Warmer weather is finally here. We’ve gone through one of the snowiest winters we’ve had in years and it’s finally time to take out our summer clothes. You know what that means: it’s time to grab the best men’s swim trunks from the bottom of your underwear drawer and let those legs breathe again.
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. These Vuori swim shorts are 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. H&M Swim Shorts
GOES WITH EVERYTHING
To get the best pair of black swim shorts of the season, there’s no need to break the bank. Our favorites are these easy $15 black trunks from H&M (yes, they are available in other colors). They will match anything you wear them with and look especially great soaking up the sun. These short swim trunks come with an inner mesh lining, pockets and an elastic drawstring waistband.
4. 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.
5. J.Crew 6″ 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 gingham colorblock option pictured below, but you can also buy these men’s swim trunks in solid colors and stylish patterned prints. On the inside, you’ll find a mesh lining.
6. Bonobos Riviera Recycled Swim Trunks
It doesn’t get any more handsome than Bonobos. This made-for-men brand doesn’t only have handsome suits, button-downs and polos, but they also make some of the freshest swimsuits of all time. The Bonobos Riviera Recycled Swim Trunks are everything you need and more for this summer. They’re eco-friendly using entirely recycled polyester and come in a plethora of colorways and patterns perfect for matching your style.
7. Amazon Essentials Quick-Dry 9″ Swim Trunk
BEST AMAZON PICK
Amazon Essentials has done it yet again with yet another handsome yet affordable clothing option just about any dude will love. These quick-dry swim trunks are perfect for the kind of guy that links their trunks on the longer side but doesn’t want to ditch out on color. There are a number of fun colors available and each pair will cost you just under $20, so you might want to snag a few.
8. ASOS Short Length Swim Trunks
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 green short shorts that look just as great poolside as they do at the seashore. With a pair of swim trunks this short, you’re going to need some of your buds to take an Instagrammable photo for sure. Our e-commerce editor Tyler Schoeber has these and he swears by them.
9. Lululemon Channel Cross Swim Short 7″
BEST FOR SWIMMERS
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. You should never have to worry about wardrobe malfunctions while catching waves.
10. Le Club Original Cole Bay 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 Le Club Original’s Cole Bay Trunks. These trunks clad in an island escape are lightweight, lighthearted and fit well whether on the sand, at the nearest beach bar or chilling in your backyard hot tub. The Cole Bay bathing suit comes in two different length options depending on how much thigh you normally show.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. Birdwell Beach Britches Swim Trunks
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.
14. J.Crew Lightweight Sunfaded French Terry Dock Short
Tie-dye has been on the mind of every stylish dude since last 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 J.Crew because of their relaxed off-orange 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 $40, so there’s no need to worry about scuffing or staining them.
15. L.L.Bean Classic Supplex Sport Shorts
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 Supplex Sport swim trunks are perfect for your next sport-filled beach day. They are made with 100% nylon with UPF 50+ to ensure you’re safe to go on with any adventure you have planned for the day. Additionally, they’re quick-drying and have a polyester mesh lining for support.
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. Quiksilver Highlite Arch 19″ Boardshorts
BEST FOR SURFING
If you plan on using your summer trunks primarily for surfing, check out Quiksilver’s Highlite Arch board shorts. They’re on the cutting-edge of board short technology with a flexible, ultra-lightweight recycled fabric. The 19-inch outseam sits at the middle of the knee, offering coverage to prevent rashes without any excess fabric. Given how prevalent Quiksilver is in the surfing community, they also pay attention to the details with flexible, durable seams and a performance drawstring that won’t come undone.
19. 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.
20. 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.
21. 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.
22. Psycho Bunny Wigley Logo Swim Trunks
MOST FUN BRAND
Spring is finally here. You know what that means, don’t you? Yup. Funky swim trunks are back, baby. These wildly patterned swim trunks from Psycho Bunny lighten up any backyard pool 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’s warming back up, throw these on for beach days, pool parties and vacations (when we’re finally able to take them again).
23. 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.
24. 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.
25. 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.
26. 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.
Some FAQs About the Best Men's Swim Trunks
As you might imagine, swim trunks are meant for the water and shorts are not. Swim trunks are normally made with quick-drying materials that make them easy for getting in and out of the water. Shorts, on the other hand, are normally made from materials that don't dry as quickly. Some men will still will their regular shorts when swimming, but we don't recommend that.
Swim trunks that are in style right now range in a bunch of different categories. Right now, the most popular are likely swim shorts for men, which act as a short/swim trunk hybrid and shorter swim trunks for men to show off some thigh.
Wearing underwear with swim trunks depends on preference. Lots of swim trunks come with mesh or underwear-like liners that act as underwear, but others don't. Some men even cut out the liner included in their swim trunks so they can wear underwear. It really depends on your comfort level, but underwear will not dry even remotely as fast as your swim trunks will. Keep at in mind.