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How to Choose a Men's Lap Swimming Suit

There are a surprising number of choices to make when it comes to purchasing a men's lap swimming suit. Designs and features to consider include the length of the suit, the style, the fabric, and more. Choosing the right suit makes a difference in training and therefore in the race. This guide explains the benefits of different suit designs and materials.

Suit Cuts & Styles

Men's lap swimming suits range in coverage from minimal to full. Depending on style, comfort, and intended use — such as racing vs. practice — some styles will better meet your needs than others.

  • Briefs, racers, and "Speedos™": These minimalist suits allow full range of motion for all strokes and have decreased drag. Briefs are the traditional lap swimming suit for men and are worn for practice and racing. Take note that while briefs and races are sometimes colloquially called "Speedos™," Speedo is a brand that makes a full run of swimsuit styles.
  • Jammers: A longer version of briefs, these suits hit mid-thigh. If worn very tightly they can restrict movement during breaststroke or treading water (but only minimally). They provide more coverage than traditional suits. They are worn for practice and racing.
  • Drag suits: Baggy mesh briefs that create drag in the water. Their purposefully-loose fit creates resistance and acts as a training aid. Lined ones can be worn alone, or over briefs. Drag suits are worn only during practice.
  • Square leg: Square leg suits are only slightly longer than briefs, and tend to be more fashion-forward. Square leg suits are typically worn during practice, but can also be used for racing.

Swimsuit Fabric & Durability

Some suit fabrics are designed to withstand hours of exposure to sunlight and chlorine, while others are meant to stay lightweight and water-repellent during a race. This guide explains how different fabrics act in the water.

  • Suits made of LYCRA™ or spandex have more stretch and are more forgiving, but tend to fade and grow loose quickly.
  • Suits made of 100% polyester are more chlorine resistant and long-lasting.
  • Polyester blends combine the durability of polyester and the stretch of LYCRA™ or spandex.
  • Suits with a high UV rating are more sun resistant, and are more useful for outdoor swimmers.
  • Fully-lined suits do not wear through as quickly and prevent fabric transparency.

Other Considerations

It's important to remember how the suit is going to be used. Little details such as waistbands and styles that can be used for two purposes (such as practice and racing) make a big difference. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Lap swimmers who constantly push off walls or practice dive starts should look for suits with a drawstring waist.
  • Swimmers who want a more modest suit should opt for jammers or consider layering a drag suit over a regular brief.
  • Swimmers looking for a suit that can be worn for practice and competition should buy tight-fitting briefs or jammers.

A well-fitting swimsuit can make a big difference in your time in the pool. Whether it means no longer worrying your suit staying on when pushing off walls or just enjoying a fresh new color, the right suit may be all the motivation you need to step it up in the water.

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1 month ago.
I was also uncomfortable wearing briefs I'm in great shape and lean so I bought a euro cut brief very minimum coverage i got used to low cut briefs now that's what i swim in euro cut briefs and low cut polo briefs
4 months ago.
Just like Brian, I just swim recreationally. When I first started did not feel comfortable wearing a brief, but now I swear by them.
2 months ago.
6 months ago.
To me the pool is cold and mostly on my torso.
What is available to wear in the pool during lap swim?
6 months ago.
Hi Jon,
I would suggest wearing a thermal rashguard which will help keep your torso warm. Please see the link below. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
10 months ago.
Hi! I have been swimming for 5 years now and I always have the problem of having the waist to big. I need a suit that will fit my legs but will still be tight on my waist. Any suggestions? Thanks!
1 year ago.
I am trying to find a men's suit similar to the Ocean Champion suits of the 1960's. Something fully lined, not too brief, which dries quickly. I haven't had much luck. Any suggestions?
1 year ago.
Hi Charlie,

Were you looking for something like the Dolfin Color Block Drag Suit:

If so, then theres a couple other ones that you can view:

The description will state if it is fully lined or not. I hope you find something that works for you. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful day!
2 years ago.
I like my Dolfin Aussie square-leg suit because it is 'fully lined' (a full stretch inner brief) rather than just 'front lined' like most square-leg and jammer suits. I would like to find and buy a jammer that is similarly 'fully-lined'.
2 years ago.
Hi Bob,

Below are links to some jammers that are fully lined. I hope you find one that you like. Let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
6 months ago.
You understand that jammers slow you down right, the less fabric the more flexible you will be in the water
2 years ago.
I'm looking for a swimming brief that I can use also for water polo, but I'm used to the measurements of waist. I'm a 28, what should I buy? small or medium?
2 years ago.
Hi Ricardo,

Briefs usually go by the waist measurements. Below is a link for some waterpolo briefs;

I hope you find something that you like. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact us again. Have a wonderful day!
2 years ago.
What style of trunks or board shorts have a brief similar to running shorts for containment
2 years ago.
HI Gerard,

Below are a couple links to trunks that have a built in brief. I hope you find something that you like. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful day!
Frank Luzzo
2 years ago.
I lap swim and would like to dive. Is there a suit for an illeostomy?
2 years ago.
Hi Frank,

Unfortunately we do not carry any suits that are specifically for people with an ileostomy. Below is a link to our mens swim briefs. I hope this helps. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful day!
Frank Luzzo
2 years ago.
Do the suits protect the illeostomy bag and the adhesive holder?
2 years ago.
Dear Mr. Luzzo,
As a physician I recommend you have a detailed conversation with your gasterointerologist before you even consider swimming activities. Even "Sterile" Chlorinated environments may be very risky for an illeostomy patient. (And natural bodies of water should be avoided owing to the extremely high risk of exposure to infectious organisms. Beyond the medical issues, if you are considering using a public facility you would be smart to discuss your situation with the Operator first -- it's entirely likely health regulations will prevent you from entering a public facility.
George Allen
3 years ago.
What men's swim suits are available in XXL size that are low drag for swimming laps?
3 years ago.
Hi George,

We have jammers and briefs which go by the waist measurement. If you take the measurement around your waist, that would be equivalent to the jammer or brief size you would want to get. I hope this helps! Let us know if you have any other questions. Have a great day!
3 years ago.
Would really love to see a Guide that goes into more detail about how different kinds of suits are designed for different uses. Whether it's short or long (brief vs. jammer) is obvious, but it would be nice to know if Polo suits are constructed differently, and those kinds of things.
3 years ago.
Great suggestion! We will keep this in mind for a future guide idea.
4 years ago.
I started casually swimming, and at first was intimidated by wearing a brief. Now, it doesn't bother me at all. I love the feel of them.
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