Men's Guide To Choosing Active Swimwear

by Sportitude
30 Oct 2018

From budgie smugglers to boardies, there’s a crazy number of men's swimwear options for staying active in the water and ensuring you're summer ready.

We’ve put together a quick guide to demystify the swimwear market and help you choose the most suitable style from pool to open water.


...and we're not talking about your whitey tighties.

For men, swimming briefs (commonly called Speedos) are the go-to for competitive pool swimming, with zero restrictions to your movement, minimal drag and basic coverage. Trunk-style swim briefs offer a square rather than V-shaped front for extra coverage over the thighs.


Jammers have a style and fit similar to cycling shorts with an above the knee length. They’re ideal for new swimmers and men seeking greater coverage for lap swimming.

They’re form-fitting to limit drag and don’t become heavy when wet, but do run the risk of restricting movement if too tight. They're also a great option in open water in warm conditions when a full wetsuit can be overkill.


Wetsuits offer additional warmth and wind-blocking comfort for open water swimming, paddle boarding, wake boarding and surfing.

They’re available in different levels of coverage, everything from ‘shorty’ styles (short sleeves and above the knee length) to a full body suit. Wetsuits are designed for a second-skin fit for minimal drag and increased buoyancy to assist in swimming.

Varying thicknesses are offered to suit the seasons, with thinner flex zones around the arms for mobility and thicker fabric around your core for warmth.

Boardshorts / swim shorts

Although great as a cover-up post-swim or for splashing around just for fun, boardshorts and swim shorts are not designed for setting a new PB in the pool.

The looser fit that makes them so comfy for surfing or stand-up paddle boarding in warm weather creates additional resistance in the water, so they're a no-go when you're goal is a fast swimming stroke.

However, if you love water board sports then a lightweight swim short provides a relaxed style and acts as a protective layer between your skin and board.

Swimwear tips

If going commando isn’t your thing, well-fitted swim briefs and jammers are ideal for wearing beneath a wetsuit and provide additional comfort without bunching up. A rash vest or close-fitting sun top is also great as a protective underlayer to prevent irritation or for wearing on its own.

Leading swimwear brands offer maximum UPF 50+ sun protection in their fabrics to block out harmful UV rays. Don't forget to slap sunscreen on exposed skin or risk rockin' the oompa loompa look.

Happy swimming!