The Top Styles in Men's Swimwear

When it comes to shopping for swimwear, men might not have as many choices as women -- but they do have several options when it comes to cut and style. Here are a few of the primary styles of men's swimsuits. Use this guide to decide which type of swimsuit is right for you (or for the guy in your life).

Swim trunks

Man standing at the poolside
Fabrice LEROUGE / ONOKY / Getty Images

Swim trunks are the most traditional type of men's swimwear. They are worn by people of all ages, from kids to seniors. If you are looking for your little boy's first swimsuit, it will likely be a pair of swim trunks. Swim trunks are generally made of nylon, polyester or a blend. They come in basic solid colors, as well as funky prints. Swim trunks are somewhat loose and normally fall to mid-thigh. Younger people and kids may opt for board shorts instead of traditional swim trunks​ because they are more comfortable and roomy.


Izod Insite Boardshorts
Izod Insite Boardshorts. Image credit: Macy's

Teenagers and young adult men are most likely to wear board shorts at the beach or pool, and even skateboarding, boating and just for fun in the sun. Board shorts were originally created for surfing (thus the name) but are worn for swimming everywhere. They don't have an elastic waist, like many swim trunks, but rather have a rigid waistband often with a lace-up front and velcro fly. You can find board shorts from most men's swimwear brands.

Square leg swimsuits

BOSS Orange 'Panarea' Swim Trunks
BOSS Orange 'Panarea' Swim Trunks. Image credit: Nordstrom

Somewhere between speedos and swim trunks, you'll find square leg swimsuits. These men's swimsuits are cut similar to boxer-brief underwear. If you like the fitted look, but don't want to walk around in speedos, then the square leg suit might be the answer for you.

Swim jammers

Zoot Sports Swim Jammer
Zoot Sports Swim Jammer. Image credit: Zappos

You may have seen competitive swimmers wearing swim jammer style swimsuits. They are form fitting but look like cycling shorts so they offer more coverage than square leg suits or swim briefs. Though you don't see swim jammers at the beach that often if you are a competitive swimmer, this style is definitely a good option.

Swim Briefs

BOSS Orange 'Java' Swim Briefs
BOSS Orange 'Java' Swim Briefs. Image credit: Nordstrom

Swim briefs were introduced back at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia by Speedo. Thus, these nylon/spandex briefs are often referred to as just "speedos," even though they are available from several different swimwear brands. Briefs vary in style from full coverage bottom to barely-there g-string.


The monokini is a one-piece swimsuit that has a strip of fabric down the front that connects the top and bottom portions. It's like a traditional one-piece with huge cut-out sides. You've probably seen women wearing the monokini, but did you know this style can be worn by men too? (Though we aren't encouraging it.) At Milan Fashion Week last year, Emporio Armani models strutted their stuff on the runway in black monokinis. Though I don't think this swimwear trend is going to catch on everywhere, it's definitely worth mentioning -- even if just because it's bizarre. A man-monokini can't be comfortable for the average guy!