Where to buy shorts
May 17, 2021 10:33 AM   Subscribe

Masculine-presenting people of Metafilter, where are you buying your shorts?

I'm in the market for new shorts. I'm a 6'5", 170 pound, 31 inch waisted cis-male with the following shorts needs:

- Relatively short (sub 6") inseam
- Relatively structured (e.g., no flimsy nylon, no drawstring waist, etc.; I want to be able to put keys, a phone, and a wallet in the pockets and not have them shaking all over the place and/or pulling them off of me)
- Good pockets (see above)
- Relatively narrow leg (my legs are pretty thin and I don't want to be able to fit two legs through one leg hole)
- Made in the USA or at the very least with a minimum of slave labor
- Machine washable
- Durable (I bought some from Everlane a while back and they dissolved almost instantly)
- Can be ordered online

Who's got the good shorts? Uniqlo's are too big/wide, and Everlane, as noted above, has some serious quality issues. Where are my perfect shorts??
posted by saladin to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I'm unsure about the labor factor, but for me, Bonobos shorts have checked all the other boxes.
posted by Tomorrowful at 10:35 AM on May 17, 2021

I liked these Dockers shorts so much that I have bought five pairs of them in different colors. They have an extra pocket for a phone that is just perfect, and I believe they meet all of your requirements.
posted by gauche at 10:40 AM on May 17, 2021

My go-to shorts, which I think meet all your criteria, are from REI. (Mine are a discontinued model, but something like this; other lines are a little more fashionable.) They have information on their sourcing.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 10:50 AM on May 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

Assuming you're in the US, don't laugh, but I recommend checking out home improvement/farm supply stores. In my area the ones with the good clothes (basic good quality cotton T shirts, shorts, flannel shirts in the winter, etc) are Menards and Tractor Supply. I now wear Carhartt jeans instead of Levi's, they're much better. I think my favorite shorts are that brand too. Their website says they make a lot (but not all) in the US.
posted by fritley at 10:53 AM on May 17, 2021 [7 favorites]

Outlier shorts are made in Portugal and designed in NY.

I have had six pairs for just as many years and -- with the exception of the pockets -- they look as good as new.

I will say that, though their pockets tick all your boxes, they are shit in the durability department because they are webbed for letting out water and aren't great after a few years. I just hire a tailor to replace the pockets after a year or two.
posted by dobbs at 11:02 AM on May 17, 2021 [2 favorites]

You sound like a tall skinny guy, like me.

I don't know about slave labor, but I buy all my clothes now from H&M. H&M makes clothes that fit specifically tall skinny guys. They have shorts of 3 different lengths, and, pockets, and idk, a pair of shorts is like $12 so it doesn't need to last forever. I've had them last longer than "dissolve instantly" for sure.
posted by bbqturtle at 11:30 AM on May 17, 2021

The Chrome Industries shorts have been my standards for the last few years. I bought a pair of Folsoms first, and liked them so much I bought a second pair and a pair of Madronas. I bike all the time, and all three pairs are still going strong after 2 years and some change. Not bad for a person who used to blow out seams in cheap cutoff shorts every few months.

Edit: ah shoot, these aren't sub 6". Have you tried Chubbies? The quality isn't as good as Chrome, but they're built well and you can get very short inseams.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 11:32 AM on May 17, 2021

Prana has decent sustainability practices, and sell some pants in a 36 inch inseam. Their Zion line has treated me well with good pockets and excellent durability.
posted by enfa at 11:44 AM on May 17, 2021

The go-to "nice" shorts for outdoorsy folks used to be Patagonia Stand-up shorts. They still make them, though I see in 7" lengths (shorts for men got longer there for a bit). I had some of these, and they were fantastic. They were sturdy and practical and really did last far longer than I wanted to wear them.

Patagonia has some 6" shorts available too. They only have one color in your size, but perhaps will restock other colors soon.

They have some corduroy shorts in your size, too.

Patagonia stuff is often (always? not sure) made overseas, but they detail where it's made and how and the supply chain. They also use recycled materials and organic cotton often. I think it's all sincere and an attempt to mitigate impact.
posted by bluedaisy at 12:02 PM on May 17, 2021

I just got these shorts from American Eagle, and I'm super happy with them. 5.5" inseam, very sturdy khaki, great pockets, machine washed well, several colors. They're pretty wide legged, however, and I can't speak to AE's labor practices.
posted by joycehealy at 12:05 PM on May 17, 2021

I just went through a similar research dive and the aforementioned Outlier shorts are widely lauded. I ended up going with nylon/elastic options from Myles that don't exactly meet your criteria, but I've been pleased with their quality initially.
posted by matrixclown at 12:55 PM on May 17, 2021

Came here to mention personal positive experience with Outlier and Chrome, already covered.

Check out higher-end outdoorsy brands too, like Arc'teryx, Fjallraven, and Kuhl. It seems like one current trend is to design technical pants and shorts that can pass for chinos or standard 5-pocket (jeans-cut) pants.
posted by supercres at 1:26 PM on May 17, 2021

Madewell slim-fit chino shorts may check enough boxes to warrant hemming the 7" inseam:
Leg opening: 21 1/2"
waist sizes 28-38
"We partner with the Better Cotton Initiative to improve cotton farming globally."
Other Madewell initiatives; "The fundamental principles of Madewell’s Responsible Sourcing Program are outlined in our Madewell Vendor Code of Conduct." Current promos, discounts.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:30 PM on May 17, 2021

I love Volcom brand shorts. I also have a slim build. Their shorts range from quick-dry and sporty to relatively dressy. The materials have some stretch and the build is generally good. They are not baggy, floppy shorts. I even have a couple pairs of "cargo style" shorts of theirs and they do not have the ludicrous "dad with the lawnmower" look at all. They are more tailored and slimmer fitting, with the side pockets still useful without ballooning out. Rear pockets have zippers which I find necessary with shorts. They run true to size and I own several different pairs of them. I have actually received compliments on these things... which is kinda weird to get for shorts.

Volcom was started as a skateboarding clothing company and some of their items have that look. But the ones I wear are pretty conservative.

I do not know if slave-type labor is involved in their manufacturing, though.
posted by SoberHighland at 4:21 PM on May 17, 2021

American Trench. I thought Unis made shorts too, but I don't see any on their site.
posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 4:44 PM on May 17, 2021

I like the Big Bud Press worker short. They're made of sturdy, zero stretch cotton and are absolutely unisex. They come in various colors and the pockets are roomy. Their measurement charts are very accurate and they make everything in LA and are very ethically focused when it comes to materials and dyes and they also pay all of their employees fairly and they do their own manufacturing.
posted by quince at 6:26 PM on May 17, 2021

I have some of the aforementioned Outlier shorts (New Way I think), which I bought a few years ago. I’m a vaguely similar size to you. On the whole I really like them but, as dobbs said, the mesh pockets are feeble, unless they’ve improved in the intervening time. I went through mine pretty quickly and I might have returned them, or kicked up a fuss at least, if I was in the US (too expensive to bother returning them from the UK).

Aside from that, I’ve found my phone and stuff flap around a bit in the pockets, which I find annoying. But this could be just because I’m used to wearing jeans, which are snugger and stiffer, so there’s no space for things to flap.

Note that they do have a drawstring waist, as well as a button and belt loops, but you could cut the cord if you didn’t want that.
posted by fabius at 5:47 AM on May 19, 2021

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