Summer beckons, and you know what that means: A new pair of swim trunks for all your water action.
While it’s true, your pale skin, devoid of sun for the last six months, could signal into space, beach season is fast approaching, and anyone with a pool is currently shuffling to open in time for Memorial Day. That means the time is right to buy a swimsuit.
But lets back up a bit, and talk body types. If you’re lean and tall, opt for shorts that stop right above the knee. If you’re 5’8″ or shorter, go for a mid-thigh style to make you legs look longer. If you’re ripped, choose swim trunks that are fitted and tight. If you’re somewhere in between, get trunks that are narrower, with a shorter leg, and an adjustable waist to distract from any love handles. If you’re on the shorter side, choose trunks that are on the longer side. Meanwhile, if you’re lean, stay away from anything oversized and choose a fitted, shorter pair.
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While board shorts have and will remain in vogue, the latest trend in swimwear is the shorter style of suit that hearkens back to decades past. While you can find them in solid colors, many feature small prints from the quirky to the absurd. Regardless of how much thigh you want to show, we’ve got our favorites just waiting to be drop-shipped to your home. All you have to do is add water. And SPF.
Because sometimes, you need to swim, and then head straight to your kid's ball game. And that's why you need these trunks. They take you from dry to wet to dry again all day long.
Pros: These swim trunks have it all. There’s a rear zip pocket and a drawstring waist cord to keep things tight and right when you’re in the water. There’s a button closure with zipper fly and a contoured self-lined waistband for perfect fit. These hit at the knee.
Cons: Seriously? We’re picky over here, but can’t find a con with this pair.
Saxx makes seriously good underwear. So we're into this pair of swim trunks, which have a mesh liner that give your family jewels crucial support.
Pros: These swim trunks have a hammock-shaped pouch to keep your nuts in place. Nothing shifts. Nothing moves. And you can swim with abandon.
Cons: These swim trunks have a nine inch inseam, so they’re on the longer side for some body types. In that case, opt for the seven inch style.
One of our favorite brands delivers yet again with these attention-grabbing swim trunks. They're made from recycled fibers and PFOA free water repellency.
Pros: These swim trunks are made from ECONYL recycled nylon. They have an easy-fit elastic waist, an Aquaguard zipper at the back pocket, and what we’d call an updated, modern fit. They have a 17 inch outseam and a slightly boxy cut.
Cons: Now, we dig this print, but it may be too geometric for you. And that’s just fine.
These Maaji embroidered swim trunks have a six-inch inseam and give you an upscale board short style.
Pros: An updated take on the classic board shorts, this pair of Maaji swim trunks have a pull-on closure, hit at mid-length, and have an embroidered front and solid back.
Cons: None, as they’re pretty much perfect, unless you want a shorter style.
These board shorts are just stretchy enough for fit you perfectly, without putting too much on display. They have a rear velcro pocket and a 19 inch inseam.
Pros: So you’re not looking to reenact Point Break, right? Then step into these updated board shorts. They’re made of a cotton, polyester and spandex blend. They have a contoured waistband for a great fit, and front pockets for any essentials you may need. The fabric is quick-drying, which is a must.
Cons: They hit right above the knee, so they may be a tad too short for true board short aficionados.
The line, launched by designer Trina Turk's husband, features simple silhouettes with a relaxed California vibe. These fitted swim trunks epitomize that perfectly.
Pros: If you’re paranoid about dad bod, these trunks aren’t for you. They feature contrasting stripes, a tight fit, and are made for guys who aren’t afraid of standing out and have been hitting the gym.
Cons: See above.
This style is the shortest one available from Penguin. It has a boxy fit, and hits right above your thighs.
Pros: The Penguin swim shorts are fitted without being too tight, and roomy enough without you feeling like you’re drowning in them. They’re ideal for those on the shorter side.
Cons: These run small, so order a size up.
The Amazon house brand Goodthreads provides a middle ground for swimwear: Hinting at vintage style but without affectation, these are good all-around trunks, with functional features and a price that can’t be beat.
Pros: Vintage-inspired trunks have been creeping back into the market, but they can be so aggressive that you can find yourself in a suit that seems unsuited to public display. Goodthreads’ Swim Trunk offers a generous seven-inch inseam that provides some coverage while ending well above the knee to split the modern/vintage divide. We also like its range of patterns to solid color blocking, which ensure every type of man can find his match. Three pockets (two side and one back), a mesh liner, and a drawstring ensure these have as much function as they have flash.
Cons: Some men, long used to the boardshort length, will still feel naked in these despite their longer-than-average inseam. If you’re the type who likes his knees sheltered from the sun, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
You get what you pay for, and with this pair of swim trunks, you get a style that doesn't sag, doesn't bulge, and impeccably holds its shape.
Pros: These trunks have two pockets, and a classic fit and construction. Think of dress pants, but in swim form. They hold their shape and look great doing it. They’re also great for more athletic dudes.
Cons: The price isn’t for the faint of heart.
While this may be a fishing-specific short, dads will have plenty of uses for its feature-rich package and broad coverage. If your trunks serve as a makeshift backpack of summertime essentials, these should be at the top of your list.
Pros: Five pockets may seem like overkill, but if you want to have your sunblock, smartphone, and other essentials with you at all times, then this short has its appeal. Five pockets plus an extra to secure pliers allow for ultimate carry while securing valuables through Velcro closure. Triple-stitched seams are also super durable to handle the demands of keeping multiple children safe around the water. These trunks work on average guys, so just about everyone.
Cons: Do you really need that many pockets? Really? Because if you don’t, then you end up looking like Man in Cargo Shorts: Water Edition. For all but a few, you can afford to leave most items in your beach bag.
While the previous Amazon brand skewed more toward the everyman, its 28 Palms imprint nods to the fashion forward. Bold colors enliven traditional design, appealing to the left-of-center sunbather.
Pros: This six-inch baggies offer a wider leg for bigger guys, but they still have the modern look. We like the range of options from solid colors to subtle patterns, while features like three pockets, a liner, and classic drawstring ensure these have substance as well as style. Also nice: the fully synthetic fabric dries super fast, making them great for travel.
Cons: This is about as perfect as they get for a casual swim trunk, but if you’re the type for whom swim trunks are sports equipment, you’ll likely be disappointed by their lack of specificity. However, even the most core waterman can enjoy a lazy day at the beach. Keep them as a backup.
These two-toned swim trunks are fashion-forward in a very subtle way.
Pros: We love the lean lines, the sleek cut, and the seven inch inseam of these swim trunks. They have slant pockets in the front to give them extra contour, and are great for thinner guys.
Cons: Again, great style comes at a price.
Vilebrequin's swim trunks are perfect for guys who want something shorter and more fitted to wear to the beach.
Pros: These Vilebrequin modern swim trunks hit at mid-thigh, feature a graphic fish print, and are for when dad doesn’t need to fill his pockets with sea shells and sand toys. They’re immaculately chic and adult, and work on anyone.
Cons: While we love the style, the four inch inseam may be too short for some.
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