“The ramblings and grumblings of author Ad Hudler”

How short should men's shorts be?
Monday, June 15, 2009

What are the cultural rules in America these days for the length of men's everyday summer shorts? I prefer mine above the knee, but some people think it obscene. You NEVER see men younger than 30 with shorts above the knee. More questions; Don't dads with mid-calf shorts look stupid? ... like they're trying to look all gangsta and young? What is the proper length of shorts for a 20-year-old? A 40-year old? Is there a difference between white and black and Latino culture?

More questions: Remember when basketball players' shorts were at mid-thigh? Didn't that make more sense? ... lighter and less material sloshing around. And aren't long shorts hotter?

What are your thoughts on men and shorts? I'm writing a story about this and want to hear your opinions.


35 Comments:

Blogger geeky Heather said...

At any age, if you wear shorts below the knee in the South, you are sweltering!

June 15, 2009 at 2:37 PM  
Blogger Ad Hudler said...

From readers left via facebook:

"I love the look of the longer board shorts. They just look so cool and dude-ariffic. When I see above the knee shorts on men all I can think of is: Gym Teacher"

Also: "I'm more concerned by short-shorts than too-long shorts... although below-the-knee shorts aren't really shorts, now, are they? In woman-speak, they are capris or cropped pants!"

June 15, 2009 at 4:02 PM  
Blogger Ad Hudler said...

From Bob Morris, novelist and travel writer:

"I like 'em longish myself, but in Bermuda, which has some definite ideas regarding this sorta thing, some places won't let men in if their shorts are below their knees. The standard Bermuda short is two inches above. Of course, those silly twits wear long socks with 'em, too, and sport coats."

June 15, 2009 at 5:21 PM  
Blogger Ad Hudler said...

From a gay reader, via facebook:

"The geighs like em short as do all four straight 30 somethings at the bar w/ me. By short, mid thigh but long enough that boxers don't show. Below knee is considered ghetto."

June 15, 2009 at 8:31 PM  
Blogger Ad Hudler said...

From a female reader via facebook:

"Neither the hemline or the waistband should be anywhere near where the legs hook onto the butt."

Ad says: Not sure what this one means. I'm having trouble visualizing this one.

June 15, 2009 at 8:38 PM  
Blogger Papa Zook said...

I just had to stand up and check how long the shorts I am wearing are - just past the knee. I own both shorter and longer - I wear the below the knee shorts when I want to look cool and the shorter ones when I want to *be* cool. Apparently I don't really descriminate much :-)

June 16, 2009 at 9:29 AM  
Blogger Ad Hudler said...

This from a 60-something female reader in Colorado:

"Hope your article sheds light on why shorts are being worn to shoe tops and resemble dresses.

I was told the longer shorts for basketball players was to cover up the wearing of support for the upper thighs.

I still prefer the shorter basketball shorts -- enjoyed watching the game then."

June 16, 2009 at 10:59 AM  
Blogger Kathy Grey said...

My conclusion for shorts, skirts, slacks, tops, underwear, bathing suits, socks and shoes: If you...

1) Are comfortable, and
2) look reasonably well in it, and
3) feel like you look appropriate

...wear that.

June 16, 2009 at 10:13 PM  
Anonymous John said...

I think it depends on your body type and what you feel confident in.

I'm a 6 feet tall guy in my mid 20's and I prefer my shorts to be an inch or two above the knee. Compared to my longer shorts they look much sharper, smarter and fashion forward. Anything shorter than one or two inches above the knee and things start to look vulgar like male hotpants. Fit is also important and they should sit freely on your waist without a belt. Also the capacity to bend over without exposing any butt crack is also important.

Tall guys shouldn't wear shorts that are too short or they'll look lanky. Short guys shouldn't wear shorts that are too short because they'll look stumpy. In addition, short guys shouldn't wear shorts that are too long because it'll make them look even shorter.

Shorts that cut off at or just below the knee are a sensible choice for men of all sizes. Those that hang too low below the knee seem vulgar and should be reserved for bedtime as pyjamas or young adolescent teens. I think most guys will be surprised by how flattering shorts an inch above the knee can make them look. However many are just reluctant to try it.

September 4, 2009 at 10:09 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Down in Florida, especially during the summer, I find mid-thigh length to be ideal. Knee length are just to hot and uncomfortable. Plus, my tan dose not stop at my knees. I am safe and secure enough in his own skin to wear them. Also noticed the new fashion trend for 2010 is to get away from the baggy knee length kind.

December 6, 2009 at 2:29 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Ever go onto a pool deck and see guys pulling up the hem of their shorts for a better tan? What fool male "designer" dictated the ridiculous length of mens shorts-did you ever look at your old family pics and notice your dad looked better than you do? Halfway down your thighs is surely long enough!

February 13, 2010 at 11:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes finally, It's about time that the trend has started to change. I am actually relieved.


It's so difficult to find a decent pair of nice men's shorts. When will this rapper trend, along with this surf board trend finally END. Is is absolutely laughable to see ads showing girls with skimpy bikinis and then the guys wearing big baggy pants to the beach or pool. it's so laughable. What is it with these mens styles that cover up the thighs. It's like, have guys been so buttoned down. I'm a guy, heterosexual, and I also like to show off my legs, athletic legs, I wear shorts at every opportunity, where it fits the occasion. I wear shorts with a 1-4" inseam, exposing my thighs and sometimes reveal a bit of my ass. And the ladies get a kick out of it and I like it.
Now men and women are convinced there’s something vulgar about men showing their thighs.
Men we've, been had. Sure, gross hairy men don’t look good in shorts. They don’t look good in anything. But why should average men have to cover themselves up in nylon tents to avoid offending girls in string bikinis?

I think society is jaded when everyone thinks they have wear long pants, albeit in hot weather even, cover themselves up in order to conform to some mass societal norm.

There is no sense of fashion in men's shorts choises. Women have far more greater choise and freedom. I'm so happy to see the trend in the big baggy look starting to END for heaven's sake. It's as if it was taboo for a guy to show his thighs. What a shame. Well just today I went out in very short shorts. I'm active and have athletic legs.

You have the girls being quite cute in their mini shorts and I enjoy those on women too. I'm happy to see for men that it is quite acceptable for them to show their legs, when they posses fine form. Women have a lot more freedom to do so. And it is among the most attractive part of ones anatomy.

I prefer wearing womens shorts. As you know it's still difficult to find proper men's shorts in the stores nowadays. They always make them too long. For my athletic legs I like the womens shorts as they provide more room in the upper thighs. Sometimes you get lucky and find ones that do have enough room in the crotch. You have to look for the ones with the longer zipper. The hip hugger kind.

Let's finally put an end to the laughable shorts styles for men that have plagued us since the 90's. It's about time we see and end to those big, ugly, long and baggy look.

Right now, I see much greater choises for lengths and styles in the womens shorts departments.

September 14, 2010 at 10:28 PM  
Anonymous iceruam said...

I am 43, I have always wore shorts mid thigh or higher, being a runner I am totally appreciative of runner shorts. When I work out I prefer near nothingness...I will say, however, there are appropriate times for shorter shorts and longer shorts, going to a BBQ with mixed company, (young/old male/female) I will wear longer khaki type shorts...but I will emphasize that when I am exercising I think the less the better, nothing hanging, of course, but I like freedom.

January 20, 2011 at 9:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mid-thigh is perfect, but you will have time finding that length in the stores. Some years ago, shorts called "jams" became popular, then the black-entertainment style dmanded the saggy-baggy "look", and even though knee-lengths look ridiculous, that's what the manufacturers continue to crank out. How many times I've been to a beach and seen guys trying desperately to pull their silly too-long bathing suits up to tan their thighs--and wondered why they weren't shorter (?)

January 21, 2011 at 9:27 AM  
Anonymous BT said...

I am 27 and tall and skinny, and I just bought some formal shorts that are about two-three inches above the knee. They're cool and very comfortable. I wore them to go to a relatively formal museum yesterday with a collared shirt and they worked out great. A couple of people told me that they really liked my shorts. So: they are provocative when worn by a younger guy... I think if you have skinny or athletic legs shorts give a great feeling of freedom. I think going a little shorter night be even better, but not more than half way from the knee. Also shorts above the knee are no good for sitting down. If you don't have the body type, use your judgement.

August 13, 2011 at 11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being 5'5 inches tall,I love wearing the 4 inch short shorts They show off my tan ned and shaved legs.I feel very comfortable in them.I have very nice looking legs and a woman commented to me about how good I look in them

June 4, 2012 at 5:30 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Don't you think guys should get tan thighs too? That 4" length for ladies burmudas sounds about right for guys too, although girls can go shorter than that. Knee-length cargo shorts and hip-hop baggies have hung around long enough.

June 9, 2012 at 11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh for crap sake... wear shorts that are comfortable whatever the length if you fat or out of shape don't gross us out and stay indoors ;) Otherwise where what you like just keep your junk hidden

June 13, 2012 at 3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here in Florida pretty much people at my age (20) wear short shorts. It looks really comfortable and it looks goods. It look really nice if you match it with a Ralph Lauren collared shirt or t-shirt. Girls in the south dig it.

November 3, 2012 at 12:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here in Florida pretty much people at my age (20) wear short shorts. It looks really comfortable and it looks goods. It look really nice if you match it with a Ralph Lauren collared shirt or t-shirt. Girls in the south dig it.

November 3, 2012 at 12:18 AM  
Anonymous Sheri Capehart said...

Hello, I really like your opinions about men's shorts....I too have just written a blog about men's shorts on my beauty blog at http://one-stopbeauty.com. Please go check it out under the "men's corner" tab and please leave a comment on there I really do like to get people's feedback/opinions....

November 6, 2012 at 9:53 PM  
Anonymous athletic shorts men said...

Knowledgeable blog. gives the perfect knowledge about athletic shorts in different countries.

March 29, 2013 at 12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As kids, we used to tease the hell out of boys who wore knee length shorts. Why ? Because it looks dumb as hell. Shorts are shorts...not longs or mediums. Girls say they dont like the way men look in 4"" -6" inseam shorts. Why ?...most men look better in shorts than women. The legs are the first to go on a woman...its where they start to gain weight. Men...it the belly. Thats why most men look gross when they dont wear a shirt while washing the car in the driveway.
Shorts..4"to 6" inseam are very comfortable. Look in Cabelas or Sportif. They sell them by the truck load.

April 16, 2013 at 12:53 AM  
Blogger Madeleine Macy said...

wear cheap mens shorts that are comfortable whatever the length if you fat or out of shape don't gross us out and stay indoors. It look really nice if you match it with a Ralph Lauren collared shirt or t-shirt. Girls in the south dig it.

May 9, 2013 at 4:33 PM  
Blogger cabanasubmit brosyan said...


A gentleman only wears shorts on the sporting field.


Men's short shorts

May 15, 2013 at 1:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I have a 44" chest, and 15" arms, I'm only 5'7" and in shorts at or below the knee, I look like a little kid in his father's pants. The mid-thigh length, with a 4" inseam is perfect for my proportions, my sweetie and her girlfriends like them, and in my present shape, I can pull it off nicely. (And to all the haters out there - yeah - you pasty guys too embarassed to wear any shorts in public because of your weight - "No, the short inseam does not show my panties", ok chubbies?)

August 16, 2013 at 12:09 AM  
Anonymous made in america clothing said...


I love this trend, I will certainly going to get one this season. Incredibly comfortable and fashionable. Street clothing and glam grunge is so amazing these days.
Mike from made in america clothing

August 23, 2013 at 11:07 PM  
Blogger cj potter said...

Im a chubby guy and i like mid thigh shorts they are vary comfortable so where what u like

March 19, 2014 at 12:08 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

I'm 53, and I don't think I've ever worn shorts to knee length or below. I want the comfort. And tighter shorts look way better.

March 27, 2014 at 3:26 AM  
Blogger Dana said...

Oh, and I'm male.

March 27, 2014 at 3:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simply not true. Ure sweating anyway...

May 6, 2014 at 12:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So who put these retarded comments your head? The Society. Lemme guess, u shave/wax ur legs? Like a woman. . .? I'm an extra hairy (manly) man that despise idiots like u with chicken legs. And shaved on top of it. Please go hide somewhere.

May 6, 2014 at 12:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

R u a woman too?

May 6, 2014 at 12:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a middle-aged white man who is 5'10" tall and weighs about 240. I've been a steroid free hard core bodybuilding for over 25 years. I tan in the summer. I started shaving my legs because the leg hair made tanning and tanning evenly over my body difficult. Once I stated, I never stopped. It's more comfortable, it's cleaner, and it certainly looks better than hair covered legs.

Hair turning white is an unavoidable part of life. My hairy chest started turning, so I started shaving that. And why have arm hair if it's not on my chest and legs? I'm just sorry I can't reach my back.

So I work out regularly (with weights) hard like I was training for the olympics. I'm a super-heavyweight class bodybuilder (without the unnatural freaky steroid look), and I shave nearly my entire body. During the winter months when I can't tan, I use a tinted body lotion on my legs, which works great.

I own and wear women's shorts exclusively. I do have some tailored (shortened) men's shorts, but they're at the bottom of the drawer and never worn. I bought them before I discovered women's shorts. I bought my first pair of women's shorts at Burlington Coat Factory in the women's close out/sale rack. I decided to check out women's at the last minute after having gone there for men's shorts, which I never found. The maker of the shorts I bought was Danskin. They are a blend of fabrics, have front pockets, fit snug, stretch, and have a 5" inseam. I have a few black pair, and a few navy pair. I wear these in the warmer weather.

I also bought women's bike shorts from Walmart. They have about a 6.5" inseam. They fit great and give me flexibility when working out. I wish the inseam was shorter. All five pair are black. They were about $4/pair. The quality is fine.

I've tried on many shorts and a 5" inseam is PERFECT for me. No more, no less. 5" is perfect.

I think a 2" of 3" or even 4" inseam looks gay on a man, but do whatever you want - they're your legs and your shorts. (I'm heterosexual, by the way.)

I own a pair of large, shapely, athletic legs ("humungous" a guy down the gym remarked). They are shaved year round. I get many, many looks from people in the gym and on the street. Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don't (depending on my mood). Women frequently check out my legs. Most look dumbfounded. The second group look as though they absolutely like it. A small minority of women don't like the look. That's tuff sh*t for them! I'm perceptive and on several occasions I've had women going out of their way to get a second and third look at me in retail stores.

I hope the women find it appealing and sexy. There is nothing sexy or attractive about fat or about leg hair.

If I spent 25 years making money and was successful, should I hide my wealth and never drive an expensive car? Or live in a nice home?

And to the guys who think it's wrong, or sissy, or effeminate, or whatever - believe me, you would never insult me to my face!

I have the balls to wear uncoventionally short shorts for men (5" inseam). I will continue to do so. I won't hide my large, shapely, shaved, tanned, athletic legs.

Here's a simple solution. If you don't like it, DON'T LOOK!

Matthew

January 9, 2015 at 3:12 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I enjoy shorter shorts. I even ride my Harley in them. I find them to be Verry comfortable. I usually like a 5 inch inseam.

January 25, 2017 at 4:27 PM  

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