What Are the Best Swim Trunks for Men?
Some vintage-swim-trunk inspiration courtesy of Jon Hamm in Mad Men. Photo: AMC
Whether you’re looking for something simple to wear to the local beach, or you’re trying to flex at a rooftop pool, now would be a good time to upgrade your swim trunks.
“Gone are the days of over-the-top, crazy vacation print board shorts,” says stylist Piper Gore, who suggests trying something a bit shorter and more fitted.
We spoke with 11 people who would know — influencers, stylists, hotel-pool loungers, beach fanatics, and a surfer, among others — and asked them to recommend the best swim trunks for men.
Orlebar Brown Bulldog Mid-Length Swim Shorts
After asking 11 experts to name their favorite swim trunks, we heard about this pair from three of them (and it was the only pair mentioned by more than one). Famously worn by Daniel Craig in Skyfall, Orlebar Brown’s trunks were called out by Gore for the “flat-front trouser design detail, and the sidepulls to adjust for the perfect fit.
” Olie Arnold, style director at Mr Porter, is a fan, too: “Orlebar Brown is known for creating swim trunks the traditional 17-piece pattern used to tailor a pair of trousers. They’re made so you can look sharply dressed while at the pool or at the beach bar.
” At $245, we know this won’t be for everyone, but it is widely considered the best around.
Reyn Spooner Java Flowers Swimsuit
If you the vintage-inspired look and fit of the Orlebar Browns, you might be interested in these trunks from Reyn Spooner, available at Todd Snyder (who recently launched a collaboration with the Hawaiian brand).
Though they have a drawstring waist rather than OB’s trouser- button, they have the same six-inch inseam length as the Orlebar Browns, and while the pattern is definitely on the busier side, it’s still pretty subtle.
Goodfellow & Co Swim Trunks
We also found this pair from Target’s Goodfellow & Co. line, and it’s a great deal. It has the six-inch inseam and comes in a bold “mint” color you’re unly to see anyone else wearing. You can use the money you save on a couple day passes to the Standard Hollywood pool.
Patagonia 5” Baggies Shorts
Along with all things gorpcore, Patagonia swim trunks are back in style, according to our experts.
(These are technically sold as “shorts,” but they’re made from quick-drying nylon, have a mesh liner, and Patagonia says they’re “designed for use in and the water,” so the experts still refer to them as “swim trunks”).
With a five-inch inseam, Baggies give you the same mid-thigh fit offered by higher-end brands, but they’re more affordable and multipurpose. And they actually have more fashion cred than you might expect (Strategist contributor Chris Black is a fan).
“[Baggies] have become something of a summer staple,” says Kenger. “They’re the perfect length, come in multiple color options, and it’s an attractive price point.” (Kenger s the five-inch version, but they come in a longer seven-inch if you want something a little looser).
Solid & Striped Swim Trunks – The Classic
With an inseam of 4.75 inches, these trunks from Solid & Striped can be seen as a dressier alternative to Baggies. In addition to being a bit shorter, they’re more form-fitting, and the shiny fabric makes a statement. In terms of mid-thigh trunks, we have the Orlebar Brown on the “tailored” end of the spectrum and Baggies on the “casual” end. We see these as landing somewhere in the middle.
Polo Ralph Lauren Traveler Swim Shorts
The mid-thigh look isn’t for everyone. If you’d rather be less “on trend,” or simply prefer not to show so much skin, the more standard “above knee” fit is still a classic. Kenger calls these “an essential in classic navy. Nothing special about this pair, which is what makes it so special.” Between the color and the fit, this is for guys who want something foolproof.
Saturdays Timothy Swim Short, Peach
If you that classic, slightly loose, above-knee fit but want something a little less conventional, consider these swim trunks from Saturdays. We love the summery peach color, but there are also a bunch of other options in the same fit.
Stüssy Mid-Length Leopard-Print Swim Shorts
And if you want to make more of a statement, Arnold recommends these Stüssy trunks. “Channel your inner ’90s skater with these abstract leopard-print shorts,” he says. “You can wear them to the beach or throw on a long-sleeve tee and a pair of Vans.”
Rubinacci Mid-Length Printed Swim Shorts
This all-over print almost looks something you’d see on your dad’s old necktie, but in a good way. This shouldn’t come as a surprise because, as Arnold tells us, “Rubinacci is known for its Neapolitan tailoring legacy, three generations to be exact.
” He says they bring “that same attention to detail” to the swim trunks. “They’re cut from a quick-drying ‘satin-finish’ shell that feels smooth against the skin, making them perfect for going from beach to restaurant.
Just throw on a nice linen shirt and you’re good to go.”
Hurley Dry Out Chino Shorts
In particular instances, board shorts are okay, but only if you get something that falls above the knee with a slightly fitted look.
San Diego–based personal stylist Vannesa Valiente says these Hurley board shorts are “hands down my favorite,” and they’re a big hit with her clients because they’re comfortable — they don’t have netting, which some might prefer — flattering, and easily transition from the pool or beach to around town.
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17 Best Swimsuits for Summer 2020 – Swimwear and Swim Trunks for Men
Ah, the bathing suit.
Maybe the most iconic item of clothing in film history? Hear me out, and just think of all the great Hollywood moments that’ve happened due to the power of a good pair of swim trunks: Moonlight’s Oscar-clinching swimming lesson, Keanu opening up a can of whoopass in Point Break, and every beach scene in every Bond flick ever. Maybe I’m overstating its importance. Actually… no. And if it’s the only thing you’re wearing, it better look good. We put together the 17 best for 2020. Check 'em out.
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H&M is a go-to spot for something simple, reliable, and easy on the wallet.
Men's Swimming Shorts
Pro tip: Find yourself swim trunks with pockets, unless you want to keep your hands tied up with valuables. Just make sure you take your phone out before you jump into the water.
Ecru and Orange Stripe Swim Shorts
Creamsicle: underrated color combo. Topman is another favorite for well-priced options.
Baggies 5-Inch Swim Trunks
Salmon pink looks better in more things than you'd think—start with swim trunks and work your way up to that two-piece suit. Patagonia makes high-quality, affordable swimwear, and the brand's 5″ trunk is a swimwear staple for the stylish man.
Baggies 7-Inch Swim Trunks
And there's a 7″ version, if you’d rather show a little less skin.
Black Label Board Shorts
Rhythm’s swimwear selection is understated and very cool, and this retro-inspired pair is no different. You can never go wrong wearing sun-bleached colors at the beach.
Traveler Mid-Length Swim Shorts
Polo Ralph Lauren mrporter.com
Pale pink from Polo: Your summer power move.
6″ Stretch Floral Swim Trunk
Who would've thought you could capture Midsommar vibes in a pair of swim trunks?
Dry Heat Cactus Swim Trunks
Boardies specializes in beachwear, and they do it well. Really want to blow the rest of the beach away? Cactus print. Yeah.
Wave Swim Short
Boardies x Lois O’Hara urbanoutfitters.com
For those “Miami Beach in July, 1986” vibes.
Channel Cross Short 7″ Liner
Lululemon's trunks can pull double-duty as training shorts—if you're the type who tortures yourself with sand sprints.
Charles 7″ Swim Trunks
It only takes a retro-looking pattern this to cosplay as a ‘50s-era, shades-on beachgoer.
Bondi 1 Mid-Length Striped Swim Shorts
Derek Rose mrporter.com
Don't stare at these for too long.
Moorea Mid-Length Swim Shorts
The Shape—eh, the color—of Water. Vilebrequin, born in St. Tropez, makes iconic French luxury swimwear.
Floral-Print Swim Shorts
Not brave enough for a Hawaiian shirt? Try the bathing suit equivalent.
Guildes Swim Trunks
If you want to splurge on a luxury brand Burberry, this print is a more subtle option than the iconic plaid. Looks a cozy pair of boxer shorts, but not in a creepy way.
Mid-Length Swim Shorts
Look closer for a neat-looking Easter egg: The stitching is rendered in rainbow shades. Very Missoni.
13 Swim Trunks That Will Double As Your Favorite Shorts All Summer Long
When you’re shopping for swimwear, here’s the only question you need to ask yourself: “Would I still rock these even if I was nowhere near the water?” Designers lately have taken to dubbing their offerings “swim shorts” rather than “trunks,” with good reason—from the fit to the fabrics to the details, today’s best swimsuits are meant to blend seamlessly with the rest of your wardrobe. You should want to throw ‘em on when you’re out running weekend errands, simply because they happen to look dope with your best retro-y fitted polo. The fact that they’re also built to perform brilliantly on a suroard or in a sun-drenched pool is almost just a bonus. Here are 13 of the absolute finest all-purpose, next-generation trunks to buy right now.
The “One That Started It All” Pick
It’s tough to establish a new gold standard in menswear, to rejig something familiar so damn perfectly it becomes the modern baseline by which all future versions are judged. A.P.C. did it with their aptly-named New Standard jeans, bringing stiff selvedge denim to a whole new generation. Common Projects managed it, too, with the Achilles Low—their luxed-up, Italian-made take on a classic white tennis shoe. And just over a decade ago, Orlebar Brown pulled that same trick off for swimwear with the Bulldog. They’re as precisely tailored as suit trousers—with fetching buckled side tabs to keep ‘em extra snug in the waves—with the same convenient pockets and zip fly as any regular bottoms, all cut from lightweight, high-quality nylon that won’t fade dramatically over time. Add that up, and you get a pair of trunks so definitive and intuitive it’s hard to believe no one had ever thought to make them that way prior.Buy Now
The Diving-Off-The-Megayacht Pick
There’s something distinctly extremely-rich-guy about micropatterned bathing suits. Why, you ask? It’s hard to pinpoint exactly.
But look at the transfixing print on these swim shorts from Brazilian label (and total billionaire playboy name) Frescobol Carioca, and then tell me you can’t picture a flawlessly overtanned Most Interesting Man-type wearing these while stepping off a private chopper onto the helipad of his 200-foot yacht in St. Tropez.
You’ll probably never have that guy’s lifestyle, but you can at least have his trunks. These ones are a touch longer than typical—all the better to show off that pattern—with a handy coin pocket and button fly.
The Wild-Out Maximalist Pick
Even just a couple of years ago, it would’ve been near unthinkable for us to ever endorse a pair of trunks these. Electric lime tribal tattoo board shorts?! we would’ve scoffed. What are you, a Monster-guzzling motocross rider at an EDM festival? But all of a sudden, in today’s wild-style, balls-to-the-wall menswear era, they just make sense. They’re exactly the right amount of aggressive, head-turning, bonkers—and, yeah, maybe a little camp. After all, it’s summertime and you’re at the beach: go ahead and get loud.Buy Now
The Mid-Level Sports Car Pick
This H&M joint is the Miata to Orlebar Brown’s 911—it’s still a zippy, fun summer ride, only with a few less bells and whistles.
If you’re on a budget, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option than this: it’s got that trim, above-the-knee look we love, a preppy striped fabric that’ll pop with all your beachwear, and a couple of on-point details a concealed zip pocket on the rear. Cheap and cheerful FTW.
At this point, camo’s survived so many menswear trend life cycles it’s reached genuine staple status.
John Stockton’s short-shorts are suddenly very 2019.
If you’re the kind of dude that needs all the attention at the beach, for all our sakes, please attract it with these instead of a banana hammock.
Waves for the waves.
If you’re looking to pay homage to Call Me By Your Name this summer, these trunks are a whole lot cheaper than a flight to Italy and/or a new bicycle.
A subtle, toned-down take on the florals taking menswear by storm right now.
Perfect for moving in with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air.