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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. 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.
2. 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 a 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.
3. Marda Mid-Length Swim Shorts
We didn’t expect the Danes to make great swim trunks (see: cold water), but Marda proved us wrong. The young swimwear brand is making some of the best men’s swim trunks using premium, sustainable materials and handsome, classic looks. These mid-length swim shorts sit in the middle thigh, feature a comfortable draw-string waist, and work best for pool-side lounging. Plus, Marda offers fast international shipping to the US.
4. 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.
5. Birddogs Inner Banks Shorts
Comfort is the name of the game for Birddogs, as showcased by these Inner Banks swim trunks. They feature a soft built-in liner to keep everything supported, while the nylon-blend outer shell is durable, lightweight and quick-drying. You also get three inseam length options to choose from (six-, seven-, and nine-inch), making it easier to get the right length for your needs (i.e. longer for surfing and sports, shorter for lounging).
6. Katin Cork Colorblock Swim Short
For a vintage-inspired look, pick up these colorblock swim trunks from Katin Cork. The pattern, short length, and sturdy nylon construction give retro vibes, making a statement by the pool or at the beach. Plus, the shorts feature a side pocket, which we like because you won’t be sitting on your stuff at lunch (as happens with rear-pocket shorts).
7. Lululemon Pool Short
Lululemon might be known for its yoga gear, but the brand makes some fantastic hybrid swim trunks too. Take these Pool Shorts: they’re made of a stretchy, lightweight fabric that repels water and dries quickly. This means you can easily kill it at morning yoga and then go straight to the beach or pool. Plus, they come in a few unique colors, such as this Caprese Yellow or Lemon Sorbet.
8. Abercrombie & Fitch Pull-On Swim Trunk
Abercrombie & Fitch has made a quiet comeback with some refined, vintage-inspired pieces. These pull-on swim trunks are a great example of the brand’s newfound cool, featuring a bold retro look and a comfortable polyester build. The inseam measures five inches, and we’re big fans of the shorts in this floral pattern with a navy background.
9. Dandy Del Mar Riviera Trunks
Inspired by alcohol and cigarette ads of the Sixties and Seventies, Dandy Del Mar brings a warm-weather vibe worth aspiring to this year. Among their pieces are these fast-selling Riviera trunks, seen here in an “Oro” colorway. The shorts feature a durable nylon build, easy side pockets, a button-snap fly, and a tie closure for security. We wore them swimming in rough surf and didn’t experience any sagging, and we felt confidently stylish walking up the beach afterward.
10. Orlebar Brown Bulldog 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 Paisley Bulldog Shorts, showcase bold, experimental pattern work at its finest. These Bulldog trunks feature a multi-color print that’s not floral — and sure to turn some heads at the pool or beach.