Board Shorts vs Bathing Suit: The Differences

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Understanding the differences between board shorts vs bathing suit can help you to figure out what type of swimwear you should be wearing. When you think of bathing suits, you’ll likely envision a woman’s one or two piece bikini. Or maybe you think of a speedo or a pair of swimming trunks, which are very different from women’s board shorts. Knowing the differences can help you to choose the best pair for certain activities and style. So, what are board shorts and how are they different from other types of swimwear? Read on to find out.

Board Shorts vs. Swim Trunks

If you were to look at a pair of swim trunks and board shorts beside one another, you’d be able to tell the differences right away. This is because swim trunks are typically much shorter and are made of different materials. The contrasts between the two include:

1. Material

Most often, swim trunks are made of a rougher material than board shorts such as nylon and a thick polyester. This is because they are designed to withstand a lot of wear and tear. Board shorts, on the other hand, are typically worn by surfers and are designed for this specific sport.

The material on your board shorts will need to easily glide along the surface of a surfboard so that you can easily transition from lying down to standing in seconds. This is why they are typically softer and better for people who are prone to chafing and skin irritation.

2. Length

Board shorts, more often than not, are designed to fall at the knee or below the knee. Depending on your height, you might be able to find board shorts a couple of inches below your knee. Swim trunks are designed to fall above the knee at varying lengths, though they are mostly one to two inches shorter than board shorts.

3. Mesh Lining

Another striking difference between these two types of swimwear is a mesh lining. Nearly every pair of swim trunks will have mesh inside of them, designed to help the shorts to dry faster. In addition, the lining has been traditionally used to add extra support.

Board shorts typically don’t have any type of lining between your skin and the material of the shorts. This is to help give you the highest level of mobility possible when swimming or playing water sports. Depending on the quality of your board shorts, not having the mesh might not give you as much privacy.

With that said, you can easily find board shorts that come with a mesh lining. Though they won’t be as fitted as other pairs of shorts that don’t have a lining.

4. Style

Many people find that board shorts are the preferable option if you’re looking for stylish shorts to wear in and out of the water. This is because they are designed similarly to a regular pair of shorts. Swim trunks, on the other hand, simply look like a swimsuit.

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Board Shorts vs. Swim Briefs

Speedos, also known as swim briefs, are one of the least popular bathing suit options on the market. This is because many people are uncomfortable wearing them in public; however, they have their own array of benefits. Compared to board shorts, they are far more hydrodynamic and offer the least resistance.

The main differences between board shorts vs. swim briefs include:

1. Design

Swim briefs are the most recognizable type of bathing suits on the market because they are designed similarly to panties. With a V-shaped front that exposes the majority of your thighs, they’re hard to miss. Nevertheless, they give you the highest level of mobility when you’re in the water.

Board shorts, as they have longer lengths, will feel far more restrictive. For many swimmers, this is a detriment, as it doesn’t allow them to achieve the correct form for different types of strokes and swimming patterns. In addition, briefs help you to feel freer when you’re swimming.

2. Support

Men who are in the market for a bathing suit that will give them the most support should surely consider briefs. They are by far the most supportive option to help you feel more comfortable in the water. Board shorts typically don’t offer a lot of support, unless you opt to wear a speedo or a pair of compression shorts underneath.

3. Ideal for Tanning

There’s nothing more unappealing than tan lines at the knee, especially if you typically wear shorts that are shorter than board shorts. This is where swim briefs become the most useful, as they expose as much of your thighs as possible. Perfect for tanning, a brief bathing suit will allow you to have a thorough tan without any unsightly variations in color.

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Board Shorts vs. Wetsuits

The third type of bathing suit we should explore are wetsuits, mostly because board shorts and wetsuits are used for the same activities, such as scuba diving and surfing.

The main differences between the two include:

1. Coverage

By far, wetsuits have far more coverage than any other type of bathing suit. This is because they are designed to keep your body warm when you’re exposed to water for extended periods. Most wetsuits will cover the entirety of your legs and your arms, though you can find short sleeved and short legged wetsuits as well.

2. Protection

If you’re embarking on an excursion below the surface or if you simply want to protect your body from the harmful rays of the sun, wetsuits are a fantastic option. Constructed primarily from neoprene, you’ll have the utmost amount of protection from ultraviolet exposure.

Wetsuits are also ideal for protecting your body from marine life that you might inadvertently come in contact with. Neoprene is an incredibly thick material which can prevent stings from different fish. You’ll also find that it will protect your body from abrasions from coral reefs or high contact water sports.

3. Style

It’s likely you’re not going to wear a wetsuit to run errands on a summer afternoon, which is where board shorts surely outperform. However, if you live in a beach town, it’s likely you can wear a wetsuit without receiving strange looks if you need to stop off for supplies before heading to the water.

The Verdict

Since there are many different types of swimsuits on the market, you can guarantee there are plenty of differences between board shorts vs bathing suit. If you’re looking for a simple and easy pair of shorts to wear in and out of the water, board shorts are highly recommended.