Style + Fantastic Finds

Fantastic Finds, Hiking Edition: The Best Shorts, Ever

Shorts, the bane of my existence.  They’re either too tight or too short or too long or too loose.  Happy medium, anybody?  So I’ve essentially given up on shorts for casual attire.  Dresses, please.  But when I go hiking or paddle boarding, I need shorts.

The North Face Aphrodite Short ($40) is a game changer.  They’re a good length — long enough that I don’t need a wax, but no so long that I feel like a Grandma.   The draw string is surprisingly comfortable, even over swim bottoms.  And the pockets add storage space without making my hips look bigger, bonus.

I own the clover green, the grey, and the deep teal (which is a pretty greenish-blue).  I buy them on Amazon because they have the best selection of colors and sizes.  Though be forewarned, the smaller sizes sell out quickly after they’re restocked.  These are a very popular product.

I purchased my first pair last summer because I needed something to wear while hiking in Montana, and you know I loved them if I bought two more pair.  I wear them when I’m walking the dogs, out in the woods, and occasionally to the gym.  Yes, they’re that flattering and comfortable.

As for sizing, if you’re in between sizes go down a size.  I should be a six bottom in most things, but in these, the four fits best.

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    12 comments

  1. Verena says:

    Do you have any recommendations for whole outfits to wear for hiking? Including hiking shoes? I’m really struggling to put together outfits that are practical but still flattering.

    July 23, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I typically wear these shorts, a white loose long sleeve tee over a fitted sleeveless one (starting in the early morning is cold), and Merrels. They’re not flattering, but I need my back not to hurt more than I need cute shoes. Oh, and a baseball cap.

      July 23, 2018/Reply
  2. BK says:

    These are exactly what I need for an upcoming trip. Thanks so much for the recommendation!

    July 23, 2018/Reply
  3. Jules says:

    @Verena – (reply isn’t working)
    what sort of hiking do you do? What climates? I live in SoCal/Hawaii where it’s mostly warm/hot.

    I do a lot of medium intensity hiking (2-5 hours, but decently traveled, no real intense water or mud) – I always wear trail running shoes (I wear Brooks, my hubs wears Salomon. I look for enough depth on the treads, and light, stiff soles) Enough grip, but lighter and easier to maneuver than real hiking boots. I also recommend getting socks that are at least ankle high.

    I wear shorts (similar to the suggestions here) or crops (lululemon or similar). On top I wear a form fitting tank top of sweat wicking materials (mostly lululemon CRB), a baseball cap and lots of sunscreen! (and bug spray). for colder weather, a looser long sleeved shirt/light sweatshirt that I can remove and easily carry.

    Some people prefer full length loose pants in order to avoid exposure (to temps, pokey bushes, dirt, sun, etc). I hate loose pants so I go with lululemon crops, but that’s just my personal preference. I have a couple battle scars from hiking incidents, but I quite like my scars, so YMMV.

    Some people also wear a towel/bandana around the neck for sun protection, and also easy access to cloth for when you need to wipe your eyes.

    July 23, 2018/Reply
  4. Kelly says:

    I got shorts from Athleta this summer since I didn’t have any in my closet that fit. They have a bunch that are the same fabric as the “city pants” collection, but shorts. Totally loving them and they’re a perfect fabric for sink-washing during travel.

    July 23, 2018/Reply
  5. Jessica says:

    Do you wear the 4″ or 6″ inseam?

    July 24, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      They must be the 4″.

      July 25, 2018/Reply
  6. Melissa says:

    Personally I’m in the pants camp for hiking — shorts in the woods is an open invitation for bug bites and scratches. We also have an increasing problem with ticks in certain areas of the US, too, which is a real health risk. I also, oddly, like the long pants better when it’s hot — I love super light weight pants from Columbia and North Face which feel light as air. Then you aren’t constantly pulling down your shorts legs from your sticky thighs… Can you tell I’ve thought about this a lot? 🙂

    July 24, 2018/Reply
  7. Kat says:

    @VERENA

    For you, and anyone else, looking for a flattering hiking top:

    I recently purchased some “fishing shirts” from Columbia and was surprised by how flattering they are. They are also very functional, but I expected that. If it wasn’t for the logo, they could almost pass as work blouses, and they are slimming. Also, I am busty and the buttons (snaps actually) don’t gape.

    I bought them specifically for sun/bug/scrape protection while gardening but will definitely be wearing them for hikes now as well. I wore them for over four hours gardening in DC heat and felt completely comfortable the entire time.

    The style I got is the PFG Tamiami II although they have other options.

    July 24, 2018/Reply
  8. AVV says:

    I walked part of the Camino de Santiago last year and got a crash course in walking/hiking gear (though admittedly less intense than filter-your-water kind of stuff). For bottoms I am a huge fan of the REI Co-op Sahara Shorts (9″ inseam so things don’t ride up, usefully sized pockets, and a belt to address my waist/hip size differential) and Columbia Saturday Trail pants (which actually have a long inseam).

    Columbia also makes great button-up shirts; they have sun protection, and the roll-up sleeves are super-handy if the weather is changing a bit – or, like me, you get annoyed by daypack straps hitting your bare upper arm. I also discovered the wonder that is Smartwool. It looks good and feels great in basically any temperature; I now own at least 6 Smartwool shirts of varying weights and sleeve lengths.

    For shoes, ditto everyone who’s recommended trail runners. I’ve had Salomans and Brooks and been happy with both. I basically just went to REI and let the staff help me narrow things down.

    Headwear is an absolute must for me because I hate (HATE) squinting. A baseball cap is useful for that, but if you want ear/neck protection, something with an all-around brim is best.

    July 25, 2018/Reply
  9. Meredith says:

    I ordered these shorts the day of the post, they arrived yesterday (don’t know how Zappo’s does it, but I’m impressed) and these shorts are PERFECT. Thanks again for another great recommendation, Abra! Keep up the good work, I love your blog.

    July 26, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I’m so glad you like them!

      July 26, 2018/Reply