My O’Neill Hybrid Board Shorts Review

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Board shorts have come a long way in terms of style and versatility in recent years. Once used exclusively for water activities such as surfing, they are now being worn as casual shorts on a daily basis.

Manufacturers such as O’Neill and Volcom have led the way in bringing this beach style into mainstream culture. This blending of lifestyles is seen most notably in their hybrid board shorts.

To the naked eye, these shorts look like your typical walk short for daily activities but have many features inherent in surfing board shorts. Quick-drying, stretchable fabric are some of the aspects of these shorts among many others.

The O’Neill men’s hybrid board short is a great example of marrying the rugged durability of a board short with the practical and casual comfort of a walk short.

I packed these shorts, along with some others, on vacation with me to see how comfortable and versatile they really are.

This is my review of the O’Neill Men’s 21 Inch Outseam Hybrid Stretch Walk Short, Heather Grey, 32

O’Neill Men’s 21 Inch Outseam Hybrid Stretch Walk Short, Heather Grey, 32
  • Versatile hybrid short made with comfortable, water-resistant fabric and back welt pockets
  • On-seam hand pockets
  • Zipper fly and internal drawcord

O’Neill Men’s Hybrid Board Shorts

O"Neill Men's Hybrid Board Shorts

O”Neill Men’s Hybrid Board Shorts


O’Neill is one of the premier manufacturers of surfing apparel in the world. Jack O’Neill opened the world’s first surf shop out of his garage in 1952 and the rest is history. With the growing consumer trend of versatile clothing in recent years (see athleisure wear), hybrid board shorts are becoming very popular with people that demand more functionality out of their clothing.

So, I am going to explore the functionality and comfort of these shorts as well as the price relative to other similar shorts on the market so you can decide if they are worth your hard-earned money.

Let’s get started.

O'Neill Men's 21 Inch Outseam Hybrid Stretch Walk Short, Heather Grey, 36

Who Are These Board Shorts For?

These board shorts would be perfect for anyone that is looking for a pair of nice-looking shorts that can be used in and out of the water.

An ideal situation would be taking them on vacation to a destination where you will need them both on land and in the water. Instead of packing two pairs of shorts you have one pair that fits both needs. That’s exactly why hybrid shorts were invented.

Even if you never make it into the water, these shorts are great in that they can be washed in the sink and be completely dry in about 30 minutes.

I should know. I did exactly that. That being said, what are the other features of these shorts? Glad you asked. (you probably didn’t)

Overview of Features

Walking through Valletta Malta in O'Neill Men's Hybrid Shorts

Walking through Valletta, Malta in O’Neill Men’s Hybrid Shorts

My first impression after receiving these board shorts is that the fabric is very smooth and comfortable. An 89% polyester, 11% Elastane combination, the fabric was stretchable and seemed like it would be perfect for a humid climate. They were.

The shorts have two side pockets with zipper closures (more on this in a sec), and two back pockets with buttons. A lot of storage if you need that in your shorts. None of the pockets are waterproof so you wouldn’t want to take your iPhone into the water with you.

Side-zippered pockets on the O'Neill Men's Hybrid Shorts

Side-zippered pockets on the O’Neill Men’s Hybrid Shorts

The best feature of these shorts is the side zippered pockets. They are designed into the shorts so you can’t even see the pockets when they are zippered closed. You also don’t really feel the zippers like other shorts. I will be honest, these pockets were a great feature to have on vacation in a foreign country where you need to keep track of your I.D. and money.

These shorts have three types of closures in the front. A drawstring tie at the waist, a zippered front, and a top button. Basically these shorts aren’t coming off in the water. And again, the zippered front along with the drawstring and button are seamlessly integrated into shorts so you don’t really feel them.

Three types of front closures on the O'Neill Hybrid Board Short

Three types of front closures on the O’Neill Hybrid Board Short

Alternative Shorts to Recommend

I brought four pairs of board shorts with me on vacation, three of them were hybrid shorts. The other two, the Volcom Men’s Hybrid 21″ Short, Gunmetal, 32 and the Mens Hybrid Golf Shorts Stretch Quick Dry Swim Trunks Boardshorts Black – 33.

These other two shorts were also pretty great but didn’t have everything the O’Neill pair had. The Volcom pair was very comparable in that they had four pockets but only the back left one was closeable with only a button. Not too secure.

The Visive pair was the fastest drying and had a zippered back pocket but the material itself wasn’t as comfortable as the other two. I would recommend both of these shorts as close alternatives.

As far as pricing goes the O’Neill pair was in the middle of the prices I paid for all the shorts. The Volcom pair were the most expensive and the Visive pair was a little less. However, I would consider them all pretty decent values for their respective prices.

The O’Neill Santa Cruz board short is another option if you are looking for a board short just for water activities.

The Thing I Don’t Like About These Shorts

The belt loops. Who is wearing a belt with shorts? Not really a problem as shirts cover them up, but at the beach, they would look a little cooler without them. Again, not a huge deal but something to be aware of.

My Final Verdict on These Shorts

I love these shorts. Of the three pairs of hybrid board shorts I brought on vacation with me, none of the others matched the overall comfort, look and functionality of these shorts.

As mentioned before the zippered side pockets were a lifesaver, especially when keeping track of foreign currencies jumbling around in your pockets.

These shorts looked great with a button-up shirt as well as a t-shirt. I wore them to more than a few nice restaurants with no snooty looks.

The weather was in the 90 degrees Fahrenheit/ 32 degrees Celsius range and humid and these shorts remained comfortable and breathable. As mentioned previously I was able to wash them in our Airbnb sink and they dried in a half-hour on our outside deck chair.

So, if you are looking for a versatile pair of shorts to take with you to the beach or on vacation I would definitely recommend giving these a try, thanks for reading.

O’Neill Men’s 21 Inch Outseam Hybrid Stretch Walk Short, Heather Grey, 36