Chances are, the most out-of-style item you have in your closet is a pair of swim trunks. Swim trunks are one of those pieces of clothing you buy once and it lasts for quite a long time. Considering how fast fashion cycles are these days, something you may have purchased five years ago might as well have been bought two decades ago instead.
Nowadays, your swim trunks should have more in common with your actual shorts, both in terms of how they function and how they look. We’re thinking pockets and drawstring waistbands to keep you comfy all day long. Oh, and gone are the days of long boardshorts. Instead, reach for a shorter inseam. After all, sky’s out, thighs out. And the ladies will love to see you show a little skin.
With that in mind, we’re here to help you find the best set of short swim trunks to get you ready for this summer. From bright colors to bold patterns, here are our eight favorites.
1. Bather Solid Pine Swim Trunks
Bather’s classic swim trunk fits everything you’re looking for in a classic swim trunk; quick-drying nylon makes it so you’re not sitting in soggy shorts when you’re done in the water, pockets make it so you can go from the water to the bar without skipping a beat. The 5.5-inch inseam is the perfect length to show some summertime leg. A drawstring waist makes adjusting them a cinch, while the mesh lining is supportive without being uncomfortable. There are few perfect pieces of clothing, but these come pretty close.
2. Onia Calder 5″ Swim Trunks
Half the fun of swim trunks is to spring for a pair in bright colors or bold patterns. This set from Onia fulfills both, providing a sky blue hue with a subtle paisley pattern. The fixed waist on these makes them feel like actual shorts, which is a really nice feature to have in a higher-end trunk but might feel slightly different if you’re typically used to drawstrings. However, it just makes it that much easier to go about your normal day once you’re dry since the swim trunks look (and function) like actual shorts.
3. Patagonia Baggies Swim Trunks
Patagonia’s Baggies Swim Trunks are our go-to’s for just about everything in the summer, so why not swim trunks too? These short swim shorts are quick-drying and supremely comfortable (thanks to their drawstring waist and highly breathable mesh lining), capable of being one of the only pairs of shorts you’ll need throughout the brutal summer heat. Try a pair and thank us later.
4. Orlebar Brown Setter Swim Trunks
British outfit Orlebar Brown’s Setter Swim Trunks are nice and short for those who really want to show some thigh, but we love them for all their small little design details. The adjustable tabs on the side function similarly to that of tuxedo pants, making it easy to dial in the perfect fit for you while providing an overall polished look. The button fly and pockets help the trunks to really function as shorts, while the fabric dries lighting fast, making the Setter a pair of shorts you can wear all day.
5. Saturdays NYC Timothy Seersucker Stripe Swim Trunks
Patterns and colors are fun design elements to play with when it comes to a pair of swim trunks, but it’s rarer to see designers play with fabrics. Saturdays NYC has this set of seersucker (!) short swim trunks made from a fast-drying polyester that makes these trunks look pretty different (in a cool way) from other options out there. We like the green color since it helps the seersucker pattern really pop.
6. Vilebrequin Swim Shorts
Vilebrequin is known for having really bold patterns, so this all-black version feels a little atypical for the French brand. These are also on the shorter end but are just as capable of being worn to a bar as they are on the beach. Like the dual metal holes in the back, little details help to vent water out of the trunks faster and make them really smartly designed. However, these run small, so consider grabbing a size up from what you’d normally take.
7. Bugatchi Wave Print Swim Trunks
Warm weather is all about having fun in the sun, so why not grab a pair of swim trunks that truly reflects that? These wave print shorts from Bugatchi make a statement and are perfect for adding some real character to a day at the beach or the pool. The orange and white colors will look just as neat waterside as they will with a white tee afterward, so don’t be afraid to dress these up when you’re done soaking up the sun.
8. Noah Floral Paisley Volley Swim Trunks
NYC outfit Noah’s take on a good pair of short swim trunks is a uniquely colorful paisley pattern that’s summer-ready. The quick-drying fabric is a cotton-blend for both breathability and comfort, and these shorts come complete with side pockets that have plenty of room for your daily essentials. Additionally, there’s a back zipper pocket to store any valuables you want to keep safe and secure throughout your day.