Let me show you the step-by-step process to measure the inseam of your shorts. 

Use these exact steps when ordering anything online, like tailored/bespoke shorts, jean shorts, board shorts or looking to make your shorts tighter.

Table of Contents

This is a photo of Tall Paul in an inseam graphic

How To Measure Shorts Inseam

Total Time: 3 minutes

Cost: $3.59

  • Buy sewing tape measure for $3.59

Supplies & Tools:

  • Flat surface
  • Sewing tape
this is a photo of a sewing tape to measure shorts inseam
Sewing tape
Flat surface (floor)

There are two ways to learn the simple steps on how to measure shorts inseam. You can follow the 51 second YouTube video or the step-by-step guide with photos below. Both ways will get your desired measurement with your shorts inseam.

1. Find a pair of shorts

Find a pair of shorts that fit you the best.

This is a photo of tall paul wearing a proper fitting pair of shorts at the beach

2. Lay the shorts flat

Lay your shorts down, preferably on a flat surface like the kitchen table or floor

This is a photo of shorts layed flat

3. Fold the shorts

Fold your shorts so that each leg is on top of the other

this is a photo of shorts folded over

4. Lift the top short leg

Lift the top shorts leg towards your waist and place them there. Be careful when placing the top leg not to twist the crotch area

this is a photo of a short leg lifted over ontop of itself

5. Remove creases

Remove any creases to get a better measurement

this is a photo of tall paul removing the creases in his shorts

6. Measure the inseam

Take a measuring tape and measure the inseam starting from the seam of your shorts till the hem.

this is a photo of the inseam of shorts being measured

7. Measure the outseam

Next, measure the outer seam (outseam) as well. This is the best practice when it comes to shorts.

this is a photo of the outseam of shorts being measured

8. Or measure the thigh

If the outer of the shorts is not seamed, then measuring the thigh will do.

How to measure shorts inseam: quick tips

  • When ordering your shorts online or making them at home, you need to consider if the hem is above or below your knees, which will change the length of your inseam.
  • Use our other guides on how to measure clothes to help you make the correct measurement each time on any piece of clothing.


You measure the inseam for shorts on the inner thigh. Using the inner thigh as your guide, start measuring at the crotch and finishing measuring at the hem of the short leg.

A 5 inch inseam on shorts means the that length of the shorts are 5 inches. This is the length it will go down your thighs. A 5 inch short is great for running shorts and also trendy for fashionable shorts.

A 7 inch inseam on shorts means that the length of the shorts are 7 inches. This is the length your shorts will go down your legs (thighs, quads.) A 7 inch short is used for swimming trunks and lifestyle shorts.