Summertime and the livin’s easy, but not if you need a new pair of trunks. If you reach for last year’s swim trunks, only to find they no longer fit, are completely trashed or you suddenly despise the way they look, it’s time for a new pair. Luckily, you don’t need to worry. We’ve done the research and compiled a list of our favorite pairs from our favorite brands.
But before you pick and choose, decide what you’re looking for in your next pair. Are you the kind of guy who wants a pair of loud swim trunks that will help you stand out in the crowd? Or are you more of the muted type? Are these trunks supposed to hold up to the rigors of surfing? Or are they for casual lounging? Once you figure out your needs, take a stroll through our list below.
From Everlane and Nordstrom, to even some great finds you can get off of Amazon, here are our top ten swim trunks to buy this summer.
1. Birdwell Beach Britches
Still built in Santa Ana like it was 1961, Birdwell Beach Britches are about as classic Southern California as surfing or skateboarding. And for good reason, these shorts are built to last. Utilizing just-in-time manufacturing (meaning they don’t make your pair until you order your pair) Birdwell has kept itself relevant in an ever-changing, over-crowded market for half a century.
We love our Beach Britches in red and cut with a 15″ outseam. These shorts are short, no doubt about it, but if you’re the type looking to emulate the style of the greats like Sean Connery or Steve McQueen, you can’t go wrong with an old school looking swim trunk like Birdwell.
2. Bonobos Banzai E-Waist Trunks
If you’re looking for a quality pair of swim trunks with a pattern, or something more fun than just a plain color, look no further than Bonobos’ Banzai E-Waist Trunks. These trunks, which we’ve picked in navy with all over print bananas, are light weight, lighthearted and fit well on the sand or at the nearest beach bar. The Bonzai come in a range of different lengths, including 5″, 7″ and 9″ inseams and feature a 4-way stretch for extra comfort and mobility. Also, these swim trunks feature an interior mesh liner and pockets, so you don’t have to worry about bringing a backpack to the beach or bar.
3. Vilebrequin Moorise Ibiza Swim Trunks
Best for Standing Out
Picture this: you’ve been invited to a fancy summer pool party. The wardrobe expectation for guys is simple, trunks and a shirt. But you want to stand out from the crowd of guys wearing basically the same thing as you, what do you do? Pick up a pair of Vilebrequin swim trunks, and let your shorts do all the work. Featuring a warm coral background and silhouettes of brightly colored palm trees and hammocks, these shorts are sure to get you noticed. However, style and eye-catching shorts don’t come cheap, making these swim trunks the most expensive pair on our list. But if you want to make sure nobody else at the party is going to dress the same as you, look no further than a pair of bright Vilebrequins. Made of 100% polyamide, these machine washable shorts feature side pockets and a back velcro sealed pocket to store your valuables.
4. Nonwe Men’s Swim Trunks
Best Price Point
If budget is your biggest concern, and you only want a pair for a casual beach trip or getaway, Nonwe is your brand. As one of the best selling pairs of trunks on Amazon, these shorts from Nonwe get the job done without being too flashy. These Nonwe come in a range of different striped patterns, and sit at about knee-level, for the longer, more straight forward look. The shorts come equipped with a mesh liner, drawstring tie around the waist and a velcro side pocket that’s perfect for stashing your wallet, phone or keys. With over 500 reviews, a 4.3 out of 5 average rating on Amazon, and a price point that will have you out the door under $20, it’s no wonder these are a top seller on Amazon.
5. Everlane The Boardshort
Best Modern Simple
With a modern cut, and a simple pattern, Everlane’s take on the swim trunk is an easy item to build an outfit around. This swim trunk features a simple color-blocking with sage green on top and a faded rose on the bottom half. The modern cut will sit a couple inches above the knee to give a stylish look without being too revealing. What’s more, these shorts from Everlane are offered at three different price points, and what you pay is up to you! Everlane cuts out the middle man by offering their products direct to consumer, so you save a ton on what would otherwise cost around $100 for a swim trunk of this quality. Grab a pair now before they completely sell out!
6. Orlebar Brown Bulldog Sport Mid-Length Swim Shorts
Featured here in a dark gray, these stylish swim shorts from Orlebar Brown will give you a subtle edge compared to the guy next to you. Instead of the run-of-the-mill draw string featured in most swim trunks, this pair features a partially elasticated waistband and adjustable tabs for a subtle and functional fit. What’s more, the trunks offer a snap and zippered fly, so you can worry less about wardrobe malfunctions and focus on your volleyball game. These shorts by Orlebar Brown are machine washable and come in a range of colors from dark gray to turquoise. At $175 for a pair, these are a pricier option, but they’ll look great whether you wear them day or night.
7. Hurley Phantom
Best for the Beach Athlete
Hurley raised the bar when they created the Phantom. Before 2007, there wasn’t a difference between swim trunks and surf trunks. Even though swim trunks tend to be rigid (and therefore cause a ton of chaffing for your average surfer) brands didn’t care all that much. However, that all changed when Hurley invented the Phantom. With 60% stretch, the shorts took the surfing world by storm and became the benchmark for athletic surf-wear. Now, 12 years after their debut, nearly every surf brand has their own take on the Phantom.
If you’re the type to hit the beach, surf a few waves and then hop into a quick game of volleyball or frisbee, the Phantom were made for you. Made of an impossibly light polyester and spandex mix, these shorts feel so light, you’ll forget they’re there.
8. Outerknown Men’s Modern Scallop Trunks
Best for the Conscious Consumer
Coming to you from straight from the brain of Kelly Slater (also known as the greatest surfer to ever step foot on a board), Outerknown is taking a different approach to men’s beachware. Aside from being simple, yet stylish, Outerknown makes a point of being environmentally friendly. A perfect example of their ethos is found in their Modern Scallop Trunks. The majority of these trunks are made up of recycled PET, with only 14% being made of spandex. Or, as the website figures, this pair of trunks is made with the same amount of plastic as 10 to 12 bottles. While other brands are grabbing whatever material they can, with little consideration of the environmental impacts, Slater and his crew are pushing to make a product that doesn’t hurt the environment, and still looks great.
9. Fair Harbor The Anchor
Best Affordable Environmentally Friendly
If you want to help save the planet, but don’t want to spend $100 on swim trunks, Fair Harbor offers a stylish swim trunk worth a look. Made from 88% recycled bottles (2% more than Outerknown’s) these swim trunks are cool and cut like the classics. The shorts feature a navy blue construction with two parallel red stripes across the top, an 8″ inseam and a zippered pocket in the back for safe storage of your valuables. What’s more, for those who are fans of the inner liner, these shorts come with a Cool Max Liner, which feels more like wearing a pair of boxer briefs than those old mesh liners you had to deal with as a kid. The Anchor comes in several different colors and styles, including a patterned red, gray and green.
10. TUONROAD Mens 3D Printed Funny Swim Trunks
Best Wild Style
Swim trunks can be trendy, stylish and cool, but they can also be a great way to have fun, and not take things too seriously. Enter these 3D printed trunks from Tuonroad. Though we’ve picked the iconic ’90s paper cup style, these shorts are available in everything from an all over Galaxy print to Taco Cats. Each pair of trunks comes with an elastic waistband and a draw string to keep things secure, and a set of side pockets. At $21.99 these shorts are fairly inexpensive and are sure to get some looks, laugh and attention as soon as you step into the pool or onto the sand.