Are board shorts the same as swim trunks? This is the sort of question you will find yourself asking when trying to decide which beach attire will work best for your summer plans. The short answer is no — board shorts and swim trunks are not the same thing. However, they are both associated with water activities.
The most important difference between board shorts and swim trunks is that board shorts are longer (coming down to the knee or below, depending on style & preference) and trunks are shorter (stopping above the knee). Swim trunks are often designed specifically for water use and have an additional mesh insert to provide additional support for males. The netting is breathable fabric, which can also provide for extra air circulation and keep you cooler on hot and muggy days. Swim trunks can be short or long, and many designs now have pockets to be able to carry keys as well. Board shorts, on the other hand, aren't just for surfers and beachgoers — and they aren't used solely by men, though most females who sport board shorts wear bathing suit bottoms underneath. In addition to their popularity among skateboarders, board shorts have become common as part of the uniforms for Mixed Martial Arts competitions.
Board shorts are designed with a tighter and more durable waistband that opens in the front, secured by a velcro fly. The waistband can be adjusted using a string tie. This securing system is designed to prevent your board shorts from falling down when you're engaged in an intense activity like surfing.
The original board short design included a small velcro-sealed pocket that vented with a small grommet to hold small items, such as house keys or surf wax, securely while the wearer was active in the water. Unlike your traditional swim trunks, board shorts have no lining. The additional length was designed to protect surfers' legs from the wax on their boards. Board shorts are also extremely baggy and less restrictive than other swimwear options.
Board shorts can be used as both swim and casual wear. They are approximately knee-length and made of a quick-drying material, such as strong, smooth polyester or nylon. Board shorts have also been referred to as surf trunks and jams, and they are a popular choice among surfers due to their durability and longer length.
Board shorts are also popular as casual wear. They became part of the skater punk fashion trend and have been used as men's athletic shorts for beach volleyball players.
As mentioned above, many women will choose to wear bikini bottoms underneath their board shorts. Some men will often go without anything underneath the board shorts, but if they are looking for a little extra support, they may wear compression shorts or another waterproof, supportive garment, such as a Speedo.
Although choosing between board shorts and swim trunks is often a matter of preference or personal style, there are occasions when board shorts may be the better option.
Surfing: Since board shorts were specifically designed to accommodate surfers, they are the best option when taking your board out for a spin. Board shorts are preferred for the better range of motion they offer. The mesh lining of swim trunks can actually restrict the body, prohibiting some of the more complex movements that are necessary when managing a surfboard. Board shorts will also appropriately protect your legs so that you don't run the risk of tearing out leg hair that gets caught on your board's wax.
Wakeboarding: Wakeboarding is a hybrid sport that combines the skills used for snowboarding with the setting used for water skiing. Board shorts are preferred for this activity not only for the added length they provide but also for the fact that they are less likely to ride up the legs during high-speed maneuvers.
Beach-going: Sometimes board shorts are the best option when you just feel like lounging on the beach and relaxing. They function as well as swim trunks when you plan on going swimming, but they offer more protection from the sun's harmful rays. They are made from a breathable material that allows the air outside to absorb your sweat, keeping you dry and cool. Many board shorts come in darker colors to keep you from overheating, and the design allows you to easily go from the beach to a restaurant or another activity without having to change.
Beach sports: If you like to stay active on the beach, either playing Frisbee or enjoying a few rounds of beach volleyball, board shorts can provide you with more maneuverability as well as better coverage. They are less likely to be pulled down or ride up when you are getting more active.
When determining the best men's swimwear to purchase for the upcoming summer season, take into consideration what your summer days are likely to entail. If you are a fan of water sports, such as surfing or wakeboarding, or if you need to go from the beach to your next event, board shorts may be the best option for you.