dolphin shorts

Dolphin Shorts

80's Pants May 27, 2022

Dolphin shorts were basically thigh high shorts that were very popular in the early 1980s. While these athletic shorts were considered unisex, they were generally worn by teenage girls and young women.

Nevertheless, men also wore dolphin shorts, as the short shorts trend for men was one that was acceptable at the time. And in fact one of the most famous wearer of dolphin shorts during the 1980s was none other than fitness guru Richard Simmons.

The 80s fitness icon was well known for sporting a pair of dolphin shorts in every single one of his workout videos. In fact, Simmons boasted in one interview that he still had more than 400 pairs.

richard simmons dolphin shorts
Fitness Legend Richard Simmons Wearing “Dolphin Shorts”

While most people refer to them as dolphin shorts, they were actually manufactured by the Dolfin Corporation.

But teens didn’t care about the spelling of the actual name, instead, they just spelled the name as it was pronounced.

Regardless of whether you spell it Dolphin or Dolfin, the two are one and the same and therefore were commonly interchanged.

Dolphin Shorts In The 80s

The Dolfin Corporation was a popular sportswear company that first introduced dolphin shorts in the early 1970s. However, this initial design was not that popular.

It wasn’t until the redesign in 1979 that dolphin shorts started to catch on and become popular. Soon after their release in California, the trendy shorts quickly caught on and became a popular choice for teenage girls.

dolphin shorts women
Dolphin Shorts Were Popular Among Young Women During The 1980s
Browse Dolphin Shorts On Amazon Here

Eventually many high schools, as well as colleges, would begin to integrate dolphin shorts into their sports programs. Because of their popularity, there were a number of more affordable knockoffs that were available at the time. Some of the most popular knockoffs were the multicolored variety, which were sometimes more popular than the original.

Dolphin Shorts And Hooters

On the other side of the United States, far from the initial launchpad of the popular dolphin shorts, a new company was founded that would take their shorts to a whole new level.

In October of 1983, the first Hooters restaurant was opened in Clearwater, Florida. Within a few years, they had opened up additional locations throughout Florida, and then eventually throughout the entire United States.

The Original Hooters In Clearwater, Florida.

The waitstaff for Hooters were commonly referred to as “Hooters girls”. This was because the company only hired young women to wait on tables. As part of their uniform, they were required to wear very revealing outfits.


The primary part of this uniform was a pair of hot orange dolphin shorts. Along with a white Hooters shirt, the uniform of Hooters’ waitresses were revealing and controversial at the time. And this controversy only added to the notoriety of dolphin shorts at the time.

hooters dolphin shorts
The Original Shorts For Hooters’ Waitresses During The 1980s Were Dolphin Shorts

Today, not much has changed as the Hooters Girls still wear dolphin shorts as part of their uniform. The iconic orange dolphin shorts are instantly recognizable, and they are a trademark fashion of the Hooters brand.

Dolphin Shorts For Men

For the most part, dolphin shorts were very popular with young teenage women. But, because they were unisex, they were also worn by men too. In fact Dolfin did advertise their shorts to men as seen in this old school print ad:

dolphin shorts men
Dolfin Shorts Print Ad From 1984

For boys and men who grew up during the 1980s really short shorts was definitely one of the popular 80s fashion trends. Also it was not uncommon to wear dolphin shorts over a pair of sweatpants. The trend was so popular at the time that the actors in the movie “The Goonies” (1985) were seen sporting this very style.

Are Dolphin Shorts Still Popular?

The life of dolphin shorts unfortunately was short-lived. While they had become a popular choice in high school and colleges as sports apparel, their very revealing nature often led to issues in high schools across the nation.

As result, by the mid-1980s, more and more high schools around the country began introducing updated dress codes that would prevent the wearing of dolphin shorts on school property. But that wasn’t the end of the popular dolphin shorts.

While the popularity of dolphin shorts faded over the years, it never died completely. You can still see runners and beachgoers sporting a pair of dolphins today, but dolphin shorts are definitely nowhere near as popular as it was during the 1980s.

Browse Dolphin Shorts On Amazon Here

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