Ah, winter. Though the temp is low and we’ve packed away our summer clothes, for the time being, you might think that there’s no longer a need for the best men’s swim trunks until June. Well, unless you’re lucky enough to live in a warmer climate. But, that’s where you’re wrong. Winter is an excellent time to snag yourself a new pair of swim trunks for the sheer fact that prices are dropping tremendously and you really will never know when you need that fresh new pair.
Men’s swim trunks are showing their pertinence way more frequently as of late through indoor pools at hotels and Airbnbs as well as backyard hot tub sessions with friends and family. As the temperatures drop and drop and drop, the potential for coming in contact with a body of water lessens, but it’s still there. So, you won’t want to be without a quality pair of swim trunks.
If you reach for your most recent pair of swim trunks, only to find they no longer fit, are completely trashed or you suddenly despise the way they look, it’s time for new men’s swimwear. Luckily, you don’t need to worry. We’ve done the research and compiled a list of the best swim trunks from our favorite brands.
But before you choose your next pair of swim shorts, decide what you’re looking for. In the old days, men’s bathing suit trunks were quite uniform with similar cuts, materials and patterns. Now, swim trunks have become a diverse market with options for every activity and style. Here are a few types of men’s swimwear you should consider before purchasing:
- Surf boardshorts for beach activities and workouts, as well as surfing.
- Throwback swim trunks for a trendy old-school look
- Designer swim trunks for stylish jet setters
- Statement bathing suits to stand out in a crowd (while social distancing, that is)
- Hybrid performance shorts for emergency dips while hiking, traveling or running errands
- Sustainable trunks for the conscious shopper
Once you figure out your needs and style direction, you’re ready to start shopping. Read on for our roundup of the best swim trunks to buy from Vuori to Mack Weldon and Patagonia.
1. Vuori Banks Hybrid Shorts
Go from running errands to the beach with these extremely moveable hybrid shorts made for chilling, swimming and everything in between. These shorts are perfect for your casual summer backyard barbecue when you’re hopping from the pool to the grill then back to the pool again. They’re quick-drying and totally comfy so you won’t feel like you’re wearing a swimsuit even when you’re quite literally wearing a swimsuit. While we’re loving these in black, there are a number of colors to choose from that will ensure you’re stilling looking cool.
2. Patagonia Baggies Swim Shorts
BEST HYBRID SHORTS
We’ve all been in these situations: you’re hiking, traveling or hanging out with friends and a body of water calls your name through the distance. Hybrid shorts such as these Patagonia Baggies offer a solution, allowing you to take a dip whenever and wherever — even if you forgot your swim trunks. They’re made of lightweight, quick-drying nylon that lets you swim but also keeps you dry and comfortable on hot days if it’s still warm by you. The shorts come in a range of stylish colors and patterns, but we suggest the light blue pictured below because they work with almost anything in your closet and every setting from California mountaintops to a Mediterranean beach.
3. Mack Weldon Swim Board Short
Is security a big thing when it comes to men’s swim trunks? Uh, ya, of course, it is. Ever been at the beach and lost your keys in the sand? We have, and it’s not as easy as borrowing that strange guy’s metal detector. Mack Weldon helped solve this issue by including zippered front and back pockets. So whether you’re keeping your keys, phone, wallet, credit cards or whatever in your pockets, you lounge easy knowing they won’t unexpectedly fall out.
Aside from prime pockets, Mack Weldon does everything else right with these shorts. They come in a handful of cool prints and colors and boast four-way stretch for comfort.
4. Nonwe Men’s Swim Trunks
If comfort is your concern, opt for the Nonwe Men’s Swim Trunks straight off of Amazon. These cozy, soft-washed shorts are made from 100% polyester and are roomy enough to fit comfortably on your waist and body without looking out of style. They’re quick-drying and water-resistant so you can go from the pool to the store in a matter of minutes if need be. There are two pockets on each leg and one back pocket for anything you might need to carry. For just $20, you might even be tempted to snag a couple.
5. Lululemon Channel Cross Swim Short 7″
BEST FOR SWIMMING
Are you the type who can’t consider it a solid beach or lake day without a dip? If so, these are the shorts for you. We all know that Lululemon totally rules when it comes to activewear. So it should come as no surprise that they took a seemingly-regular pair of trunks and made them ideal for doing more than just lounging. Thanks to their lightweight fabric that sports a four-way stretch and anti-chlorine properties, you can feel light and loose as you body surf waves at your favorite spot. Lululemon even cut these short, but not too short. You should never have to worry about wardrobe malfunctions while catching waves.
Right now, these trunks are on final sale at half the original asking price. With that being said, there’s no better time than now to make the purchase, so do it now before it’s too late.
6. Outerknown Apex 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 swimwear. Aside from being simple yet stylish, Outerknown makes a point of being environmentally friendly, too. A perfect example of their ethos is found in their Apex Trunks. These trunks are made primarily from recycled polyester and 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). These stylish men’s swim trunks are the perfect beachwear or hot tub soaker for 2021.
7. ASOS Swim Shorts
BEST SHORT SHORTS
Short shorts are the best shorts. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. It’s 2021, so if you haven’t dipped into the short shorts trend as of yet, now is finally the time. Start off strong with a swimsuit as eyecatching as you by snagging these bright lilac short shorts that look just as great poolside as they do at the seashore. With a pair of swim trunks this wild, you’re going to need some of your buds to take an Instagrammable photo for sure.
8. 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 swim 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. Emulating the style of the greats like Sean Connery or Steve McQueen, you can’t go wrong with an old school swim trunk like Birdwell.
9. J.Crew 6″ Stretch Swim Trunks
J.Crew is known for its swim trunks and men’s shorts, and we love these short swim trunks for 2021. J.Crew’s slim-fit swim trunks can be a bit too tight for bigger guys, but these shorts feature a stretch waistband that gives you a little bit of extra space. We like the floral print pictured below, but you can also buy these men’s swim trunks in solid colors and stylish geometric prints. On the inside, you’ll find a mesh lining.
10. TUONROAD Men’s 3D-Printed Funny Swim Trunks
BEST FUN PRINTS
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. We had to go with the craziest print we could find, so check out these taco cats clad on a pink backdrop. These shorts are also available in everything from an all-over Galaxy print to more subdued pineapples with sunglasses. Each pair of trunks comes with an elastic waistband and a drawstring to keep things secure and a set of side pockets. At the reasonable price of just $20, these men’s swim shorts are inexpensive and sure to get some second looks as soon as you step into the pool or onto the sand.
11. 1901 Swim Trunks
A lot of people may assimilate the word “preppy” with tacky. You know what we’re talking about, the cookie-cutter kind of white dude who can’t get out of his college phase, even though it’s been, like, seven years. While this kind of preppy dude absolutely does exist, the preppier side of fashion trends still has a ton of pertinence in summer wear — especially in terms of swim trunks. These trunks from 1901 have a low-key yet flashy look to them with a pastel blue color and tiny seagulls plastered all over. It has the, “yeah, I went to college and I do love my preppy sense of style, but I’m not lame” kind of look to it. Aka, snag ’em, they’re preppy and you’ll look fire in them.
12. Bonobos Riviera Recycled Swim Trunks
Hey pal, have some fun, they’re just shorts. If you’re looking for a quality bathing suit with a pattern, or something more fun than just a plain color, look no further than Bonobos’ Riviera Recycled Swim Trunks. These trunks, which we’ve picked in a striped, all-over lemon print, are lightweight, lighthearted and fit well whether on the sand, at the nearest beach bar or chilling in your backyard hot tub. The Riviera bathing suit comes in a range of different lengths, including 5″, 7″ and 9″ inseams. Plus, they’re made with recycled polyester, because Bonobos cares about the environment and so should you. Choose the print that best speaks to your personality and hit the beach in style this summer.
13. O’Neill Retrofreak Solid Volley Swim Trunks
BEST FOR BEACH SPORTS
Oh, we got a beach ball player on our hands, don’t we? If you find yourself hitting the v-ball over the net every single time you make it to the ocean side only to get so into it that you rip your trunks each time, you’re going to need a pair of swim trunks that can take a little bit of action. No one wants to see your shlong pop out again, my man. With that being said, these volley swim trunks are perfect for your next sport-filled beach day. They are made with a stretchy, water-resistant fabric to ensure you can move in any which direction the ball is headed toward. The best part of all? The trunks are built with anti-rash seams, so you can kiss chaffing goodbye.
14. Hurley Phantom
Hurley raised the bar when they created the Phantom boardshorts. 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 a signature stretch, the shorts 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 was made for you. Created with an impossibly light polyester and spandex mix, these swim shorts feel so light, you’ll forget they’re there.
15. Fair Harbor The Sextant Trunk
If you want to help save the planet, but don’t want to spend a lot on swim trunks, Fair Harbor offers a stylish swim trunk worth a look. Made from 92% recycled bottles (6% more than Outerknown’s) these stylish swim trunks are cool and cut like the classics. The shorts feature a navy blue construction with two parallel seafoam green stripes running down the sides, a 6″ 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 Sextant comes in several different colors and styles, including a white palm frond print which is sure to attract some positive attention.
16. Bondi Joe Watson Men’s Swim Trunk
Not everyone likes the inner mesh liner that comes with most swim trunks. If you like to be free downstairs, then check out these swim shorts from Bondi Joe. Born, bred and based in Australia (taking style cues from Bondi Beach), these shorts are cool, well cut and comfortable. And again, they don’t include a mesh liner.
Made from 100% recycled materials, these are a smart pair of men’s swim shorts to pick up before you hit the beach or pool this summer. We love that they come in an array of colors, though we prefer the simple look of this black pair (featured below). But whatever your preference, it’s hard to go wrong with a liner-less pair of swim trunks that dry fast and look good all day long.
17. Chubbies Domingos Are For Flamingos 5.5″ Stretch Swim Trunks
If you aren’t afraid of showing off a little leg, we love these immensely stretchy swim trunks from Chubbies. These swim shorts are constructed from a wildly malleable polyester/spandex blend so you can move around with ease. A lot of 5.5″ shorts can feel constricting, but Chubbies promises you’ll never feel constricted in these short swim trunks. You can choose from a wide range of styles and colors, but we like the flamingo print featured below, as it will match just about any t-shirt or button-up you throw on before heading to the pool or jacuzzi. If you’re looking for the best swim trunks for bigger guys, you’ll want to check out the Chubbies line of swim shorts.
18. MaaMgic Vintage Swim Trunks
Short shorts are a modern staple to all men, but the look is entirely derivative off of menswear from the past. Trends and patterns have changed ever-so-slightly, but these vintage-inspired, Gatsby-esque swim trunks from Amazon look like they time-traveled into 2021 from a pool party that happened 100 years ago. The gold and green combo makes these feel really rich, but surprisingly, they’re only $24. If you’re trying to relive the Roaring ’20s in the modern-day ’20s, this swimsuit is the best way to do it.
19. Rip Curl Mirage Core Stretch Board Shorts
BEST FOR SURFING
If you plan on using your summer trunks primarily for surfing, check out Rip Curl’s Mirage board shorts. They’re on the cutting-edge of board short technology with a flexible, ultra-lightweight blend fabric. The 20-inch outseam sits at the middle of the knee, offering coverage to prevent rashes without any excess fabric. Rip Curl also pays attention to the details with flexible, durable seams and a performance drawstring that won’t come undone. Add a cleverly placed zippered hip pocket (so you won’t sit or lay on it) and you have a pair of board shorts that let you shred your best.
20. Goodfellow & Co Fiery Swim Board Trunks
BEST FROM TARGET
We know you Target lovers out there are specific shoppers. Like, do you guys even consider shopping at Walmart? Nordstrom? Amazon? Honestly, to each their own, we respect it. For those Target-only shoppers, here are the best swim trunks you can purchase both in-store and online. They’re from Target’s Goodfellow & Co brand, so if you’ve ever had the chance to own anything from them before, you’ll know they’re of stellar quality. Wear these at the beachside bar or on a relaxing summer day on the front lawn with your sprinklers on.
21. Nike Diverge 9″ Volley Short Swim Trunk
BEST NIKE SWIM SHORTS
The Nike logo has become a mainstay trend with the rise and domination of streetwear and athleisure. Now, rocking a logo on your swim trunks is a viable option for modernizing your swimwear. These Volley swim trunks from Nike do a great job of introducing some street style to your swim wardrobe with the classic Nike logo at the bottom of the short. They’re slightly on the long side so you can wear these while surfing in addition to lounging.
22. Billabong All Day Riot Lo Tides Boardshorts
Tie-dye has been on the mind of every stylish dude since the summer. The print has gone from hippie to high-fashion in a matter of months, and tie-dye swim trunks are a great way to sport the look. We’re kind of obsessed with these tie-dye swim trunks from Billabong because of their relaxed off-red color that will brighten up any backyard. They also feature a modern, mid-thigh length that makes the shorts work with a variety of shirts and sneakers. Plus, they’re very reasonably priced at just $33, so there’s no need to worry about scuffing or staining them.
23. Gucci Short-Length Swim Shorts
BEST FOR CHASING CLOUT
As mentioned, it can be hard to stand out style-wise when you’re only wearing swim trunks. These trunks from Gucci offer a great solution for the haute enthusiast or hypebeast looking for something more upscale that will stand out — even the most exclusive hotel pool. They feature a 70’s-inspired look that Gucci has done on a handful of beloved pieces throughout their recent collections. We like these designer swim trunks because they’re not too loud in navy, but the striped logo-jacquard grosgrain trims are sure to catch the eye of anyone with high-fashion knowledge. And perhaps it’s a moot point, but these Gucci trunks do come with a Gucci price tag.
24. H&M Short Swim Shorts
BEST FOR SPRING
As spring silently approaches, it’s time to start thinking about what you’re going to wear on your first vacation of the year. Whether it’s near or far, these yellow swim trunks are the perfect color to pull off before we transition into summer. Imagine these on with tanned legs — you’re gonna look hot, my dude.
25. Orlebar Brown Bulldog Sport Mid-Length Swim Shorts
Featured here in a sleek black, 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 drawstring 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 performance swim shorts by Orlebar Brown are machine washable and come in either black or red. At $245 for a pair, these are a pricier option, but they’ll look great whether you wear them day or night.
26. Psycho Bunny Wigley Logo Swim Trunks
Even though we’re in the dead of winter, there’s no need to ditch fun-patterned swim trunks as the sky dulls and the snow falls. Try these swim trunks from Psycho Bunny and lighten up any backyard hot tub party with their cool bunny skull and crossbones design. They’re lightweight, quick-drying and stylish enough for any guy to rock no matter the occasion. As it warms back up this spring into summer, throw these on for beach days, pool parties and vacations (when we’re finally able to take them again).