It’s only the beginning of spring, but soon it will be summer, and you know what that means: denim shorts on repeat. But as much as we’re looking forward to making more direct contact with the sun, one thing we’re not as excited for is refreshing our warm-weather wardrobe.
From searching for flattering swimsuits to finding enough sundresses to make it through what feels like endless backyard BBQs and pool parties, a girl can become exhausted quite quickly. And the item we least look forward to searching for? A good pair of denim shorts.
It could just be us, but we’d argue that year after year, finding the perfect pair of denim shorts only becomes trickier. While we’re no longer looking for the booty-bearing styles we wore in our teen years, we still want a length that feels flirty and on-trend.
On top of that, there’s also the fact that, like jeans, there are so many different style options to choose from—high-rise, low-rise, distressed, frayed, cutoff, cuffed, boyfriend, etc.—and what works on one person’s body may be a total disaster on another’s. But through all of the denim gloom and doom, there is a glimmer of hope, because we’ve rounded up a list of the Top 10 denim shorts in every category—we’re talking raw hems, rolled hems, and everything in between.
How We Found The Best Denim Shorts
Wearing ill-fitting shorts on a hot day is the stuff of nightmares. We wouldn’t wish that evil on anyone, which is why we set out to find the best denim shorts on the internet. To do that, we turned to our algorithm, a data-powered tool that factors in information such as reviews and best-seller lists to find and rank the best products in any given category. This means fewer returns, less time spent browsing, and insider info on the most unproblematic denim shorts the internet has to offer. What are you waiting for? Scroll on to find your next favorite pair of jean shorts.
Next up, check out the 10 Best Mid-Length Denim Shorts. Opening image: madewell.com
Top 10 Lists serve as unbiased shopping guides to the most trusted product recommendations on the internet. Products are scored and ranked using an algorithm backed by data consumers find most valuable when making a purchase. We are reader-supported and may earn a commission when you shop through our links.
Levi's Ribcage Short
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THEM: Lightly faded with a raw hem and distressed details, these denim shorts are made for sunny days when the only thing on your schedule is “have a good time.” They’re made from a cotton blend that’s slightly stretchy and have an extra-high waist for a flattering fit.
THE DETAILS: Some reviewers mention that the Ribcage Shorts tend to run small, so consider sizing up if you’re averse to hip-huggin’ denim.
Abercrombie & Fitch Curve Love High Rise Mom Shorts
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THEM: Two words: Curve Love. Curve Love is Abercrombie’s hip- and thigh-friendly fit, and it’s a big part of why these mom jean shorts are so beloved. Thank you, Abercrombie, for not letting us settle for chafed thighs and restrictive denim.
THE DETAILS: These distressed denim shorts come in a classic medium wash denim. To avoid the rest of your laundry (and your thighs) turning an indigo hue, make sure you wash them with similar colors before your first wear.
Free People We The Free Loving Good Vibrations Cutoffs
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THEM: We’re picking up good vibrations from these cutoffs (sorry, had to). But really, these denim shorts take the distressed finish to another level via a fully fringed hem and peekaboo pocket.
THE DETAILS: With a grungy aesthetic and cheeky, high-rise fit, these shorts seem made for attending a music festival. Plus, they’re 100% cotton, so you can throw them in the washer without a worry in the world.
Caslon Boyfriend Shorts
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THEM: Something about rolled hems screams “vacation ready” to us, and because these have a roomy, boyfriend fit, they’re definitely one of the most comfortable styles on our list.
THE DETAILS: You might have noticed that these denim shorts are rather long compared to some of the other styles on our list, and that's due to the added length the roll on the inseam provides. Oh, and according to Nordstrom, they run large, so consider ordering a size down if you prefer a tighter fit.
BLANKNYC Boyfriend Denim Shorts
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THEM: Some denim shorts ride up uncomfortably, jut into your waist, and restrict your movement. These are not those shorts. In fact, these are the opposite, because they were designed with a loose fit and a stretchy cotton-polyester denim blend.
THE DETAILS: Threadbare abrasions and shadow creases add a lived-in look to these shorts that will pair perfectly with any one of your favorite graphic tees. And since these are meant to be roomy, think about sizing down if you prefer a tight fit.
Madewell The Momjean Short
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THEM: We’re nothing but thankful to see another pair of mom jean shorts on the list, especially because this pair has that worn-to-perfection look that’s usually reserved for shorts that, well, have been worn.
THE DETAILS: Madewell’s Momjean shorts have a medium indigo wash (the most timeless denim wash there is), an extra-high rise, and subtle rips throughout.
American Eagle Stretch Denim '90s Boyfriend Short
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THEM: It’s a well-known truth that American Eagle has some of the best denim out there, so we’re thrilled to see that they made the cut. Their ‘90s boyfriend shorts have a vintage-inspired fit, complete with an A-line structure and a fringed hem.
THE DETAILS: We all live in fear of the day when low-rise denim takes center stage again. Today is not that day, because these high-waisted denim shorts feature the highest rise AE offers. They’re also slightly stretchy, which is never a bad thing in our book.
AGOLDE Dee Ultra High Rise Shorts
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THEM: With an ultra-high rise and 4” inseam, the Dee high-waisted denim shorts were designed to give you a confidence boost. And can we just say: finally, a pair of shorts that provides enough coverage to keep us from feeling exposed and insecure.
THE DETAILS: The Dee shorts feature a raw hem with side slits (which our thighs are thankful for), plus paint splatters for an edgy, distressed look. And they’re also available in a black denim version.
Levi's 501 Original Shorts
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THEM: The second pair of Levi’s on our list has arrived, and with these, you’ve got options. Whether you prefer a super light fade, a dark wash, or black or white denim, Levi’s 501 shorts have it covered.
THE DETAILS: Though the 501 shorts are designed to look broken in, they don’t wear like it—meaning, size up if you rely on a little stretch from your denim.
AGOLDE Parker Cutoff Denim Shorts
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THEM: From mid-rise to high-waisted, light wash to black denim, and cheeky to lengthy, AGOLDE’s Parker Cutoffs come in a variety of styles to choose from. Heck, these shorts even come in two white denim versions.
THE DETAILS: Sure, these are investment shorts. But you’re getting high-quality, 100% cotton denim that you’re bound to turn to every spring and summer henceforth. Just note that this denim is not stretchy at all, and reviewers recommend sizing up for comfort.