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8 Best Swim Trunks for Men

Best Overall Choice

MaaMgic Men’s Swim Trunks

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Best Budget Choice

Kanu Surf Barracuda Men’s Swim Trunks

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Best Premium Choice

Outerknown Apex Trunks

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Ian Fortey by Ian Fortey Updated on August 11, 2021.

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Finding a good pair of swim trunks can be harder than it seems. At first, you just want something to wear in the water. Say you want to hop in for a dip off the bass boat. But you want them to not be too heavy, right? No one likes their shorts dragged down in the water. Plus, they need to look good. And they should dry quickly. There’s more to consider than you might think at first. Luckily, we looked into everything for you. Let’s take a look at the best men’s swim trunks at the market.

Best Overall Choice

1. MaaMgic Men’s Swim Trunks

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Most of us want a reliable pair of swim trunks to hit the lake, the pool, or the ocean. You don’t want to think about it for a week before making a purchase. They’re swim shorts, right? MaaMgic has what you need. They’re not too pricey, they’re comfortable, and they come in a variety of styles. If you want some good printed swim trunks to match your sandals, these are ideal.

Shopping for shorts can be a hassle sometimes. Sometimes you want flamingoes or pineapples on your gear. MaaMgic comes in over 30 styles. It’s almost guaranteed you’ll find something you like.

The fit is comfortable and they don’t feel draggy in the water. They come with three pockets, including a back pocket. The material is polyester, so it can stand up to harsh environments. It also dries out quickly. The elastic waist is durable but not too snug. There’s also an adjustable drawstring. Sizes go all the way up to 2XL. The sizes are pretty reliable as well.

The legs end just above the knee, which most people seem to prefer. They do have a slim fit though, so be careful when you order. If you normally wear a medium, try a large to be safe. Unless you prefer that slimmer fit, of course. They do have a size chart on the website so you can order with some confidence.

One thing to be aware of is the material. The polyester does not have any stretch here. The company does make a four-way stretch version if you prefer, though.

Best Budget Choice

2. Kanu Surf Barracuda Men’s Swim Trunks

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Kanu Surf has a wide variety of styles to meet any needs. If you like bright colors and patterns, they have you covered. But if you want to be more subdued with just a straight blue or black, they have that too. There are over 40 designs in total.

Kanu Surf started out back in the day just selling door to door to surfers. The product is made by and for people who love the water. That’s a kind of quality you won’t find in every swim trunk out there.

The swim trunks are 100% polyester. They dry quickly and don’t feel heavy. They also offer SPF 50 sun protection. Best of all, these will fit almost anyone. Sizes go all the way up to 5XL. Finding bigger sizes can be a tough job sometimes. And usually your options are very limited. Kanu Surf really makes it easy to find good swim trunks no matter the size.

Swim trunks are notorious for having poor pockets. These come with large cargo pockets for storing your gear. There are four pockets in total.

In the water, they feel comfortable. You’re not going to feel too exposed when you get out, either. Pay attention to the pockets, though. Two of them are mesh, so be careful what you store in them. The cargo pockets are more secure, and even have a Velcro closure on them.

Best Premium Choice

3. Outerknown Apex Trunks

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Outerknown Apex trunks are not your average swim trunks. These board shorts are the perfect pair and you’ll see that reflected in the price. So could they possibly be worth it? Well, they’ve been called the best trunks ever made. And we have to say, those people aren’t lying.

These were designed by 11-time world champion surfer Kelly Slater. They weren’t made necessarily to be worn while you sip beers at the beach bar in a t shirt. Not that you can’t do that either. They’re some of the most comfortable swim shorts you’ll ever wear. And they look great, too.

The construction is stitchless. Instead, they use welded seams for strength and durability. Four-way stretch fabric is soft and pliable so you’ll never chafe. They have a flattering fit and quality construction. They’re also super lightweight. These are the right pair for any water sports you’re into.

The real value comes in the wearing. You do not feel like you have these shorts on. Not in a weird way, either. They never drag, they never cling. They don’t feel uncomfortable. They’re probably the best swim trunks we’ve ever tried.

Apex makes their gear as sustainably as possible. These trunks are made from 94% recycled material. That’s 86% recycled polyester and 8% recycled spandex. They even make them in a factory that operates as a fair trade facility. Not bad at all.

Recycled plastic bottles make up the bulk of the material that goes into this. That helps clean the earth and especially the oceans.

Make sure you check the size chart. Outerknown gives you a clear size guide to compare your waist size to. Their sizes are not as fast and loose as some brands. So make sure you get a true measurement of your waist before ordering. If you go by how other brands size, you may not get a good fit.

4. Amazon Essentials Quick Dry Men’s Swim Trunks

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Amazon Essentials continues to offer some surprisingly high quality products. These Amazon Essentials quick dry trunks get the job done. With a variety of styles available, there’s sure to be something to meet your needs.

The trunks are 100% polyester. That ensures they are both lightweight and fast-drying. They feature both an elastic waistband and a drawstring. You should be able to get a solid, reliable fit out of them.

The cut and style of these trunks means they can easily be worn as shorts. Some swim trunks are clearly swim trunks. Not everyone feels comfortable wearing them out of the water. These look like everyday shorts and are comfortable for walking in flip flops or doing whatever. You can transition from the beach to a walk on the boardwalk easily. The material does not stick to you. That’s one of the major complaints most men have about swim trunks. When you get out of the water in these, they pull away quickly and easily.

If you typically sit right at the edge of one size, we recommend going larger. The liner can feel a little snug. Not terribly so, but it’s best to be cautious. Go a size up if you’re not sure. The waist is easy to adjust.

5. Bonobos Throwback Swim Trunks

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Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to prioritize style. The Bonobos throwback swim trunks hit the nail on the head. If you grew up swimming back in the day, these will take you right back. The retro style gives a little flare to a sea of designs that can get stale. It’s cool to see an older design making a comeback. Plus, they’re comfortable!

The throwback design features a shorter, curved him. This style is all 70s and 80s. Even if you didn’t experience it the first time, you can now. They feature front pockets with binding. There’s also a zipper back pocket. They feature a comfortable mesh lining and there’s an elastic waist. They also come with an interior drawstring.

The material is 85% recycled polyester. It’s very fast drying and lightweight. There’s a five inch inseam on these. That makes them a lot shorter than many modern swim trunks. If you’re not committed to the vintage look, you may want to avoid them. Instead, try the Bonobos Riviera recycled swim trunks. Same quality, newer look.

6. Speedo Marina Volley Swim Trunks

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Speedo brand is a summer staple at the beach. For many people, that’s not a good thing. Speedo, sadly, has a reputation for tiny, form fitting briefs. But that’s not all they make! Check out these Speedo Marina Volley trunks. These are a high quality swim short. No short swim trunks here.

Made of quick drying fabric, these shorts also offer sun protection. They feature an elastic tie closure. They also have two-way stretch for added comfort. Speedo is also very helpful with lengths. The problem with many shorts is that the cut is maybe not what you need. Speedo offers 5 different cuts. That means you can go with the short 14 inch outseam if you like a shorter fit. Or you can go all the way up to the 22 inch long length outseam.

The waist is elastic and also features a full drawstring around the waist. That ensures a quality fit. Even if you’re a bigger guy, the XL sizes here fit comfortably. They feel good dry as well as in the water. The fabric doesn’t cling or drag. Overall, this is a top quality bathing suit. The material feels durable as well, so you won’t need to retire them in two seasons.

7. Birdwell Beach Britches

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Handmade in Southern California, Birdwell Beach Britches are top notch. These will become a staple of your summer wardrobe. The two-ply, triple-stitched design is one of the best on the market. These will only wear out if you beat them into submission. They’re tough, durable, and look amazing. They have a great retro style and feel great when you have them on. If you need a classic pair of trunks with your water shoes, here you go.

These bad boys have all the bells and whistles. What other trunks are giving you nickel-plated grommets? The trademark SurfNyl fabric is fast-drying. The cut comes down to below mid-thigh. The shorts feature a flat waistband and a triple lace closure. These can go from the ocean to running errands easily. Some guys even like them as workout shorts. They’re really that comfortable. From a pool party to boating, these are welcome on any summer adventures.

The price point can be intimidating, but you are paying for quality here. These aren’t just a pair of everyday shorts, after all. There’s a wax pocket with key loop and interior drain hole. The company offers a lifetime guarantee against manufacturing, material, or workmanship defect. Not everyone is willing to stand behind their own product like that.

8. Tyhengta Men’s Swim Trunks

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You want simple, affordable trunks? Tyhengta is it. Solid colors, solid design. The pockets are zippered, the waistband is elastic with a drawstring. There’s 4-way stretch fabric and breathable lining. The material is 95% polyester. They transition well from beach use to sports or even just hanging out. They look like normal shorts and feel comfortable. You can use them for walking, running, or anything else.

These are low cost trunks that get the job done well. They’re lightweight and stretchy. The leg ends just above the knee. The drying time is not the best of all the quick dry brands out there. But it’s not terrible, either. Expect maybe 15 to 20 minutes in summer heat to get 100% dry again. Best of all, they don’t break the bank. For this price, it’s hard to find something else that ticks all the same boxes in a swim short. If you’re someone who just wants something quick and efficient to get you onto the beach, here you go.

How to Pick The Best Men’s Swim Trunks

Telling you what clothes you should wear isn’t really what we do. But we can help you narrow down those features you want to look for. There are a few things that can ensure the trunks you buy are what you need. They’re going to not just look good, but feel good and actually last while you use them.

Fit

If you have tried on any clothes at all in your life, you know this is a big one. Clothes just don’t always fit the same. One brand can list a size and another brand will make the same size much smaller. And another will make it bigger. It can be very frustrating. This is the single biggest issue with online shopping for clothes.

Typically, sizes listed as numbers are the best. Men’s waist sizes are often listed in inches. That takes the guesswork out. However, many swim trunks still stick with old style sizing. That means you need to guess if L or XL will fit you. Oftentimes the best thing you can do is stick with a brand you already know. When that fails, check the reviews. See how other customers have handled the issue. If many people remark that the brand is on the small size, pick a size up.

Check to see if the company provides their own sizing chart. Higher quality manufacturers often do this. They’ll let you know exactly what waist size will fit their version or an L or XL waist.

You want to avoid trunks that are too tight. This will limit your movement in the water and make you feel uncomfortable. Likewise, if the length is too short, you can feel constricted. On the other hand, long shorts can make some people feel the same way. These are usually board shorts if they go past the knee. For some swimmers, that extra length feels uncomfortable.

Drawstring vs Elastic

The waistband of most trunks are one of two styles. Elastic waist swim trunks provide a reliable fit. A drawstring waistband allow more control. Both can offer comfort and a decent fit if the size is right. However, if the trunks are too large, both can end up offering a poor fit. Neither one is really superior. It’s often just a matter of personal taste. Many provide a combination to ensure the best fit possible.

Durability

Not everyone thinks of just how much abuse men’s swim shorts take. Compared to any other clothing item, they tend to take more abuse. They can be in saltwater or chlorinated water. They may be drying out in direct sunlight as well. That means they need to stand up to chemicals and UV rays. That’s on top of everyday wear and tear. So good quality swim trunks have to be made to last.

You want well sewn seams that won’t degrade over time. Not only that, but quality materials. Cotton is comfy, but it is known to fade over time. Also, it may hold the moisture for a long time. Synthetic materials stand up better to chemicals and UV rays. They dry quicker as well. Look for things like polyester or quick drying nylon material. They feel lighter too. Plus, when they get wet, they won’t get as heavy as cotton, and risk falling down.

We recommend cleaning your trunks after every use. Just a quick freshwater rinse is all they need. If you swim in a pool or the ocean, this can get rid of salt or chlorine that could wear your trunks out too fast.

Mesh

You’ll notice many swim trunks have mesh liner inside. Typically, this is what separates men’s swimwear from plain shorts. So why do they have netting? It’s a fairly simple product designed for two purposes.

First, the netting takes the place of underwear in the trunks. You don’t necessarily want to be wearing cotton briefs while you’re swimming. They can get ruined by the water, and they stay wet longer. That can make you uncomfortable. The mesh in your trunks is there to keep everything in place instead.

The second purpose is airflow. The netting prevents the trunks from sticking directly to your skin. That improves airflow to allow the trunks and your skin to dry faster. It also means that when you get out of the water, your trunks won’t stick directly to your skin for long. That can be uncomfortable and embarrassing.

The Bottom Line

A good pair of swim trunks needs to be comfortable, light, and fast-drying. With so many potential styles, your toughest task should just be picking a pattern for your stylish swim trunks. Enjoy your time in the water and stay safe.

About Ian

My grandfather first took me fishing when I was too young to actually hold up a rod on my own. As an avid camper, hiker, and nature enthusiast I'm always looking for a new adventure.

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