The Best Cargo Pants and Shorts by Nike

Buying Guide

No matter the look you’re going for, check out these functional trousers that work for a range of needs and outfits.

Last updated: April 11, 2024
5 min read
The Best Cargo Pants and Shorts by Nike

Whether you’re setting out for a day-long hike or a casual surfside stroll, cargo pants are a practical choice for many outdoor activities. After all, the baggy trousers were initially designed as military workwear (think: camo-printed khakis).

(Related: The Benefits of Hiking, According to Experts)

Cargo pants have become a streetwear staple in recent years. These days, the trousers are made with a variety of materials outside of the quintessential, durable cotton fabric. They also feature colors that go beyond basic khaki or army green, and are often styled with sleek heels as well as sneakers and combat boots.

Here are some of the best cargo pants and shorts by Nike that check both boxes: functional and on-trend.

The Best Cargo Pants and Shorts by Nike

For a Tactical Cargo Pant Option

If you’re prioritizing function above all else, look no further than the Nike All Conditions Gear (ACG) collection, designed to help you take on an array of outdoor adventures including hiking, biking and rock climbing.

The Nike ACG Smith Summit Men’s Cargo Pants, for instance, features robust water-repellent fabric and hike-enhancing features. This includes a built-in carabiner for keys or safety items, and, of course, cargo pockets that can hold the essentials (hiking snacks, anyone?). Best of all, the zipper functionality enables you to quickly convert your pants to cargo shorts as you warm up.

(Related: The 8 Best Nike Sneakers To Wear on a Hike)

The Best Cargo Pants and Shorts by Nike

Best Cargo Pants for Streetwear

For the best streetwear cargo pants for women, look to the Nike Sportswear Essential collection. The items in the Nike Sportswear Cargo line are made with an assortment of materials including fleece and a cotton-blend ripstop fabric — a fiber-weaving technique that makes the fabric more resistant to tears.

For instance, the lightweight and high-rise woven cargo pants are made with ripstop materials, emulating the look of a traditional pair of cargos. However, the baggy feel in the legs coupled with cinching at the waist give this pair of pants — as well as several others under the Sportswear line — a unique twist.

The high-rise fit (and elastic bungee drawcord waistband) means a crop top makes for a strong companion. For a sleek, sporty and monochromatic look, pair a bodysuit in the same color with a classic pair of sport slides. For a more casual, playful vibe, throw on a bright oversized crew neck and top off with a bucket hat.

(Related: How To Find Your Size in Nike Women’s Pants)

The Best Cargo Pants and Shorts by Nike

When the Goal Is to Lounge

If you want the look of cargo pants but the comfort of sweatpants, the Nike Sportswear Club Fleece Cargo pants (or shorts, see below) offer the best of both worlds. Ditch the ripstop material for a soft brushed fabric and elastic waistband. These pants are as cozy as your favorite pair of fleece sweatpants, and they offer the addition of side cargo pockets that fit all the must-haves: keys, phone and wallet. Pair them with a matching fleece crew and wear to and from the gym, on casual walks, to the airport, or relaxing on your rest day.

Some of the cargo-style pants in this collection are joggers and, when paired with the right top or sweater, can command major attention. Cozy and cute aren’t mutually exclusive, after all. The elastic cuffs on these pants also give you the opportunity to show off your kicks — for a casual yet chic touch, consider wearing a pair of Nike Blazers for any chill plans with your best friends.

(Related: The Best Nike Fleece Pants for Men to Shop Now)

The Best Cargo Pants and Shorts by Nike

Ditch the Pants for Cargo Shorts

In warmer months, cargo shorts can store all of your stuff without overheating you like a pair of trousers. To get the same comfort, plus function, consider the Nike Sportswear Club Men's Cargo Shorts, for instance. They’re made from the same soft, brushed-back fleece as the pants option. In addition to classic colors like black and gray, these shorts are available in bright, statement-making hues that complete a bold look when worn with a classic sneaker like the Air Max.

For a day spent at the office — or at brunch — consider the Nike Life Men's Woven P44 Cargo Shorts. They have a military-inspired design and, bonus, are made from a sturdy but breathable woven cotton canvas — which will help keep you cool on hot days. Complete the utilitarian look with other items, such as a matching short-sleeved button-down, pullover field jacket or chore coat.

Words by Kylie Gilbert

Originally published: August 1, 2023

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