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Understanding Boardshorts

Whether you wear them for performance or for the prints, there are countless styles of boardshorts to choose from on the market today. Trying to comb through all the styles and features can be overwhelming and confusing. From the experienced surfer to a new swimmer, this style of swimwear is made to suit everyone (literally!). Depending on the primary use of the boardies, some features like the type of fly closure, stretch factor or quick-drying the material is are more important than others. Here are some keys to look for when deciding what type of short is perfect for you.

For the Surfer

Whether you're a professional or novice surfer, boardshorts are just as important as the board itself. When you're on the board, the last thing you need to worry about is what you have on your body. The durable fabrics keep the shorts lasting longer, even with the constant contact on the board. Longer, looser-in-the-leg board shorts are the best options as they keep board wax from irritating the skin and hair on your legs while you balance on the board between breaks. If you're an avid rider, look for Shorts with 4-way stretch. These are ideal for surfing as the fabric stretches both crosswise and lengthwise, leaving you with unrestricted performance on the waves. Also, a boardshort with both a Velcro and lace-up fly is the best way to ensure your shorts won't wander when you wipe out.

For the Swimmer

If you're not a competitive surfer, boardshorts are usually the style to sport when you're at the beach or playing in the pool. Because of their slack fit, secure fly and soft fabrics, most men prefer to swim in these shorts instead of traditional trunks. The quick-drying and durable fabrics generally used make going from swimming to sunning easy and comfortable. While many boardshorts come in stretch fabrics, it isn't a necessity if you plan on a casual beach day. You can also venture into volley boardshorts, which have an elastic waist instead of a Velcro one. If you're not playing hard, you have to worry less about your shorts staying still! Most boardies also have secure Velcro pockets for your car or house keys to make sure your beach time isn't crowded with extra baggage.

For the Versatile Swimmer

After a long morning riding the waves or swimming on the shore, it's time for lunch with your friends. Instead of having to cart around any extra clothes, Hybrid shorts are the perfect solution. From the surf to the sand, these shorts have the functionality of a boardshort with the styling of regular walkshorts. Whether they're called Amphibian, Submersible, Hydroslambozo, Amphibious, Surf N Turf, or Land to Sea shorts, they can all go easily from sea to shore. These trendy trunks may seem like regular shorts but their water repellant fabrics help you dry quickly and stay comfortable for when you're out of the water. These shorts also feature secure-close flies and pockets to keep your extras -- and yourself -- in place.

For Safety (Lifeguarding)

When your job is to keep swimmers safe, it's important to make sure you have the right gear to do it comfortably and conveniently. Most specialized lifeguard boardies are made in red as it is easy to spot and red is also associated with help. The colors and patterns not only look good, but they make you easy to spot by the swimmers. Along with the bold colors, many boardshorts made for lifeguards have a pocket to make sure anything you need while on the job is easily accessible. Last, but certainly not least, these shorts always have a guard logo prominent so those needing your help can identify you!

For Style

Boardshorts aren't just for surfing anymore. Many men (and women!) buy boardies because of the bright colors, comfortable fabrics, and surf-inspired designs. With different lengths, patterns, and styles, boardshorts are now seen everywhere, from the beach to the mall to the park. Some reach for the retro-styled boardies with scalloped edges and shorter lengths to bring back that classic beach style. Summertime is the perfect season for short shopping. With so many companies cranking out boardshorts simply for style, there are hundreds of options to choose one that suits your style.

Shop all Men's Boardshorts

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7 months ago.
I'm looking for board shorts that have the loose mesh lining. there's no elastic so its not like the brief style. its just an inner mesh lining that's almost like a second pair of shorts underneath. i owned a pair like this a few years ago but can't seem to find them anywhere now.
6 months ago.
I had a pair like this years ago also and cannot find anything similar to it now either. If anyone knows of any, please let me know!
Jackie P
10 months ago.
Hi. My 11 yr old stepson is a pretty big kid. I am buying him size Med. in mens sports shorts (Nike, Adidas, UA, Reebok). He can wear YXL or Men's Small but he's got big thighs and likes to hide them. He is also insecure and I would like to find him a pair of board shorts/ swim trunks that will be more comfortable for him. Can you give me a type or direction to look in?
10 months ago.
Hi Jackie!

Please be advised that different brands use different sizing charts and even the same brand with different style because of this it would be best for you to take the person's actual measurements (waist and hips) in inches then compare them to the sizing chart of the item.

Here's our board short suggestions:

prAna Men's Sander 19" Board Shorts

Nike Men's 20" Color Fade Vital Volley Short

prAna Men's Fenton 19" Board Shorts

Nike Men's 22" Onyx Flash Breaker Volley Short
1 year ago.
Hi, looking for a pair if boardshorts for Hubby. He is pretty fussy and will only wear types that have a velcro fly and tie up at the front. But they have to have a fully enclosed fly, does that make sense... the velcro V in the crotch is backed by a piece of material that is stitched in and avoids velcro rub on the pubic line. Not sure how to search for this feature
1 year ago.
Hi Ally! Please try the Nike Men's Diverge 11" E-Board Short Product Code: 8162347.
1 year ago.
What are volldy shorts compared to regular board shorts?
1 year ago.
Hi Jackie! The “volley shorts” also known as the classic swim trunks. A bit shorter than "boardshorts" that are long shorts of a kind originally worn by surfers, they have either an inside drawstring or an elastic band to keep the short in place.
2 years ago.
My BF is built like a line-backer (because he was), and his butt and thighs are big as a result. He has a hard time finding trunks or shorts that are wide enough in the leg without looking geeked out in the crotch. Can you recommend a brand that has a roomier seat and leg without compromising his coolness? Thanks.
2 years ago.
Hi! Our boardshorts are on the regular sizes. Though, you might want to try some that are stretchable. Please click on the link below to see the list:
2 years ago.
What is the LONGEST leg length available in board shorts? I want it to come down to my shins.
2 years ago.
Hello! I am happy to make some recommendations for you to fit your needs, I will go ahead and include a few links for some of the long board shorts that we have available!

For 11” inseam and 22” outseam:

For 11” inseam and 21” outseam:

Please feel free to contact us at any time with questions you may have regarding these recommended items, if none of these are to your liking we are happy to keep looking for you our customer service team is happy to help . Have a great day!
2 years ago.
with the fabrics for board shorts and comparing to fabrics use in yoga pants for instance, why are the percentages of polyester and spandex the same, but board shorts are less stretchy?
2 years ago.
Hello Chad! Yoga pants are a type of flexible, form-fitting pants designed for the practice of yoga as well as other physical activities that involve a lot of movement, bending and stretching. These pants are generally made from a blend of cotton, lycra spandex, nylon, polyester, wool, or a similarly light and stretchy synthetic material giving the pants a very soft, smooth, polished and silky finish when worn.

Boardshorts are designed to be quick-drying, and are generally made from strong and smooth polyester or nylon material.
3 years ago.
I’m looking at a couple cool pairs of unlined board shorts for a tropical beach trip. In addition to snorkeling we’ll probably do for SUP or kayaking. Do I need to wear something like swim brief or speedo under the board shorts? I don’t want to offend anyone.
3 years ago.
Hello Tom,

A lot of men will wear some type of undergarment under these but it is not necessary. If fitted correctly you should be ok with nothing. This really comes down to personal preference.
3 years ago.
What kind of belt is best to wear with hybrid shorts ?
3 years ago.
Hi Chadwick! Belts that are quick dry work best. So belts that are made of polyester or nylon are ideal. The Dakine Men's Ryder Belt would be a good example!
Graham G
4 years ago.
I'm trying to understand the difference in why some board short have the mesh lining and why some don't? The ones with out the mesh lining can you use them for swimming? Do you need to wear under wear with them if they don't have the mesh lining for sanitary reasons at the beach or swimming pool?
4 years ago.
Hi Graham,
The mesh lining is offered in brief style or boxer style. This provides extra support and coverage. This depends on personal preference whether you want mesh or no mesh. If you choose to purchase no mesh board shorts, you do not have to wear underwear with them and can be used for swimming.
4 years ago.
No, if you're a guy, id suggest wearing briefs so it doesn't show an unwanted outline
4 years ago.
Do any companies make normal length board shorts anymore?! Every place I have looked don't have anything longer than 22" which sits above my knees. It's extremely frustrating trying to shop for clothes with these ridiculous new fashion trends and I'm only 6'2"! If anyone can point me in the direction of a pair of board shorts that will sit below my knee I would greatly appreciate it!
Windy Petersen
2 years ago.
I am also looking for a pair of longer boardshort for my 14 yr old that stands at 6'2 and will need them for School at beginning next year ..Please Help
4 years ago.
I am looking for board shorts with the mesh brief. Does anyone sell them, we had luck years ago at Ron Jons,but not recently.
4 years ago.
Hi Norma,
Unfortunately we are not offering any board shorts with a mesh brief. I checked all the brands we are offering on our site currently and do not offer them. We have a very small selection for board shorts with a mesh boxer style, but this will not provide as much support as a mesh brief. I apologize for the inconvenience!
2 years ago.
Quick dry mesh briefs or bikini underwear would be a great item....can wear them with any trunks.
2 years ago.
Can you please indicate which board shorts have a mesh boxer style? I’ve been looking for a pair of those for years! Thank you!
2 years ago.
Me too!
2 years ago.
Speedo Men's Setting Sun Stripe E-Board Short is a board short with a mesh liner and inside key pocket.
5 years ago.
I'm trying to figure out which board shorts have the mesh, brief-like lining and which do not. Can you please be be more descriptive? Full mesh liner doesn't mean much. Not sure if that means mesh brief or just mesh on the inside of the short! Thanks!
6 years ago.
I am looking for a board shorts that has mesh lining. How do I search for that feature?
6 years ago.
Hi Ed,

Normally, boardshorts are meant for unchlorinated waters, but I did find some that were made out of polyester that would work for you in a chlorine pool. Polyester tends to hold up longer and retain color better in chlorine. Below is a link to those boardshorts. If the link doesnt work, you can just enter in "polyester boadshorts" in the search field on our site. I hope you find something that you like. Please let us know if you have any other questions or concerns. Have a wonderful day! boardshorts&sortby=Popularity&viewall=no
6 years ago.
I found the style board shorts through the Swim Outlet chat line by chatting with Brittney. I described the style I was looking for. By trial and error she fount what I like. I mast add she did a great job.
My main concern is " are the board type shorts resistant to pool chlorine. I am a raved swimmer. This is where I get my exercise and enjoyment by swimming for an hour and doing Arabic exercises also for an hour. 5 days a week. I need swimming shorts that will with stand the chlorine a bit longer than regular shorts.
I have been a supporter of your products for a few years and like what you have. The only problem is I have to buy new shorts about 3 times a year. I also buy other swim products from you.
If you could respond to this request I hope that will be ASAP because the shorts I am wearing to the pool are a bit shabby looking. Thank's Ed
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