When it comes to looking good on the beach, there are a lot of factors to consider. Beyond beach bods and SPF, what makes a man look stylish and smart on the beach (or at the pool) is a fresh pair of boardshorts.
Summer’s seriously right around the corner, so we’ve done our homework on the best 12 boardshorts. Here’s what we have found.
1. Outerknown Apex Trunks By Kelly Slater
The best pick for boardshorts is hands down the Outerknown Apex Trunks. These trunks were created by 11x World Champ Professional Surfer Kelly Slater. Better than just good-looking, they’re also high-performance thanks to a four-way stretch material that gives exactly where it counts.
The seams don’t itch and the booty region is reinforced, so you don’t have to worry about ripping your shorts out on the waves. There’s a water-resistant Aquaguard zipper to keep your keys safe.
The outseam is 19 inches, so they’re a little longer, but that’s the style with boardshorts. Currently sizes 28 through 36 are available.
The beauty about these shorts is that they consist of 94% recycled material (polyester 86% and spandex 8%). The shorts are also Fair Trade Certified. This means the employees who make the shorts are paid a decent wage.
What draws the everyday guy to these shorts, however, is probably the look. There are 20 styles currently on the market. Our favorites are Heather Grenadine, Pitch Black Currents Block, and Ginger Block. With these shorts, you’ll be sure to make a splash.
2. Bruno Cucinelli Drawstring Swim Shorts
The name of the game with Bruno Cucinelli is elegance, and it’s been that way since 1978. The go-to palette is neutral, and the automatic material status is premium. It’s absolutely no wonder that this set of drawstring swim trunks floats to the top of our list.
For Cucinelli, blue is in. These shorts come straight from Italy and boast a fast-drying shell. The fit is comfortably relaxed and held up with a contrasting drawstring, these shorts speak to minimalist tastes. They offer a style that says classy, not flashy.
There’s a mesh lining, so they’re health code friendly. Zip pockets make sure you don’t lose your cash or your keys while going for a swim.
The shorts are made of polyester and they dry super fast. The fit is described as a “relaxed cut through the thigh” so you don’t have to worry about feeling restricted.
Ordering online can be tricky, especially when talking about top-of-the-line products. Rest assured this company does allow returns within 28 days.
3. Nautica Classic Logo Tri-block Boardshorts
When talking “best value,” someone’s bound to drop the name Nautica into the conversation. When hitting the beaches in Miami, LA, or anywhere else for that matter, something simple and classic is always a safe bet. That’s what brings Nautica’s classic logo tri-block boardshorts to the surface.
These 100% polyester shorts make great swim attire thanks to the lining (100% nylon). They’re easy to wear (drawstring) and easy to care for (machine wash approved).
Like boardshorts, the length is generous at 19” for the outseam. The color blocking patterns gives plenty of choices, although some fans warn that light-colored swimsuits aren’t for everybody (they can be a little too revealing).
These shorts don’t have pockets (save for the interior one), so you may find yourself in need of a stylish beach bag to complete the look. The best color scheme of the bunch is Vibrant Yellow.
4. Patagonia Wavefarer Boardshorts
The Wavefarer Boardshorts are a look that is as standard as they come these days. When somebody says “boardshorts,” this is probably the exact look that comes to mind.
Durable, water-repellent finishes and sun protection at 50+ UPF make these boardshorts a safe bet. The nylon used to construct the item is 100% recycled, and the shorts in general boast 64% recycled materials.
Fans of these shorts have commented that they’re great not only for surfing but also for hiking, exercise, and lounging.
What caught our eye was the patterns. Joya Blue provides a fun contrast for the lighthearted crowd. On the other end of the spectrum, Surfboard Yellow almost looks khaki enough to be labeled business casual. You can’t beat the versatility!
One note: These shorts tend to be snug, so if you don’t like chafing, consider purchasing them in a size (or two) bigger than your normal order. If you want something form-fitting, then order your regular size.
5. Rhone 7” Boardshort
Boardshorts aren’t always baggy. If you’re looking for something a little snugger to show off the goods, then perhaps the Rhone 7” Boardshot has got your name written all over it.
The guys who buy these shorts are really into them! Just glancing at the reviews makes that very clear. Buyers comment how the shorts have lasted over two years and how the fit is giving without being too loose. They do give a little more once wet, which is good to know for surfers and waders alike.
For the waterlogged and sundrenched, these shorts absolutely check out. They were built to resist drag, so you shouldn’t expect your pockets to bubble up and hold you back.
There is no liner in these shorts; you might be ousted trying to use them at the public pool. The good news is, however, that there’s free shipping and free returns for up to 45 days! Check the return policy for additional information.
Our favorite look is the red/blue color combination sold under the name “Rosso/Nebulosa.” It’s just patriotic enough for the Fourth of July.
6. Faherty Classic Boardshorts
If you’re blessed in the junk in the trunk department, then you’re going to want to give the Faherty Classic Boardshorts a fair shot. The form-fitting material highlights what your mother gave you.
The inseam here is short, but not too short, at seven inches. The leg is straight. The lace-up front gives nautical (read: côte d’Azur yacht lifestyle) vibes.
They not only look stylish but are filled with water-smart tech as well. For example, there’s a quick-dry material and custom eyelets make for easy water evacuation, too. In other words, the water doesn’t hold you back as you swim.
Cleaning is a little detailed – something this nice always comes with a catch. You should hang dry the shorts (although washing them in the machine is okay).
The company donates 1% of the sales on swimsuits to the Surfrider Foundation in an effort to protect the world’s bodies of water. That’s a nice plus!
Grab your sunglasses, a good book, and your Faherty Classic Boardshorts, and enjoy this summer season before it passes.
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7. Katin Grant Boardshorts
If you want something sturdy, you need the Katin Grant Boardshorts. This company got its start in the 1950s as a producer of canvas boat covers, so they know a thing or two about indestructible fabric for the waterways. With this history, it’s no surprise they love a good retro throwback, too.
These shorts say style, but they also appeal to simplicity. Mostly a slate green (pine) with an accent in the form of two stripes (beige and orange), the shorts speak more to camping styles than they do to the common Hawaiian flowers most guys rock from summer to summer.
That change could be a good thing, especially if you want a more mature look. All the retro style of vintage swim trunks but upgraded with modern stretch comfort.
Features of the shorts include the ever-coveted four-way stretch, quick-dry fabric. The inside of the short is described as “finished.” This means it’s smooth so you don’t feel any irritation below the belt if you know what we mean.
The shorts aren’t the longest out on the bay at 17” for the outseam. The real cherry on top isn’t the side cargo pocket but rather that the trunks come with a free boat floating keychain so your keys don’t sink while out on the open seas.
8. Birdwell Nylon Board Shorts
If you’re the type of guy who just buys whatever swimsuit costs less than $10 at the nearest big-box retail store, let us stop you right there. Although this might work in an emergency, we do not recommend it. They look worse than you think, and they probably won’t last.
If you like the laissez-faire style, try the Birdwell Nylon Board Shorts instead. They’re everything a guy would expect in a boardshort and so much more.
They offer a medium-length fit, so they’re not too short and not too long. No, they fit just right! The look is classic. We recommend Camouflage as it’s a pattern that hardly ever goes completely out of style. If you get nervous about not blending in, you won’t fret with this print.
Be careful, fellas. This is another pair of shorts without a liner. Additionally, they have to be hung out to dry.
If you’re a big fan of California, you’ll be glad to know these shorts are cut and sewn in the state known for big swells and excellent surf sessions. California, here we come!
9. Fair Harbor The Anchor Swim Shorts
To be honest, we’re not sure how the Fair Harbor Anchor Swim Shorts sunk toward the bottom of our list because they’re definitely worth checking out. They’re collegiate, west coast, and Nantucket all at the same time. That’s a hard combination to nail.
Think back to those long swim sessions at the local swimming hole when you were younger and the only thing on your to-do list was to make it home in time for a late dinner. These cozy and cool shorts speak to the simpler times, and that’s why they’re a hit.
The lining is likened to compression shorts, so if you hate boardshorts that don’t offer enough support, then this might be the option for you.
10. Billabong Sundays Layback Water Repellent Swim Trunks
We knew these swim trunks would make the cut as soon as we saw the print names: Dark Mint and Neon Melon. Billabong’s Sunday Layback Water Repellent Swim Trunks offers style and practicality all in one neat little package. The print speaks to luaus and surf sessions while still appearing fresh and modern.
The shorts are available in sizes XS to XL, covering waists from 28 to 36 inches. All the major bases are covered here: drawstring waist, pockets, 90% recycled polyester material, and free shipping and returns.
The Billabong name has been a staple in surfer wardrobes since they hit the market in Australia in the 1970s. Today, they offer accessories not only for men but for women and children as well.
11. Polo Ralph Lauren Traveller Logo Swim Shorts
Believe it or not, there are still plenty of guys out there who follow the golden fashion rule from 2005: On Wednesdays, we wear pink. No matter what day of the week it is, you can rock out with confidence in the Soft Pink Polo Ralph Lauren Traveller Logo Swim Shorts.
They’re easy. They’re breezy. They’re decked out with the classic polo player emblem that makes them stand out in all the right ways. And no, the logo isn’t gigantic – it’s understated. To put it lightly, classy AF.
A mesh lining means the support is there, and you can take these shorts to the pool without giving it a second thought!
12. Lacoste Colorblock Swim Trunks
Where would we be in the summer without Lacoste? Lacoste offers supreme quality and a touch of French inspiration with the ultra-trendy colorblock swim trunks (Nattier Blue/Scille).
If you’re going to sport Lacoste, you should know the backstory: In 1933, René Lacoste, an acclaimed tennis player debuted his cotton polo short. The crocodile logo came from his nickname on the tennis court.
The trunks are made from taffeta (recycled). They dry quickly in other words. They boast the must-haves: a mesh liner, side-seam pockets, and an elastic waist with a drawstring.
Today, the mark represents leisure, but in a timeless and elegant way that only the most distinguished of men truly understand. Why not grab these shorts and dive in?
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