Best Men's Swim Trunks 2021: Swim Shorts for Every Guy - Rolling Stone
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The Best Men’s Swim Trunks to Buy Right Now

Whether you’re looking for surf board shorts, hybrid workout trunks or classic swim shorts, here’s how to update your swimwear collection this summer


Courtesy Outerknown

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It’s swim trunk season. If you’re thinking of refreshing your swimwear this year (we always like to), then you’re in luck: Shopping for men’s swim trunks has never been more fun. Why? Because there are a ton of options to choose from, and, more importantly, the best men’s swim trunks are now totally usable for dry activities in addition to swimming. Many modern pairs of swim trunks can be worn like normal shorts — whether you’re running errands on a hot day or working out.

While there are some fantastic do-everything swim shorts, there are still plenty of classic swimsuits, stylish designer trunks (for the luxury resort vibe) and high-performance board shorts for surfing. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite men’s swim trunks to buy right now with picks for every activity and personal style.

Swim Trunks Buying Guide

Finding that perfect pair of swim trunks will take a bit of searching. Below are a few things to look at while shopping our picks.

Length: Men’s swim trunks are currently in an odd (but good) trend where any leg length goes. Longer trunks, which typically have around a seven-inch inseam and hit the knee, are good as multipurpose shorts. They’re long enough for hiking, wearing around town or surfing. Mid-length shorts, which usually have a five-inch inseam, are the Goldilocks pick because they’re short enough for serious relaxation but still wearable in multiple situations. Short swim trunks (shorter than a five-inch inseam) are a fun pick for some throwback vibes.

Material: Look for fabric that’s lightweight, fast-drying and durable when shopping for swim trunks. If you plan on using your trunks for surfing or exercising, a bit of stretch is also necessary. Generally, you’ll see polyester used for lounge-y swim trunks, nylon for durable hybrid shorts and a blend of multiple fabrics for more high-performance shorts

Waist: Drawstring and snap closure trunks are often best for achieving a perfect fit. You’ll sometimes see snap closure swim trunks as well, which aim for a more chic, streamlined look but can’t be adjusted very much.

Pattern: The best swim trunks do a balancing act between boldness and versatility. Ideally, you’ll be able to wear your new shorts with all kinds of sneakers, tees and Hawaiian shirts in your wardrobe. But we’re also big believers in the power-statement swim trunks because they’re just plain fun (not to mention stylish).

The Best Men’s Swim Trunks

1. Patagonia Baggies

The Patagonia Baggies have been our go-to shorts for about a year — whether we’re getting in the water or not. As the name suggests, they’re loose and comfortable, but thanks to a 100 percent water-resistant nylon construction, they’re tough enough for everything from hiking to surfing. They also come in two lengths (five-inch or seven-inch inseam) and a ton of colors, ranging from subdued to bold. In other words, you’ll probably end up with multiple pairs in your vacation bag.

mens swim trunks patagonia

Courtesy Backcountry

Buy: Patagonia Baggies at $55

2. Mr P. Mid-Length Seersucker Swim Shorts

If a chaise lounger is your primary destination this summer, pick up these seersucker trunks from Mr P. They’re made of polyester with a bit of cotton, translating to a very comfortable fit. We’re also big fans of the shorts’ gray and white seersucker pattern because it’s stylish yet understated enough to wear for everything from casual lunches to the park.

swim trunks mens striped

Courtesy Mr. Porter

Buy: Mr P. Mid-Length Seersucker Swim Shorts at $130

3. Vilebrequin Mahina Mid-Length Printed Swim Shorts

These Vilebrequin swim trunks ooze bold Seventies style with a mid-thigh cut and colorful print. But they’ve also got modern comfort with a polyester build and a cotton-polyester lining. When (not if) you bring them on a trip, the shorts pack up into the back pocket to save room in your suitcase.

mens swim trunks vilebrequin

Courtesy Mr. Porter

Buy: Vilebrequin Mahina Mid-Length Printed… at $240

4. Vuori Banks Short

California-based brand Vuori has quickly made a name for itself with do-anything hybrid shorts. These Banks shorts are some of its best with a stretchy, water-resistant fabric. They’re ready for errand running, relaxing, surfing and everything in-between. Plus, they’re made of recycled material and ethically produced, which is always nice.

hybrid swim shorts vuori

Courtesy Vuori

Buy: Vuori Banks Short at $68

5. Birdwell Skipper SurfNyl Swim Shorts

Birdwell was a staple of the Sixties surf scene of Southern California. The brand has made a comeback over the past couple years by returning to its midcentury aesthetic and upgrading its SurfNyl fabric. This nylon material is extremely durable and quick-drying, making the shorts ideal for beach days full of lounging and surfing.

mens swim trunks vintage birdwell

Courtesy Mr. Porter

Buy: Birdwell Skipper SurfNyl Swim Shorts at $120

6. Onia Charles Striped Swim Shorts

Another pair of laid-back, classic swim shorts are these Onia Charles. They feature a beachy striped pattern that’s fun yet totally wearable with a variety of tees or short-sleeved button-down shirts. The outer fabric is a quick-drying nylon while the lining is a polyester-spandex blend that adds some comfort and support.

striped swim shorts mens

Courtesy Mr. Porter

Buy: Onia Charles Striped Swim Shorts at $145

7. Outerknown Apex Trunks

These Apex Trunks from Outerknown were developed, tested and worn by 11-time world surfing champ Kelly Slater. If they’re good enough for the greatest surfer of all time, they’re more than good enough for us. The shorts boast several high-performance features, including an ultra-lightweight four-way stretch fabric, welded seams, a double-bonded butt and sophisticated drainage system. In short, Outerknown and Slater have thought of everything. If you plan on surfing in board shorts any time soon, just buy these right now.

board shorts mens kelly slater

Courtesy Outerknown

Buy: Outerknown Apex Trunks at $145

8. Lululemon Channel Cross Swim Short 5″

Lululemon might be known for its yoga gear, but the brand makes some fantastic hybrid menswear too. Take these Channel Cross trunks: They have a lightweight polyester build, a four-way stretch liner and a roomy yet flattering fit. This means you can easily kill it at morning yoga and then go straight to the beach or pool. Plus, we like Lulu’s unique colorways, especially this Cloudburst Multi pattern.

swim trunks workout mens lululemon

Courtesy Lululemon

Buy: Lululemon Channel Cross Swim Shorts at $54

9. Frescobol Carioca + Sant Ambroeus Printed Swim Shorts

If you want to feel like you’re on vacation in Amalfi, check out these trunks from Frescobol Carioca and Sant Ambroeus. The collaboration swim shorts bring some playful sophistication in the form of a flying bird motif in blush, pink and blue. With a slim fit and mid-thigh cut, the shorts are meant for hardcore vacationing and trips to the beach bar.

swim trunks mens designer

Courtesy Mr. Porter

Buy: Frescobol Carioca + Sant Ambroeus… at $220

10. Orlebar Brown Setter Floral Print Swim Shorts

Orlebar Brown might be based out of rainy London, but the brand makes some of the best men’s swim trunks in the world. All of its shorts, including these Setter trunks, showcase bold, experimental pattern work at its finest. The Setter shorts feature a floral print, but with plenty of foliage and unexpected colors, they’re sure to stand out at any beach or pool party. We also like the streamlined waist, which uses a covered fastener and size adjusters on the hips.

mens swim trunks orlebar brown

Courtesy Farfetch

Buy: Orlebar Brown Setter Floral Print Swim… at $347

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