The perfect shorts length is one of the world’s eternal questions. Each year, style enthusiasts lie in their hyperbaric sleep capsules wondering what inseam will dominate that summer.

The search for inseam perfection is a debate that's had people divided for months, both on social media and in the offices of Highsnobiety. Some of us find comfort in the familiarity of the 5-inch Patagonia Baggie, while others are strictly knee-length-only; no compromise.

With the inseam debate still raging, we have created a guide to the best-in-class shorts for every length. No matter which style you entrust with bearing your legs to the world with, there's a pair to choose from here.

Whether it's 70s-style super short shorts or shin-slapping 3/4 lengths, take a browse at the full scale of shorts lengths below.

From barely-there to cursed Capri, scroll to settle the shorts length debate for yourself.

Ultra-Short (0-4 inches)

Starting off with the most risqué option of the lot, it's the ultra-short shorts.

We're talking about the 80s John Travolta-style hot pants which leave little of the leg to the imagination. If you're someone who does not venture into the territory above the knee for their legwear, this one is not for you, but there is some fun to be had with styling short shorts.

Take, for example, Harry Styles' beachside outfit worn by his character in the film My Policeman, as shown above, or Donald Glover's high-riding sports shorts.

If you're willing to take a walk on the wild side with some super short shorts, check out the selection below.

HS Sports Balance Running Shorts

HS Sports Balance Running Shorts

$205

Satisfy x Highsnobiety

Buy at Highsnobiety
WB Knit Shorts

WB Knit Shorts

$140

adidas x Wales Bonner

Buy at Highsnobiety
Check-Print Denim Shorts

Check-Print Denim Shorts

$272

Maximilian Davis

Buy at Matchesfashion
Eli 3” Beach Short

Eli 3” Beach Short

$49

BDG

Buy at Urban Outfitters
Cotton Drawstring shorts

Cotton Drawstring shorts

$520

Rick Owens

Buy at mytheresa

Short (5-8 inches)

Slightly less daring but still very much above the knee, we have the typical short shorts — ie. those in the 5" to 8" range.

This is the area where much of the debate surrounding shorts length derives from, as it includes the now-renowned 5-inch inseam. Supposedly the perfect length for shorts, according to many vocal social media users who have weighed in on this topic, it is arguably the most popular of the categories.

The classic Patagonia Baggies are the most famous 5-inchers, but below you can find some other options. These are the pairs you can rely on for years to come, ultra-short shorts swing in and out of fashion, but this inseam size has lasted the test of time.

HS Sports Mesh Bruin Shorts

HS Sports Mesh Bruin Shorts

$43

Market x UCLA x Highsnobiety

Buy at Highsnobiety
Contrast Brushed Nylon Water Shorts

Contrast Brushed Nylon Water Shorts

$57

Highsnobiety

Buy at Highsnobiety
Shell Gear Shorts

Shell Gear Shorts

$80

Gramicci

Buy at Highsnobiety
Cotton Striped Shorts

Cotton Striped Shorts

$452

BODE

Buy at mytheresa

Mid-Length (9-12 inches)

Venturing into longer territory, this is a category that has become increasingly popular in recent seasons. Just hitting the knee but not completely covering it, this is where you will find something a bit more baggy and comfortable.

We're not going for a full-on Adam Sandler look here, but you have the space to move freely.

The return of the dreaded jorts have us taking a step ever closer to the knee and embracing the comfort of mid-length shorts but you can also dress this style of shorts up, as A$AP Rocky recently did with a blazer.

And since oversized and boxy silhouettes are becoming more of the standard fit for clothes, it's only right that our legwear matches.

Piperi Shorts

Piperi Shorts

$261

Dries Van Noten

Buy at Highsnobiety
Departure Short

Departure Short

$100

Tee Library

Buy at Urban Outfitters
469 Baggy Denim Short

469 Baggy Denim Short

$70

Levi's

Buy at Urban Outfitters
Basketball Shorts

Basketball Shorts

from $105

Needles

(Available at 2 Merchants)
(Available at 2 Merchants)

Long (13± inches)

You're going to have to stick with me on this one, but we may be about to see a resurgence of 3/4 lengths. Sitting in the grey area between shorts and trousers, everyone's favorite style from the early 2000s was bound to make a comeback at some time, and when would be better than at the height of Y2K hysteria?

Not only have the shorts in the recent SS23 collections for GivenchyLouis Vuitton, and Kenzo made the case for shorts lengths reaching down to the shin — but they've also received celebrity backing.

The master of baggy outfits, Justin Bieber, has naturally been giving long shorts a try along with Angus Cloud and the king and queen of Y2K: Bella Hadid and Marc Kalman. But the real winner when it comes to long shorts is Robert Pattinson — take a look at these baggy cargos that recently went viral.

It's debatable whether some of these pairs are even shorts, but you can shop our favorite styles with over 13-inch inseams below.

13 Inch Multi Pocket Work Shorts Rec

13 Inch Multi Pocket Work Shorts Rec

$55

Dickies

Buy at HHV
Floral Shorts

Floral Shorts

$819

Comme des Garçons Homme Plus

Buy at Slam Jam
Graphic-Print Bermuda Shorts

Graphic-Print Bermuda Shorts

$1233

Yohji Yamamoto

Buy at Farfetch
Floral Printed Drawstring Shorts

Floral Printed Drawstring Shorts

$1550

Loewe

Buy at mytheresa
Pleated Tailored Shorts

Pleated Tailored Shorts

$322

ami

Buy at Farfetch

Want to keep browsing? Head to the Highsnobiety Shop for more products that we love. Highsnobiety has affiliate marketing partnerships, which means we may receive a commission from your purchase.

What To Read Next

  • Image on Highsnobiety

    All the Details: Tiffany & Nike's $400 Air Force 1

    Sneakers
  • Image on Highsnobiety

    And Just Like That... Gucci Birkenstocks

    Sneakers
  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Even Stüssy's 8-Ball Nylon Jacket Didn't Stand a Chance

    Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety

    MRBAILEY & adidas Take a Dive with the OZMORPHIS Sneaker

    Sneakers
  • bottega veneta chinese new year great wall advertisement logo

    Kering Is Developing Bottega Veneta & Balenciaga Beauty

  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Looks Like Marc Jacobs Is Collaborating With Blumarine

    Style
*If you submitted your e-mail address and placed an order, we may use your e-mail address to inform you regularly about similar products without prior explicit consent. You can object to the use of your e-mail address for this purpose at any time without incurring any costs other than the transmission costs according to the basic tariffs. Each newsletter contains an unsubscribe link. Alternatively, you can object to receiving the newsletter at any time by sending an e-mail to info@highsnobiety.com

Web Accessibility Statement

Titelmedia (Highsnobiety), is committed to facilitating and improving the accessibility and usability of its Website, www.highsnobiety.com. Titelmedia strives to ensure that its Website services and content are accessible to persons with disabilities including users of screen reader technology. To accomplish this, Titelmedia has engaged UsableNet Inc, a leading web accessibility consultant to help test, remediate and maintain our Website in-line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which also bring the Website into conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Disclaimer

Please be aware that our efforts to maintain accessibility and usability are ongoing. While we strive to make the Website as accessible as possible some issues can be encountered by different assistive technology as the range of assistive technology is wide and varied.

Contact Us

If, at any time, you have specific questions or concerns about the accessibility of any particular webpage on this Website, please contact us at accessibility@highsnobiety.com, +49 (0)30 235 908 500. If you do encounter an accessibility issue, please be sure to specify the web page and nature of the issue in your email and/or phone call, and we will make all reasonable efforts to make that page or the information contained therein accessible for you.