Whether it's winter or summer, men, or their women, are thinking about men's swimwear. Be ready for the first warm day of the season with a new and comfortable pair of swim trunks, board shorts or swim briefs, if you're daring. A seemingly limitless selection of styles and colors make it a certainty that you'll find the men's swimwear that's right for you.
Although swim briefs and square cut shorts can improve competitive swim performance, they're not for every man. Consider swim trunks or longer swim shorts if modesty is an issue.
The hottest trend in men's swimwear is the board short. With a fit like a comfortable pair of walking shorts, board shorts are designed for active water pursuits.
Very few retailers will take returns on swimwear once it leaves the store. Carefully—and honestly—measure your waist about an inch above your hipbone for the best fit.
Chlorine and saltwater will take their toll on any men's swimwear. You should think about replacing your swimwear at least every other season or when fading, stretching or decaying of rubber or nylon set in.
Looser fitting men's swimwear will benefit from mesh netting underneath. Mesh provides a bit of “containment” and protects sensitive areas from chaffing.
The three basic styles of men's swimwear are briefs, trunks and board shorts. Briefs are for those with the physique to bare it all. Trunks are cut more like boxer shorts. Board shorts feature a loose fit and legs cut just above the knee.
Speedo is the most famous (infamous?) purveyor of men's swim briefs, although Nike and Diesel have good selections. Diesel, Tommy Bahama and Vineyard Vines produce popular trunk-style swimwear. Start with O Neill, QuikSilver and Hurley if you're looking for board shorts.
When it comes to men's swimwear, patterns are the rule rather than the exception. While plaids and stripes are popular, don't overlook the appeal of a floral or checked look.
Synthetics like Lycra and Nylon will provide the longest wear, but can be expensive. Natural cotton provides a comfortable feel, but can take longer to dry.
Men's swimwear has come a long way from the full-body coverings of the Victorian era. Whether you're swimming competitively, hitting the surf or just lounging around the pool, there are plenty of choices when it comes to buying men's swimwear.
Designed for efficient swimming in competition and popular with European men, swimming briefs leave little to the imagination. Therein lies the appeal and repulsion of swimming briefs—you need the physique and nerve to pull this look off successfully.
If you are in the market for swimming briefs, look for suits made of Lycra or blends of Nylon and Spandex. These materials are fast drying and create the form-fitting look associated with swimming briefs. In terms of construction, look for briefs with as few seams as possible and draw cords that stay tucked inside the waistband.
Although most briefs have a side panel of between one and three inches, square-cut briefs have longer side panels that give a look similar to short biking pants. Square-cut briefs combine the low-drag efficiency of briefs with a bit more coverage for the modest swimmer.
Since the 1960s, boxer-style swim trunks have been a popular favorite in men's swimwear. Available in a range of colors and patterns, you're sure to find a pair of swim trunks to match your tastes.
When it comes to swim trunk construction, a loose mesh interior will protect your skin from seams and rough material, although some men feel constricted by a mesh interior. You'll be most comfortable in trunks that feature a drawstring waist as opposed to an elastic waist—drawstrings allow for more flexibility and freedom of movement. An inner pocket (sometimes waterproof) attached to the waistband is a convenient feature that will allow you carry some cash or an ID.
Men's swim trunks are often made with synthetic materials or blends that provide comfort and fast drying times. For the ultimate compromise between comfort and practicality, look for a 50/50 blend of polyester and cotton.
Originally designed for the surf and skate crowd, board shorts have taken the beach scene by storm in the last decade. Loosely fitted and reaching well past mid-thigh, board shorts are comfortable for swimming, lounging and active beach time.
Board shorts often come with an interior mesh brief. Board shorts come in fitted, elastic and drawstring waists. Fitted shorts will flatter a man with a slim form, but drawstring board shorts offer the most comfort and flexibility. You'll find plenty of pocket space in board shorts, with side, back and even cargo pockets a common feature.
Board shorts are available in a wide range of materials, and you'll have to balance the comfort of natural fibers with the convenient drying time of synthetics.