Summertime and the livin’s easy, but not if you need a new pair of swim trunks. If you reach for last year’s old 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
- 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 this summer from Rhone to Mack Weldon and Patagonia.
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.
These Rhone swim trunks also come in a variety of other colors. In addition to the blue-and-pink colorway below, we’re also big fans of the Orbita Sunset Stripe.
2. Patagonia Baggies Short
BEST HYBRID SHORTS
We’ve all been in these summertime situations: you’re hiking, traveling or hanging out with friends and a body of water calls your name through the heat. Hybrid shorts such as these Patagonia Baggies offer a solution, allowing you to take a dip even if you forgot your swim trunks. They’re made of a lightweight, quick-drying nylon that lets you swim but also keeps you dry and comfortable on hot days. 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 NYC 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. UNTUCKit 8-Inch Recycled Boardshort
If comfort is your concern, opt for any of the swim shorts from the UNTUCKit Fair Harbor line. The brand that popularized untucking your shirt attacks the summer staple with a casual hand, and the result is a solid pair of shorts in a variety of cool colorways. What’s more, UNTUCKit partnered up with Fair Harbor (see above) for their own take on an eco-friendly swim short. The entire Fair Harbor x UNTUCKit line is worth a closer look, and we especially like the red-and-blue swim shorts pictured below. 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.
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.
We’re big fans of the all-over print pictured below, but these stylish swim trunks are also available in solid colors as well. No matter which style you choose, they’re some of the best swim trunks of 2020.
6. Saturdays NYC Cardamuro Swim Shorts for Men
BEST RETRO SWIM TRUNKS
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.
7. 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. Though we’ve picked a more subdued pineapple-with-sunglasses print, 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 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.
8. J.Crew 6″ Eco Swim Trunks
BEST J.CREW SWIM TRUNKS
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 Eco Swim Trunks. Blue tie-dye is definitely the look of the season, and these shorts sport a classic style with a more modern slim fit. They come with an old-school drawstring waist and mesh lining to keep you comfortable. J.Crew has a timeless style that makes their clothing last forever, and they’ve nailed 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.
9. 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.
10. 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 an all-over watermelon print, 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. Choose the print that best speaks to your personality and hit the beach in style this summer.
11. O’Neill Hyperfreak Hybrid Swim Shorts
BEST LONG SWIM TRUNKS
The biggest trend in men’s shorts and swim trunks right now is shorter and shorter in-seams. And when it comes to swim trunks, loud and colorful prints and colors. However, that doesn’t fit every guy’s style, which is why we like these classic swim shorts from O’Neill. They feature a more neutral color palatte and won’t force you to apply sunscreen to your upper thights. These hybrid swim shorts have a 10.5″ inseam and will look just as good with a button-up as they will with a bare chest. Plus, they have just the right amount of stretch to move with you in the water.
12. 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 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. Bondi Joe Watson Men’s Swim Trunk
Not everyone likes the 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 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.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. 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 draw string 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 to shred your best.
19. UO Retro Hibiscus Swim Short
Another summer has arrived and floral is still one of the coolest pattens to rock on your trunks. Of course, the islander staple has evolved with the times. We think Urban Outfitters has done a great job of modernizing the classic pattern with these Hibiscus shorts. The trunks’ fit is certainly retro with a mid-thigh length, but in 2020 that’s exactly what trend-savvy dudes are rocking. This short length and throwback pattern makes the trunks ideal for lounging by the pool, although not great for surfing or beach games.
20. Nike Logo Volley Short Swim Trunk
Bold logos have 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 streetstyle to your swim wardrobe with a bold Nike logo down the leg. They’re slightly on the long side so you can wear these while surfing in addition to lounging.
21. UO Bleach Tie-Dye Swim Short
Tie-dye is on the mind of every stylish dude this 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 like these tie-dye swim trunks from Urban Outfitters because they’re not your typical tie-dye, offering a more low-key style. They also feature a modern, mid-thigh length and the neutral tones make the shorts work with a variety of shirts and sneakers. Plus, they’re very reasonably priced at just $29, so there’s no need to worry about scuffing or staining them.
22. 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 collection. We like the shorts 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.
23. 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 cheap swim 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 more than 1,200 reviews, a 4.3 out of 5 star 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. Even better, you can choose from dozens of prints to find a pair of swim shorts that matches your style.
24. 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.
25. Dries Van Noten Mid-Length Swim Shorts
Another great pair of upscale trunks for the high-fashion lover are these shorts from Dries Van Noten. If you couldn’t guess by the bold floral print, Dries is known for putting a subtle twist on classic prints. This gives Dries’ pieces like these shorts the effect of just looking better than every other pair in crowd, although most wouldn’t immediately guess their designer tag. As far as your on-the-way to the pool party or beach outfit with these shorts, we suggest minimal, upscale basics such as a white tee and sneakers or a black button-up and sandals.