Summer’s is here and hot as hell. For most that’s an exciting prospect, but for others, it may be more of a gulp moment, especially if you don’t have a pair of flattering men’s swim trunks. You know the drill: Warm weather means barbecues, day drinking, beaches, and pools. You don’t want to be sitting on the sidelines in a pair of baggy cargo shorts for that, do you?
Let’s face it, many guys are not emerging from spring into the warm summer sun with a killer gym bod. If you’re a little hesitant about taking a shirt off, you’re not alone. Still, just because you might have a little spare tire it doesn’t mean you need to skip out on the fun. The right pair of men’s swim trunks can help your body put its best foot forward.
Here, we lay out what to look for with each kind of body type—and a few options that could work for you.
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Short and Stocky
Guys on the shorter side should opt for less length—4 to 6-inch inseams. You’ll also want to go for slimmer leg openings that hug your thighs for a more tapered look, but not be skin-tight. Lastly, you’ll want to keep the waistband reasonably tight so it all comes together seamlessly.
Unassuming at first glance, under the hand or on your body, you’ll quickly realize there’s more than meets the eye. Lululemon uses a water-repellent fabric for fast drying post-swim, while a specially designed liner is crafted to resist the fabric-killing properties of chlorine. These are our top pick for poolside all summer long.
With a shorter inseam but modern, looser fit, Gap’s Trunks are the perfect fit for the shorter guy. We loved the drawstring’s pops of color at their tips, while the dual hand pockets are great for when you’re near the beach having a drink but not yet decided on entering the water.
We’ve had a long love of Saxx’s underwear, which provide a hammock for your boys. So it’s no wonder we’re digging its newer line of bathing suits, which harness the same tech instead of a standard liner. (Trust us, it’s the only pair you’ll want if you’re in and out of the water.) Its five-inch inseam strikes just right.
Big and Tall
If you’re a big dude, the biggest consideration when shopping for a swimsuit is the length. While shorter swimming trunks are the trend the last few seasons, anything too short won’t look right on a bigger frame. Look for shorts with a 6 to 8-inch long inseam. With colors, bigger guys should avoid anything too flashy—it’ll draw eyeballs to your midsection. Darker shades of blue, green, or red work best. You can have some ironic fun with patterns, but keep the background color on the darker side.
A perennial favorite, these are the swim trunks for the man who wants to do so much more. Their nylon and mesh liner dry quickly, while a more relaxed cut is great for hanging out or hiking in. A seven-inch inseam gives plenty of coverage without invading culotte territory.
Barely there, but in the best possible way, it’s hard to believe how light Billabong’s boardies feel. Designed for the competitive surfer, even the everyman will enjoy the generous flex and long coverage from the recycled polyester material. They’re the perfect complement for the guy engaged in active water sports and activities.
Designed by the surfing GOAT himself, Slater’s shorts have a slightly shorter inseam that falls a few inches over the knee on most taller guys. Stitch-free welded seams ensure there’s zero chafe ever after long days in the water. For ultimate portability, they pack into their own back pocket.
Lean and Mean
Being trim is great, but it does come with a few headaches of its own—namely, getting a good-fitting pair of swim trunks. So if you’re on the leaner side, look for trunks that have an inseam around 6-inches. This helps make everything look kept together. Also like your stockier brethren, trunks cut slimmer with narrower leg openings, are a better option. The good news? You can get creative with patterns to add the illusion that you’re actually bulkier than you are.
Hey, if you’ve got it, flaunt it with these 4.5-inch inseam. Cut and sewn in L.A., they are blocky in a cool way. A liner provides support, and their nylon taslan fabric gives them a classic, retro feel.
A classic in the California surfing scene, you can almost hear the Beach Boys when you don these trunks. Cut from a thick, durable nylon canvas, they carry a lifetime guarantee we’re betting will be moot barring a shark attack. A 14-inch outseam puts these solidly around the mid-thigh.
Our favorite do-everything short, these are your choice if you run a few miles to the beach and then jump immediately in. Flexible enough for a boot camp workout, they have a boxer-brief-style liner for support en route or in the water. Beach volleyball or a cold beer in celebration, there’s no amphibious occasion where these are out of place.
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