14 stylish swimwear picks for men this summer

From swim trunks to shorts... and a speedo or two too!

From swim trunks to shorts... and a speedo or two too!

A swim suit is the absolute minimum of clothing that most men will wear in public, which is all the more reason to make it count. While technically swimwear is anything you wear in the water, men's swimwear comes in four major shapes: the trunk, the board short, the boxer-brief, and the brief (speedo). We've also added a fifth "hybrid" category that work well on land and in the water — they're shorts with swimwear characteristics. Which swimwear type you like best is a matter of personal preference and context: while you may be a bit bashful for a speedo, board shorts are totally out of place at a swim meet. However, for pool parties and beach days all types of swimwear can be a great choice. Whatever your preferred style, we've got you covered. Here are the hot swimsuits in each category for 2019. 

The swim trunk

The swim trunk is the most popular type of men's swimwear, occupying the middle ground between long and looser boardshorts, and snug, swim-meet-ready speedos. These quick-drying shorts sometimes come with an elasticated waist (unlike board shorts, more below) and a mesh lining. We recommend solid colours and understated patterns if you are trying to achieve a classic preppy look, but feel free to express yourself with a bold pattern, we've seen all three on the runways this year.

Midnight Bouquet Swim Trunk, $95, Bather

Tiger Stripe Print Swim Shorts, $39, Hudson's Bay

Plain Swimsuit, $39.90, Zara

Channel Cross Short, $59, Lulu Lemon

The board short

Boardshorts are like swim trunks, but specially tailored to the needs of surfers and anyone else who wants to give off that hang-loose vibe. What's the difference between regular trunks and board shorts? It's not always easy to see. Board shorts are usually longer and looser than regular swim trunks which helps to prevent chafing your legs on your board. They also feature a drawstring rather than elastic waistband which is better at keeping the waves from pulling them off.

Boardshorts are a must-have for surfing, but have also become a very popular style for any swim-situation. The most fashionable board shorts for 2019 are either in funky but tasteful prints or solid colours. Don't bother with the big logo prints of yesteryear.

Sundays Airlite Boardshort by Billabong, $69.95, Sporting Life

Palmade Cruzer Swim Shorts by Oneill, $75, Hudson's Bay

Lido Solid Mod Trunks, $55, Volcom

The hybrid

HIking shorts are usually too bulky to be comfortable in the water. And a Speedo may not stand up to the demands of the hiking trail. Enter the hybrid swimsuit-short designed for amphibious performance. These shorts are rugged enough to wear throughout the day and look just like normal shorts but are built of light-weight and quick-drying materials in case you decide to take an impromptu dip. 

Green River Water Shorts, $75, Filson

Stretch All-Wear Hybrid Shorts, $85, Patagonia

Deep Dive Shorts, $55, MEC

The boxer brief

This popular style of swimsuit cuts down on drag in the water and gives you a tight silhouette. Ten years ago, very few men (in North America) would stray from the baggy boxer-style swim trunk. However, times have changed and new options have opened up. These boxer-brief style swim trunks can be very flattering for those who are in shape and confident enough to show it. If you spent all winter in the gym, it's time to show it off.

Printed Stretch Boxer Swim Trunk, $29, Simons

Rush Square Leg Swim Shorts by Speedo, $51.99, Sportchek

The speedo

When to wear a speedo? On European beaches, they are the norm. At a swim meet or water polo game, they are a must. If you're in North America, the brief-style swimsuit still raises eyebrows, but not necessarily in a bad way; still, only rock the speedo if you can handle the attention. That said, there are good reasons to have one in your beach bag. They are light, cannot be beat for swimming performance, nor for minimal tan-lines. Also, they've been all over fashion runways for SS 2019.

Turnz Printed Swim Brief by Speedo, $49, Sporting Life

Jack Swim Briefs by Diesel, $37.50, Hudson's Bay

Clifton Mark writes about philosophy, psychology, politics, and other life-related topics. Find him @Clifton_Mark on Twitter.