Whether lounging poolside or hitting the beach, a good pair of swim trunks is a warm-weather essential. Of course, different occasions call for different styles. A throwback pair of volley shorts might look great at the beachside cantina, but they aren’t ideal for paddling out. On the flip side, performance boardshorts will leave you pocketless when you head out from the beach.
To help you solve this conundrum, we’ve rounded up premium men’s swim trunks and boardshorts from brands like Outerknown, Patagonia, and more. From early morning surf sessions to drinks at the beach bar, these picks are ready whatever your day (or night) by the water has in store.
Ten Thousand Set Short
Meticulously designed and tested by a team of hardcore athletes, these shorts are built for performance both in and out of the water. The quick-drying, medium compression inner liner allows for chafe-free transitions between water and land workouts, and the flexible hydrophobic shell provides unrestricted freedom of movement. Additionally, a thoughtfully designed pocket system (including two hip pockets, a zippered rear pocket, and a dedicated phone pocket) keeps the essentials securely stowed all day long.
O’Neill Hyperfreak Hydro Comp Boardshorts
Founded by the late Jack O’Neill in 1952, this American surf brand knows that the ideal pair of boardshorts needs to stay put and out of the way. The company’s Hyperfreak Hydro Comp boardshorts ditch laces in favor of a No Tie Fly closure system; this eliminates bulk while keeping the shorts firmly in place. Surfers will also dig the exceptionally stretchy and fast-drying fabric, and there’s no inseam to cause chafing, either.
Outerknown Apex Trunks by Kelly Slater
When 11-time WSL World Champion Kelly Slater puts his name on something, you know it’s top-notch. Outerknown’s Apex Trunks allow for restriction- and chafe-free shredding thanks to their ultralight four-way stretch fabric, stitch-free welded seams, and laser-cut drainage holes. The trunks pack into their own back pocket (perfect for impromptu beach trips or weekend getaways), and they’re even sewn in a Fair Trade Certified factory. Meet the GOAT of surf trunks.
Faherty Belt Loop All Day Shorts
It’s rare to find a pair of swim trunks versatile and comfortable enough to take you from golfing to bodysurfing and then out to dinner in the evening. But these belt-loop equipped shorts can do it. Featuring a fabric blend of 75 percent recycled polyester plus a touch of cotton and spandex, they’re quick-drying, high-performing, and stylish, too.
Vuori Cruise Boardshort
Water-tested and boardwalk-approved, these boardshorts from Vuori do exactly as their name suggests. Their four-way stretch blend of recycled and virgin polyester with elastane offers flexible comfort for watersports or beach workouts, and their anti-odor and fast-drying properties are ideal for hitting the town afterward. Zippered pockets give you plenty of space to stash cash and essentials, and the five unique patterns offer stylish options to help you look your best in the summer sun.
Patagonia Men’s Baggies Shorts
Patagonia is synonymous with sustainable activewear, and the brand’s iconic Baggies are no exception. Made from 100-percent recycled nylon and built for adventure both in and out of the water, these lightweight trunks are at home on the hiking trail and at the beach. They’re available in two sizes (5-inch and 7-inch), and they come in over 15 funky patterns and colors, including a classic neon yellow and a head-turning alligator and bullfrog pattern. Express yourself—comfortably.
Howler Brothers Deep Set Boardshorts
Modeled after old-school volley shorts, this pair from Howler Brothers is oozing with style. The drawcord-equipped elastic waistband never restricts, and the blend of cotton, polyester, and spandex is ultra-soft. Two pockets in the front and one in the back can easily carry your phone, keys, and wallet––perfect for when Happy Hour arrives.
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