10 Best Men’s Swim Trunks Ready For The Summer

The right pair of swim trunks should not only complement your natural body type but should also look great whether you are just coming out of the pool or lounging poolside having a cocktail (or two).

While we will review the best men’s swim trunks of 2020 – like the incredibly comfortable Bonobos Riviera Recycled Men’s Swim Trunks – we will also share with you key considerations to think about when buying swim trunks, answer a long list of questions, and look at how swim trunks differ from other popular options such as briefs, board shorts, and more.

Let’s begin:

Review Roundup

Bonobos Riviera Recycled Men’s Swim Trunks
  • Several designs allow you to match the theme of your destination
  • Available in dozens of designs and lengths
  • Made in a responsible manner from recycled polyester
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Flint & Tinder Breaker Men’s Swim Trunks
  • These trunks will work great with most tops in your wardrobe
  • Perfect to wear to events or to the beach
  • Polyester and Spandex shell is moisture wicking and has 4-way stretch
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Kanu Surf Men's Barracuda Swim Trunks (Regular &...
Kanu Surf Men’s Barracuda Swim Trunks
  • Relies on lots of fabric technology for both protection and comfort
  • A board short that fits well for both tall and big guys
  • Priced incredibly well
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Chubbies Neon Lights 5.5″ Stretch Swim Trunks
  • Zip back pocket and four-way stretch are nice touches
  • Wide variety of designs available
  • Complements narrow thighs
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O'NEILL GI Jack 3 Hyperfreak Boardshorts 33 Navy...
O’Neill Hyperfreak Board Short
  • Stretch fabric is comfortable
  • Side pocket
  • Drawstring closure
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RVCA Men's Eastern Boardshort Trunk, Vanilla, 28
RVCA Men’s Eastern Swim Shorts
  • Complements your body type and style
  • The relaxed fit won’t dig into your hip
  • The fabric has the perfect amount of elasticity
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Faherty All Day Shorts for Men
  • Super comfortable trunk thanks to reliance on a natural fiber
  • Available in several colors
  • Can easily be dressed up when necessary
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Speedo Men's Swim Trunk Short Length Redondo Solid
Speedo Men’s Swim Trunk
  • No-frills trunk that feels comfortable
  • Adequate protection from the sun
  • Small key pocket is great for public pools
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Hurley Men's Apparel Phantom Cheers USA Flag 20
Hurley Phantom Boardshort for Men
  • The drawstring closure allows for additional room if necessary
  • Patriotic colors great for summer pool and beach parties
  • Back eyelets ensure proper water drainage
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Howler Brothers Sayulita Watershorts for Men
  • Eyelets provide great drainage
  • The high cotton composition makes these shorts really comfortable
  • Modestly priced given the quality
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How to Buy Swim Trunks

When buying a pair of swim trunks, you will want to keep these 8 considerations in mind:

1. Style

Swim trunks come in many different styles. Each style not only is best served with different intentions of use, but they also serve some unique benefits as well:

Swim Trunk

Coming in a few different lengths (more on this in a minute), the swim trunk is the classic men’s swimwear that springs to mind for most men.  Cut like traditional shorts, swimming shorts or swimming trunks are intended to be worn casually (poolside, beach, boat, etc.) and also into the water.  Swim trunks often have pockets and a drawstring closure for added convenience.

Board Shorts

Extending past the knee and sitting higher on the waist, board shorts provide greater coverage for your legs.  Board shorts are a much more relaxed type of swimwear and has its origins in surfing (source).

Briefs

Like men’s underwear, briefs feature an aggressive cut that is high on the thigh.  While not popular in the USA for casual use, briefs are still quite common when it comes to professional swimwear.  The primary reason many men wear briefs for casual use is to reduce tan lines.

Rash Guard Bottoms / Surf Shorts

Rash guard bottoms or surf shorts are designed for surfers who want to protect their bottom half from the sun’s harmful UVA/UVB rays.  These shorts are often made from synthetic materials that wick moisture to prevent chafing.

2. Material / Fabric

Men’s swim trunks and other swimwear can come in many different materials.  Here’s a look at the most popular fabrics found on swimwear and why you should care:

Nylon / Nylon Blend / Polyester: One of the most popular materials used in making swim trunks would be polyester.  Extremely durable, lightweight, fast-drying, and moisture-wicking, polyester can withstand harsh chlorine or saltwater without discoloring. While not as comfortable or soft as cotton, for swim trunks, there is no beating this material.

Cotton: Cotton can be woven in many different ways to create a variety of textures and thicknesses. Incredibly soft and lightweight, cotton feels great on your skin.  However, one disadvantage of cotton is that it takes a long time to fully dry.  Furthermore, cotton clings to your skin which may be quite unflattering if you plan on exiting a pool in front of a crowd of people.  One common weave found in cotton swim trunks will seersucker.  The classic railroad or pinstripe look is much airier and dries a fair bit faster.

Spandex / Elastane: Found in higher composition on surf shorts and other performance gear, Spandex or Elastane helps the fabric cling to your body a bit easier.  When it’s not used in a performance function, Spandex is often used for the elastic waistband to ensure your trunks don’t fly off if you dive into the water.

3. Style (Color & Patterns)

Swim trunks will come in either solid or patterned designs; here’s some tips on when to wear the right one to your next occasion:

Solid Colors

Perfect for both formal pool parties at your boss’ weekend house or at the hotel pool, solid swim trunks are both versatile and timeless.  Dark solid colors, such as navy or black are also great for those guys that want to not draw attention.

Patterns

From simple palm tree patterned logo to bold horizontal strips, patterns on a pair of swim shorts are wide in variety.  However, patterned trunks must be purchased carefully as to not commit any fashion faux pas – especially if you are going to anything formal (i.e. sailboat, yacht club, etc.). Now, if you are heading to the beach with your family or the backyard pool – then have fun with some funky shorts!

4. Size & Length

Whether you skew a bit bigger or more modest, finding the right pair of trunks to complement your frame is important.  Here are a few pointers:

Regular / Big & Tall

Men’s swimwear is sold in either regular or big and tall.  Now if you are in between both of these, it will be best to follow the size guidelines set by companies.  There you can get specific measurements for both the waist and inseam to see what works best for your body.

Length

While the waist for trunks is a pretty static number, the length can trip up a lot of men.  Here’s a few tips to help:

Short Guys: If you run a bit shorter in stature, go with a mid or short trunk as it will fit your frame better (cut above the knee).  Longer trunks shorten the length between the trunks and your feet, which will make you look shorter and are best to be avoided.

Tall Guys: For the tall guys (greater than 6′), go with mid to long length on the trunks.  Short trunks will show a ton of skin which can almost look borderline inappropriate.  Aim to have the trunks cut just at or above the knee cap.  However, the caveat to this is that if you are muscular and want to show your physique, then who are we to judge!

Big Guys: For those that carry a bit of weight around the midsection and are conscious about love handles, don’t worry, you can still wear trunks and enjoy the water.  Go with a trunk with more fabric in the thigh area.  A closer cut on the trunk will accentuate love handles and is best to be avoided.  Furthermore, you can pair this type of trunk with a rash guard for a great look.

Thin Guys: If you are a skinny guy, our recommendation here is to go with a shorter trunk (cut above the knee) and one that has a tailored fit.  A trunk that is too big or baggy will create a bigger contrast between the trunks and your body which you are trying to avoid.

5. Pockets

Swim trunks can come with many different types of pockets.  Here’s a quick look at the few popular options out there:

  • Side Seam Pockets: Great for classy or semi-formal settings, side seam pockets provide a pleasing silhouette and simply look much more presentable.  These are great if you need to look good in your swimsuit.
  • Velcro Pockets: Utilitarian and great for holding your essentials, velcro pockets won’t get jammed or degrade in time.  However, the velcro pocket can be seen as a bit more juvenile so you should only go with this pocket if it is done in a tasteful manner.
  • Zipper Pockets: Zip pockets are a great bridge between the side seam and velcro pockets.  However, the zip pocket is susceptible to getting jammed with sand or small rocks.
  • Cargo Pockets: Placed on the lower side leg, the cargo pocket is often found in casual board shorts as they have a longer leg than traditional trunks.  These can be great if you go to the beach often and don’t want to lose your keys, wallet, or other essential when walking to and from the car.

6. Brand

As we researched swim trunks, we found the following to be among the most popular with men:

  • Billabong
  • Bonobos
  • Frescobol Carioca
  • Hurley
  • Lululemon
  • O’Neill
  • Orlebar Brown
  • Patagonia
  • Polo Ralph Lauren
  • Quicksilver
  • Rip Curl
  • Speedo
  • St. Tropez
  • Todd Snyder
  • Trunks Surf and Swim Co.
  • Vilebrequin

7. Price

The price point on a pair of trunks can vary greatly.  With more designer brands entering the market, prices are going up.  However, with that being said, you should have no problem finding some swim trunks priced between $20 and $75.

8. Additional Features & Details

While all the above features are important when buying swimwear, there were a few specific details we wanted to call attention to should they be important to you:

  • Lining / Unlined: Love it or hate it, some guys like the inner lining and others don’t.  If you like to let your manhood run free while swimming, then skip the lining.  However, know that the lining is important as it keeps your sensitive skin away from the rough fabric and helps to prevent chafing.
  • Bottle Opener: What’s a better party trick than opening up a bottle of Corona while on the beach with your swim trunks?!  While it’s a great novelty, know that it can also become a burden, especially when you are always asked to open the next bottle.
  • Drawstring / Drawcord: A classy little detail to trunks, a drawstring can help to provide a more secure fit while wearing trunks.  A drawstring will be a ‘must-have’ if you plan on making any dives in these shorts.
  • Sun Protection: When you are wearing trunks, there is a 99.9% chance you will be out in the sun as well.  Getting trunks with added sun protection provides extra peace of mind, especially if skin cancer runs in your family.  It’s a detail that is nice to have, especially if you plan on being outside for extended periods.
  • Moisture Wicking: Found in workout shorts and compression shorts, moisture-wicking fabric is designed to draw water away from the body.  Helpful in preventing chafing and increasing comfort, this little bit of extra functionality in the fabric can be a game changer to some.
  • Quick Dry: Fabric that has been woven to be much airier can dry quickly and make you look great again.  Helpful in preventing the amount of water seeping up to your shirt you put on after getting out of the water, quick-dry fabric is a nice feature if presentation is important to you.
  • Odor Protection: Bacteria naturally craves a dark and moist environment.  Whether you are going on an extended walk in your shorts or are taking a quick dip in a ravine, odor protection fabric will make it harder for odor-causing bacteria to grow and multiply.  This feature is dependent on you and where you plan to swim.

The 10 Best Men’s Swim Trunks of 2020 Reviewed

1. Bonobos Riviera Recycled Men’s Swim Trunks

Top Award: Best Men’s Swim Trunks

Best Features:

  • Great selection of designs for all men
  • Won’t look out of place whether in a luxury hotel or at a tiki hut
  • Size selection is incredible

Summary:

Whether you are going to the French Riviera, Los Angeles, or a Hawaiian beach, finding a bathing suit to complement your travels is important.  Rather than just going with a plain navy or black trunk and calling it a day, the best swim trunks for travel will be one that has both bold and fun designs.  When reviewing all the options out there, we found that the aptly named Bonobos Riviera Recycled Swim Trunks were among the best; here’s why:

  • Countless designs to suit your style

From a simple palm tree print to a bold splash of colors, the Bonobos Riviera line of trunks has something for everyone.  At the time of publication, Bonobos offers up this line of trunks in 29 distinct designs.  But unlike many other trunks that try to make bold designs, these don’t look cheesy at all – so you won’t have to worry about being too loud or turning heads for the wrong reasons.

  • Size options galore

From their quality chinos to their classy dress pants, what we always really loved about Bonobos is their size options.  Built with just about every guy in mind, you should have no problem finding a pair of trunks to fit your frame.  Currently, Bonobos offers the Riviera trunks in the following waist sizes:

  • Extra Small
  • Small
  • Medium
  • Large
  • Extra Large
  • 2-Extra Large

But it gets better.  Beyond the size range of waist sizes, Bonobos also offers their trunks in three different lengths:

  • 5″
  • 7″
  • 9″

So whether you are 5′ 4″ or 6′ 4″, you can get trunks that complement your height.

  • Recycled material lessens the environmental impact

One of the biggest problems facing the fashion industry in recent years is the amount of unnecessary waste that occurs. Instead of using virgin fabric, these trunks rely on 85% recycled polyester and 15% Spandex.  Not only will this lessen the environmental impact when they are constructed, but they are also a great social-economic buy also.

Beyond feeling great about wearing these to your favorite destinations, the trunks themselves offer a nice bit of stretch that will feel great whether you are wakeboarding or going on a tropical adventure.  The four-way stretch ensures that the fabric won’t tug or pull on your sensitive bits even when a bit of sweat is starting to build up.

Other Notable Features:

  • Pleasing designs make them great to wear around a beach town or even on light tropical hikes
  • Mesh lining prevents chafing in hot and humid conditions
  • Back pocket has a hook-and-loop fastener
  • Pockets have appropriate drainage thanks to eyelets

Pros

  • Several designs allow you to match the theme of your destination
  • Available in dozens of designs and lengths
  • Made in a responsible manner from recycled polyester

Cons

  • May stretch the budget a bit for some men

What You Need To Know

Wherever your adventures take you, the Bonobos Riviera Swim Trunks likely have a design to match the destination – making them the best men’s swim trunks out there.  These trunks will be hard to resist wearing everywhere – even if you aren’t on vacation.

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2. Flint & Tinder Breaker Men’s Swim Trunks

Top Award: Best Swim Trunks for Travel

Best Features:

  • Four-way stretch material allows for increased comfort
  • No-frills design provides greater versatility
  • Perfect to wear as beachwear or to a party

Summary:

If you are looking for a pair of no-frills swim trunks that hit that sweet spot between being both functional and presentable, then you should consider the Flint & Tinder Breaker Trunks.  Here are some of the highlights for these trunks:

  • Available in 4 color options to suit most tastes

These trunks come in the 4 neutral colors including gray, black, navy, and red.  Whether you plan on wearing these to a beach or for a hike that will end in an eventual dip into natural springs, they will look great when paired with any top or shoes.

  • Details that make these ones of the best men’s swimming trunk

While the drawstring waist and the seamless side pockets will look great on most body types, Flint & Tinder does a good job with the details.  With a polyester fabric that has been blended with Spandex, these trunks provide a nice bit of stretch that allows for comfort.  You will never feel the fabric pulling at your skin whether you are swimming or playing beach volleyball.

Furthermore, these trunks are moisture wicking to ensure that no chafing will happen on those hot summer days.

Lastly, these trunks are made in the USA (North Carolina), which is a rarity for clothes these days.

  • No length options are the biggest downside

If there was one gripe on the Breaker Trunks it is the limited length options.  Unlike other brands reviewed that not only offer a variety of waist sizes, these trunks have no length choices.  Therefore, you will want to order these ahead of time to make sure they fit in case you need to make a return (Huckberry offers free returns for 30 days after delivery).

Other Notable Features:

  • Mesh interior liner will provide adequate support and won’t bunch
  • The back pockets have two small square velcro patches that keep your valuables secure
  • The drawstring waistband tips have been treated so they won’t fray
  • The USA made design ensures quality construction

Pros

  • These trunks will work great with most tops in your wardrobe
  • Perfect to wear to events or to the beach
  • Polyester and Spandex shell is moisture wicking and has 4-way stretch

Cons

  • Would have liked to see more length options

What You Need To Know

Known for their quality clothing for men, Huckberry’s private label brand, Flint & Tinder hits another home run with the Breaker Trunks.  The simple no-frills design makes them great to wear whether you are in the backyard swimming pool or at the beach bar while on vacation.

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3. Kanu Surf Men’s Barracuda Swim Trunks

Kanu Surf Men's Barracuda Swim Trunks (Regular &...

Top Award: Best Board Shorts

Best Features:

  • Water repellent coating makes you look great when getting out of the water
  • Contrast stitching on the outseam
  • Great shape for most men’s bodies

Summary:

When selecting a pair of board shorts, functionality, and features will be at the top of the consideration list.  One of the most popular board shorts for men will be the Kanu Surf Barracuda Swim Trunks.  Here’s what makes these board shorts special:

  • Designed for active beachwear

Whether you are surfing, wakeboarding, or simply enjoying the beach with your family, these board shorts offer a UPF 50+ rating that will protect your skin from severe burns.

While the sun protection is perhaps the biggest selling point for these trunks, what we also really loved was the cargo side pocket for easy storage of your valuable gear or any shells you may collect when walking along the beach.

Furthermore, the Kanu trunks have also been treated with a water-repellent coating.  While this seems counterintuitive if you are going into the water, the benefit here is that when you get out, the shorts look great and won’t cling to your body.

To complement the water repellent exterior, the 100% polyester fabric is also quick drying so you won’t be dripping with water very long.

  • Great for big and tall guys

If you are a taller guy looking to purchase a pair of board shorts that complements your longer frame, then the 22″ length will be welcomed as it extends down to the knee.

For those guys that carry a bit of weight around the midsection, these board shorts can be the perfect choice for you.  With sizes extending all the way up to 4XL, you should have no problem wearing these.

Other Notable Features:

  • Drawstring closure prevents sagging when trunks are wet
  • Extra pockets make these great for ocean fishing and kayaking
  • red and white design is available for lifeguards

Pros

  • Relies on lots of fabric technology for both protection and comfort
  • A board short that fits well for both tall and big guys
  • Priced incredibly well

Cons

  • Lack of stretch fabric may limit movement
  • Wrinkles rather easily

What You Need To Know

If you are looking for a board short that not only looks great but offers adequate protection from the sun, then the Kanu Surf Barracuda Swim Trunks make for an excellent pick.  The quick-drying and water-repellent fabric makes it a great trunk to wear in and out of the water.

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4. Chubbies Neon Lights 5.5″ Stretch Swim Trunks

Top Award: Best Swim Trunks for Skinny Guys

Best Features:

  • Narrow leg opening won’t give the illusion that you are swimming in your trunks
  • Simple patterns will be flattering on both skinny and short guys
  • Stretchy fabric provides give

Summary:

If you have slender legs or a smaller frame, buying a swim trunk can be a tricky endeavor.  However, we found that the Chubbie’s line of swim trunks are a great pick for many.  Here’s why:

  • A tailored leg opening that complements your body size

Bulky board shorts with side pockets exaggerate the proportion between a slender frame and your body.  Going with a pair of tailored trunks such as these ones will help to reduce this extra bulk which ultimately allows for a cleaner and more streamlined appearance.

With a 5.5″ inseam and a narrower leg opening (24″ leg opening for a medium-sized waist), the Chubbie swim trunks will work for a lot of slender men out there.

  • Fabric and pockets are nice little touches

With a blend of 92% polyester and 8% Spandex, these trunks have a nice little bit of stretch in them, making them quite comfortable to wear whether you are swimming or going for a jog on the beach.

Side seam pockets are on either side while a zipper pocket is on the back (for most of their shorts).  The simple back zip pocket will help to prevent any of your gear from falling out.

Other Notable Features:

  • Fabric-covered waistbands are standard on all trunks
  • Several prints and solid colors available
  • mesh lining has a stretchy fabric that gives additional comfort
  • Cut just above the knees

Pros

  • Zip back pocket and four-way stretch are nice touches
  • Wide variety of designs available
  • Complements narrow thighs

Cons

  • A bit pricey

What You Need To Know

The tailored cut and subtle yet fun design patterns of the Chubbies brand will work great for a lot of skinny men out there.  In addition to the tapered leg, these shorts have some nice stretch and are comfortable to wear.

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5. O’Neill Hyperfreak  Board Short

O'NEILL GI Jack 3 Hyperfreak Boardshorts 33 Navy...

Top Award: Best Swim Trunks for Tall Guys

Best Features:

  • Good length for men over 6′
  • Side pocket has zip closure
  • Velcro fly

Summary:

If you are over 6′ tall and are looking for a pair of swim trunks that don’t look like they are made for little kids when you put them on, then consider the O’Neill Hyperfreak Board Short.

  • The extra-long leg is great for tall guys

With a 21″ outseam (the longest outseam in any swim trunk we reviewed), it should easily extend to the knee level for tall men (just below the knee for shorter men).  As noted in some of the reviews for these trunks, tall men found them quite comfortable while not looking awkward at all.

  • Stretchy material makes this board short even better

When it comes to many trunks, they are often made from 100% polyester or 100% nylon in order to withstand the tough conditions of chlorine.  However, if you are a taller guy, you will know that any bit of stretch in clothing is welcomed as it helps with mobility and comfort. You will be happy to learn that these shorts by O’Neill contain 9% elastane/spandex which provides a welcomed four-way stretch.

Even if you carry a bit of extra weight, these shorts should still feel pretty good.

Other Notable Features:

  • The side pocket is easy to access for additional storage
  • Velcro and lycra fly closure
  • Available in 6 different styles
  • USA flag patch on side pocket

Pros

  • Stretch fabric is comfortable
  • Side pocket
  • Drawstring closure

Cons

  • No side or back pocket
  • No mesh lining

What You Need To Know

If you are over 6′ and are struggling to find a pair of swim trunks that work for your naturally longer frame, then consider these.  Made with a bit of stretch they will feel great whether you are swimming or lounging.

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