What Are Volley Shorts?

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If you’ve spent any amount of time shopping for board shorts you’ve probably come across Volley Shorts and wondered, what are Volley Shorts?

Volley Shorts are shorter than traditional board shorts and are very similar to swim trunks. Like swim trunks, they have an elasticated waistband usually with a drawstring, as well as a mesh liner.

However, swim trunks will be a little wider than volley shorts in the legs at the bottom with more of a roomier fit.

Volley Shorts originated on beach volleyball courts in the mid-1980s with players sporting the elastic-topped shorts that became known simply as “volleys”.

Here’s a video of classic beach volleyball from 1985 to give you an idea of how far volley shorts have come since then.

Volley shorts today have morphed into a sort of swim trunk and board short hybrid. There are many different lengths of volley shorts, some of them with outseams that rival board shorts in length.

Here are some examples of the different lengths you’ll find when shopping for volley shorts:

Volley Shorts vs Board Shorts

How are volley shorts different from board shorts? Volley shorts are looser in fit than board shorts, shorter in length, and feature an elasticated waistband. Board shorts typically don’t have an elasticated waistband, save for E-board shorts.

The bottom width of the legs will also be a little larger on volley shorts than traditional board shorts. Volley shorts will generally run around 11 3/8″ at the bottom width with regular board shorts at 9 7/8″ bottom width.

This extra room at the bottom allows for more freedom of movement. It also makes volley shorts a preferable choice if you’re a big guy or have larger legs and like some extra room.

Here are two pairs of shorts, the first being the traditional board short and then the volley short version after it.

See the differences? The one thing that stands out is the difference in length. The elasticated waistband is also noticeable in the second pair of shorts.

Volley Shorts vs Swim Trunks

Aren’t swim trunks the same thing as volley shorts? Swim trunks and volley shorts share a lot of the same features. They are both shorter than board shorts. Both have an elasticated waistband and both typically have a mesh lining. However, volley shorts will a shorter front rise than swim trunks. Volley shorts will also have smaller legs openings than traditional swim trunks.

Can You Swim in Volley Shorts?

Yes, you can swim in volley shorts. However, because of their elasticated waistband and loose fit, you need to make sure they are tied securely before entering the water. This will help prevent you from losing your shorts if you encounter some big waves.

Some of the timider of you out there might be wondering also if volley shorts come with a mesh lining? Great question.

Do Volley Shorts Have a Mesh Lining?

Most (not all) volley shorts will have a mesh lining. The mesh lining is for those people that like a little more support in and out of the water. It helps keep your shorts’ fabric from clinging to you when you get out of the water as well.

If you are someone that prefers to have a liner, then volley shorts or a traditional swim trunk would be a better fit for you. Most swim trunks will come with a mesh liner, while most board shorts usually don’t have a liner.

If you don’t want a mesh liner and like the look of volleys then you can easily cut the liner out of them. A lot of people have done this over the years and it doesn’t affect the shorts whatsoever.

Final Thoughts

It can be hard to tell the differences between different short styles because a lot of terms are used interchangeably to describe them. Board shorts, swim trunks, hybrid shorts, walk shorts, and volley shorts are just some of the many terms used for shorts you can wear to the beach or pool.

My opinion is to find a style and fit that is right for you and not worry about what it is technically called. If you want a pair of shorts that have an easy fitting, elasticated waistband with ample legroom with mesh lining then volley shorts would be a good choice.