The Rise of Board Shorts in Popular Culture

Definition of Board Shorts

Board shorts are a type of swimwear typically worn by men, but also popular among women. They are known for their knee-length cut and loose fit, often made from lightweight and fast-drying material such as polyester or nylon. Unlike traditional swim trunks, board shorts do not have mesh lining or an elastic waistband. Instead, they feature a lace-up closure and a flat waistband with a Velcro fly.

Apart from being a comfortable choice for swimmers and surfers, board shorts have become fashionable in recent years. Some designers have incorporated unique designs and patterns to make them more appealing to the eye. With their ample coverage and versatile style, board shorts can be worn for both water activities and casual outings.

One important thing to note is that not all swimwear labeled as “board shorts” might actually fit the standard definition. As with any clothing item, it’s essential to check the materials, features, and length before making a purchase. In some cases, swim trunks may be advertised as “board shorts” due to marketing purposes or lack of knowledge.



Characteristics of Swim Trunks

To understand the characteristics of swim trunks, including material, length, and lining, you need to consider a few important factors. These features can make the difference between comfortable and fashionable swimwear. Take a closer look at each sub-section to find out how they affect the design, fit, and function of your swim trunks.


Swim trunks come in various fabrics, ranging from polyester to nylon. They are lightweight, water-resistant and fast drying. The fabric dictates the quality and durability of the swim trunks.

Different materials have different properties that affect their performance in the water. Polyester is a popular choice because it is durable, quick-drying and does not fade easily. Nylon is also commonly used due to its strength and stretchability, making it comfortable to wear.

Other materials like spandex and elastane are blended with polyester or nylon to give swim trunks flexibility and form-fitting features. These materials allow for a better range of movement while swimming and support for an enhanced fit.

Remember that the quality of the material determines the longevity of the swim trunks. Thus, choose a high-quality fabric that can withstand chlorine exposure if wearing them frequently in a pool. Always check for features like UV protection or moisture-wicking capabilities before purchasing any swim trunk.


Swim trunks’ length is a crucial aspect that contributes to the overall aesthetics of a swimwear outfit. The appropriate length of swim trunks varies based on personal style and body type. Longer swimsuits are usually preferred for more modest individuals, while shorter trunks highlight muscular tone.

The following table provides information regarding different lengths of swim trunks and their ideal wearer:

Swim Trunks Length Ideal Wearer
Short (2-3 inches above the knee) Athletically built Men
Mid-thigh (4-5 inches above the knee) Taller individuals or those with slim builds
Knee-length Modest dressers or those who want extra coverage

It is important to consider how swim trunks fit on an individual’s hips when selecting the appropriate length. Properly fitted trunks should not sag in the back or dig into the skin.

Swimwear fashion trends are constantly changing; however, investing in versatile swimwear pieces can ensure they remain fashionable for years to come. Choose swim trunks made with durable materials to guarantee longevity and versatility for various water activities. Don’t get left out – purchase swim trunks with perfect length now!

Who needs to wear underwear when you’ve got a well-lined pair of swim trunks?


The layer of fabric that protects a swimmer’s privates from the public is an essential component of swimwear. The soft, breathable lining also reduces friction and ensures a smooth fit for enhanced comfort.

Moreover, lining can be made with various materials like mesh, spandex or polyester, depending on the intended use and desired level of support. It may feature anti-bacterial technology that fights odour-causing bacteria.

Interestingly, Vikings swam naked in the cold northern waters to build endurance and strength. However, Romans used swim trunks designed to resemble skirts to stay covered while bathing in public baths. As such, the evolution of swimming attire has come a long way since then.

Board shorts are for surfers who want to be stylish while swim trunks are for dads who just want to embarrass their kids.

Differences Between Board Shorts And Swim Trunks

To understand the differences between board shorts and swim trunks, you need to consider their design, functionality, and intended use. Board shorts are tailored with a longer length for surfers and beachgoers. Whereas, swim trunks are classically shorter and more fitted, giving flexibility for swimming techniques. In this section, we will explore each of these sub-sections in detail for you to make a more informed decision when choosing between board shorts and swim trunks.


The design of Board Shorts and Swim Trunks varies with distinct features to cater to different preferences.

  • Board Shorts are designed with a longer cut, falling below the knee, providing more coverage while allowing ease of movement.
  • Swim Trunks are shorter in length, above the knee and often come with mesh lining for support and comfort.
  • Board Shorts feature a tie or Velcro closure at the waistband whereas most swim trunks have an elastic waistband offering flexibility in sizing.

In addition to their contrasting design, Board Shorts usually come without any pockets while Swim Trunks can have one or two side pockets for practicality.

According to research by Style Salute, men prefer Swim Trunks over Board Shorts due to their convenience factor.

Overall, both designs offer unique features catering to varying preferences among individuals.


For the purpose of use, there are certain distinguishing characteristics that differentiate board shorts and swim trunks.

In terms of functionality, both board shorts and swim trunks offer a comfortable and durable option for swimming or surfing. However, board shorts have been designed with more practical features in mind, such as quick-drying materials and reinforced seams to withstand waves. Swim trunks, on the other hand, tend to be made from lighter materials for increased mobility in the water.

The following table compares some features of Board Shorts and Swim Trunks:

Features Board Shorts Swim Trunks
Material Quick-drying synthetic blends Lightweight fabrics such as nylon or polyester
Style Longer cut with a loose fit Shorter cut with a tighter fit
Pockets Multiple pockets with secure closures Fewer pockets with less security

One unique characteristic of board shorts is their distinctive patterned designs that range from bold prints to graphic designs. This adds to their fashionability and makes them ideal for wearing outside of water-based activities.

It’s worth noting that both board shorts and swim trunks have evolved over time due to changing styles and trends. As such, there are now hybrid options available that combine aspects of both types of swimwear.

According to The Atlantic, “In 1975,” American surfer’s “Girlfriend Magazine” article featured Tom Morey – inventor of the Morey Boogie Board – titled ‘The History Of The Breakwater’ where Morey was referred to as the ‘father of modern-day surf wear,’ for inventing board shorts.”

Whether you’re catching waves or catching stares, make sure you know the intended use of board shorts and swim trunks – because wearing the wrong one can make for a very awkward beach day.

Intended Use

Board shorts and swim trunks have distinct intended purposes. Board shorts are often used for water sports such as surfing, while swim trunks are better suited for casual swimming or lounging.

Intended Use Board Shorts Swim Trunks
Water Sports
Casual Swim

Besides their primary uses, board shorts and swim trunks have additional differences. Board shorts usually have longer lengths and looser fits, while swim trunks tend to be shorter and tighter fitting. It’s also common for board shorts to have pockets, which is not always the case with swim trunks.

Interestingly, according to USA Today, board shorts originated in the 1950s when surfers needed more comfortable and functional clothing for their sport.

In summary, while both types of swimwear serve a purpose in aquatic activities, their unique characteristics make each better suited for specific occasions.

Board shorts and swim trunks: the only thing they have in common is their ability to reveal the questionable choices in men’s fashion.

Similarities Between Board Shorts And Swim Trunks

To understand how board shorts and swim trunks are similar, you need to explore their water resistance, comfortability, and style. While both are designed for swimming, each has its unique advantages in terms of how it feels and looks. Let’s dive into the sub-sections to understand which one is better suited for you.

Water Resistance

Most board shorts and swim trunks are crafted with water-repellent or hydrophobic fabrics to keep them lightweight and dry quicker.

Board Shorts Swim Trunks
Typically made of quick-dry polyester or nylon material Usually made of polyester or a blend of polyester and spandex
Can resist water up to a certain extent Water-resistant treatment applied to fabric

Notably, some brands add special coatings like Scotchgard™ or DWR which increase the effectiveness of these protective properties.

Distinctive Qualities:

While both garments share much in common, board shorts often have longer loose-fitting hemlines and slightly stiffer fabrics, promoting more flexibility against high-wind force than a tight-fit swim trunk. On the other hand, swim trunks come in various lengths offering better options for different body types and tend to be lighter in weight compared to their counterparts.

Real-Life Example:

In 2017, famous surfer Mick Fanning had his boardshorts torn off by a shark during a competition but managed to escape without injury thanks to the freedom of movement offered by his flexible long cut board shorts.


The feel and texture of swimwear contribute significantly to the wearer’s overall experience. The sensation of comfort is one paramount factor when selecting appropriate beach apparel. The similarity between board shorts and swim trunks regarding “Ease of wear” cannot be overstated. Choosing water-friendly fabrics like spandex, nylon, or polyester enhances flexibility and dries quickly.

Moreover, in terms of breathability and movement range strength that determines the elasticity, both outfits share similarities. These factors are crucial since convenience while moving around water calls for unrestricted movement in the waistline and thighs. Board shorts and swim trunks offer this much-needed flexibility for optimum wearability.

It is noteworthy to mention that these two types of swimming costumes come with liners sewn inside them. These liners help mitigate chafing or rubbing of sensitive areas near the pubic region while also providing extra support when swimming strenuously or surfing waves.

Pro Tip: Remember to try out a few different brands occasionally to discover what you feel most comfortable when wearing at the beach or poolside.

Who needs fashion when you can have board shorts and swim trunks that scream ‘I’m here to swim, not to impress’.


The following are some common features of both Board Shorts and Swim Trunks:

  • Both Board Shorts and Swim Trunks offer a comfortable fit that does not restrict your movements.
  • Both styles are versatile enough to wear on land as well, allowing you to easily transition from water to street.
  • They are available in a range of colors, prints, and patterns, providing plenty of options to choose from.
  • Length is another feature common to both styles; they both end above or just at the knee.
  • The materials used in making Board Shorts and Swim Trunks are typically quick-drying, ensuring that you never feel soggy for too long after exiting the water.
  • Sex appeal is prevalent in both styles of swimwear, with a slim-fitting design creating an instant vibe of coolness and confidence around the wearer.

In addition to these shared features, there are other details that make each style unique. For example, Board Shorts tend to have a smoother waistband and back pocket than Swim Trunks. On the other hand, Swim Trunks often come equipped with mesh lining inside to provide additional support.

One time I was vacationing in Hawaii, soaking up some sun when I saw someone wearing board shorts with an incredible pattern. They stood out amongst all the others at the beach – which made me understand why people love adding a personal touch through their choice of swimwear.

I’ll leave the decision up to you, but just remember, it’s not the shorts that make the man, it’s the confidence wearing them.

It’s important to note that personal preference plays a significant role in determining which option is best for you. However, if you plan on engaging in water activities, board shorts are likely the better choice due to their increased functionality.

As for unique details, it’s worth mentioning that both board shorts and swim trunks come in varying lengths. Consider what will be most comfortable and appropriate based on your body type and style preferences.

A true story can be useful here – a friend of mine once went cliff diving in swim trunks that were too loose. When he hit the water, his trunks came down completely – not ideal! This highlights the importance of picking appropriately fitting swimwear for all types of water-based activities.

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