There’s a new trend on the rise for men this summer, and they’re changing the bathing suit game.  They’re called hybrid shorts, and they are the perfect crossover between regular walking shorts and board shorts.  Basically, hybrid shorts look like regular shorts but have all the qualities and technologies of a board short, so you can throw on a pair for the day to walk around and go out, and then dive straight into the water when it’s time to hit the beach.  And after water time, you can just hop out, let em dry, and head right downtown for a night on the town.

Hybrid Shorts and Board Shorts

A Wall of Hybrid Shorts, and Board Shorts. Can you tell the difference?

Board shorts have been the preferred style for men’s swimming gear for some time now, but they definitely stand out in a crowd as obvious swimwear.  They tend to have bright colors, big patterns, a lack of functional pockets, and drawstrings.  This is pointedly different than the typical look of walking shorts with solid muted colors, textured materials, lots of pockets, and a button or zip front.  Theses stark differences make it very easy to tell a pair of board shorts from a mile away and also make it difficult to walk around in them after a day on the beach and not stand out like a sore thumb.  But hybrid shorts allow you to throw on a pair of both in and out of water time without looking like you’re in swimming gear all day.

The main difference between casual shorts and these hybrid shorts is that hybrids are made with tech materials like board shorts.  These materials include features like 4-way stretch.  This means that these hybrid shorts will stretch both horizontally and vertically, allowing for a full range of movement and comfortable fit.  This is especially important if you intend to use hybrid shorts for activities like wakeboarding, swimming, paddling, and the likes.

Patagonia Hybrid Shorts

Patagonia Hybrid Shorts – Can you tell?

Hybrid shorts also incorporate lightweight fabrics to keep them easy to maneuver in and keep you cool in the warmth of the sun, even if you’re not in the water.  The lightweight materials keep these shorts super comfy and technical and also allow them to dry quickly.  Most hybrid shorts have quick dry tech in them as well, so if you do decide to take them in the water and still want to wear them around town later, they will dry out in no time and be ready for your next adventure.  But no need to worry, just because these shorts are lightweight, doesn’t mean they won’t last.  Hybrid shorts are extremely durable and built to last.

Many hybrid shorts are made with breathable functionality that help keep you comfortable on hot days.  This means if you’re running around in hybrid shorts and working up a sweat, these short materials will help absorb moisture and move it to the outside of the shorts so they won’t get soggy or heavy.  This makes them perfect for any rigorous outdoor activities, in or out of the water.


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Some hybrid shorts also have sun protection qualities, generally UPF 30-50.  This helps protect you from the harsh UV rays of the sun even if you are wearing these shorts day in and day out.  This is very important as most guys tend not to put sunscreen on under their board shorts, but harmful UV can still penetrate most clothing, especially after long periods of time out in the sun.  But hybrid shorts with UPF protection will keep your skin safe all day long without sunscreen.

But hybrid shorts aren’t all about the tech features, they also need to look good.  And they accomplish this with a lot of different styles and trends that all accomplish the everyday short look.  Hybrid shorts come in a few different lengths ranging from general 18-21 inch inseams.  Some of the more traditional shorts come in the longer lengths, while the shorter lengths are a little more on trend.

Patagonia Hybrid Shorts

Patagonia Hybrid Shorts are Meant to be Worn in Any Conditions

Hybrid shorts come in many different colors, but they are often in the typical muted tones that everyday walking shorts come in such as olive, gray, black, brown, and tans.  Some hybrids have a nice updated textured look that takes solid coloring to a whole new level.  These textures can look like space dyes or heathered looks that are hot in the streets right now.  There are also stripes and plaids that are muted and toned down to give an update to the typical solids.

Most hybrids shorts have a button on the front and belt loops, perfect for if you decide to dress them up.  They also often still have functional pockets and the classic jeans look with front and back pockets as well.  They also incorporate flat lock seams that are ultra comfortable and help reduce chafing and irritation, and they look clean and finished for that casual everyday look.

Now let’s take a look at some more specific features that a few hybrid shorts have that set them apart.  Some hybrids have special stash pockets that zipper closed to store valuables.  Check out the Howler Brothers Horizon Men’s Hybrid Shorts for a back secret stash pocket.

Patagonia Baggies

Patagonia Baggies

If you’re looking for something with a little more pizazz, there are hybrid shorts that use patterns and off-beat colors.  If you’re looking for something loud and funky, check out the Patagonia Baggies 5 in Hybrid Shorts.  These super short shorts are on trend and follow the sky’s out, thighs out rule for summer.  But if you’re looking for something not quite as out there, but has more than just a neutral color check out the Hurley Phantom 21 in Walk Hybrid Shorts.  These shorts have a more traditional length, but also come in a heathered variation of colors like forest green and sky blue.

Hurley Phantom

Hurley Phantom 21in Walk

Some hybrid shorts have a DWR finish.  This means that they have some waterproofing built into the shorts.  Sure, these shorts are all made to be completely submerged in water, and yes they will be wet after that.  But if you’re just around water and get sprayed, these shorts will help you stay dry and not let your shorts absorb water and stay water logged.  Check out the O’neill Locked Slub Men’s Hybrid Shorts for a cool looking pair of hybrids with a DWR finish.

Hybrid shorts are the must have item for this season, check out our whole selection of hybrid shorts on Skis.com now!

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