Board Shorts Vs Swim Trunks

The biggest swimwear myth is that whatever you wear in the water is okay! But this is not the case. Wearing the right swimwear can make a huge gap. Men’s options are limited, though; board shorts and swim trunks are the most popular. However, there is a dispute as to which of these two is better. Some think both are the same. In fact, both are used for water-based activities.

Yet, they differ in design, style, fit, functionality, and even comfort level. In addition to this, there are subtle differences between board shorts Vs swim trunks. Let’s figure out how these two summertime staples differ from each other. And decide which one you want to wear next time in the water.

what is board shorts

Which are Called Board Shorts?

Board shorts are purpose-built shorts made for a wide array of water-based activities. These are basically considered staple goods of surf culture. However, there is a long history back on this. A Japanese-Hawaiian couple in Oahu, Hawaii, stitched the first board shorts in the 1950s for field workers.

The first pair was low-slung, pocketed made in combination with blowy comfort and realism. After it got local surfer’s attention, they queued in droves to get a pair from the Oahu couple. Even later, it reached the American actor and singer Elvis Presley. He wore these board shorts in his movie, “Blue Hawaii,” and the rest is history.

If the water temperature is not 66oF or below, you can wear board shorts for high-intensity water activities. It’s an ideal men’s swimsuit for wakeboarding, bodysurfing, wake surfing, diving, spearfishing, sailing, swimming, etc.

What are Board Shorts Made of?

Considering that board shorts are used in water-based activities, these are made of quick-dry material. From recycled polyester to canvas to nylon, board shorts come in various fabrics. Recycled polyester offers maximum performance out of all. It is engineer-made that provides four-way stretch properties.

The fabric is made with the surfer’s physically challenging activities in mind. The fabric ensures the surf doesn’t come into contact with the surfer’s skin. Besides, it provides added protection against surf rash. The material has a water-repellent coating to make it lightweight.

Features of Board Shorts

Board shorts have plenty of outstanding features that set them apart from others. The effectiveness of board shorts lies in the following features.

Fixed Waist

The first unique feature of board shorts is their fixed waist. It comprises a panel of reinforced, two-ply firm fabric. The waist is commonly secured with a drawcord tie system, and a Velcro fly in the front.

Due to the fixed and rigid waist, the board shorts stay on the hips during any activities. At the same time, its four-way stretch fabric offers comfort and enhances freedom to move.

Outseam Length

Another notable feature of board shorts is their longer outseam. With changing trends, the outseam length varies between 17 inches and 21 inches. Thus, it makes the shorts ideal for any body type. Besides, the longer outseam protects the wearer’s knee and thigh.

Water-Sealed Pockets

Typically board shorts don’t have pockets like other shorts. But they may have a back pocket or a side pocket to carry surf wax along. The pocket is water-sealed and purposefully placed to take your wallet or keys. You can find board shorts with no pockets if you like them simple and compact.

What to Wear under the Board Shorts?

In water-based activities, liners are essential to provide added support to the private part. Board shorts generally don’t come with any mesh inner linings. There are reasons, though, like mesh linings can fill up with water and prevents flexibility.

Since many spend hours in board shorts under the water, some chafing is likely to occur. Hence, some water-based athletes wear poly base-layer under the board shorts. It keeps them chafe-free for day-long sessions.

Which are Called Swim Trunks?

Swim trunks or swim shorts, no matter what you say, are men’s casual attire for recreational use. They are also a staple for use around the water. Swim trunks are ideal for particular water-based activities. More than anywhere, swim trunks are mainly used at the beach.

Its quick-drying property makes them a perfect choice for wear on sunny days. Besides, its short length offers freedom while swimming.

What is Swim Trunks Made of?

Swim trunks are made of comfortable, lightweight, and quick-drying fabric. They are mainly made of recycled polyester, spandex, and nylon. They are waterproof and hence get dry quickly. There are also swim trunks made of cotton.

They become heavy when you try to swim laps in cotton swim trunks. The pocket fills with water and restricts movement. It is wise to avoid cotton swim trunks for use in the water.

Features of Swim Trunks

The following features characterize swim trunks.

Elastic Waistband

The elastic waistband in the swim trunk is designed to provide added comfort. It helps the short to stay in place even in the water pressure. Some swim trunks don’t come with a biodegradable elastic, which is harmful. So, try to buy eco-friendly ones.

Inseam Length

Swim trunks are shorts and look more like boxer shorts. The inseam length of swim trunks ranges from 4 inches to 9 inches.

Internal Mesh Lining

Swim trunks come with a built-in internal mesh lining. The soft nylon mesh lining will keep you comfortable all day long, regulating moisture while creating a more breathable environment. It prevents chafing. Besides, it keeps the outer fabric from sticking to wet skin.

Open Side Pockets

Swim trunks come with open side pockets. Some even come with a zipped back pocket and a large pocket on the thigh. Moreover, there is a small secret pocket inside some swim trunks for holding keys or credit cards.

What to Wear under the Board Shorts?

Swim shorts come with a stand-alone bottom. As it comes with built-in mesh lining, you can wear swim trunks without wearing shorts. So, adding an extra layer inside the swim trunks is not necessary.

Board Shorts Vs Swim Trunks: Side-by-Side Comparison

Below is a side-by-side comparison of board shorts and swim trunks.

CharacteristicsBoard ShortsSwim Trunks
WaistbandFixed waist with a drawcord tie system and a Velcro flyElastic waist with drawstring closure
LengthLonger outseam measuring up to 22 inches; It can fall at or below the knee to provide.Variable length measuring from 16 to 18 inches; it is available in mid-thigh to knee-length hemlines.
CoverageMore coverage and sun protectionLess coverage
BreathabilityModerate to good air circulationExcellent air circulation owing to the mesh lining
ComfortabilityFixed waistbands restrict comfortabilityAn elastic waistband makes it more comfortable
StyleUnisexParticularly designed for men
Drying featureTake longer to dryDry very quickly
FitNarrow fitLoose fit
Best forSurfing, wakeboarding, bodysurfing, wake surfing, diving, spearfishing, sailing, swimming, etc.Beach or poolside activities, like swimming, beach volleyball, etc.
PriceMore expensiveLess expensive than board shorts
VersatilityThey can be worn as casual wear off the beach. Skaters and MMA fighters often wear it.You cannot wear them casually. Swimmers and athletes only wear this.

Final Thoughts

No matter what you choose between board shorts vs swim trunks, it’s all about your preference. Both are just perfect for enjoying around the water. But above all, your comfort and whether it goes with your body type should be the priority.

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