Summertime and the livin’s easy, but not if you need a new pair of trunks. If you reach for last year’s old 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 bathing suit. Luckily, you don’t need to worry. We’ve done the research and compiled a list of our favorite men’s swimwear 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 laidback type? Are these trunks supposed to hold up to the rigors of surfing? Or are they for casual lounging? Do you like the fact that stylish swim trunks are getting shorter, or do you want a bit more coverage down there? Once you figure out your needs, take a stroll through our list of the best men’s swim trunks below.
From Everlane and Nordstrom to great finds on Amazon, here are our top swim trunks to buy ahead of summer 2020.
1. Rhone 6″ Fletcher Trunk
This summer we’re going bold, and so should you. For this reason, we gave Rhone our number one spot, with their 6″ Fletcher Trunk. Featuring four-way stretch (which is a must-have these days), a zippered side pocket and a mesh inseam, the Fletcher check off all the right pockets when it comes to the ideal men’s bathing suit. And that’s all without discussing the style. Though we’re always fans of playing it low key, some years you need to stand out, which is why we love the pair with the pink side stripe. It’s just enough flare to get you noticed, without so much that onlookers might cringe.
2. 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. Sure, this swimsuit is 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 swim trunk like Birdwell.
3. 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 navy with all-over print flamingos, are lightweight, lighthearted and fit well whether on the sand or at the nearest beach bar. 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.
4. Vilebrequin Moorise Neo Camo 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, so what do you do? Pick up a pair of Vilebrequin swim trunks, and let your shorts do all the work. Featuring a colorful neon palette in all-over print camo, these shorts are sure to get you noticed.
Sometimes, the best swim trunks are loud. 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.
5. Nonwe Men’s Swim Trunks
BEST CHEAP SWIM TRUNKS
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-selling men’s bathing suit on Amazon.
6. 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 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 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.
7. Hurley Phantom
BEST FOR THE BEACH ATHLETE
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 60% 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.
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 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 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). These stylish men’s swim trunks are the perfect beachwear for summer 2020.
9. Fair Harbor The Sextant Trunk
BEST AFFORDABLE GREEN PICK
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.
10. TUONROAD Men’s 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 drawstring 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.
11. J.Crew 6″ Stretch Swim Trunk
No swim trunk roundup is complete without an entry from J.Crew, which makes resort-ready men’s swimwear season after season. The menswear staple has a ton of worthwhile offerings on their site, but if you ask us, it’s all about their 6″ Stretch Trunk in purple white. Featuring a faded print of sunshine, waves, palm trees and islands, this is a swim short to last your well past your 20s. J.Crew has the timeless style that makes their clothing last forever, and they’ve hit it with this pair of trunks. They’re just slim enough, short enough and fun enough to help you stand out from the crowd, but aren’t so bold that you’ll regret purchasing them.
Year after year, J.Crew makes some of the best swim trunks of the season, and this year is no exception. Pick up these stylish trunks before they sell out.
12. Bondi Joe Watson Men’s Swim Trunk
Honestly, does anyone actually like the liner in their trunks? We certainly don’t, which is why we had to share these 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 dumb liner.
Made from 100% recycled materials, these are a smart pair of 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.
13. 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.
14. UNTUCKit 8-Inch Recycled Boardshort
If comfort is your concern, opt for these shorts from UNTUCKit. The brand that popularized untucking your shirt attacks the summer staple with a casual hand, and the result is a solid pair of shorts. What’s more, UNTUCKit partnered up with Fair Harbor (see above) for their own take on an eco-friendly swim short. So while you’re lounging in relaxed, swimming comfort, you can feel extra good about yourself for basically wearing 11 plastic waterbottles around your waist. Plus at only $48, they’re incredibly affordable, too.
15. 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.
16. Saturdays NYC Cardamuro Swim Short
Here at SPY, we’re big fans of the old-school aesthetic. This throwback/70s style that Saturdays NYC is going for is especially awesome, which is why we had to share. If you’re all about keeping your shorts short but with a subtle sense of style, these are the shorts for you. Though they’re far from cheap, these are the kind of shorts that will get you noticed. They come in either Lifeguard Red (our words, not theirs) or a dark Navy. We love them in this red, though. If you’re going to go short and stylish, go all in. The shorts feature white piping around the edge to round out the 70s look.
17. J. Crew 6″ Stretch Eco Swim Trunks
If you aren’t afraid of showing off a little leg, we love these eco-friendly swim trunks from J. Crew. Made from recycled textiles, these swim shorts are constructed from quick-drying nylon and feature a breathable mesh lining. A lot of 6″ shorts can feel constricting, but like the best men’s swim trunks, these shorts have enough stretch to keep you comfortable. You can choose from a wide range of styles and colors, but we like the maze print featured below, as it will match just about any t-shirt or button-up you throw on before heading to the pool.
18. Bather Blue Ice Dye Swim Trunk
So we can assume you’ve heard of tie-dye before. But what about ice dye? If not, don’t fret, we hadn’t heard of it either until we stumbled upon these cool shorts from Bather. A technique that is similar to tie-dye, ice dye uses ice to get the blotted, splotchy, Rorschach-esque look you see below. The resulting pair of trunks will help you stand out in a crowd but in a good way. If you’re not the type to be flashy, but still prefer standing out (albeit subtly), these are the shorts for you. If you’re looking for the most stylish swim trunks of the season, this is a safe bet.
But Bather’s shorts are more than just a cool facade. These shorts pack two side pockets, a button-closed back pocket and an outer construction made of Quick-Dry Polyester to help water roll right off of you. Even if someone else at your next BBQ or beach party is rocking tie-dye, we can all but guarantee nobody will be rocking ice dye.