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13 Different Types of Shorts for Boys (Kids)

Back profile of a little boy wearing plaid polo shirt and blue shorts looking out through the park.

Boys’ shorts come in different shapes, fabrics, and design philosophies, and it’s not always easy to know which is the best one to get. As a parent, I know that shorts are primarily a personal preference, but we can still help our boy make the most informed choice! So, what types of shorts are there for boys?

Types of shorts for boys include Swimming shorts, Denim shorts, Flat-front shorts, Pleated shorts, Running shorts, Bermuda shorts, Madras shorts, Cargo shorts, Board shorts, Chino shorts, Boxer shorts, Trail shorts, and Sweat shorts. Their fabrics make them well suited for a particular purpose.

Getting a pair of shorts purely for aesthetics may seem like a good idea at first, especially if they’re inexpensive, but it’s much better to make a “short” investment now and save time and money in the long run!

Types of Shorts for Boys (Kids)

When there’s sunshine outside, it’s time to bring your favorite pair of shorts for the summer! There are many great options for boys’ shorts, and thinking about what kind of boy’s summer shorts they’ll need for any activity and occasion is half the fun.

The length and fit for shorts make all the difference in creating a flattering style and fitting comfortably. Shorts that don’t sit well will add undesired heft to the body and make boys seem shorter no matter where you’re going, from an outdoor BBQ to a day at the beach.

For the most part, shorts for boys should never fall over the knee area; otherwise, it will make the boy look shorter than he is. Although it shouldn’t be too high up, or you may run the risk of it looking unflattering. The perfect measurement for shorts is to have them about two inches above the knees.

Swimming shorts are excellent for scorching Summers because the Nylon, Polyamide, or Polyester fabrics provide superb breathability and the ability to dry quickly. Denim shorts are another interesting pick due to their versatility; light-wash denim offers a comfortable and relaxed aesthetic, while dark-wash denim is a little more formal.

Flat-front shorts are some of the best casual shorts. They go great with t-shirts and buttoned-up shirts; they can even fit well with a polo shirt if the boy needs to dress up a little. Pleated shorts are known for being roomier and offering superior freedom of movement. They are an excellent choice for playing outside and in social settings.

Running shorts are a good alternative for boys who enjoy sports and are usually active outside in the sun. They are lightweight and dry quickly. Bermuda shorts are unique in that they can become dress-up shorts for boys for semi-casual wear. It allows for easy attire options for formal settings.

Madras shorts is a thin option that offers a unique Summer style. It’s usually loud and bold, and the light material is excellent for keeping cool. Cargo shorts have light material that qualifies them as an alternative to other shorts. The light fabric is durable enough for trekking and hot and humid days outside.

Board shorts offer a lot of freedom for leg movement since they were initially designed for surfers to maneuver freely on the waves! Chino shorts come with style and comfort, and although their material is thicker, it breaths pretty quickly.

Shorts for Boys: Swimming Shorts

Kanu Surf Boys' Echo Quick Dry UPF 50+ Beach Swim Trunk, Victor Navy/Orange, 2T

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When Summer is knocking at the door, it’s only natural to start thinking about boys’ swimwear for the season. To ensure they get something comfortable and fashionable, it’s a good idea to consider boys’ height and body type. A thin and tall boy should consider wearing longer and wider board shorts.

If a boy is very tall, vertical stripes will make him look taller and thinner than they already are. Horizontal stripes, on the other hand, may be a good fit for them.

When it comes to color, the boy’s complexion should be a helpful guide: if they are pale, stay away from extremes colors in terms of brightness and darkness, whereas boys with darker complexions look better with lighter or brighter colors. However, anyone can wear deep blue, green, or red.

While natural fibers such as wool were formerly the most popular material for swim trunks, most popular materials include Nylon, Polyamide, or Polyester. Cotton is also a possibility, and its most essential characteristics are comfort, rapid drying, color retention, and durability.

SPF ratings are now standard on modern swimming shorts and trunks, and some even advertise their “tan through” properties. Artificial fibers are a fantastic choice for swim trunks since they offer strength and durability.

Last but not least, there are many exciting patterns on the exterior of boys’ swimming shorts. Find out if the boy has any favorite cartoon characters or likes specific animals or things, and have fun with it. Something like sharks eating donuts or surfboards or sun-wearing sunglasses are all great picks!

Shorts for Boys: Denim Shorts

Levi's Boys' Little Slim-Fit Denim Shorts, Roxy, 7X

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Denim shorts for boys are very much in style at the moment, along with many other 90’s fashion trends making their return. Their versatility makes them excellent all-year-round choices for the mall, school, and other social events. Denim shorts shouldn’t be super skinny, yet if they are too baggy, they’ll sit and look a little off.

In general, it’s a good idea to have both light-wash and dark-wash colors; light-blue is perfect for pulling off a casual look, whereas black denim shorts have the potential to be a little more formal. For light-wash denim shorts, a regular white t-shirt fits well and works in any casual setting.

As a bit of a bonus, boys who have a light-wash denim shirt can match it with dark-wash denim shorts for a remarkably stylish contrast of denim!

Boys’ denim shorts should be above the knee. Make sure they’re tapered rather than broad and flared since this will give them a less-than-ideal shape. They look great with a clean shirt, polo, or button-down. Remember that the more you dress up denim shorts, the less stylish they will become.

Shorts for Boys: Flat-Front Shorts

French Toast Boys' Little Flat Front Performance Stretch Short, Navy, 4

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Flat-front shorts are an excellent formal variant of casual shorts that would make a valuable addition to any boy’s clothing collection. They are frequently worn with a polo shirt to outdoor events like receptions and informal afternoon barbecues during scorching summers.

Flat-front pants are popular among trendier boys because they are slimmer and snugger. The silhouette is cleaner without wrinkles, which flatters thinner forms. However, they might highlight a belly or other “not so favored” portion of the body if they don’t fit well. Furthermore, they’re slightly tighter and may restrict mobility.

They also have smaller pockets to help them lie flatter; other designs may not have any pockets or mimic pockets, which are elements that have the appearance of a pocket but aren’t. Most flat-front shorts come in cotton, wool, linen, and other fabrics.

Denim shorts with flat fronts are ubiquitous; however, they rarely get promoted as flat-fronted shorts. Flat-front shorts tend to have a more contemporary appearance than their pleated counterparts, which are a more traditional form of shorts. When it comes to boy’s denim, this is especially true.

Shorts for Boys: Pleated Shorts

French Toast Little Boys' Pleated Short with Adjacent Waist, Khaki, 4

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Pleated pants are roomier and accommodating to those with larger, athletic bodies. They are also more generous in the midsection, which can assist in slimming a bigger tummy. Because they are simpler to move in, they are also ideal for playing outside or running around with friends.

When choosing pleated pants for lankier boys, make sure there isn’t too much area or fabric to make his silhouette seem untidy.

Sewing folds into the cloth and then attaching the waistband creates pleated shorts. Pleated shorts are the more classic and oldest of the two styles.

Shorts for Boys: Running Shorts

Under Armour Boys' Prototype Wordmark Shorts , Black (001)/Pitch Gray , Youth X-Small

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A pair of comfortable running shorts are hard to beat when boys play sports or run around during summertime. The best running shorts are ones that are lightweight, comfortable, and quick to dry. As a result, boys should only buy shorts made of synthetic fabric (such as polyester) with just the proper degree of stretch.

Finding the correct length for running shorts comes down to personal preference. Long shorts with integrated compression give superb protection and muscle support, especially over long distances. On the other hand, shorter running shorts may also be a popular choice because of the freedom they provide while running.

As a result, the length of their shorts comes down to support, length, and the type of jogging the boy prefers. In hot weather, running shorts of 4-5 inches are ideal for road, and short trail runs, mainly because of their low weight and ease of movement.

Long shorts of 6-7 inches are ideal for trail running, especially long-distance runs like ultra-trails, giving improved sun protection and added warmth as the temperature drops. They also come equipped with a longer inner, thereby providing enhanced thigh muscle support.

If the idea is to forget about the running shorts as soon as they’re on, go with shorter versions with the most comfortable integrated underwear, such as briefs or boxers, even if this means sacrificing muscle support. Choose a size that fits well enough to stay in place while jogging, especially if it’s something with integrated pockets.

Many running shorts include a seam cut along the side of each leg. A three-quarter seam, for example, signifies the removal of a quarter of the length. The shortest is half split seam shorts, and square leg running shorts have no split at all.

Shorts for Boys: Bermuda Shorts

Lacoste Big Boys' Solid Twill Bermuda Shorts, ABYSSAL 08H, 10YR

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Bermuda shorts, often known as dress shorts, are a good choice for boys’ semi-casual wear. Depending on the event, these versatile shorts can usually be worn in more formal situations such as weddings, provided they are accompanied by a sports coat, with over-the-calf socks, a tie, and even a blazer or light sweater.

Since Bermuda shorts originated from the British Army spending time in humid climates, these shorts have engineering qualities to fight the heat! They come in varying colors for summertime, and they’re bound to keep boys cool and refreshed.

Bermuda shorts typically consist of two-ply, one hundred percent Twill fabric. Other varieties of Bermuda shorts, on the other hand, are ninety-eight percent cotton or two percent Lycra, with a washed finish. Its material was created with a touch of elasticity in mind, allowing you to move freely while still giving you a lightweight sensation.

Shorts for Boys: Madras Shorts

Carter's Baby Boys' Madras Flat-Front Shorts, 6 Months

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Madras shorts is the perfect Summer style for boys that promises comfort and quality. Generally, madras shorts are made from a very thin cotton muslin fabric with patterned checks, usually in a vast array of different colors!

The most modern madras shorts come in three types, with the first one being yarn-dyed. The yarns are dyed using different colors, and then they’re woven into a specific pattern. Thus, it’s not necessarily a pattern just printed onto fabric, such as with floral shorts.

The most current madras shorts are available in three styles, the first of which is yarn-dyed. The yarns are dyed in a variety of colors before being weaved into a design. As a result, it’s not always a design only printed on cloth, as with flowery shorts.

Patchwork madras shorts are also a trendy style choice for many boys. As the name suggests, a patchwork madras short consists of varying patterns bunched together to form a unique design philosophy. The result is often a “louder and bolder” aesthetic statement that can be an exciting choice.

Lastly, the bleeding madras shorts originates from India and refer to a hand-spun technique that combines dyes that don’t fade after a wash. It resulted in a “bleeding” effect that offered a unique and personalized aesthetic for every launder. It may be slightly challenging to get ahold of bleeding madras, but it’s well worth it!

Shorts for Boys: Cargo Shorts

Wrangler Authentics Boys' Big Classic Adrean Cargo Short, Olive, 8

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Cargo shorts are a lighter alternative to the standard uniform of joggers and a sweatshirt. With their high-quality craftsmanship and relaxed fit, they’re also ideal for trekking. Most cargo shorts are slim-fitting, trendy, and ideal for matching everything from t-shirts for a casual approach to polo shirts for a polished look.

The cargo shorts that are a few inches above the knee or just above the kneecap offer a taller impression. Knee-length cargo shorts are good if the boy is taller, but anything that goes below the knee is challenging to move around in. But, in the end, it’s a matter of personal choice.

Smart casuals at their finest, cargo shorts have multi-purpose features and a comfortable design. Cargo shorts are great go-to clothing alternatives for boys, whether at home or during playtime. They come in varying colors and lengths to fit almost any boy. They may also be as playing unbelievably comfy apparel.

The number of pockets on cargo shorts is crucial for storing money, toys, smartphones, and other essential items.

Shorts for Boys: Board Shorts

Hurley Boys' Board Shorts, Multi Shoreline, 2T

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Board shorts were initially created for surfers searching for a lengthier alternative that would allow them to operate their boards in the way they wanted. Board shorts are often designed with a more considerable length, a drawstring waist, and a hook-and-loop front fly fastening.

They’re usually composed of smooth polyester or nylon, which makes them suitable for usage in water. Board shorts are light and airy, and they keep you covered without restricting your movement. They’re ideal for surfing, wakeboarding, and beach volleyball because of this.

There are several advantages to wearing board shorts as your favorite swimwear. The fact that board shorts do not restrict leg movement in the same way as mesh-lined swim trunks do is one of the essential advantages for water sports enthusiasts and people who love to be active on the beach.

As a consequence, users may perform complex motions without being restricted by their clothing. Another advantage of board shorts is that they are less prone to ride up during high-intensity movements like running. When boys spend long days on the water, whether surfing, swimming, fishing, or boating, they can avoid skin irritation.

Shorts for Boys: Chino Shorts

The Children's Place boys Chino Shorts, SANDWASH, 8

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Like its full-leg version, Chino shorts are comprised of a lovely fabric that provides an easy fit whether walking or sitting. They’re generally knee-length shorts with a front zipper clasp. Pair these shorts with a linen button-down or a blouse with a light design.

They’re an excellent option for the summer heat. They also come in various hues and may be worn with any of the boys’ favorite summer fashion items. Whether you’re going for a strict style, a casual pocket tee, or a breezy camp-collar shirt, there’s a pair of chino shorts that will complete the look.

Chino shorts must be the proper length; if they’re too long, they will look like three-quarter pants, but shorts that are too short will look like hot pants! Consider having them around two inches above the knee area for the best fashionable aesthetic.

Chino shorts consists of twill fabric that was initially 100% cotton. Despite being heavier, chino fabric is nonetheless breathable. It is possible to wear chino shorts with t-shirts, polo shirts, and even button-up shirts because of their adaptability.

Shorts for Boys: Boxer Shorts

Hanes Boys' Boxer 5 Pack, Tartan, Medium (Colors may vary)

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Boxer shorts are cotton or silk underdrawers with an elastic waistband, back panels, and buttoned front closure, derived from the loose, full-cut shorts used by professional boxers in the ring. They are very comfortable for boys and allow for superior freedom of movement, even beneath other types of pants.

Furthermore, boxer shorts allow for steady airflow, which helps to keep the temperature down and make the wearing experience a comfortable one.

Fabrics used to make boxer shorts include one hundred percent cotton, cotton/polyester mixes, jersey knits, satin, and silk. As a result, they’re among the most comfortable boys’ shorts for sleeping and lounging around the house!

Shorts for Boys: Trail Shorts

Columbia Kids & Baby Tech Trek Short, Delta, X-Large

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Like classic road running shorts, Trail shorts have a few added qualities that make them well-suited for boys who enjoy venturing off the usual running and hiking path. Many will have pockets for extra gels, a longer fit for protection, and all-day comfort.

The lack of weight is maybe the most noticeable sensation when putting trail shorts on – it’s similar to putting on a pair of mesh shorts. Micro perforations have been included in this ultra-lightweight 4-way stretch fabric to increase ventilation – silicone on the inside of the waistband guarantees that everything stays in place.

On the back of the shorts, there’s a zippered pocket big enough to house a medium-sized phone. Their loose fit is a hit with boys since it keeps them cool in the summer heat. In addition, the loose-fitting sizes also mean they’ll slip on over a pair of tights once winter arrives.

Some trail shorts materials have a single weave fabric that is incredibly elastic and, when paired with a loose fit, provides total leg flexibility when charging up or down the fells. Because some trail shorts have no inner, boys may need to wear them with a pair of technical briefs or boxers.

They’re incredibly light, and wicking and the inner fabric works to support boys’ quadriceps, so they’re even more comfortable. They’re pretty great to wear all day, and their ability to stay ventilated while offering adequate upper leg protection is a huge plus.

Running shorts come in a variety of leg lengths, ranging from ultra-short to longer, baggier styles. The design and measurement of the shorts are entirely up to the boy wearing them.

Shorts for Boys: Sweat Shorts

adidas Boys' Standard Parma 16 Shorts, Dark Blue/White, 4T

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When the weather turns hot in the summer, sweat shorts are a terrific option for boys to wear. They are casual for the most part, so they are best suited for a relaxed, laid-back look.

Reasonably, the length should never exceed the knee; anything beyond that is considered excessive. Sweat shorts usually have an elasticated waistband, so they should fit pretty comfortably despite a boy’s body type.

Sweat shorts are the natural choice if you want the comfort of your favorite sweatpants without the sweat factor, especially now that the weather is heating up. A pleasant and durable jersey or terry-cloth fabric is the foundation for an excellent pair of sweat shorts.

It’s elastic, has a soft drape, and is the ideal lounge-friendly fabric for even meeting up with friends.


Boy’s shorts are unique, and there is a wide range to consider. Some of them, like chino shorts, work well as both casual and formal shorts. Others like sweat pants are more casual but excellent picks for lounging at home.


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