Image is important as you want to be taken seriously as a man. You don’t want to look out of place or out of style while maintaining some appeal. There are different styles of shorts out there and some will flatter others and some will not. Men have worn their shorts in different ways as trends always change.

Be aware of your body type and sizing to make the best picks when it comes to wearing men’s shorts. Different types of shorts can be grouped in different lengths of the inseams. However, the best place for your shorts to fall is right above your knee according to many stylists.

4” Inseam Shorts or Less

Shorts with this small inseam are not worn on a typical day for most men. Beach trunks for men and athletic shorts are likely to be found at this inseam length.

There isn’t really any regular shorts made at this length due to the shorts falling so short in the thigh area. Shorts with a 4” inseam are the best fitting for those of smaller stature. Ideally, men under 6 feet tall with a slimmer physique could comfortably wear them.

Men's 3 inch shorts from New Balance

Men’s 3 inch running shorts from New Balance – (c) New Balance

Never attempt to wear shorts that are too tight. Not only is it uncomfortable but It can pose issues like poor circulation in your legs or urinary tract infections in more severe cases.

5” to 7” Inseam Shorts

The 5” inseam is a better choice for those who have a bit more confidence in their thigh area. An inseam of 5 inches is likely to fall to your mid-thigh. Men from just under 5’ 10” to a few inches over 6 feet are an ideal height for 5 to 7-inch inseam shorts.

Men's 7inch Short

7 inch Short from Abercrombie & Fitch- (c) Abercrombie

The 7” inseam is more so the universal length for men’s shorts. Men are most likely to buy this inseam length in their shorts because they will fall in the right spot above the knee. Typically 5 to 7” inseams are best for a preppy look on slim or more athletic men.

According to these examples at Top Trends Guide, this short length is one of the most popular styles for teenage guys who are looking to piece together a stylish outfit that is cool, fashionable and youthful.

Whenever you find yourself doubting what the right inseam length should be, choose a fit where the shorts are about 2 inches above your knee.

9” to 11” Inseam Shorts

The 9 to 11-inch inseam shorts are the best fitting for much taller men standing well over 6 feet. To give a shorter look on taller men, a cuff at the bottom of the short will work to create the look. Even though 9 to 11-inch inseam shorts are more for the taller man, they will not be as appealing on men who are very skinny.

How to Choose the Length of Your Men’s Shorts

Men’s 9 inch Short from J CREW – (c) J CREW

Very thin legs can give a much looser look to wearing shorts. If you are a taller man with thinner legs, go for a tapered style of shorts to fix the loose fit. Otherwise, these inseam lengths

How Other Physical Features Matter?

Finding the right shorts with the perfect fit can be a bit tricky. A man should identify their height, weight, and overall stature to know what their right inseam length they should wear. Even though above the knee is the ideal length, it is ultimately at the preference of the person. However, other factors help determine the right style to wear as well.

It is important to understand your leg width and also the length of your torso area. Depending on your build, can determine what type of shorts are best for you.

If you have a regular build, you have the advantage of experimenting with different styles and lengths. Regularly built men have lean legs and can with a narrow torso area so most styles normally flatter their appearance.

Men with a husky build tend to have a wider midsection and larger leg width. If you have a husky physique then avoid shorts too tight or form-fitting. Longer inseams work best but they still shouldn’t fall pass the knee. It will give you an illusion of a shorter appearance, especially when your shoulder area could be more narrow then your waist area. Shorts with a good stretch are preferred for this type of build.

If you have an athletic body which broad shoulders and muscular legs than you can pull off shorts that may be too form-fitting to others. Smaller inseam shorts that are good for working out could look good on you, but other inseams that fall around your mid-thigh or lower-thigh fit good also.

The slimmest of men can also fit small inseam shorts very well due to having more narrow legs. The best inseam range would be 5 to 7 inches. Longer inseams as said before aren’t as flattering on men with a smaller leg width, despite it being a previous fashion trend.

Other Factors When Choosing the Right Shorts

Determining the right shorts also depends on color, material, and style. When it comes to color, most men stick to navy, black, khaki, and olive shorts. Especially, if they are cotton, linen, or even a cotton-blend pair of shorts.

Denim shorts serve better for causal looks and the winter months of places still warm enough to wear shorts. Never buy men’s shorts with zero stretch material which can lead to an uncomfortable fit. Cotton-made shorts are more comfortable and provide a slimmer fit which is perfect for the spring and summer months.


Certain styles of shorts are for certain occasions. Therefore, understand that there are appropriate styles of men’s shorts for the office, a formal function, a casual outing, or even athletic activities.

4.2/5 - (21 votes)