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Review Summary

8 pockets spread across contrasting materials accented by a zipper and drawstrings make up the John Elliott miramar tactical cargo shorts. These are not your everyday cargo shorts. The relaxed fit super soft washed cotton give these a properly worn-in and almost vintage look while the nylon pockets add a unique and somewhat militaristic contrast. I’m not a massive fan of cargo shorts ever since my elementary school days, however, I had to dig deep and make an exception for this surprisingly awesome pair that is now part of the regular rotation.

You’ll have no problem finding somewhere to store your wallet, keys, phone, or any other small item you typically keep on your person. In fact, you're more likely to forget just where you did store those items given so many options. The hidden storage contained within the asymmetric cargo pockets is actually super useful and accessible for your everyday carry. The overall fit of the John Elliott miramar cargo shorts is comfortable with plenty of stretch in the durable elastic waist. From a style standpoint, these might be the best looking cargo shorts that I have come across. That being said, at the end of the day, you’re still wearing cargo shorts. Throw on a vintage tee, hemi flannel, or a graphic sweatshirt and you’ll have yourself a solid casual fit.

As with most John Elliott, prepare for a bit of a sticker shock if purchasing at retail. With a price tag of $348, this is one expensive pair of shorts. If you’re in the market for a solid pair of cargos, I strongly encourage keeping a close eye on the secondary retail sites such as grailed to see if a good deal pops up. 

Review Ratings


  • Elastic waist provides a comfortable and relaxed fit that’s easy to wear
  • 8 total pockets that are mostly hidden with asymmetric styling on the two thighs
  • Black or olive washed cotton gives a slightly faded and worn in look which I prefer
  • Subtle utilitarian and tactical aesthetic that makes cargo shorts cool again (in case you thought they were uncool)


  • I wouldn’t be mad at a slightly shorter inseam to hit higher above the knee
  • Price point is on the higher side for a pair of cargo shorts, but we’ve come to expect this from John Elliott

John Elliott Miramar Tactical Cargo Shorts


Review Details

John Elliott Miramar Cargo Shorts Sizing

The fit is always the trickiest part when purchasing John Elliott as you want to ensure it’s just right if you’re going to part ways with your cash. At 5’11” and 165 pounds with a size 32” waist, I typically bounce around between medium 2 and large 3 in John Elliott sizing. Studio pants in size 3 feel a bit big on me while Himalayan pants in a size 2 feel just a bit snug. I opted for the size 2 in the miramar cargo shorts as I felt the elastic waist should play in my favor. And that it did. The size 2 actually fit perfectly with plenty of room still to stretch, but they’re far from being loose. 

john elliott miramar tactical cargo shorts review

These John Elliott cargo shorts come with an incorporated drawstring that runs throughout the waist. This can either be used to dial in the cinch and properly secure the shorts or leave them dangling down the front for an added accent. I prefer the latter as I like the more athletic look and added detail. I also had no need to further secure the shorts as the size felt just right with more than enough room for mobility. The elastic throughout the waistband seems robust with no concerns of loosening or overstretching with time or wash.

When it comes to the overall length of the shorts, I will say that they are a slight bit long for my taste. This is to be expected with cargo shorts as you have to put all those pockets somewhere. I think for most, the length will be completely fine, but in comparison to the Himalayan shorts, the inseam is a few inches longer. The leg opening I would classify as average and not overly baggy, even on my skinny legs. 

As a final fit recommendation, If you’re between sizes, I would most likely size down as these do run large. The waist stretch in the miramar cargo shorts is plenty with quite a bit more room than the Himalayan pants in the same size. I have not experienced much shrinking from washing, however, I typically wash on cold and hang to dry just to be on the safe side.  

John Elliott Miramar Cargo Shorts Construction

Typical cargo shorts have 6 pockets. 2 hand pockets, 2 back pockets, and 2 pockets on the outer thigh. John Elliott said hold me beer and managed to add an additional 2 pockets to these cargo shorts just for kicks. You may be hard pressed to locate the presence of these two pockets as they are integrated into the other pockets, almost like inception. While this all sounds like pocket overload, the execution and construction is quite elegant. 

Here’s the rundown. The two slant hand pockets are pretty standard and plenty spacious for the bulk of your belongings. The two pockets at the rear feature a set in style and are sealed closed by velcro under contrasting nylon flaps. As you would imagine, these pockets are perfect for smaller items like your wallet or other slim personal belongings. I admit, it can be a bit annoying prying open velcro every time you want to access your cash, but it's a small price to pay. The cargo pockets are where things start to get interesting. 

While maybe not immediately noticeable, there is some asymmetry in the cargo pockets that adds a bit of detail that I quite like. Although each of these pockets feature a nylon flap with velcro securing the top, functionally, they operate very differently. The left thigh cargo pocket is a bit more traditional in nature. It features a full size gusseted pocket with two metal eyelets at the bottom and a velcro flap securing the top. What is not immediately apparent is the hidden pocket located just behind the velcro flap. This pocket is easily accessible with an open top, often being used for my cell phone or other items that I want to quickly grab.

The pocket on the right thigh is a bit more complex and unique. It to features a velcro flap at the top, but once opened, the surprises start. There is one easy access inset pocket that is rimmed with nylon and is positioned behind the main exterior pocket. The main exterior pocket is sealed with a color matched YKK zipper that starts towards the back and unzips across the top and down the front. This is a spacious pocket that due to its dual forms of sealing, I don’t use too often given the hassle, however, it is aesthetically pleasing.

john elliott miramar cargo shorts review

Never have I worn a pair of shorts that feature so many pockets, but to my surprise, they are quite useful and durable. The velcro seems to keep on grabbing even after prolonged wear. There are currently no signs of loosening stitches or fatigue around all of these pockets (which can sometimes happen in high stress areas) which is a massive plus. The waist still retracts back to the original size and the pull strings appear unchanged. All in all, the construction quality of the John Elliott miramar tactical cargo shorts are what you would expect from the brand, especially at the high price point.

John Elliott Miramar Cargo Shorts Style

I feel that the typical cargo short wax and wanes in style over the decades. One moment it’s seen as a functional form of carry with understated utilitarian style, the next it’s the butt of all jokes. No matter the decade, with the right amount of confidence and proper accompanying attire, the John Elliott miramar tactical cargo shorts can definitely be worn at all times.

john elliott miramar tactical cargo shorts review back

What sets these cargo shorts apart initially is the super soft washed cotton that is contrasted by the darker utilitarian nylon. This dichotomy of materials make for a unique garment that is certainly different than your run of the mill cargos. The faded fabric somewhat resembles that of an old rucksack which only wares in more with each wash. When paired with a vintage wash shirt or flannel, the look is complete.

As mentioned earlier, one bit I quite like from a style standpoint is the asymmetric pockets and small details. The right side zipper subtly shows itself peeking out from the velcro nylon flap while the left side metal eyelets scream mil spec. From an observer's standpoint, there will be no mistake that these shorts are not from Walmart. While I have not been the biggest proponent of the cargo short silhouette over the years, I will say that these are a solid pair to work into your rotation.

Depending on the season, I frequently pair these shorts with either a basic long sleeve shirt such as the Reigning Champ midweight, a John Elliott hemi shirt, or a pullover shell like the Reigning Champ anorak jacket. During the dead of summer, a simple short sleeve basic or graphic tee (I’m big on moon collective at the moment) is my typical go to. I can’t say that these shorts leave the closet at the same frequency as the John Elliott Himalayan shorts or frame shorts, but I do enjoy having them as an option.

John Elliott Miramar Cargo Shorts Value

I was late to the party on these cargo shorts and luckily benefited from discounted pricing with plenty of availability. Originally offered at $348 per pair, I was able to get both the black and olive for roughly $160 each on grailed which was a mega steal. At this price point, I would be a fool to complain. If I paid $348 for a pair of cargo shorts, I would probably keep that a secret to the grave. 

Very few items from John Elliott will receive a high score for value. It’s a brand that focuses first and foremost on the aesthetic with little compromise for cost. This is something to come to terms with and decide whether it makes sense for you. If it’s any consolation, the general quality and construction seems to indicate that these shorts will last a while if taken care of and washed properly. I’d also wish you good luck in finding another pair of cargo shorts that lean more stylish than silly, which unfortunately brings about the old adage that you have to pay to play. Are there John Elliott shorts that I would purchase before ponying up the cash for the miramar tactical cargos, definitely. But if you’re scowering grailed or the like and come across a good deal, I’d pull the trigger.

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