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Published Sep. 20, 2021

The best swim trunks are as stylish as they are waterproof. Wear them to the pool. Wear them to the party. Wear them to the bar. Wherever you go, you’ll look good. And because they’re made for water, you’re prepared if you accidentally fall into a river or “accidentally” trip into the park fountain on a hot day. The classic men’s swim trunk has been updated not only with new designs and patterns, but better cuts and fits to prevent sagging and bunching. If you need to upgrade your swimwear, or want something new to lounge in on a lazy day, the best men’s swim trunk will become your favorite warm-weather uniform. 

How We Selected the Best Men’s Swim Trunks

Methodology

As a men’s magazine product reviewer for more than 15 years and someone who won a third place ribbon in the backstroke at the community pool when I was 9, I am well versed in the world of swimwear. To get a good sample size of men’s swim trunks, I researched dozens and dozens of suits, taking note of materials, reviews, and styles. While personal taste plays a factor, we can all agree a rough, a scratchy swimsuit is no good. 

To find the best men’s swim trunk we looked for comfort, appearance, and price. The swim trunks must allow for comfortable movement. To judge the trunks, we noted how they felt when running and swimming. If they bunched up or felt too roomy, they didn’t make the list. We also judged them based on how they felt when wet or dry.

Color and pattern judgment will depend on individual taste, but we made sure the colors remained vivid even after swimming in chlorinated pools. And for price, if the swimsuit costs more than $100 we were suspicious of it being an overpriced luxury item instead of a useful piece of clothing.

The Best Men’s Swim Trunks: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Speedo Men’s Swim Trunk Short Length Redondo Solid

Great for Sports

This classic bathing suit from one of the best-known names in swimwear will serve you well in the water and on the sand. Speedo

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Why It Made The Cut: The Speedo short-length trunk is everything you need in a great pair of swimwear: Comfort, style and durability. Wear them in the pool, or in a hurricane and these trunks will hold up well. 

Specs: 

  • 100 percent polyester 
  • Drawstring waist
  • 4-inch inseam, 14-inch outseam 
Pros:Cons:
  • Feels great even when dry
  • Might be too short for some
  • Can take a beating
  • Colors are simple and muted
  • Comfortable for swimming and running.
  • Expensive for a basic swim trunk
  • Speedo swim trunks come in three lengths: Short, mid, and knee. The short length men’s trunks are the best of the lot, giving you freedom of movement without looking like you’re wearing a skimpy bikini bottom. 

    The 14-inch outseam on these Speedo Men’s Swim Trunks will reach the upper-thigh, which is a good length for swimming and beach volleyball. For athletes or professional beach-goers, these are the best swim trunks for every outdoor activity. The fabric feels soft and smooth even after a long day out on the sand. The drawstring keeps everything in place and the fabric moves and stretches with your body. 

    The solid color choices all look good, and work for guys of any age. And the colors stay bright even after a season of heavy use. They may be too high on the hip for some guys, and could seem out of place at a restaurant or bar. But for pools, lakes and beaches, this icon of swimwear is still the best of the best.

    Best Knee-length Men’s Swim Trunk: Kanu Surf Men’s Flex Swim Trunks

    Ideal for Going Out

    These fun trunks are up for sports, but still long enough to take you dinner afterwards in a dignified way. Kanu Surf

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    Why It Made The Cut: This swim trunk has the length for those who aren’t ready to let the world see their thighs, but are still short enough and agile enough for outdoor activities.

    Specs:

    • 100 percent polyester
    • 22-inch inseam 
    • Elastic closure
    Pros:Cons:
  • Great length for going to bars and restaurants
  • Cargo pockets look chunky
  • Lots of design and color options
  • Inner mesh lining is very snug
  • Nice fit for larger sizes
  • Knee-length swim trunks are the best of both worlds: Not too short, and not as long as board shorts. The Kanu Surf men’s swim trunks give you enough range of motion for playing soccer and volleyball on the beach and doing laps in the pool. The fabric dries fast and feels good when wet or dry. 

    The style of these Kanu swimsuits are good for going out to parties and wearing all day as shorts. The colors and designs are fun, yet not over-the-top like so many knee-length trunks. We only wish they ditched the cargo pockets. While the pockets come in handy for carrying keys and seashells, cargo shorts look bulky and lack the sleek, sexy lines of pocket-less trunks. 

    Even with the pockets, these are a top-tier pair of swim trunks. The stitching is high-quality and the elastic is strong without pinching the belly. The inner mesh webbing is more snug than other swimsuits, but the added support can be comforting for some guys. These Kanu trunks are good for swimming or replacing regular shorts.

    Best Mid-Length Men’s Swim Trunk: Nautica Men’s Standard Quick Dry Classic Logo Tri-Block Series Swim Trunk

    Smooth and Comfortable

    The Nautica men’s swim trunks are perfect for the water or the backyard party. The colors look great, but there aren’t that many color options available.  Nautica

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    Why It Made The Cut: The mid-thigh length of this pair of Nautica men’s swim trunks is good for swimming and the wrinkle-free nylon shorts are good for an evening out on the town.

    Specs:

    • Shorts are 100 percent nylon. Lining is 100 percent polyester.
    • 19-inch outseam
    • Drawstring closure
    Pros:Cons:
  • Material stays smooth and wrinkle-free
  • Branding text on the side may not appeal to all tastes
  • Bold colors look fantastic wet and dry
  • Color options are limited
  • No pockets makes them good for sports
  • Reasonable price
  • Nautica swimsuits are known for their quality. These mid-thigh trunks fit well and aren’t restrictive or baggy when swimming laps. The outer shorts are made of nylon, which doesn’t wrinkle as quickly as polyester swim trunks. The fabric feels good, but is a little heavier than 100% polyester trunks. 

    The drawstring waistband closes securely and holds up to even the most intense cannonball dives. There are no pockets on these men’s swim trunks. Some will hate the lack of storage, but if you wear these for volleyball or basketball games, pockets can get in the way and snag. And you can always keep your phone in a backpack or its own dedicated beach-safe case. The price is right and the fit is good. What more can you ask for in a mid-length pair of men’s trunks?

    Best Design: maamgic Mens Swim Trunks Quick Dry Swim Shorts with Mesh Lining

    Fashion-Forward

    One of the best above-the-knee swimsuits, the maamgic trunks have a good fit and wide selection of eye-catching designs that never look foolish. maamgic

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    Why It Made The Cut: One of the best above-the-knee swimsuits, the maamgic trunks have a good fit and a wide selection of eye-catching designs that never look foolish.

    Specs:

    • 100% polyester
    • Elastic waistband with drawstring
    • Approx. 7-inch inseam
    Pros:Cons:
  • Colorful designs and patterns
  • Sizes stop at XXL
  • Good, slim fit
  • Pockets too shallow to be useful
  • Comfortable waistband
  • Summer fashion is about fun, bright colors, and patterns. The maamgic trunks come in a wide variety of looks, from pink sharks on baby-blue backgrounds to wild floral patterns. All of them have personality and are a much-needed step up from traditional solid trunks. 

    But the great design would mean nothing if the swimsuit didn’t also fit well. Luckily, the maamgic trunks feel as good as they look. The 100% polyester fabric is soft in the water and on dry land. And the 7-inch inseam makes them good for sports and summer adventures. 

    They wrinkle quickly, but that’s not a deal-breaker for a great pair of men’s trunks. (Unless you’re wearing them to the opera.) They dry quickly, going from sopping wet to bone dry in a little over 10 minutes.  

    The back pocket is great, and has drainage so it won’t balloon up. The side pockets are good enough, but we wish they were deeper. That would change the entire length of the trunks, so we understand why their pockets are small. 

    The price is great, especially for fashion-forward, colorful trunks. And you’ll get your money’s worth as they are durable enough to withstand the gauntlet of summer fun. If you want a great-looking men’s swimsuit with unique patterns, these are the best trunks to show off your fun side.

    Best Value: Amazon Essentials Men’s 7″ Swim Trunk

    The Amazon Essential men’s swim trunks are great for the price Amazon Essentials

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    Why It Made The Cut: The Amazon Essential men’s swim trunks are great for the price. They have a decent fit and the fabric is comfortable enough for summertime activities. A good choice for cheap swimsuits.

    Specs:

    • 100% polyester
    • 7-inch inseam
    • Drawstring closure
    Pros:Cons:
  • Cheap swim trunks
  • Feels stiff when dry
  • Good length for swimming
  • Won’t last more than a summer
  • Dries quickly
  • What do you get for less than twenty bucks? A good-enough pair of men’s swim trunks. The Amazon Essential swim trunks fit true to size and feel good when walking, running or swimming. The color choices are generous, with enough options for subtle tastes and those who love wild patterns. 

    When you dip below the $20 mark, the material is of lesser quality. That means when the suit is dry, it can feel rough and stiff, almost like denim. In the pool or the ocean, you won’t notice. But if you plan to wear these as regular shorts, the material may be uncomfortable on dry land. 

    The waistband is great and shouldn’t cause any accidental wardrobe malfunctions. For the price, these cheap men’s trunks can’t be beat. Despite whatever nitpicks we have, these are still a solid value. Even if they only last one or two seasons, they’re worth twenty bucks.

    Methodology

    To find the best men’s swim trunk we looked for comfort, appearance, and price. The swim trunks must allow for comfortable movement. To judge the trunks, we noted how they felt when running and swimming. If they bunched up or felt too roomy, they didn’t make the list. We also judged them based on how they felt when wet or dry.

    Color and pattern judgment will depend on individual taste, but we made sure the colors remained vivid even after swimming in chlorinated pools. And for price, if the swimsuit costs more than $100 we were suspicious of it being an overpriced luxury item instead of a useful piece of clothing.

    Things to Consider Before Buying the best men’s swim trunks

    Don’t just grab the first pair of swim trunks you see at the souvenir shop. It’s important to understand the subtle difference between the different types of men’s swimwear. Shop for a pair of trunks that not only fits and looks good, but will last. Before heading to the beach or backyard pool, keep these things in mind when shopping for men’s swim trunks.

    Do you want swim trunks or board shorts?

    Classifying men’s swimsuits is confusing because there are a lot of overlapping stats. Generally speaking, men’s swim trunks refer to waterproof shorts with a mesh, polyester liner. Trunk length is either at the knee or above, and many of today’s styles are on the shorter side with a slim fit. 

    Board shorts are baggier and longer, often ending at or below the knee. This makes them less ideal for swimming and running. Many board shorts don’t have a liner. For swimming, that means you either go commando, wear soggy underwear or wear water-resistant and moisture-wicking compression shorts beneath the board shorts.

    How are the swim trunks held in place?

    Don’t overlook the waistband. While many swim trunks have an elastic waistband, some will rely more on a drawstring to keep things cinched. Drawstrings need to be tied tight. If you’re worried at all about slipping out of the trunks, make sure it has a good, sturdy elastic waistband.

    How to keep swim trunk colors bright and bold

    Swimming in a pool or ocean can quickly fade any pair of swim trunks. The cleaning chemicals in the pool love to attack bright colors and turn them into muted, cloudy greys. And saltwater can damage the material. To prevent colors from fading, hop in the shower first. No, really. Getting the suit wet with tap water before a swim can stop pool chemicals and saltwater from getting into the material. And after a swim, rinse off thoroughly and dry thoroughly. Proper rinsing can extend the life of a swimsuit and keep things bright and cheerful.

    Do you want pockets on the swimsuit?

    Not all men’s swimsuits are equipped with pockets. For athletes, pockets can get in the way. But for casual beachgoers, pockets are a great place to store your keys and sunglasses. Read the product descriptions of the swim trunks to see if they have side pockets. And if it has a rear pocket, look for one that can be sealed with velcro or a button. Back pockets also typically have drainage to eliminate unsightly air and water bulges that can erupt on the swimsuit.

    Best swim trunks FAQs

    Q: What length should swim trunks be?

    Swim trunks should be a comfortable length. That means different things to different people. Those who want an athletic swim trunk that allows your legs and thighs to bend and move freely should shop for short trunks with a 4-inch inseam. But these can be too short for some people. A 7-inch inseam is a great mid-thigh length. These are good for all activities: swimming, running and partying. And anything longer is getting into board short territory, which can make running and swimming laps more cumbersome. 

    Q: What are the best men’s swim trunks?

    Speedo makes some of the best men’s swim trunks. Speedo trunks are available in three lengths, and go as short as a 4-inch inseam. The material is high-quality and will move and stretch with you as you move. They are perfect for swimming. If you want more style and color options, maamgic mens swim trunks come in a wide variety of fun patterns, and the material still feels good wet or dry. And if you want to save money, the Amazon Essential line of men’s swim trunks is surprisingly good for the price.

    Q: Are Quick Dry shorts good for swimming?

    Gym shorts and hiking shorts, like some Quick Dry shorts, can be okay for swimming, but not ideal. Men’s Quick Dry running shorts are okay for the pool, but they will lack the mesh lining and support of a traditional swim trunk. Activewear shorts are also not made for chlorinated pools and ocean water. The fabric can be damaged by the harsh chemicals and salt. Men’s swim trunks are designed for pool chemicals and salt water, and even they will fade over time. We recommend using real, true, bonafide swim trunks for all water activities.

    Final Thoughts

    The right swimsuit needs to be comfortable and stylish. The best men’s swim trunks are focused on form, function, and good-looking patterns. Speedo swim trunks are the best waterproof short-shorts for men. And if you want longer turns, look for a good-quality 7-inch inseam like the Nautica trunks. Don’t spend too much and check your size before ordering. Stop swimming in your jean cutoffs or gym shorts and cover your lower half with the best swim trunks for men of all ages.

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