Men's Swimwear Buying Guide

Whether you're hitting the beach or pool, you want a swimsuit that feels good and looks great. Use this men's swimwear buying guide to help you find the suit that fits all your needs.

Men's Swimwear 101

From designer swimwear to vintage bathers to competitive swimsuits, there’s never been more options for men’s swimwear. When trying to decide on the right suit for you, it's important to consider both what you'll be using it for and what style best suits your body type. While board shorts are a great option for taller men with an active lifestyle, basic swim trunks may be better suited to shorter men seeking a more conservative look. Whichever style you choose, remember that comfort and ease of movement will make for a more enjoyable swim.

Types of Men's Swimwear


Swim Trunks

With their comfortable fit and modest coverage, men’s swim trunks are a classic option that works well for most ages and body types. These swim shorts are typically mid-thigh in length and feature a mesh inner lining for support. One benefit of the mid-thigh length is that it elongates the appearance of the legs, making the wearer appear taller. Because of this visual trick, stocky or shorter athletic men should opt for traditional swim trunks over the longer board-style shorts. Depending on the style you choose, your swim trunks could be made with either an elastic waist, snap closure or drawstring. Men with larger midsections may select the snap or drawstring closures, as elastic waistbands tend to accentuate the stomach area.

Swim Briefs

Swim briefs, commonly referred to as Speedos after the brand that launched the style, are tight fitting and minimalistic, good for both swimming and sunbathing. On a trim physique, swim briefs display a characteristic v-shape at the front and back. These swimsuits allow for a full range of motion and flexibility, and are favoured by competitive swimmers because they create minimal drag in the water. Swim briefs provide comfortable support when fitted correctly and are best suited to athletic body types and men comfortable wearing body-conscious clothing.

Board Shorts

A youthful beachwear look popular with teenagers and young men, board shorts were originally designed for surfing but are now worn for swimming, water sports and other summer activities. Longer than traditional swim trunks, board shorts typically reach to just beyond the knee and usually feature a lace-up front with a Velcro fly. Like other men’s swimwear, board shorts may contain a built-in mesh brief for support. Because they're generally a longer and baggier fit, this type of swimsuit is most flattering on taller men. On shorter or stockier body types, board shorts can be overpowering and make the wearer appear shorter. Thinner men should look for board shorts in bold bright patterns to add bulk; larger men should go for solid colours or subtle patterns to achieve a slimmer look.


If you enjoy the fit and support of swim briefs, but are looking for a little more coverage, a squarecut suit might be right for you. This type of bathing suit is cut similar to boxer-brief underwear, sitting lower on the waist and higher on the thigh, for a retro swimwear look. A cross between swim briefs and swim trunks, squarecuts are a versatile fit good for many body types. Their body-hugging fabrics make for a more comfortable swimming experience.


Similar in look and fit to cycling shorts, form-fitting jammers provide more coverage than squarecuts and briefs while still reducing water resistance for speedy swimming. With a smooth, tight fit and circulation-improving compression technology, this style of suit is more often worn by competitive swimmers and triathletes than regular beach goers. Jammers typically extend to the mid-thigh, unlike the shorter more traditional racing and training suits.


Men's bikini swimming suits are similar to briefs but with a higher cut and tighter fit. Providing minimum coverage with maximum sun exposure, bikinis help reduce the presence of tan lines, making them a favourite of sun worshippers at beaches and pools everywhere. Because this type of suit doesn't restrict movements the way bulkier styles do, bikinis are also popular with professional swimmers. Best suited to men in good physical shape who are comfortable with body-revealing fashions, the higher cut of this style is also good for shorter men as it makes legs appear longer. 

Types of Material

The majority of men's swim trunks are made from water-resistant materials like nylon and polyester and feature supportive mesh lining. Form-fitting styles like briefs, jammers and squarecuts generally consist of spandex, nylon or similar fabrics that retain their elasticity in water for optimum performance. When it comes to baggier fitting styles like boardshorts, the most common materials for comfort in and out of the water are lightweight, quick-drying nylon or polyester blends. 

Swimwear Buying Tips:

• Choose a style that lets you move easily but still provides adequate coverage and support
• If you have a thin body type, consider bold patterns to add bulk
• Shorter swimsuits elongate legs and increase height
• To detract from a larger stomach, select solid colours and avoid elasticized waistbands

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Swimwear Maintenance Tips:

• Rinse your suit after use to prevent damage from chlorine or salt water
• Follow the swimwear’s care and washing instructions: some types may not be machine washable, while others may require hang-drying
• Avoid contact with oil-based lotions as they can decrease your swimsuit’s elasticity
• Alternate wear between two or more suits to increase longevity
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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