The 14 best swim trunks for every style and need

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  • There are swim trunks for every style and need, whether you’re surfing or just lounging poolside. 
  • Many brands have introduced eco-friendly trunks that are even better than the traditional versions. 
  • Swim trunks have gotten a little shorter so dare to show a little more leg this summer.

The days are getting warmer, and summer is nearly here. You may think your swim trunks are merely a utilitarian beach item, but with the incredible range of styles, patterns, and fits, they can help define your personal style just like your street clothes. 

While many brands have trunks with inseams that are shorter, thanks to the current trend of retro styles, we’ve included boardshorts in this review. This surf-style swimwear is longer — typically ending at or below the knee — and usually has a button or velcro fly. So whether you want to show a little leg or prefer more coverage, we’ve rounded up the best swim trunks for you to enjoy this summer. 

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Here are the best men’s swim trunks in 2021:

Bearbottom Recycled Stretch Swim Trunks

Bearbottom Recycled Stretch swim trunks are handsome, super comfortable, and eco-friendly.

Sizing options: S to XXL 

Color options: 13, from solid mint green to orange banana leaves

The heart of Bearbottom Clothing is a desire to do good. The company ethically sources its materials and has donated more than 100,000 shorts and 200,000 protective masks to people in Bangladesh and India. 

The Recycled Stretch swim trunks are made from a 90% recycled polyester with 10% spandex which provides four-way stretch that’s comfortable for extended wear. The material has a soft handfeel, is water resistant, and dries quickly. The interior mesh is light and even stretchier than the outer material. I wore these the entire day and forgot there was a lining at all. They have a 5.5-inch inseam and hit about mid-thigh on my six-foot frame. 

The 310 Skipper Gold Board Shorts are an updated classic from Birdwell Beach Britches, a California heritage brand from Southern California.  

Sizing options: 28-42

Color options: 4, including the limited-edition gold pictured here. 

The Skipper Gold Board Shorts, part of Birdwell Beach Britches’ 60th Anniversary collection, have an early 1960s vibe with a gold colorway, multi-hued blue stripes across the bottom of the right leg, and a classic fit that hits around mid thigh. Made from Birdwell’s SurfNyl, a nylon material made by the same U.S. mill since the 1980s, the shorts are hand-cut and have double- and triple-stitched seams for durability. The shorts feature a button fly, triple lace closures, and a back pocket with drain holes and a key loop. 

Outerknown’s Nomadic Volley swim trunks combine classic looks with sustainable manufacturing for all the good vibes you could ask for. 

Sizing options: S to XXL 

Color options: 6, including a mellow violet

 

Pro-surfer Kelly Slater creates great clothing in tandem with designer John Moore through the brand Outerknown, which uses organic, recycled, or regenerated materials for 90% of its production.

The Outerknown Nomadic Volley is less about water sports and more about pool-side relaxing in style. They have a relaxed fit and a slightly shorter hem that hits just above the knee, but no mesh liner. The company produces them in a fair-trade factory from quick-drying recycled polyester, so there are good vibes all around with these volley shorts. 

Tommy Bahama’s Epic Ombre Board Shorts refines the style with a slightly shorter, 9-inch inseam, in a recycled polyester with 30 UPF. 

Sizing options: S to XXL

While many board shorts can make guys with thin legs look like they’re swimming in the shorts instead of the water, the Epic Ombre Board Shorts have a slimmer look and shorter inseam that hits just above the knee. Made from recycled polyester, they dry quickly and have a mesh netting that’s supportive without being binding. The material also offers an SPF of 30, which is a bonus. These shorts also feature two slash front pockets and a third pocket in back. The throwback colorway has a decidedly 80s abstract sunset that goes from aqua to orange. 

Beach weather is coming and that means it’s time to show a little leg with the 2(X)IST Ibiza Swim Short.

Sizing options: S to XL 

Color options: 4, including a pattern featuring colorful cocktail umbrellas and a fluorescent coral reef on a black background.

The 2(X)IST Ibiza Swim Short shows a lot of leg with a 4-inch inseam that sits high on the thigh. But hey, it’s for the beach and showing a little leg is totally okay. This style continues to be 2(X)IST’s best seller, which proves they’ve been ahead of the curve. 

These are made from a poly micro twill that’s quick drying, has a soft handfeel, but is sturdy enough for beach-related fun. They feature an interior webbing with a built in pouch that’s very comfortable for all-day wear. The Ibiza Swim Short comes in four fun colorways. 

For a vintage-style swim trunk, check out this pair from Saturday NYC with a cool palm tree pattern. 

Sizing options: XS to XL

Color options: terracotta, black

The Saturdays NYC Timothy Tahiti Palm Swim Short has a vintage boardshort look in a cotton-nylon blend that’s both durable and comfortable. The flat felled seams (a way of stitching seams together most often seen in jeans) makes for a longer lasting garment. This swim short has a 6-inch inseam and standard fit, and a comfortable mesh lining. It has two side pockets and a back pocket with a velcro closure, a coated metal eyelet for drainage, and a small tab and bungee cord for keys. The pattern features a multi-colored pop-art inspired palm leaf design.

The Bonobos Riviera Recycled Swim Trunks come in three different inseams and 15 patterns to suit every style.  

Sizing options: XS to 4XL 

Inseam options: 5-inches, 7-inches, and 9-inches

Color options: 15 patterns, including blue stripes

Bonobos is known for its tailoring and variety of fits, and the brand’s swim trunks are no exception. They’re made from 85% recycled polyester, so they’re eco-friendly. They feature a mesh lining, two slash pockets, and a back patch pocket with a hook-and-loop fastener. 

Mack Weldon’s Board Shorts offer a sleeker look without sacrificing comfort thanks to the four-way-stretch material. 

Sizing options: 29/30 to 43/44

Color options: 8 colors and patterns, including red and orange tie-dye

A slimmer cut and slightly shorter inseam give the Mack Weldon Board Short a streamlined look that’s still comfortable, thanks to the four-way stretch fabric. A lack of slash pockets also gives these shorts a sleeker look. They do have pockets, though — one zip pocket on the front left and another on the back right. These boardshorts have a velcro fly and an interior drawstring.

Happy Socks will do for your day at the beach what they did for your funky sock collection with the Palm Beach Swim Shorts. 

Sizing options: S to XL 

Color options: 21 colors and patterns

The Swedish company Happy Socks helped popularize funky and fun socks, and now they’re doing the same for swimwear. They make the trunks from a fast-drying recycled polyester. They have a mesh lining and two slash pockets. The hem hits about mid-thigh. The company also offers a longer version that ends at the bottom of the thigh. Either way, the brand’s swim trunks will add a dash of mirth to your day at the beach or poolside amusements. 

Hurley’s Volley Board Short is tough enough for any water sports and handsome enough for poolside meetups. 

Sizing options: S to XXL 

Color options: Obsidian, Sunset Pulse, Signal Blue

The Hurley Volley Board Short is an unlined 17-inch short made from a water-wicking polyester that dries quickly. It has two slash pockets and a back pocket with a hook-and-loop flap closure and drain hole. These trunks are tough enough for whatever watersports you’re into, but look great just hanging out by the pool, if that’s your thing.

Tap into 1970s-era Hollywood glamour with the Dandy Del Mar Cassis Swim Brief, an updated take on the European brief. 

Sizing options: S-XXL

Color options: 10 different patterns

The Cassis Swim Brief is an update on the classic Speedo that offers the same sleek look with more coverage (it more closely resembles a boxer brief and hits near the top of the thigh). Made from an 84% nylon/16% spandex blend, it offers a great range of motion while maintaining a snug fit. These swim briefs have a repeating floral pattern in white, burnt orange, and black, with white piping down the sides, and a drawstring waistband. 

Fair Harbor’s Anchor Swim Short is eco-friendly, super comfortable thanks to a smooth built-in liner, and comes in 13 different colorways. 

Sizing options: S to 3XL 

Color options: 13, from basic black to a purple and blue color-block design

Fair Harbor uses recycled plastic bottles to produce their swim trunks that are both soft and durable. 

The Anchor Swim Short is naturally odor resistant, fast drying, has a scalloped hem for a wide range of motion, side pockets that drain, and a back pocket with a hidden zipper. These are comfortable for all-day wear thanks to the addition of 12% spandex in the fabric for lots of stretchiness. 

Tommy Bahama’s Naples Nassau Swim Short is an upscale take on the classic floral swimsuit. 

Sizing options: S to XXL in standard sizing, XLB to 3XLT in big and tall

Colors: Pool Party Blue, Ember Red

The Naples Nassau Swim Shorts have a 6-inch inseam, an elasticized waistband with a drawstring, and three pockets. The 100% nylon material provides 30 UPF sun protection. The Naples Nassau Swim Short comes in an enormous range of sizes, and two patterns. The design is understated as far as tropical themes go, but still gives off an aura of summer fun.

J.Crew’s Seersucker Swim Trunk are a classic option that always look great. 

Sizing options: XS to XXL

Color options: Turquoise and white, pink and white

Seersucker, that striped light cotton fabric, exudes summer so it makes total sense that J. Crew used this classic material for a modern slimmer fitting swim trunk that’s not too long or too short. 

The Seersucker Swim Trunk has a six-inch inseam that hits at the mid-thigh and is slim without being clingy. It has a mesh lining and a drawstring waist. The trunks have two slash pockets at the sides and a back pocket with button closure. It comes in the two classic seersucker colorways: turquoise with white and pink and white. These are handsome enough to wear when you’re nowhere close to a beach or pool. 

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