The weather is getting warmer, the world is slowly opening up, and your kids need some new shorts… again. Even though time slowed down this past year (or did it speed up? Not sure …), the rate at which your kids keep growing did not, which means you have to keep buying them new clothes practically every 5 minutes to keep up. As summer approaches, now is a good time to purchase some solid pairs of shorts that’ll last them all summer (while you’re at it, you may want to browse some kids flip flops for hangin’ out by water … even if it’s just the inflatable pool in your backyard.) And Mama, since your summer wardrobe deserves an update too, check out our favorite comfy sweat shorts and running shorts to keep you cool and comfy, even in the hottest months.
Since there are approximately millions of shorts to choose from on the internet, we did some narrowing down and made of list of the best shorts for girls and boys that are comfortable, cute, affordable, and… well, short enough to not be pants. (Of course, if your child’s style doesn’t conform to gender rules, that’s great, too.) Take a look below to find a pair or two to add to their summer wardrobe.
Kids’ Shorts for Girls
First up —3 pairs of retro athletic shorts that definitely can be rocked without stepping foot on an athletic field. Parents love these shorts because they aren’t too short or too long. They’re available in several color options and come in size 12-18 months to size 14-16 in kids.
These super soft shorts from Gap have the cutest tie-belt and polka dot detail. Most importantly: it has pockets too!
From a playdate in the park to family get-together — these shorts basically scream spring and summer. The floral detail really pops in front of the tan background, don’t you think? “These shorts are so cute on my 8 yr old,” said one Mama. “They are a nice length, not too short and I love that the drawstring is actually functional. My girls love wearing these shorts too.”
Cutoff jean shorts have come a long way since the ’90s. (Meaning, there are so many to choose from, kids no longer have to make their own by butchering a pair of perfectly wearable jeans from their closet.) This super-soft pair from Lucky Brand comes in 8 different washes, and they’re available in sizes 2T to 12 kids with a cinch on the inside to make them tighter if needed. They’re supposed to come with an attached friendship bracelet (so maybe not so far from the ’90s, after all), but FYI many Amazon reviewers say they arrived with no bracelet. You could always introduce them to a summer camp throwback by having them make their own.
Our little ones need the basics too, and this 3-pack of long biker shorts will make planning casual summer outfits 10 times easier. In the pack you’ll get a navy, a heather gray, and a black pair of shorts. Each is lightweight and stretchy — perfect for summer. “Good quality,” said one Mom. “My 9 year old wears these all the time. She’s a rough girl and these last a long time.”
How cute are these kids shorts?? You’ve got your choice between tomato (pictured) and happy pink — both with an encased stretch waist, front pockets, and that adorable woven detail.
When it comes to quality, affordability, and style, it’s hard to beat this 2-pack of denim shorts from Amazon Essentials. They aren’t too short and the waist is adjustable for different types of bodies. They’re available in 5 color combinations and come in sizes 2T to 14. One reviewer writes, “These are absolutely perfect jean shorts for girls! The stretch element makes it so much more practical. These shorts have a lot of that stretch, and it makes them look and feel (according to my daughter) so much more comfortable.”
When you find a solid (or in this case, striped) pair of shorts for your kids, you stick with them. These shorts from Boden have a drawstring to help them stay in place and they’re just all-around a great pair of practical shorts for letting kids live their best summer lives. They come in 4 styles and are available for sizes 3T to 14 kids. We only wish they’d come in our size, too.
We love when shorts (and anything, really) can be worn to play sports, lounge around the house, and hang with friends. These well-made 3-inch shorts from Athleta are built to last. They aren’t too short, have a drawstring for an adjustable waist, and come in 5 cute colors. Plus, they have zipper pockets! The shorts come in sizes X-Small/6 to X-Large/14.
These adorable board shorts are perfect to wear as a bathing suit cover-up, to the beach, to play sports, or to just hang around. They have an elastic waist for comfort, pockets to hold all the things, and they have UPF 50+ protection. According to reviews, kids refuse to take them off because they’re so comfortable, which is cute but could get gross. The board shorts come in 24 colors — from tie-dye to floral to camo to solid colors. The sizes run from 4 to 16.
Kids’ Shorts for Boys
The best kind of play shorts are the ones that actually stay on. Even though the drawstring is for show, these shorts stay on, mostly due to the stretchy elastic waist. They’re also really, really soft and cozy enough to convince your kid to change out of their pajamas and throw these on. (We know how summertime “PJs all day” goes.) This 2-pack comes in 4 design options (so technically 8 different designs) and is available in sizes 2T to XX-Large.
Cargo shorts are a must-have in every kid’s closet — especially those who utilize pockets for trinkets, rocks, toys, worms, and who knows what else. Kids do weird things. These shorts come in 5 color options and are available for sizes 2T to 7.
These shorts are a best seller in J.Crew’s kids department. With comfy cotton material, versatile style, and a wide range of color choices — you’re little one will love wearing these kids shorts this summer.
Well, here’s a great pair of shorts that can be worn throughout the spring and summer, as well as for back-to-school in the fall — either as part of a uniform or just as regular ol’ shorts. They have adjustable tabs inside the waist so they can be worn without a belt. These shorts come in 5 classic colors, and they’re available in “slim” and “husky” sizes 4 to 16.
No frills about these mesh shorts, just a straight-up great pair to wear all day long. They have an elastic waist, a drawstring, and they just get the job done. These shorts are available in sizes X-Small to X-Large and come in 8 colors.
Is summer even summer without a pair of ripped jean shorts? These pull-on shorts from Old Navy are comfortable, stylish, and apparently, karate-ready (for better or for worse). And if your kid plays hard and rips them, well, it won’t matter. They are available in sizes small to X-Large.
Old Navy never fails when it comes to our little one’s summer clothes. These jogger shorts adjustable, comfortable, and come in an easy pull-on — no zippers here!
If it was appropriate to live in sweat shorts, wouldn’t we all? These sweat shorts from Hanna Anderson are cozy, cozy, cozy! Made of nearly-indestructible cotton French terry, they come in a variety of solid colors in sizes 18-24 months to 12 kids. One reviewer writes, “Our absolute favorite shorts of all time. They [have] the most comfy waist. [They are the most] perfect shorts we could possibly have. This is our fifth pair!”