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Best Overall: The North Face Class V Pull-On Trunks at The North Face
"Much-loved for their great cut, relaxed fit, and vibrant shades."
Best Budget: Fort Isle Swim Trunks at Amazon
"The price is hard to beat for casual swimmers and outdoor loungers."
Best Board Short: Hurley One & Only Board Short at Amazon
"They're comfortable in and out of the waves due to the loose fit and 10.5-inch inseam."
Best Active: Land’s End Outrigger Swim Trunks at Land's End
"Made with durable water repellent, so they dry quickly and are ready for any active adventure."
"Adapted for swimming with quick-drying nylon, zip fly, rear darts, and a polyester mesh lining."
Best Solid: Solid & Striped The Classic at Solid & Striped
"We love the solid olive and mustard colors because they're bold, but go with almost anything."
Best Pattern: Marine Layer Board Short at Huckberry
"The washed hues and soft tones keep the overall look as chilled as your poolside drink."
"Stands out from the ordinary thanks to its contrasting colors and floating color-blocked spheres."
Best Minimalist: Avid Swim Noir Trunx at Avid Swim
"Take you from bar to beach with their minimalist design and monochrome black colorway."
Best Big and Tall: Land's End Solid Volley Swim Trunks at Land's End
"Feature a comfortable three-piece mesh lining and an adjustable elastic waistband."
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: The North Face Class V Pull-On Trunks
The North Face’s Class V shorts are much-loved for their great cut, relaxed fit, and vibrant shades. They feature a comfortable mesh liner, UPF 50 protection, and a rear zippered pocket. Reviewers loved how durable they were and noted that they fit true to size. These shorts are available in many colors and prints including blue arrowhead, red, and lemon, but something about the color blocking of the coastal green and blue teal encourages us to spend lazy days by the water.
Best Budget: Fort Isle Swim Trunks
For infrequent swimmers, these highly-rated swim trunks are great if you’re just planning to take a dip in the water once or twice a year. They’re made with four-way stretch to move with you and have a mesh liner for breathability. There's also a 7-inch inseam and plenty of pockets to store your valuables. Admittedly, the color palette isn’t the most creative—gray, black, red, or navy—but the price is hard to beat for casual swimmers and outdoor loungers. It's available in sizes S to XXL and comes with a storage bag so they can be easily packed.
Best Board Short: Hurley One & Only Board Short
These popular Hurley boardshorts are designed to be comfortable in and out of the waves. They're loose fitting and have a longer 10.5-inch inseam for those who prefer it. This length can be tricky to find and are great for taller guys. They don’t have mesh, so you can choose what works for you as a layer underneath. These also run on a little narrow side on the legs, so if you have more athletic thighs, you might what to consider going up a size. They're available in multiple stylish colors including pistachio, cyan, burgundy, and jade.
Best Active: Land’s End Outrigger Swim Trunks
Land's End Outrigger swim trunks are ready for any active adventure; you can wear them while hiking to a waterfall or while you're fly fishing. That's because these shorts are designed with a virtual toolbox of practical considerations, including a cellphone pocket, two hoop-and-loop cargo pockets, and two back pockets. Plus, they fit comfortably thanks to an adjustable waistband and snap closure in the front. They're also made with UPF 50 sun protection as well as coated with durable water repellent, meaning they dry quickly, too.
Best Tailored: Orlebar Brown Bulldog Mid-Length Swim Shorts
With a soft blue and white stripe pattern, these mid-length swim shorts are akin to wearing your favorite tailored shorts while in the water. Orlebar Brown’s clever designs are based on traditional men’s tailored trousers, just adapted for swimming with quick-drying nylon, zip fly, rear darts, a polyester mesh lining—and yes, pockets. Plus, you can use the adjusters on each side of the waist to get the fit just right. These shorts are a little pricey, but Orlebar Brown guarantees that they'll last for five years. Simply register the trunks on the site once you receive them, and if they wear down during the five-year period, Orlebar Brown will mend or replace them for free.
Best Solid: Solid & Striped The Classic
Solid and Striped have become a popular swim brand due to their high-quality materials and hip but minimal aesthetic. This minimalism was carried over into the design of The Classic men's swim trunks which were created to be worn anywhere. While these swim trunks are also available in three different patterns, we love the solid olive and mustard colors because they're bold and make a statement, but goes with almost anything when you need to put a shirt on. And while the practicalities of these shorts are many—a back pocket with snap closure, mesh lining, a shorter 4.5-inch inseam—they look sharp too, thanks to a seersucker detail that provides a little extra texture.
Best Pattern: Marine Layer Board Short
Swim trunks have long been known for brash tropical patterns, but these stylish shorts are as far from that as you can get. While the tropical vibe remains strong with the leafy motif, the washed hues and soft tones keep the overall look as chilled as your poolside drink. Plus, these quick-drying shorts are made with four-way stretch, so if you’re feeling like a more active afternoon, they can handle surfing and sailing, too. They're available in sizes ranging from 30 to 36 and have a 6.5-inch inseam that hits at the mid-thigh.
Best Striped: Saturdays NYC Timothy Striped Polka Dot Swim Short
Saturdays NYC offers high-quality craftsmanship with a timeless aesthetic. But their Timothy Striped Swim Short stands out from the ordinary thanks to its contrasting colors and floating color-blocked spheres. The elastic waist fits securely—even more so thanks to the tie waist—and three pockets hold all the essentials. It's available in navy blue and yellow, and in sizes ranging from XS to XL.
Best Minimalist: Avid Swim Noir Trunx
Available in sizes M through XXL, these board shorts from swimwear label Avid take you from bar to beach with their minimalist design and monochrome black colorway—interrupted only by the white tie and logo. They’re not just good-looking either—they’re made with 40+ UV protection to keep skin protected underneath. Even better, 100 percent of the profits from the sale of this Black-owned brand’s trunks will be donated to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Best Big and Tall: Land's End Solid Volley Swim Trunks
Available in bright pops of red and cobalt or toned-down gray and navy, these UPF 50 shorts are a popular buy because of their high-quality construction and inclusive sizing. They have a comfortable three-piece mesh lining, an adjustable elastic waistband, and come in sizes ranging from 46 to 56. Plus, they’ll last for years, thanks to chlorine-resistant fabric that helps keep the fibers from breaking down after spending afternoons in the pool.
Most Versatile: COS Tailored Swim Shorts
COS is known for streamlined pieces with minimal detailing—which makes for some pretty versatile shorts. These swim trunks could easily be worn to brunch before the beach, thanks to a well-tailored fit that mimic your favorite dry-land shorts. They feature rear darts, a zip fly, and a chino-like back pocket. They're made from 100 percent polyester and come in three classic colors.
Best Organic: Patagonia Canvas Board Shorts
Available in colorful hues, Patagonia’s hit another home run with these cotton canvas board shorts. They’re modeled after the brand’s much-loved Wavefarer shorts, but the fabric is 98 percent organic cotton, with 2 percent spandex added for movement if you take the board out in the waves with you. They’re made in a Fair Trade-approved facility to boot. These shorts also have self-draining pockets with recyclable zippers—and you can attach your keys to the loop or inside the pocket for safekeeping.
Best Short Shorts: Parke & Ronen Solid P-Town Short
When it comes to swim trunks, inseams run a wide range—and with just 3 inches of fabric making up the inseam on these, they’re great for guys who want more breathability or hate having a bunch of wet material clinging to their legs. With a slim fit and a punchy retro red color, they’re equal parts fashionable and casual. Made of quick-drying activewear fabric, they can be worn comfortably in the water or outside on the beach.
Most Comfortable: Polo Ralph Lauren Traveler Swim Trunks
Polo Ralph Lauren’s pastel swim trunks have been brightening beaches for decades, and the brand’s swim game is as strong as ever. These shorts come in a ton of pastel colors, including Hawaiian green, Taylor rose, and Yellowfin, and have comfortable mesh briefs built in, too. All sizes have a 5.5-inch inseam.
Best for Boys: Boys Multicolor Firm Leaf Swim Trunks
You know this already, but kids grow up fast—and it doesn’t make a ton of sense to drop a lot of cash on trunks that might need to be replaced again the next year. These budget-friendly trunks from Old Navy get top marks for comfort, and they have UPF 50 in the fabric as well. As an added bonus, they're also made from recycled polyester so you can feel good about making this purchase even if you'll be replacing them soon.