From swimming pools to beaches, men really don't have much of a choice for a proper swimwear.
Surfers and beach goers alike rely mostly on board shorts for that stylish and functional look.
But board shorts come in a wide variety of colors, fabrics, lengths, and designs.
And finding that pair of short that you'll enjoy wearing day in day out can be quite challenging.
This review will not only help you narrow down your search for board shorts but will also guide you to having a better grasp on what the said beachwear is all about.
My Top Board Short Picks!
Don't have much time? Checkout my top picks.
Wanna learn more? Keep on reading.
What Are Board Shorts?
Board shorts are a special type of swimwear originally developed for surfers.
Basically, these shorts are designed for functional purposes rather than pure style. Board shorts are made to be durable to withstand constant contact and wear against a surfboard but also smooth and flexible enough to effectively assist the wearer's movements with comfort.
It didn't take long for beach buffs to realize the versatility of board shorts on various water activities.
Later, more and more board short designs and styles were introduced, which made it a popular outfit not just to those along the beach but also further inland.
Through its durability, comfort, functionality, and range of styles, board shorts became a highly preferred type of outfit among men for both indoor and outdoor purposes.
Did you know...?
The first board shorts were not actually as cool as the one's we are enjoying right now.
The design was directly derived from old school swimming trunks and weren't comfortable to wear. The materials used to make them weren't even appropriate for surfing and other water recreational activities. Board shorts back then didn't dry quickly and were quite heavy when wet.
It was in 1970 that the design and style of board shorts were revolutionized, thanks to the ingenuity of two Australian surfers.
From the beachwear's materials and waist band down to its length and linings, board shorts were redefined to be efficiently functional for surfers and water-sports enthusiasts alike. These two Australian surfers are Alan Green and John Law - founders of Quiksilver.
Anatomy of Board Shorts
Typically, board shorts are made of high grade super suede, cotton, polyester or nylon material.
This gives the shorts its smooth texture and durability. Although the length of some board shorts are above the knee, most of them are longer to provide better coverage and protect the leg's hairs from being pulled out by the wax material that are often applied on the surf board's surface.
Waistbands of board shorts are not elastic.
For adjustment, the front part of the waist has an opening that comes with a hook-and-loop fastener and a lace-up tie. Earlier versions of board shorts have stitched inseams.
But these stitches have proven to be pretty uncomfortable to the wearer which opted the manufacturers to use a welding technique or go for a seamless design. These shorts also come with a small pocket for storing small valuables.
Lastly, board shorts have a loose appearance in order to effectively accommodate a surfer's intense movements while surfing.
- If you're crafty, or have someone in your life who is, you can make your own funky pair of board shorts. Watch this video to learn how to make your own board shorts with a Hawaiian shirt:
When sporting a nice pair of board shorts, avoid wearing underwear in it. Typically, we wear board shorts without a top.
They are designed to be worn fashionably on their own - no shirt top, no underwear. If you think having your underwear sticking out on top of your shorts' waistband is sexy, you're wrong.
In fact, fashion experts and board shorts enthusiasts see it as a disaster. Besides, you wouldn't want to experience a scene where a bunch of women are laughing behind your back, would you?
As discussed earlier, board shorts have rigid waist bands with a front opening secured by a lace-up tie, but it doesn't mean that you won't see this kind of swimwear that come with elastic waist bands.
In fact, there's a ton of them out there. But don't get tempted into buying one unless you want to look cheap.
A little harsh? That's just how it is so it's best that you play by the rules.
How to Take Care of Your Board Shorts
Your board shorts is your reliable partner when you're conquering waves or enjoying the sand with your friends. Therefore, it is important that you know how to take good care of your board shorts in order to enjoy its optimal functionality and promised longevity.
The following are proven effective ways of making sure that your board shorts are intact, charming, and functional even if you have already used them many times over:
- From riding the waves to making cannonballs, avoid keeping pointy things in your pocket. You can never be too careful especially when you and your friends are already enjoying your time under the sun. It only takes one wrong move for your car keys to punch a hole into your dearly beloved board shorts.
- When changing, rinse your shorts thoroughly with clean fresh water to get rid of sand or dirt that can potentially dent your beachwear's material. This step also helps you in avoiding unsightly saltwater stains.
- Hand wash your board shorts as much as possible. Use mild but well formulated detergents that are effective in taking out stains and odor. Avoid using a brush or a netted sponge. Using a fabric conditioner is optional but a pleasant extra.
- After washing, hang your board shorts inside out underneath a shade. Make sure that your shorts is safe from the suns direct sunlight.
- Secure a dry and clean drawer for your collection of board shorts and avoid getting them in contact with strong chemicals.
Shopping for Board Shorts
Board shorts have been gracing the beach scenes for decades and have evolved many times over ever since.
With man's demand for better functionality, appeal, and durability, the industry has introduced countless versions and styles of it. And facing a wide selection of good choices can be quite frustrating and confusing.
Here are some expert tips that will help you get through the buying process effortlessly and with a grin on your face:
- Board shorts vary on the material used to make them. They are either made of cotton, super suede, polyester, and nylon. Depending on the material used, board shorts vary in price, weight, functionality, and fast drying capability. Typical board shorts are made of nylon or polyester. These board shorts are quite affordable but dries fast. Professional surfers and water-sport athletes on the other hand may prefer more functional shorts made of super suede. Cotton made board shorts on the other hand are best for those off water casual walks.
- You also may want to choose between a 2-way and 4-way stretch. Most professional surfers prefer board shorts with 4-way stretch because they don't restrict the wearer's mobility. The 2-way stretch board shorts on the other hand is more of a beginner's tool to success.
- When shopping for board shorts, it is also critical to consider your absolute purpose in buying a pair. Some men buy board shorts that they can show off on the beach while some others are looking for a swimwear for surfing, wake-boarding, and other intense water sports.
- A hybrid is a special type of board shorts designed to be fashionably versatile. You can wear them on the beach, in a park, inside a mall, or even at home. They are also called "submersibles" and are great for all those casual walks around the neighborhood.
Now that I've covered some of the basics, let's get into some of my favorite products.
From enjoying the sun at the beach to taking a god dip at the pool, nothing can ever go wrong as long as you're wearing this Catalon Avalina Board Short by O'Neill. It is super light when wet and fast drying. This Avalon Board Short is your typical yet ideal swimwear from it's below knee coverage to its Velcro fly and lace-up tie closure.
This board short is true to its name. It is designed for fishing junkies and anyone who'd prefer an extra pocket for their tools or gadgets. From casual walks along the beach to doing serious work in your fishing boat, you can count on its pure polyester microfiber construction to withstand serious beating.
Straight from the ones who pioneered the modern day board shorts, this 22-inch swimwear is an absolute stunner on and off the beach. Classic board short styling with neo-fly hook-and-loop closure with drawstring tie. The shorts are a little fragile though and aren't made for machine wash.
The Final Word
Buying a nice pair of board shorts can be really hard knowing there's a ton of them to choose from. You need to find one which can make you feel good, look good, and do well in it.
Of the aforementioned 5, my best bet would be none other than Quiksilver's Manic 22 Inch Board Short. Made from the ones who started the craze on modern day board shorts, you can rest assured that your manic swimwear looks and feels just fine if not great. It simply has everything an ideal board short must have - high quality fabric, Velcro fly with draw string tie, two side pockets, and nice color choices.
Written by Robert Ordway
Raised in the small mill town of Lake Station, Indiana, Robert’s blue collar upbringing exposed him to little if any of the clothing industry. Robert has been following the menswear industry for over a decade and has been significantly influenced by the book, Dressing the Man by Alan Flusser. From 2009-2012, he worked in retail sales at both Brooks Brothers and JCrew. In 2015, Robert received the Custom Clothier certification from the Custom Tailor and Designers Association (CTDA), the oldest continuously operating trade organization in the United States. He is the former owner of Rusted Oak, a men’s retail clothing store in Valparaiso, Indiana.
Today, Robert's mission is to teach men of all shapes and sizes about grooming care, general life style tips, and of course male fashion stemming from his deep career in the fashion industry.