Gemma Lavers |
Updated on

As the night's are gradually getting longer, it's a reminder that summer is well on its way. And what does summer mean? Strolling along sun-drenched boardwalks, exploring rugged trails and jaunting through the city at 8pm when it's still light. Whatever type of walking you choose to do, make sure you're equipped with a pair of the best walking shorts in your gym attire.

The best walking shorts, at a glance

• Best overall walking shorts: Craghoppers Men's Kiwi Pro Shorts - View now on Craghoppers
• Best lightweight walking shorts: Montane Men's Terra Shorts - View now on Montane
• Best walking shorts for durability: Rab Men's Torque Mountain Shorts - View now on Cotswold Outdoor

Walking shorts are a must when the sun comes out, providing the perfect balance of functionality and style, allowing you to move with ease and let your legs breathe. Trousers can get stuffy in hotter conditions, but walking shorts give your legs the liberty they deserve. So you can stride, skip and leap through your trails.

Much like their longer counterparts, walking shorts come in various different shapes, sizes, styles - and for different purposes, running, hiking, gym. From feather-light to heavy-duty, snug-fit to relaxed, and budget-friendly to splurge-worthy, there's a pair for every adventure seeker. Take a look below at our handpicked selection.

Our pick of the best walking shorts

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

Craghoppers Men's Kiwi Pro ShortsCraghoppers

The Craghoppers' Kiwi shorts are worn by the likes of Bear Grylls and Levison Wood. They boast commendable sustainability, incorporating 200g of recycled plastic bottles, and come equipped with a DWR finish and multiple zippered pockets. Plus, they're stretchy to maximise your motion and comfort. The only drawback is they tip the scales a little at 241g and they lack any mesh-lined pockets. Saying that they're still sturdy and durable, albeit slightly stiffer, but ready to take on rugged adventures.


  • 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


  • Pockets aren't mesh-lined

Best lightweight walking shorts

Montane Men's Terra ShortsMontane

Great for the summer season, Montane's lightweight edition of the acclaimed Terra trousers now comes in Terra shorts. Tipping the scales at a featherlight 150g, they're the near-champions in weightlessness, empowering your every move with speed and grace. While they're quick to dry and a breeze to wear, their svelte construction trades a bit of durability for that airy feel. But be sure to nail your waist size - the non-elasticated band demands a precise fit, leaving no room for guesswork.


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


  • Better for summer hikes

Best walking shorts for durability

Rab Men's Torque Mountain Shorts Cotswold Outdoor

Rab's Torque Mountain Shorts, the shorter, sassier sibling of the best-selling Torque Mountain Pants. These shorts boast a double-weave nylon material that ensures every move you make is as free as a bird. They're so comfy, in fact, they've strutted right into our top three for mountain moseying, despite a little heavy at 226g. Plus, they're packed with practical features like a part-elasticated waistband, double snap buttons, and not one but four YKK zippered pockets to stash all your essentials.


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


  • Heavy material - 226g

Best women's walking shorts

Columbia Women's Saturday Trail ShortsColumbia

The Saturday Trail shorts from Columbia are extremely popular lightweight, straight-legged shorts. There are a couple of cool features in these shorts, like the built-in UPF 50 sun protection, ensuring you never get burnt, and Omni-Shield repellence. If you don't know much about Omni-Shield technology, it's basically in place to repel water and stains by stopping liquid from absorbing into the yarns. Keeping your shorts looking brand new, even though it's tackled tough terrains.


  • Water and stain repellent thanks to Omni-Shield technology
  • Lightweight design
  • Built-in UPF 50 sun protection for hot hikes


  • Some reviewers found these shorts run a little small

Best walking shorts for sustainability

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

BAM, the eco clothing brand, is all about blending style with sustainability, and their Summit Cloughton Belted Walking shorts are a prime example. Crafted from a harmonious mix of bamboo, organic cotton, and Lyocell eucalyptus, with just the right amount of elastane for that essential stretch - these shorts scream comfort with a capital C. They're a dream for hikers, boasting a softness that leaves synthetics in the dust.


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


  • Looks more boxy than others

Best walking shorts for everyday

The North Face Men's Class V Ripstop ShortsEllis Brigham

The North Face Class V shorts marry stretchy, breathable fabric with a trendy design for the active soul. What sets them apart are the large front pockets, designed to keep your essentials like your phone or wallet handy - without the usual squeeze. The snazzy, adjustable webbing belt adds a dash of cool while ensuring a snug fit, and the ripstop fabric paired with Flashdry technology keeps you dry from the trail to a spontaneous dip in the sea.


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


  • Not as durable as some other choices

Best value walking shorts

Sprayway Compass ShortSprayway

This Sprayway gem rivals its pricier counterparts without plundering your piggy bank. These Compass shorts are a masterclass in mobility thanks to the magic of TecWEAVE fabric. This grants you the freedom to leap, squat, and sprint without restraint. While the fit leans towards the snug side, offering a sleek silhouette some will adore (and others might find a tad too close for comfort), its 27.5cm inseam and elasticated waist ensure you're always snug and dry, courtesy of a WR finish.


  • Features TecWEAVE stretch polyamide fabric with WR finish
  • Two zipped hand pockets, with one zipped security pocket
  • Semi-elasticated waist with belt looks and tricot lining for wicking comfort


  • Fit might not be to everyone's taste

Best walking shorts for all hikes

Patagonia Men's Nomader ShortsPatagonia

Embark on an adventure like no other with the Patagonia Nomader shorts. Made for the modern-day nomad, they boast a durable fabric (albeit a little heavy) that moves with you - whether you're scaling rocky cliffs or strolling through bustling city streets. The Nomader shorts are also quick-drying, perfect for when you get caught in unexpected drizzles. Furthermore, the thoughtful design includes multiple pockets (two front, two back and a zippered right-thigh pocket) for storing all your bits and bobs.


  • 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


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

Best walking shorts for quick-drying

Berghaus Men's Senke Stretch ShortsAmazon
Price: $61.40

Berghaus hits the mark with their Senke Stretch shorts, dubbing them as "go anywhere, do anything." These aren't your granddad's shorts; their contemporary cut echoes the breeziness of running or even swim shorts. Sure, they skip on belt loops, but they're packed with perks. Like a waistband that hugs your form and a fabric that moves with you. For pockets, the Senke shorts come equipped with a secure zip pocket at the back and two handwarmers upfront (one with a sneaky zip).


  • 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


  • Pockets are slightly too shallow

Best women's walking shorts that double as sports shorts

The Terrex Xperior shorts are made to propel you through every terrain with grace. With an adjustable waistband that offers optimal comfort, and stretchy woven fabric there for flexibility, these shorts are designed with practicality in mind. For safe storage, there's a cargo pocket with a zip and a mesh pocket that always comes in handy. The only thing to watch with these shorts is they're slim fit, and they're not the most flattering length for some individuals.


  • Cargo pocket with zip, and additional mesh pocket
  • Elastic is in the back waist with hook-and-loop adjustable flaps
  • PFC-free water-repellent finish for any unexpected showers


  • Length may be a little long for some individual's tastes

What should I look for in walking shorts?

As we've proven, there are a LOT of walking shorts on the market. You'd take the time to consider your walking poles and trainers - so why not your shorts? And although we've given you our top ten, there are some things you can look out for yourself when picking a pair of shorts.


Opting for longer shorts will give your thighs an extra shield, though you might sacrifice some nimbleness on those tough rock scrambles. Alternatively, short shorts scream freedom (and bravery) but aren't everyone's cup of tea. But, it's all about the inseam length – that pivotal measurement from crotch to hem that dictates how much leg you're willing to share with the world.


The amount of pockets you require in your shorts is very much a personal decision. Are pockets just a place for your hands, or do you need a deeper space for your phone and snacks?


Nylon and polyester tend to be the favourites when it comes to walking shorts that are light, tough and have climate control. For individuals who prefer a more sustainable option, there are options on the market for walking shorts infused with bamboo or hemp.


Some walking shorts come with a belt - an easy fix for when you're worried about a wardrobe malfunction. There are other options, like elasticated waists too. In addition, for closure styles, they're usually a mixed bag of press studs, snaps, and discreet buttons.

Three men walking down from Scafell Pike
The best walking shorts are here to support you - from navigating nature's trails to descending Scafell Pike. ©What's The Best/Fionn Elliott

The best walking shorts: FAQs

Are shorts good for walking?

In hotter climates, wearing walking shorts is a great alternative to stuffy trousers. Shorts will keep you feeling cool and breezy on even the hottest days.

If you're not a fan of the humble walking shorts, there's always zip-off trousers that change full-length trousers into shorts. This way, you can get the best of both worlds, allowing you to cool off with ease. The best part is, when the temperature drops or the terrain gets tough, a quick zip-up will restore your trousers to their full-length glory. Leaving your friends shivering in the distance.

What is the difference between board shorts and walking shorts?

Board shorts and walking shorts are, in fact, very different. Board shorts, or swimming shorts as they're also known, are for water activities and open water swimming. They typically are made from quick-drying materials, with a longer length and a looser fit. This is to give the swimmer or surfer maximum freedom of movement.

On the other hand, walking shorts are used for a very different purpose. Walking shorts are suitable for outdoor exploration, with features like pockets, adjustable waistbands and water-proof outer. In short, while swimming shorts and walking shorts are slightly similar in their appearance, they differ in their intended uses and unique features.

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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