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Even if you weren’t alive in the 1970s (like myself), you probably know what the basketball uniforms used to look like — high socks, Converse, and shirts tucked into those tiny little shorts. They were iconic.
I’ve always preferred that look to the loose-fitting, low-hanging, or cargo shorts that many men wore as I was coming of age. Luckily for me, short shorts for men are coming back in a big way.
Let hoochie daddy szn commence!
What are hoochie daddy shorts?
Hoochie daddy shorts are any short shorts that show off more leg than other types traditionally marketed to men. For some background, hoochie daddy szn is obviously summer.
“It’s just the article of clothing that matches the season, you know?” said Ainsley Landry, the 33-year-old insurance agent whose viral TikTok introduced many to this apparently controversial trend. “It’s hot outside.”
When Landry spoke with BuzzFeed News in June, it was 103 degrees in Texas, so she really doesn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t be interested in showing more of their knees or legs.
Landry, who goes by Lady L on social media, is pretty thrilled that the style has returned to the spotlight. “We all know those shorts have been around since the ’50s,” she said. “I remember seeing pictures of my dad in them, so I got on [TikTok] and I saw a lot of controversy around the shorts, like what some people thought about them and how guys were wearing them, so I decided one night I wanted to give my little 2 cents.”
The controversy she was referring to surrounds the perceived lack of masculinity some associate with shorter shorts, including the anti-gay attitudes that said lack of masculinity engenders in many people.
Claude George Jr., 27, who is an actor and model in LA, has been a fan of smaller shorts for a while now, maybe even 10 years, but he just started seeing the “hoochie daddy shorts” trend spread over the last two months. “Everybody’s kind of late to the game,” he said. (The audio to his TikTok is from Atlanta-based marketing manager Jasmine Clark’s Instagram story about hoochie daddy shorts, which has been used as the soundtrack for almost 3,500 TikToks.)
In Clark’s video, she jokingly encourages women to catcall men they see in hoochie daddy shorts. And while the majority of the responses were from people who understood that it was meant to be lighthearted and funny, Clark told BuzzFeed News that she also got some heat from, as she described, “those masculine guys saying, ‘I'm not doing that, that's feminine.’”
When her video later went viral on Twitter, she also had some people calling her out for promoting sexual harassment or objectifying men’s bodies. “I’m like yeah, that’s the point! That’s what women go through.” As she says in the video, she’s trying to turn the tables after so many years of women being objectified.
“So those who understand, understand, and like go with the joke and stuff,” Clark said. “And then I hear some guys like, ‘No grown man should be wanting to be called a hoochie daddy,’ and I’m like, it’s a lighthearted, fun comment!”
George, for one, is not offended by their commentary. He’s happy to take the opportunity to show off his thighs and likes that others are appreciating it. He also said that he actually finds shorter shorts more comfortable to work out in.
Any shorts with a 3- to 5-inch inseam could fall into the category of hoochie daddy shorts, according to George.
“Me personally, I like 3 inches above the knee,” said Landry, who also said the only real requirement is to show some thigh. “So anywhere between like a 4- or 5-inch inseam just depending on how tall you are.”
Clark concurred that it has to be more than just sitting above the knee.
“If you just have them above the knee, you're just running errands or anything like that,” she said. “But if you have just a little bit of that thigh meat showing, you being a hoochie and you being fast and I’m gonna snatch you up. I just want you to know, I’m willing to take you to brunch.”
When it comes to other criteria beyond length, Landry is flexible but highly recommends a tighter fit. She also loves colorful hoochies and supports a bold print. “Hoochie daddies are essentially peacocks, so put those feathers on and let’s see you in these shorts,” Landry said. “That’s just the bottom line.”
If you saw Lady L’s video and want to look exactly like that first image of the man in his short red Nike shorts, these are about as close as you’ll get (I don’t think they’re the exact ones he’s wearing, but as far as I can tell those do not exist). Nike is always a reliable retailer if you’re looking for something comfortable, particularly in the activewear category. The 5-inch inseam should allow these to land at an acceptably high place on your thigh, plus there’s a soft brief liner for added support and handy pockets to stash your essentials on the go.
Promising review: “Amazing shorts. Fit is true to size and doesn’t get in the way during your runs. Just enough pockets to keep a couple of cards and keys as well. Highly recommended.” — Fcp1987 via Nike
What else to consider: Depending on your body size, they may not be the tightest, but that’ll allow first-time hoochie daddy shorts wearers to ease in comfortably. Plus, they’re on sale, so they’re kind of a steal for Nike quality.
Best for: beginner hoochie daddies working their way up to looking like that iconic thirst trap in Lady L’s viral video.
You can buy Nike Flex Stride shorts from Nike for around $30.
This Instagram brand was recommended by Jasmine Clark, so they’re one of the few specifically expert-approved pairs on this list. We love that they’re so affordable and come in a wide variety of solid, basic colors, so almost anyone can make these shorts work for them. They’re slightly longer with a 5.5-inch inseam, but that’ll still look plenty short on a taller man or anyone with thicker thighs.
What else to consider: Single-layer mesh means it’s probably best to wear something underneath so that nothing falls out one of the wider leg openings.
Best for: anyone out there who’s looking for a brunch invitation from Jasmine.
You can buy Superline Wholesale Mesh Shorts from Superline Wholesale for around $12.
I got a pair of Duvin mesh shorts for my brother this past year and he literally lives in them, so these are one of the few pairs of men’s shorts that I can vouch for. While I wouldn’t say he’s a hoochie daddy, he is a scrawny Brooklyn boy who likes to stay hip with the trends, so I trust his style. The inseam also adjusts with the waist size, which is a huge perk in my opinion. I got my brother a medium and he’s around 6 feet (maybe slightly under), and he for sure has around 3 visible inches of thigh. This neutral tie-dye is also a great way to stand out without being too loud.
Promising review: “Comfy, cool, laid back, and the chicks love it.” —be e. via Duvin
What else to consider: These are definitely more lounge shorts or, as one reviewer called them, the “ultimate house shorts.” You can work out in them, but they’re probably better for more laid-back activities.
Best for: hoochie house daddies who like to be comfortable while showing off their legs.
You can buy the Storm Mesh Lounge Short from Duvin for around $47.
Chubbies are the OG men’s short shorts, so they had to get a spot on this list. They make tons of thigh-squeezing bathing suits, but this chino option is great if you want some hoochie daddy shorts that you can dress up a little. Wear these to brunch with a nice top or throw them on for a summer happy hour. They’re made primarily from cotton with a little spandex to stretch for a snug and comfortable fit with a 5.5-inch inseam.
Promising review: “I’m fat. I’m gay. I’m kind of a slüt. These shorts satisfy all of the few very facets of my personality. The only bad thing is that they were a little bit too big when I ordered them according to the sizing chart.
"Since this is the first time I’ve ever had this problem and I would be way too embarrassed to send them back for a smaller size, I bought an overpriced belt and now I feel like the rich gay uncle who always shows up drunk to family functions. 10/10.” —Joshua Malfoy
What else to consider: You can scroll through the photos to see a graphic of what these shorts look like on men of three different heights, which may give you a better idea of how they’ll fit and what size to get.
Best for: any men looking for a slightly more tailored hoochie daddy look.
You can buy Chubbies Men’s Short Shorts from Amazon for around $55.
Some are saying that hoochie daddy shorts are the new gray sweatpants, but if you’re looking for something that’s a happy mix of the two, these are it. They’re classic sweatshorts made from cotton and polyester with thousands of 5-star ratings. They come in a variety of colors and sizes, all of which have a 5.5-inch inseam for a more modest hoochie height.
Promising review: “These shorts are great for everyday wear and to simply throw on for the day. Amazing if you have a little extra thigh meat and you want a little extra room in your shorts. Held shape after being washed and dried. The label on shorts adds that little extra touch.” —Les
What else to consider: These definitely aren’t the most statement-making shorts if you’re looking to make a splash, but they’re comfortable and short enough to keep you on trend.
Best for: hoochie daddies aspiring to Jon Hamm in gray sweatpants vibes.
You can buy MaaMgic Men's Athletic Gym Shorts from Amazon for around $25.
These shorts combine two retro trends into one tiny piece of apparel — short shorts and the cargo version. It’s the kind of clothing that’s genuinely intended for outdoor adventures, but is also worn by hipsters in Brooklyn who want to look outdoorsy and adventurous while having minimal contact with nature. No shade intended, I think they look cool for either purpose. They have a 5-inch inseam, which should hit around mid-thigh depending on how tall you are.
Promising review: “Love these shorts. Great for everyday or for the ocean! Quality material that will last. I love that I can wear these to climb to a summit and then jump in the stream on the way down when it gets hot. And they just dry quickly and keep going. All-summer, all-sport type shorts.” —Lee via The North Face
What else to consider: The 5-inch inseam means that these guys aren’t the hoochiest of hoochie, especially for short kings. If you’re on the shorter side, you might want to opt for one of the 3- or 4-inch options.
Best for: Easing into the hoochie trend with a pair of cool and functional shorts regardless of length, or full-on hoochie status for taller daddies.
You can buy the North Face Class V Belted Short from Huckberry for around $65.
If you’re looking for a simple, basic pair of shorts that abide by the hoochie daddy requirements without being too flashy, these are a great option. They’re made of a woven nylon blend, have the iconic Champion logo, and both the black and white versions look cool yet understated. I think the white color in particular would make a great staple for a summer wardrobe.
What else to consider: These bad boys are actually only 2.5 inches in the inseam, which may be quite short on a lot of people, plus they have a fairly wide leg opening and no lining. So if you plan on being active in these, or even just sitting down, it’s probably a good idea to wear some fitted briefs underneath.
Best for: The type of daddy that’s maybe a little bit shy about showing off a lot of leg and doesn’t want to draw too much overt attention.
You can buy Champion Woven Gym Short from Urban Outfitters for around $40.