Easy-wearing, nondescript and tough as nails, today’s best swim trunks can go from the beach to the bar — and everywhere in-between. Many brands now offer water-appropriate styles with design cues lifted from traditional shorts. As it turns out, the summer’s best trunks aren’t just for swimming.
Best Overall Swim Trunks: Alex Mill Pull-On Tech Shorts
These all-terrain nylon shorts have an elastic waistband with a paracord drawstring. They also feature a mesh lining, welted hand pockets and a zippered back pocket to keep your essentials organized.
Best Upgrade Swim Trunks: CDLP Swim Shorts
CDLP's swim shorts are cut from 100-percent Econyl, a textile derived from plastic pulled from our oceans. But, that doesn't mean they're stiff or, well, resemblant of waste whatsoever — they're quite the opposite. Short yet flattering, soft yet quick-drying, they feature three pockets, a mesh lining and an elasticated waistband.
Best Affordable Swim Trunks: Columbia Roatan Drifter 2.0 Water Short
Columbia's newest water short is as simple as can be — but in a good way. They're cut from 100-percent nylon, are quick-drying if you take a dip but also water repellent if you're just risking getting splashed.
Patagonia Wavefarer Shorts
Made from rapid-drying nylon with 4-way stretch, these shorts have mesh pockets that help water drain faster. This style also includes belt loops and a traditional fly.
Filson Green River Shorts
These quick-drying, lightweight shorts have an elastic waistband with a drawstring. Made from 5-ounce cotton-nylon the style has front patch pockets with mesh linings — for fast draining — and rear Velcro patch pockets.
NN07 Jules Mid-Length Swim Shorts
Sure, these aren't the most subtle pair on this list — they're pink! — but who doesn't appreciate a pop of color, especially in the swing of summer? These are a quick-drying shell with three pockets and a mid-length profile.
Onia Calder Trunks
Made from moisture-wicking, quick-drying nylon, these trunks have elastic paneling at the back of the wait and a superfine (read: comfortable) mesh lining. The style has large, reinforced side pockets and a back pocket secured by a snap.
Orlebar Brown Neutral Dane II Long-Length Swim Shorts
Imagine taking your swim trunks to the tailor... that's the sort of quality Orlebar Brown instills in each of its iterations. These are longer and feature adjustable waist tabs, a snap and zip fastening at the front and a mesh liner inside.
Outerknown Nomadic Volley Shorts
These quick-drying trunks are made from recycled polyester. The easy-going style has an elastic drawstring-waist, a zip back pocket and side-seam front pockets.
Wood Wood Seersucker Striped Swim Shorts
At last, seersucker shorts you can swim in. Cut from 75-percent polyester and 25-percent cotton, Wood Wood's swim shorts offer the same cooling comfort as other seersucker clothing but with the added bonus of being quick-drying. Inside, there's a breathable mesh liner and an elasticated waistband.
Carhartt WIP Chase Swim Short
Carhartt WIP trades workwear for warm weather attire. These eggplant colored shorts are cut from durable polyester and feature all of the usual adornments: three pockets, an elasticated waistband and a mesh lining.
Commas Striped Swim Shorts
Commas' comfortable swim shorts look like they're made from easy-breathing linen or woven cotton. Instead, they're made from 100-percent polyamide, a fast-drying fabric ideal for a shell. Zip pockets populate the rear and slip ones adorn the sides.
Norse Projects Hauge Swim Short
Made in Portugal from 10o-percent polyester, Norse Projects' swim shorts look like your run-of-the-mill runners. However, they boast structure often unfound in swimwear, all while being breathable and, of course, quick-drying for your post-pool activities.