Are Board Shorts Swimsuits: Swimwear 101

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Trying to answer, "Are board shorts swimsuits?", is akin to navigating a labyrinth. Men’s swimwear is an industry filled with different designs, styles, and features to take note of. From board shorts to swimming trunks, there are plenty of options you’ll be faced with.

Technically speaking, board shorts are classified as swimsuits. Swimsuits is a term generally used to classify swimwear of all types. However, board shorts differ from other pairs of swimsuits you’ll be able to get your hands on.

The Different Types of Swimsuits

The first step to choosing the perfect swimwear is to know what your options are. Below, we’ll explore the different types of swimsuits, how they fit, and what their main uses are.

1. Swim Trunks

Aside from board shorts, swim trunks are the most popular type of swimwear you’ll come across. In fact, it’s likely most men and women have worn swim trunks at one point or another. The best way to know if a pair of shorts are swim trunks is to look at their length.

Swim trunks are typically shorter and will certainly fall above the knee as compared to board shorts, which are known to come below the knee. The materials used to create swim trunks will also differ from other swimwear.

When making swim trunks, manufacturers typically use a stiffer material, like nylon, or rough polyester. This helps them to dry quickly, but also makes them less comfortable against the skin. This is particularly important if you’re prone to chafing, as their harsher material may cause skin irritation.

Swim trunks more often than not are created with a mesh lining on the inside of the shorts. This adds a layer of privacy when the shorts are wet, but it’s also meant to prevent the shorts from ballooning when you submerge under the water. Many people also prefer mesh lining, as they can avoid wearing anything under their swimwear.

2. Board Shorts

Board shorts are becoming more popular, as they’re preferred by men who want a pair of quick-drying shorts that can easily be worn while swimming or running errands. This type of swimwear is seen as the most versatile, as they’re created to be fashionable and functional at the same time.

Compared to swim trunks, board shorts typically fall at the knee or below the knee, depending on the length you choose. They are also made out of a softer material that will feel fantastic against your skin. Also, since board shorts are used for surfing, the material will need to be able to glide against the surface of the surfboard.

You’ll also find that after wearing board shorts for the first time, they have a more fitted style. Swim trunks, on the other hand, have a looser fit.

They also typically have more designs available to choose from. Compared to other types of swimwear that come in different colors, boardshorts will have unique prints and designs for you to show off your personal style.

3. Swim Briefs

Commonly referred to as “speedos”, swim briefs are popular in European countries and amongst professional swimmers. If you’re looking for swimwear that will give you the most mobility without any resistance, these are a fantastic option. Many wearers suggest that swim briefs help them to feel more free and comfortable while swimming.

Most swim briefs are designed with a V-shaped front that exposes the majority of your thighs. They will also feature a lining on the inside of the swimsuit for added protection. The largest selling point of a speedo is that it gives you more support than swim trunks and board shorts combined.

Another advantage of using briefs is that they give you the most surface area for tanning. If you’re someone who prefers not to show off tan lines from shorts, you’ll want to get your hands on a great pair of briefs. They’re typically available in plenty of styles from full coverage on your buttocks to thongs.

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4. Jammers

Jammers are also an incredibly famous pair of swimwear to choose if you’re a professional swimmer. They have the same flexibility as speedos without exposing as much of your body. In most cases, jammers have a length that reaches the knee, if not just above the knee.

These swimsuits are skintight, similar to swimming briefs, as they need to allow you to glide through the water without any drag and resistance. You’ll find that jammers look quite similar to bike shorts; however, they don’t have any padding in high-risk areas.

Another fantastic feature of jammers is they still maintain a lot of support without being too overbearing. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to wear compression shorts in the past, jammers are quite similar to how they feel, except they are known for their quick-drying capabilities.

5. Square Leg Suits

If you’re looking for the perfect pair of swim shorts that fall between swimming trunks and speedos, square leg suits are your best option. They have a very similar style to boxer briefs, but are slightly shorter and give you far more support. They’re ideal for someone who is looking for a fitted style but want a more conservative look compared to wearing a speedo.

Square leg suits are also a great option for serious swimmers, though they are usually not used in actual competitive settings. As they are short, tight-fitting, and typically don’t have pockets, they’re incredibly useful for reducing drag. They’re also a great option for females who don’t want to wear traditional bikini bottoms.

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The Verdict

Considering swimsuits is a term typically used to generalize all types of swimwear, board shorts are technically classified as swimsuits. However, many people immediately think of swimming trunks or swimming briefs when they hear “swimsuit”. At the end of the day, no matter if you’re scuba diving, swimming with friends, or competing at a swim meet, you’ll need to get your hands on a swimsuit.

There are plenty of different styles and features to consider when asking, "Are board shorts swimsuits?" For comfort, durability, and security, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of each style.