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When you seek out a coastal getaway or a beach vacation, it’s an intentional move that requires you to plan, pack and dress with, well, intentionality in mind. For a menswear fan like myself, that means paying attention to even the most casual of items, like swim trunks made to be worn for a day at the beach or on the water.
It’s easier than ever to get a pair that’s as stylish as your favorite shorts, yet with all the performance attributes of high-quality swimwear.
The best men’s swim trunks, in that case, are an absolute must. Think of hitting the water like hitting the links or trail: The proper gear really does make all the difference in matters of comfort and looks.
From the quick-drying fabric to the versatile 7-inch inseam and the wide variety of carefully designed prints and colors, I found it difficult to find a more dependable pair of swim trunks than the Wellen Lined Swim Trunks. They wear well with everything from a tank top to a pocket tee, and they look every bit as stylish at the beach bar.
There’s more than meets the eye with today’s crop of the top men’s swim trunks. Men’s clothing brands are engineering swim trunks that are tailored like shorts, made with tech-savvy fabric and designed to look as great on land as in the water. Leave the days of wearing athletic shorts to the pool behind you–and make an upgrade beyond your current pair.
With the right selection, you can even add subtle color and print to your wardrobe, without overdoing it. Hitting the pool or trekking to the coast should be a time for rest, relaxation, fun and yes, style. The best men’s swim trunks will help you get there.
Also check our list of the best men’s shorts.
Think of shopping for swim trunks like going through a quick check list, which is what I did when searching for the best men’s swim trunks.
The fit has to be on-point, ideally above or at the knee for most guys, and even if you’re slightly taller (like myself, at 6’3”), an inseam length of 7 or 8 inches should work quite well.
Of course, color and pattern is a fun and indeed, necessary addition as you shop for swim trunks. Naturally, that’s where Huckberry’s own brand Wellen comes into play. And the fabric should be stretchy and quick-drying, ideally with a helpful lining.
You’re checking all those boxes with these Wellen swim trunks, made with an easy-wearing elastic waistband for all-day comfort.
Shopping for men’s swim trunks on a budget doesn’t mean cutting corners completely. We considered the right blend of value, quality, longevity and performance to nail down the best budget option for summer swim trunks.
As luck would have it, L.L.Bean shines through in summer as well as winter. These multi-faceted “sport shorts” are tough to top for under $35, made with durable 100 percent nylon and featuring sun-blocking UPF 50+ technology. They’re also water-repellent and feature handy side hip pockets.
Remember what we said about retro trunks? Well, these were modeled after old-school volley shorts, with a 5.5-inch inseam and a quick-drying nylon fabric. It’s the perfect way to bridge the gap between the past (a shorter inseam length) and the present (the performance-minded fabric).
They’re also designed with a back pocket and an interior stash pocket for small EDC essentials, while the elastic waistband delivers a comfortable, snug fit. Opt for a solid color or one of Katin’s vibrant printed options for an added dash of style.
Todd Snyder frequently draws inspiration from breezy coastal climes, be it with his effortlessly cool linen trousers or garment-washed pocket tees, and the Montauk Swim Shorts make a fine addition to your weekender bag for your next ocean getaway.
In fact, I’ve found that most of the time, when packing for a vacation, I’m opting to bring plenty of Todd Snyder menswear – from shirting to trousers, watches and swimwear like these.
The five-inch inseam is a tasteful throwback, while the metal-tipped drawcord and a fine mesh liner turn these into what the designer calls a “luxe upgrade” of the classic boardshort. Like all things Todd Snyder, the final design is surely worth the added investment on your part.
Boardshorts are a highly useful design as far as swim trunks are concerned, designed to provide extra coverage and durability during watersports. Vuori goes the extra mile here, too–they’ve modeled this pair after its extremely comfortable workout shorts, using fabric made from recycled plastic bottles for sustainability and style points. The vintage-style pattern also complements the performance fit nicely.
If you’ve tried Ten Thousand’s athlete-approved and tested shorts and workout shirts, you know they’re as tough and well-designed as any piece of gear on the market. I’m a huge fan of the brand’s tough yet stretchy workout shorts, which pack plenty of durability into a versatile design made to withstand repeat wear.
In my experience, the same performance attributes should hold true with the brand’s swimwear. If you’re new to the company, consider giving the Set Shorts a try, built from a quick-drying four-way stretch shell.
The fabric itself also resists chlorine and water, and it helps that the waistband is streamlined and minimal. Go bold with Pacific Blue or minimal with a sleek Black color.
Everlane’s focus on transparent menswear delivered at affordable prices–by cutting out the middleman and selling direct to consumers–yields some great dividends for customers in every category imaginable. That includes sneakers and Oxford shirts, yes, but also sustainably made swim trunks made from recycled plastic and dyed with environmentally safe processes. The 7-inch inseam works with both taller and shorter guys, too.
Howler Brothers built its brand on a blend of both work and play: The kind of durable Western shirts you can wear out fishing on the water, then back in town for a night of live music and cold beer. They’re also looking to take over your beach wardrobe with a classically cut pair of 8.5-inch boardshorts in a quick-drying cotton and polyester blend.
They’re tailored enough to look polished back on dry land, but it’s the stretch fabric that elevates them into a pair of trunks fit for the stream or for a day of casting lines.
It only makes sense that surfing legend Kelly Slater would hone in on perfecting the volley swim trunk with the sustainable, stylish brand he started.
The quick-drying recycled polyester twill drives home that point nicely, with both performance fabric and a relaxed fit that turns them into a nice hybrid between lounge shorts and swim trunks.
Make no mistake: They still boast a comfortable elastic waistband, plus helpful details like a back zip pocket for EDC storage. Pair them with an Outerknown tee for a supremely stylish day at the beach.
Volley shorts are highly useful if you love being active on vacation, diving into watering holes or hiking to a waterfall – they’re cut for ease of movement and sporty functionality. Bearbottom hits the right marks with quick-drying, lightweight swim shorts that, as the brand says, are “ready for any adventure.” Take your pick from inseam lengths of 5.5 inches or 7 inches, all the better to find the perfect fit for your body type.
Fair Harbor starts with sustainability and comfort and mind, and builds the brand’s swimwear from there. I’ve had the chance to try out multiple pairs of trunks from the New York City brand, and each delivers in matters of performance and style.
The final product is a super-soft pair of stretchy swim trunks (take it from this writer’s personal experience), with a backstory you can feel good about – they use 80 percent recycled polyester, after all. We also appreciate the Green Floral print for a subtle touch of pattern and color, and the 7-inch inseam works for plenty of guys.
Although typically known for minimal jeans and super-soft T-shirts, every brand needs to lighten things up and catch a few rays from time to time.
Helpfully, the Yosemite Boardshorts from James Perse stay true to the brand’s streamlined take on California cool. The water-repellent stretch nylon is an innovative fabric that makes them worth the higher price tag, while the split hem delivers mobility for watersports of all kinds. Use the Velcro back pocket to store small EDC picks while on the move, too.
You might know Chubbies for its thigh-baring shorts, but the brand has also made waves when it comes to the best men’s swim trunks – after all, finding the right fit in terms of shorts usually means you can get the details right with swim trunks, too.
The 7-inch inseam shorts featured above sport a vibrant blue color with a nicely contrasting waistband for a touch of color. As an added bonus, the sub-$70 price tag is more than agreeable.
Over the years, NYC-based Bonobos has expanded into so much more besides perfectly fitting pants, and that’s great news if you have designs on finding your new favorite swim trunks.
The Riviera is yet another stylish, sustainable option, made with 85 percent polyester and featuring a clean design and your pick between 5, 7 or 9-inch inseams to pair up nicely depending on your height.
It’s sometimes best to turn towards a brand with specific expertise in crafting durable swim trunks for watersports, especially if you’re planning on many a coastal adventure this season. Watersport adventure gear just so happens to be a Volcom specialty, which results in hard-wearing polyester swim trunks in fresh colors like Cayenne. Handy pockets for your everyday carry essentials make it easy to go from sea to land with ease.
If you’ve always thought of swim trunks as one area to save, not spend, think again with a carefully considered splurge. We looked at style as well as fabric durability, quality production and the proper fit, along with versatility.
Vilebrequin’s swim trunks go above and beyond, using a unique stitching process for a secure fitted waistband, plus an inner brief design made from cotton and polyester. You’ll also appreciate the versatile yet fun patterns.
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