When the days start to lengthen and the temperature begins to climb, most men take that as a cue to tuck their pants away until the weather is more accommodating of the extra coverage. With little exception, May through September becomes a time wherein shorts and swim trunks reign supreme, effectively replacing their long-legged counterparts as the acting MO. After all, on those afternoons when it’s pushing 95-plus, the last thing you want is to be caught out in the heat rocking heavy dark denim. In addition to being downright uncomfortable, it’s also a surefire way to wind up drenched in sweat, fabric clinging to your legs with no hope of coming free.
But here’s the thing. Summer doesn’t have to be a season during which you deprive yourself of pants. In fact, there are countless options on the market that are capable of beating the heat, be they breathable linen trousers, sweat-wicking performance chinos, or even lightweight blue jeans. Of course, finding a pair of summer pants to match your signature style can prove a pretty tedious endeavor, with the wide variety in cuts, pocket counts, and patterns. To save you the trouble of hunting for yourself, we’ve looked high and low in search of the most ideal warm-weather wear, also curating this handy guide for your convenience. What follows are what we believe to be the best summer pants for men, so you can give those shorts a much-needed break.
What makes them summer pants?
What makes a pair of pants ready for summer comes down to the material. Cotton or linen are the two main choices as they’re breathable and soft. You might see some lyocell, nylon, or spandex, but those two materials are generally the usual suspects and make up the bulk of the construction in good summer pants. Sometimes a mostly polyester or synthetic blend may be used for activewear leaning pants. Linen especially is a great choice because it dries faster than cotton and is just as breathable, making it ideal for warmer situations. So if you’re looking for some summer pants then linen is usually the way to go, although other materials can be just as good, depending on what you’re looking for.
What do they go with?
Since pants built for summer can vary distinctly when it comes to style, it’s best to defer to your own judgment as you’re the final opinion. But linen pants pair well with boat shoes, slip-on sandals, and lightweight button-up shirts, just to give some examples.
J.Crew Slim Dock Pants
The Comfiest Summer Pants: These ’60s-inspired dock pants are essentially the ultimate pair of summer sweats. For in addition to boasting an unrivaled range of motion and a convenient elastic drawstring, they also come with some Cordura nylon reinforcements for some added strength, as well as a trim fit for a more refined aesthetic. Good with everything from casual tees to classy button-downs, they make for an option that’s too good to pass up. Left up to us, we’d go for the ‘submarine blue,’ but the khaki is an excellent alternative to chinos.
Material: 69% cotton, 23% polyamide, and 8% elastane
Bonobos Coolmax Seersucker Golf Pant
The Best Golf Pants: If you plan on hitting the golf course this summer then the Coolmax Seersucker Golf Pant from Bonobos is a great pick. They fit comfortably and the majority polyester blend makes them low maintenance. Additionally, there’s a zipped pocket for more security out on the course.
Material: 70% polyester and 30% cotton
Olivers Traverse Pant
The Best Cargo Pants: In case you’ve missed it, cargos are experiencing something of a second coming, and it’s easy to see why when you consider pairs like the Traverse Pant. Unlike their early 2000s predecessors, these puppies are actually slim enough to be considered stylish. But that’s not all; they also up the utility factor, adding UPF 50+ sun protection, a water-repellent finish, and a stretchy canvas construction. Even if you can’t get on board with current trends, the Traverse Pant is one option well worth a look.
Material: 98% nylon and 2% spandex
Alex Crane Cham Linen Pants
The Best Linen Pants: Linen has long served as a staple summertime fabric because it’s lightweight, naturally temperature-regulating, and exceptionally soft despite being stronger than cotton. Alex Crane’s Cham Linen Pant puts the material on full display, combining a 100% sustainably-grown construction with a trim fit, a clean four-pocket design, and a set of smart Brazilian corozo nut buttons. While the solid ‘Dusk’ colorway makes for a more understated option, we like the ‘Lines’ because it oozes old-school prep.
Material: 100% sustainably grow linen
Buck Mason Loomed Linen Fatigue Pant
The Best Fatigue-Inspired Pants: Buck Mason is among the best in the biz when it comes to crafting high-quality, heritage-inspired men’s apparel, and the Loomed Linen Fatigue Pant is no exception. Inspired by military fatigues, these light linen pants are extremely comfortable and breathable, thanks in part to the loose weave. It’s also been garment-washed with enzymes, taking the comfort to the next level.
Taylor Stitch Sheffield Trouser
The Best Overall Summer Pants: In times when the previous pick might be considered a little too laid-back, Taylor Stitch’s Sheffield Trousers could be just what you need. With their tailored slim fit, hook-and-bar closure, and Cocoa finish, they make for an option that’s classy enough for dinner parties yet casual enough for a night out at the bar. And because they’re sewn from 100% linen, you better believe that they’re light, airy, and oh-so-comfortable.
Relwen Flyweight Chino
The Best Chinos: Okay, admittedly, it’s a pretty tall order to expect a pair of pants to be wearable year-round — you’ll almost always be faced with some sort of compromise. Relwen’s Flyweight Flex Chinos, however, are perfectly comfortable no matter the season, because they’re made from a superlight cotton blend with articulated knees and gusseted seams. In practice, this means that they’re incredibly breathable whilst also offering a full range of motion, guaranteeing that you’ll be feeling your best at all times.
Material: 97% cotton and 3% spandex
Todd Snyder Japanese Relaxed Fit Selvedge Chino
The Grail Pick: Todd Snyder is among the most trusted names in men’s fashion, so it should come as no surprise that a pair of his pants makes the cut. The Japanese Relaxed Fit Selvedge Chino is constructed with fabric from the famous Kuroki Mill in Japan and made with traditional looms. These old-school pants are Todd’s recreation of classic chinos and are inspired by classic military khakis.
The Best of the Rest
Other Solid Summer Pants
Everlane The Performance 5-Pocket Pant
If you’re after some dependable everyday pants that are as comfortable as they are durable, you can’t go wrong with this pair from Everlane. Made from a high-performance cotton-elastane blend, they’re stretchy, sweat-wicking, and even quick-drying, ensuring that your legs are always feeling cool and breezy. And because they’re a part of Everlane’s Uniform collection, they come backed by a 365-day guarantee that covers holes, shrinkage, and any other unexpected mishaps.
Material: 93% cotton and 7% elastane
Vuori Aim Pant
Just because you’re looking for a more formal silhouette doesn’t mean that you have to compromise when it comes to summer comfort — especially in the case of Vuori’s Aim Pant. Despite their dressier design, they feature a featherweight, woven polyester-cotton material that offers 4-way stretch and an assortment of hidden zipper pockets. Wear them for work or for play — they’re prepared for whatever your day has in store.
Material: 67% polyester, 25% cotton, and 8% elastane
Outerknown Seventyseven Cord Utility Pants
Outerknown is a brand bent on the pursuit of an endless summer, so it goes without saying that the Seventyseven Cord Utility Pants are great for warm weather. These ’70s-inspired corduroys are incredibly soft and light, and they’ll last for a long time as well.
Material: 100% organic cotton
Saturdays NYC Morris Canvas Carpenter Pant
The Morris Canvas Carpenter Pant from Saturdays NYC was inspired by workwear and the durability that’s expected from them. They reinforced the knees with double knee panels and included durable stitching to keep them going. And they’re slightly tapered as well making them more versatile than your average pair of work pants.
Material: 97% cotton and 3% spandex
The Best Summer Shorts For Men
Maybe it’s still too hot for pants, or you’d just like to let your legs breathe a bit? Fret not, as we have you covered with our guide to the best men’s shorts on the market.