What are the best hiking shorts for women? This article shares our favorite women’s hiking shorts to tackle the trail. The first consideration is comfort and mobility on the course, which can significantly impact a hiker’s enjoyment. The goal was to select shorts that keep us cool and handle the trail elements like a boss.
A pair of hiking shorts women for should be able to handle a warm summer day, whether that’s running through a rainstorm, climbing over a boulder, or pushing up a hill. There is no need for endless cargo pockets; give us something comfortable to handle the dirt, sand, water, and rock.
If you prefer more protection on the trail, check out our post on the best hiking leggings or hiking pants for women. Below are our picks for the best hiking shorts for women.
Best Hiking Shorts For Women
prAna Halle Shorts II
Price: $69 | Material: 95% Recycled Nylon / 5% Elastane | Belt: No | Pockets: Five
- Classic Hiking Short
- Durable Material
- Slow to Dry
- Not Stretchy
We love the bottoms by prAna, and they make some of our favorite hiking pants for women. The Halle II shorts from the company deliver plenty of comfort and mobility with the classic style shorts.
It comes down to comfortable material that moves with your body. prAna makes tremendous hiking shorts for outdoor professionals or anyone who wants a more professional short. They’re lightweight without the baggy cut you find in most outdoor shorts.
The material also holds up well with decent moisture-wicking ability, water resistance, durability. The shorts are a reliable pair of hiking shorts that will hold up to years of wear outdoors.
The biggest complaint is that they aren’t super stretchy, so that they may restrict your movement a tad bit. However, if that is the case, you may want to consider some of the more athletic options on this list.
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Salomon Sense Shorts
Price: $80 | Material: 73% Polyamide, 27% Elastane | Belt: No | Pockets: Waistband
- Short Cut
- Inner Liner
- Super Lighweight
- Uber Comfortable
- Moisture Management
Lightweight trail running shorts are a fantastic choice for hiking. No brand is more synonymous with trail running than Salomon, and their Sense shorts are exceptional. The fabric is ultralight, but the comfortable waistband makes these shorts stand out.
Aerotech mesh fabric in the shorts is super lightweight and wicks away sweat super fast. That fabric is also super comfortable, and it’s easy to forget you’re wearing shorts! The shorts have a mesh liner that does a great job at moisture management, keeping you feeling fresh and avoiding chafing.
The shorts do not utilize your standard pocket but have a 360 all-around mesh pocket in the waistband. It’s phenomenal for trail running with a running vest or everyday fitness. It does have limitations for hiking with a large backpack as you can not access the waistband with a hip belt.
The cut is short on these pants, making them incredibly lightweight and flattering for those with nice legs. However, if you want a bit more length in your shorts, you may want to look elsewhere, as sizing up will not work due to the lack of waist adjustment.
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Coalatree Trailhead Hiking Shorts
Price: $69 | Material: 88% Nylon / 12% Spandex | Belt: Drawstring | Pockets: Four
- Lighweight Material
- Material May Tire Over Time
These are a fantastic pair of hiking shorts for women and one of our top picks. Coalatree creates eco-focused outdoor apparel that we’re learning to love. As far as comfort, these are the best on this list, and the only drawback is the price. They use a lightweight material that is a blend of Bluesign Nylon and spandex.
They’re super comfortable, and the combination of nylon and spandex allows them to stretch in any way you can move. The drawstring makes for an easy adjustment, and the spandex does an excellent job of hugging your hips.
The simple style makes them well suited for casual use, and they feel just as comfortable off the trail as they do on the trail. This wide range of use makes the shorts a particular favorite. It also comes with the slight drawback of fewer pockets, loose material, and a short inseam.
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Patagonia Strider Shorts
Price: $49 | Material: Recycled Polyester | Belt: Drawstring | Pockets: Three
- Very Comfortable
- Great Inner Liner
- Cute Colors
- Exterior Fabric Lacks Stretch
Patagonia’s Strider trail running shorts are a great option for hiking. They have a super flattering cut, and the lightweight fabric can handle the heat exceptionally well. We love the comfortable liner that is perfect for replacing underwear. The recycled polyester fabric is treated with DWR and reliably wicks away moisture.
That recycled polyester is only the exterior fabric and lacks a bit of stretch. It doesn’t impact the shorts too much as they’re minimal. They have a low-rise waistband, so if you prefer more coverage, you may want other shorts for hiking. The waistband is 1-inch thick, sits comfortably around the waist, and can still adjust thanks to an inner drawstring.
The shorts have one large back pocket and two elastic hip pockets. It’s enough to hold your phone, keys, chapstick, and a small snack. We love these comfortable and functional shorts ready to tackle miles of challenging terrain. Patagonia’s Strider shorts are some of the more affordable hiking shorts for women and offer good value.
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Title Nine Big B Shorts
Price: $69 | Material: 61% Cotton / 34% Nylon / 5% Spandex | Belt: No | Pockets: Five
- Slow Drying
We love Title Nine products, and they’ve managed to nail fit and style. The Big B shorts are some of their best hiking shorts for women, and they come in an excellent range of exciting colors. Style is a strong suit with these pants as they look more casual but offer plenty of performance for most casual users.
If you’re not hiking for miles on end, shorts like these work well into everyday life. It is partly thanks to their nice material blend that uses cotton, nylon, and spandex. The material in the shorts provides just enough stretch to move comfortably on the trail. It also has four functional pockets and one zippered pocket to hold whatever you need.
The Big B shorts come in a 4″ inseam and a 7″ inseam. I love the 4″ inseam, but if you plan on biking or wearing a harness for activities, you may want to consider the longer inseam. Thanks to their flex, it’s easy to appreciate how much movement they offer while hiking.
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prAna Kanab Shorts
Price: $59 | Material: 62% Organic Cotton | 36% Nylon | 2% Elastane | Belt: No | Pockets: Four
- Perfect Loose Cut and Fit
- Great Mobility
- Comfortable Waistband
- Deep Pockets
- Cotton Material
One of the most comfortable shorts you can hit the trail or climbing wall are the prAna Kanab shorts. These high-waisted shorts are flattering and offer plenty of room to move freely no matter the activity.
The pants use a blend of organic cotton to provide a healthy mix of stretch and mobility. Most notable is the wide waistband that is super comfortable and keeps the shorts in place. Despite its lightweight nature, the fabric is durable and shows minor signs of wear.
Deep patch front pockets and envelope-flap back pockets provide a decent amount of storage functionality. Best of all, they’re comfortable as they have a loose cut that looks fantastic. It’s a perfect length, Easily some of our favorite shorts.
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Vuori Ripstop Shorts
Price: $58 | Material: 98% Cotton / 2% Elastane | Belt: Drawstring | Pockets: Four
- Comfy Fit And Cut
- Great Mobility
- Deep Pockets
- Super Durable
- Cotton Material
These super breathable shorts strike the perfect balance between durability and weight. It helps that they’re super comfortable too! Fit is around mid/low rise and sits nicely on the hips. Adjustment is easy with the drawstring and can help hold the shorts higher.
Two functional deep front pockets are great for holding the essentials and two pockets on the back are the perfect compliment. Despite the cotton material, the blend of elastane and relaxed cut keeps the shorts fresh for days on end. The result is a pair of shorts that feel durable, ready for years of hiking.
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The North Face Aphrodite 2.0
Price: $40 | Material: 95% Nylon / 5% Elastane | Belt: Drawstring | Pockets: Four
- Lack of colors
- Moisture Management
These lightweight hiking shorts for women are very comfortable on the trail. A material that feels comfortable, light, flexible, and tough enough makes for shorts that move well with your body. Stitching throughout the hiking shorts feels durable and should hold up to long thru-hikes.
Notable features on The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 Shorts are the wide soft waistband, drawstring cord, and multiple pockets, including a zippered one. Style is also great as they carry an outdoor feel yet are casual enough to wear around town or the bar.
They are a low-mid waist cut and have a short inseam which may be too little for certain hikers. It’s also worth noting that the fabric holds moisture longer than other shorts on this list. We’d also love to have a few more exciting colors than beige and heather grey. Overall, we love these shorts and think they’re some of the best.
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Topo Designs Dirt Shorts
Price: $69 | Material: 98% Organic Cotton / 2% Spandex | Belt: Drawstring | Pockets: Four
- Flattering Cut
- Tough Material is Slightly Coarse, Price
We both own a pair of shorts from Topo Designs, and they’re our go-to shorts in the summer. They are lightweight, but they double as a bathing suit if you feel like taking a dip in a lake or need to cross a river. Awesome shorts if you like to canoe, raft, or kayak in addition to hiking. The color options from Topo Designs are great with the “Glacier” blue or “Mustard” yellow.
They are high-waisted shorts with a loose fit that feel like you’re not wearing anything but provide enough coverage that you’re not flashing anyone. Material is not super stretchy, which allows them to hold their shape and resist wrinkles.
A drawstring keeps the hiking short secure on your hips and remains comfortable underneath a backpack. A zippered pocket in the back and two deep front pockets also help stash immediate needs like chapstick, map, or phone. The most significant drawbacks come with the high price tag for shorts and the slightly coarse material.
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Arc’teryx Sabria Shorts
Price: $99 | Material: 87% Nylon / 13% Elastane | Belt: No | Pockets: Two
- Great Material
- Slim Cut
- Slim Fit
Rounding out our list are these hiking shorts from Arc’teryx. They’re technically the best shorts on this list, but like most things from Arc’teryx, they come with a high price tag. It’s easier to justify the higher price tags on items like rain jackets or down jackets, so the shorts are slightly questionable. However, a hundred dollars is not crazy when you only need one or two staples in your hiking wardrobe.
The minimal design feels casual and technical. We love the slimline pockets with zippers that give the practicality of cargo shorts without the ugly style. It also pushes the pockets off the upper thighs, where it can be not very easy to store stuff when you’re hiking up a hill.
The great water resistance and mid-thigh cut make them highly versatile. It’s more a three-season short when combined with hiking leggings or thermals. The fit is exceptional, and once on, they feel like a glove. I wish these shorts were a little more affordable.
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What Makes the Best Hiking Shorts for Women?
There are several vital elements that any pair of hiking shorts should provide. We need hiking shorts that can check off just about every box, so most of the shorts on this list are for the outdoor specific. There are better options than a standard khaki short.
Comfort & Mobility
Say whatever you want about hiking shorts, but they are not great for hiking if they’re not comfortable. A pair of hiking shorts for men need to be worn comfortably for days. They could be the most durable shorts globally, but if they feel like an art canvas, I’m probably not going to want to hike for eight hours in them. Anyone who has experienced chafing knows the pain involved in poor clothing.
When hiking, you spend a lot of time moving uphill with large strides, steps over and under logs, over rocks, through the brush and even scrambling. Movement and mobility are super important when it comes to hiking shorts. If the pants feel restrictive, it’s probably one of the most significant negatives.
Weight of hiking shorts women
Weight follows in line with comfort and mobility, but if a pair of shorts are heavy and restricting, they’ll affect their performance on the trail. It also plays an essential role in multiday hikes if you like to carry a pair of shorts and hiking pants when every ounce in your backpack counts. It is why none of these are those old clunky cargo shorts.
Antimicrobial material is what keeps pants fresh for multiple wears in warm weather. Cotton is terrible at holding up long-term for numerous days without a wash. Since you aren’t guaranteed to be washing your clothes every day, nor should you, we look for pants that have good antimicrobial properties.
These shorts are for everyday hiking, so they should act accordingly. They will have seen everything on the trail at the end of the day. Great hiking shorts for men stand up against movement, dirt, sand, and mud while keeping me cool.
The material should be durable, wrinkle-resistant, and breathable. Most companies seem to opt for nylon or weird fabric blends. It also plays a vital role in the way shorts handle water. When we opt for a pair of shorts, it’s summertime, and I’m likely getting wet. That means an ideal pair of hiking shorts should feel comfortable wading through a river, down a stream in a raft, or taking a dip in the lake.
We love using pockets, belts, and paneling to provide excellent hiking functionality. It also highlights one of our biggest complaints about some women’s hiking shorts, those dumb little pockets that can even hold a simple pocket knife. We’re spending time on the trail. No one cares about the thin line created from a pocket.
While this doesn’t have the most significant impact on performance on the trail, you still want a decent-looking pair of shorts. You aren’t embarrassed by those trail photos or can run around town after a hike.