Loose Swim Shorts

Board shorts, those ubiquitous summer staples, are more than just beach attire. They’re a symbol of carefree days, catching waves, and soaking up the sun. But for the uninitiated, navigating the world of board shorts can be a confusing task. What exactly are shorts? What makes them different from regular shorts? This comprehensive guide will answer all your questions and help you find the perfect pair of board shorts for your next summer adventure.

What Exactly Are Board Shorts?

Board shorts, also known as surf trunks or swim shorts, are a type of swimwear specifically designed for aquatic activities. Unlike traditional swim briefs, shorts are loose-fitting and extend down to around the knee. This design offers several advantages:

Loose Swim Shorts

  • Comfort and Mobility: The loose fit allows for greater freedom of movement, essential for paddling, surfing, or any water sport that requires flexibility.

  • Protection: Board shorts offer protection from the sun’s harmful rays and abrasion from surfboard wax or rough waves.

  • Quick-Drying: Made from water-repellent materials like nylon or polyester, shorts dry quickly, keeping you comfortable both in and out of the water.

Board Shorts vs. Regular Shorts: Key Differences

While board shorts and regular shorts may seem similar at first glance, there are some key distinctions:

  • Material: Shorts are primarily made from synthetic materials like nylon or polyester that are water-repellent and dry quickly. Regular shorts are typically made from cotton or other natural fibers that absorb water and take longer to dry.

  • Lining: Most shorts don’t have an inner lining, allowing for faster water drainage and reduced weight when wet. Regular shorts often have a mesh lining for added comfort and support.

  • Waistband: Board shorts typically have a drawstring closure for a secure and adjustable fit. Regular shorts may have a drawstring, button closure, or zipper fly.

  • Length: Board shorts generally reach around the knee, while regular shorts come in various lengths, from above the knee to mid-calf or even longer.

Choosing the Perfect Board Shorts: Factors to Consider

With a vast array of shorts available, selecting the ideal pair requires considering a few key factors:

  • Activity Level: Different water activities have different requirements. Opt for longer shorts (around 17 inches) for activities like paddleboarding or kayaking that require more leg coverage. Shorter board shorts (around 13 inches) offer more freedom of movement for surfing or other high-action sports.

  • Fit: Board shorts should fit comfortably without being too tight or restrictive. The waistband should sit securely on your hips, and the legs shouldn’t be so baggy that they impede movement.

  • Closure: Drawstring closures are the most common for shorts, offering a customizable fit. Some shorts may have a combination of drawstring and Velcro closure for added security.

  • Style: Shorts come in a variety of colors, patterns, and designs. Choose a style that reflects your personality and complements your existing swimwear.

Beyond the Beach: The Versatility of Board Shorts

Board shorts aren’t limited to just the beach or pool. Their comfortable, quick-drying nature makes them ideal for various activities:

Loose Swim Shorts

  • Relaxing by the Pool: Shorts are a perfect choice for lounging poolside, offering both comfort and sun protection.

  • Outdoor Activities: Shorts are great for activities like kayaking, paddleboarding, or even light hiking where quick-drying properties are beneficial.

  • Casual Wear: Shorts can be a stylish and comfortable option for casual wear on hot summer days. Pair them with a t-shirt or tank top for a laid-back look.

Caring for Your Board Shorts: Keeping Them Looking Their Best

With proper care, your shorts can last for many summers. Here are some tips for maintaining your shorts:

  • Rinse with Fresh Water: After every use in saltwater or chlorinated water, rinse your shorts with fresh water to remove any harsh chemicals or salt residue.

  • Wash on Gentle Cycle: Wash your shorts on a gentle cycle with cold water and mild detergent. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach.

  • Air Dry: Always air dry your shorts. Avoid using dryers, as the heat can damage the material and cause shrinkage.

Board Short Brands: Top Choices for Style and Performance

With so many board short brands on the market, choosing the right one can feel overwhelming. Here’s a breakdown of some popular brands known for their quality, style, and performance:

Loose Swim Shorts

  • Patagonia: Renowned for their commitment to sustainability and high-performance gear, Patagonia offers a wide range of board shorts made from recycled materials. Their board shorts are known for their durability and functionality, perfect for serious water enthusiasts.

  • O’Neill: A pioneer in surf apparel, O’Neill has been creating shorts since the early days of surfing. Their board shorts offer a classic style and are known for their comfortable fit and quick-drying technology.

  • Billabong: Another iconic surf brand, Billabong offers a vast selection of shorts in various styles, colors, and lengths. They cater to both surfers and casual wearers with a focus on bold designs and a youthful vibe.

  • Hurley: Founded by legendary surfer Kelly Slater, Hurley offers high-performance shorts designed for athletes and serious water sports enthusiasts. Their board shorts are known for their innovative materials and technologies that optimize movement and comfort.

  • RVCA: This lifestyle brand offers shorts with a focus on both style and performance. Their board shorts feature unique prints and designs, making them a great option for those who want to stand out from the crowd.

  • Volcom: Known for their edgy and progressive style, Volcom offers shorts that are both functional and fashionable. Their shorts are popular among younger generations who appreciate bold graphics and a unique aesthetic.

Board Short Trends: What’s Hot in 2024

Board short trends evolve year after year, reflecting current fashion influences and advancements in material technology. Here are some of the hottest trends in shorts for 2024:

Loose Swim Shorts

  • Sustainable Materials: Eco-conscious consumers are driving the demand for shorts made from recycled materials like polyester or nylon. Brands are offering stylish options that are also kind to the planet.

  • Functional Fabrics: Quick-drying technology remains a top priority, but brands are also incorporating features like moisture-wicking materials and four-way stretch for enhanced comfort and mobility.

  • Bold Prints and Patterns: From tropical vibes to geometric designs, shorts are embracing bolder and more eye-catching prints. Floral patterns, camouflage, and color-blocking are all trending for 2024.

  • Shorter Lengths: Shorter shorts (around 10-13 inches) are gaining popularity, offering a more athletic and streamlined look. They’re ideal for surfing and other activities that require maximum leg movement.

  • Matching Sets: Board shorts are increasingly being paired with matching rashguards or board shirts for a coordinated and stylish look. This trend allows for a put-together appearance from the beach to the boardwalk.

Beyond the Basics: Advanced Board Short Features

While the core functionality of board shorts remains comfort and performance in aquatic environments, some brands offer additional features that cater to specific needs and preferences. Here’s a glimpse into some advanced board short features you might encounter:

  • Key Pockets: Built-in key pockets with secure closures offer a convenient way to store your key fob while enjoying the water without worrying about losing it.

  • Velcro Fly Closure: Some board shorts incorporate a Velcro fly closure alongside the drawstring for added security and a more tailored fit.

  • Mesh Lining: While most board shorts forego a full lining, some may have a partial mesh lining for added comfort and support, particularly in the front panel.

  • Compression Fit: Compression shorts offer a snugger fit that provides muscle support and reduces chafing during intense activities.

  • Bonded Seams: Bonded seams utilize heat or glue to create a seamless construction, minimizing chafing and irritation.

  • Cargo Pockets: Cargo pockets offer additional storage space for small essentials like sunscreen or lip balm. However, these pockets may add bulk and might not be ideal for all activities.

  • D-Ring: A D-ring on the waistband can be used to attach accessories like a leash for your keys or a towel clip.

Board Shorts for Different Body Types

Finding the right board shorts is not just about activity and style; it’s also about finding a good fit for your body type. Here are some tips for choosing board shorts that flatter your physique:

Loose Swim Shorts

  • Athletic Build: Men with an athletic build have more flexibility in terms of board short length. Opt for board shorts that fall around the knee or slightly above for a balanced look.

  • Lean Build: Men with a lean build can benefit from shorts with a slightly looser fit to avoid appearing too baggy. Shorter shorts (around 13-15 inches) can also help create a more proportional look.

  • Larger Build: Men with a larger build should prioritize comfort and choose shorts with a relaxed fit that allows for movement without restriction. Opt for longer shorts (around 17-19 inches) for better coverage.

Board Shorts and Sun Protection

While board shorts offer some protection from the sun’s harmful rays, they shouldn’t be your sole line of defense. Here are some additional tips for staying sun-safe while wearing board shorts:

  • Apply Sunscreen Liberally: Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to all exposed skin, including your legs above the knee line and the back of your neck. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more often if you’re sweating or swimming.

  • Consider Rashguards: For extended sun exposure, consider wearing a rashguard, a long-sleeved shirt made from a lightweight, quick-drying material. Rashguards offer additional sun protection for your torso and arms.

  • Seek Shade: Even with sunscreen, it’s important to seek shade, especially during the peak sun hours of 10 am to 4 pm. Relax under an umbrella or take breaks in shaded areas to minimize sun exposure.

Finding Your Perfect Pair of Board Shorts

Board shorts are a versatile and essential summer wardrobe staple. With the vast array of styles, materials, and brands available, finding the perfect pair is easier than ever. Consider your activity level, desired fit, and personal style when making your selection. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different brands and trends to discover the shorts that make you feel confident and comfortable for your next summer adventure.

By sofia