Channel Your Inner Surfer With These 9 Corduroy Shorts

Trust us, they're not as weird as they sound

a collage of the best corduroy shorts for men on a surf background
Corduroy shorts might strike you as odd at first...but don't sleep on the summer style.
InsideHook/Getty Images

Nota bene: If you buy through the links in this article, we may earn a small share of the profits.

We’ll just say what is clearly on your mind: the very existence of corduroy shorts is…kind of weird? Corduroy, of course, being a fabric heavily associated with fall, while shorts remain a distinct summer item. The choice seems at odds with virtually everything about the style.

But as we grapple with hotter summers and, unfortunately, warmer falls, it’s worth giving the corduroy short another look. If you remain unconvinced and are left imagining a heavy, burdensome short that constricts rather than allows for movement, it’s worth noting that the original adopters of corduroy shorts were Californian surfers of the 70s.

OG brands like Ocean Pacific (pictured below) and Hammies were favored by surfers for their ultra-short, ultra-high-waisted offerings. Surfers even went so far as to praise them for their comfort and flexibility, so whatever preconceived notions you might have regarding corduroy shorts, consider them debunked.

You could be as carefree and cool as these guys if you only owned a pair of corduroy shorts.
Ocean Pacific

How to Wear Corduroy Shorts This Fall:

While today’s corduroy shorts have gained some length (not so much on this list, but you understand) and considerable room in the leg area, there remains an inherent ’70s-ness to the shorts, something much sought after in this decade-obsessed day and age. Maybe you’ve always fancied yourself a surfer but find yourself in a landlocked state, or maybe you’re just terrified of the ocean.

All you need is a pair of corduroy shorts — and the beginnings of a sick ‘stache — to look and feel like you’ve stepped out of a Bruce Brown film. Pair with a terry cloth polo, oversized oxford or rugby a la the guys (and girl) above to offset the laidback vibes of the shorts with something slightly preppy.

So if you now find yourself slightly less repulsed by the idea of shorts made of corduroy, and maybe even a little curious to try them yourself, below are 13 pairs for indulging your inner surfer. Hang ten or whatever.

The Best Corduroy Shorts for Men:

If you really want to stay true to the corduroy short’s origin, these Walkshorts by Banks Journal are pretty close to the real deal. The patch pockets are reminiscent of those found on Hammies or OPs, but they feature a few extra inches of length so you won’t feel totally exposed. Plus, the half-elastic waistline means they’ll be all the more comfortable.

If the Strech Cotton Wide Wale Corduroy Short look like something right out of a Brooks Brother’s catalog, it’s probably because they’re literally right out of a Brooks Brother’s catalog. Clocking in a crisp 6″ and finished with signature oxford-cloth lined pockets, they’re as far from surfer as cord shorts are going to get. We kind of dig it.

The optimist short is a rare breed, even among corduroy styles; designed by IH-approved Vuori, the fit, feel and flex of these two-way stretch, super soft bottoms are more akin to a workout short than your typical surfer fair. Still, they’re a joy to wear around, especially considering the side seam and back welt pockets (and the signature Vuori drawcord).

You don’t often hear the term “statement shorts,” but we’ll argue that’s exactly what Howler Brothers Pressure Drop bottoms are. Triple-need construction in two-toned beige-ish hues make for a pair of cords that can do your talking for you.

If you’re familiar with Todd Snyder’s best-selling Weekend Shorts, then you’ll want to check out the designer’s corduroy version of the silhouette. Made from an extra soft, fine wale, they’re versatile in their ability to either be dressed up or down, the corduroy giving off a more polished appearance that’s balanced out by the casualness of the drawstring waist. We’re partial to this Willow colorway, ideal for the summer-to-fall transition.

If cord shorts seem weird, wait until you get a load of Babenzien’s running short oddities. Mind you, this is from the same ingenious mind that runs in fair isle sweaters, but as we’re wont to admit, Noah’s cord running shorts are shockingly comfortable and undeniably sick. We probably won’t be reaching for these for our 14-miler…but never say never.

It’s only natural that the brand from surfer Kelly Slater would have their own version of cord shorts, and they’re another pair that pay homage to the shorts of yesteryear. Outerknown sourced a lightweight corduroy for their Seventyseven shorts that’s soft, breathable and made for all-day wear. Besides, we’re willing to bet you don’t own a pair of cosmo pink shorts.

As much a pair of athletic shorts as they are corduroy joints, the escape short’s drawstring and slant side seam pockets feel fitting from surf label RVCA, as does the low-key black colorway. While we don’t recommend swimming in cord shorts, these make it seem almost okay to catch some waves, wide-wale style.

Somewhere between boy scout uniform and cutting-edge hiking gear, Digawel x F/CE’s collaborative efforts culminated in a pair of corduroy-Solotex blended beauties that stretch for days and sport (count ’em) 6 pockets of varying sizes for all your wads of cash and other such necessities. Can you afford these shorts? Probably not. Will we pin them to our budding summer moodboard? Absolutely.

At first glance, one might not notice these shorts are corduroy, but that’s what makes them so appealing. The fabric will appear much richer and almost velvet-like, distinguishing them from yet another pair of drab olive shorts. The 5″ inseam doesn’t hurt either.

What do we like about the Battenwear corded bottoms? One word: pockets. Side patch pockets with double stitch durability, a front “coin pocket” with zipper hardware, a snap-closure back pocket — whatever you need to shove in your pockets for later, we guarantee the Local Shorts can handle it.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.