Surf Beaches, Not Browsers: The Best Board Shorts In 2022
Whether you’re surfing, paddle boarding, or lounging by the pool, you need clothing that is lightweight and comfy but stylish, too. In other words, you need the best board shorts.
A clothing staple in the surfer’s wardrobe, board shorts are a surprisingly versatile piece of apparel: durable, lightweight and water-ready, they’re obviously ideal for the beach and sports, but because they can also be quite stylish, they make for great casual shorts for weekend hangouts, rooftop pool parties, and bar hopping.
Whether you’re looking for a pair of durable, performance shorts for beach sports, or for comfy and stylish shorts that you can wear both on the beach and at home, we’ve found some of the best board shorts for you to rock this summer.
- Most Versatile: Volcom Surf N’ Turf Static Hybrid Shorts
- Most Comfortable: Patagonia Stretch Hydropeak Boardshorts
- Best Print: O’Neill Santa Cruz Printed Board Shorts
- Angler-Friendly Shorts: Tormenter Waterman 5 Pocket Boardshorts
- Best Swim Trunks: Kanu Surf Men’s Barracuda Swim Trunks
- Best Value Shorts: Goodthreads Men’s Swim Boardshort
- Best Style: Nonwe Men’s Sportwear Quick Dry Board Shorts
- For Bigger Guys: Quiksilver Men’s Everyday Board Short
- Unique Look: Tormenter Men’s Side To Boardshorts
- Best Performance: HUK Freeman 21 Inch Boardshort
The Best Board Shorts
The Volcom Surf N’ Turf Static Hybrid Shorts are a perfect blend of comfort, style, and functionality. With a four-way stretch and a 21″ seam, they are comfortable without compromising on performance. With a chino fit made with a polyester blend fabric, these durable shorts boast a design for the modern man They also feature mesh pocket bags for keys and other small items. Designed for water and land these are the best hybrid boardshorts for a day by the pool or evening drinks at the beach bar.
Fastening is a breeze with a double ring closure system and the fabric is also quick drying making them great in and out of the water. Dress them up or dress them down, these modern fit shorts look great with a plain old t-shirt or a crisp button-up shirt. While you’re looking at the best boardshorts, check out our guide to the best running shorts for more awesome pieces of clothes like this.
Made of 95% polyester and 5% spandex
Equipped with a double ring closure system
Fitted with rear welt pockets lined with mesh pocket bags
Four-way stretch fabric
- Weight1 Pound
Made for both water and land
Modern, stylish fit
The sizing seems a bit off, double-check when ordering
If you’re looking for ultra-comfortable board shorts for men, the Patagonia Stretch Hydropeak Boardshorts are a fantastic choice. Light, super-stretchy, with a classic board short silhouette, this pair of shorts is perfect for all sorts of water activities, sports or just lazing around on a warm summer day. They’re made of recycled polyester and spandex and have a PFC-free DWR finish, so they wick and dry quickly.
The design is minimalist- no attention-grabbing extras here – because the shorts are built for performance. There is a back pocket though, so you can stash your small essentials when you need them. But the best feature of these board shorts (aside from their recycled performance blend) is the fused waistband that conforms to the shape of the hips, giving a comfortable, low-profile fit. Patagonia may not be one of the big surf brands, but these shorts, just like their outdoor gear, are top-notch quality and one of the comfiest on the market.
87% recycled polyester, 13% spandex
PFC-free DWR finish
Fused waist bend, low-profile fit
Back pocket for small essentials
UPF 50+ protection
Light and stretchy, ultra-comfortable design
Great-quality construction should last for years
Super-quick drying material
Very light so my be see-through; make sure you wear compression shorts with these
For solid construction and an all-around stylish look, this O’Neill is the brand to turn to. Versatile, comfortable and stylish, these O’Neill Men’s Santa Cruz Printed Boardshorts perfowm well on both water and land. They’re made of an Ultrasuede fabric which is soft and lightweight, allowing for easy mobility.
What you’ll really appreciate though is the unique style of these board shorts. While the camouflage print is highly popular, there are many other awesome designs to choose from and all of them feature the O’Neill logo patch at the hem. The material is also equipped with a Hyperdry, durable water repellent finish making, these shorts perfect in and out of the water.
To make the fastening situation a whole lot easier, it has a surf tie front designed with hook-and-loop closure and a cargo pocket that is fitted with a key loop and drainage eyelet detail. Whichever way you look at it, this is the perfect pair of board shorts this summer. For more awesome clothes for active men, check out our guide to the top compression shorts.
Made with Ultrasuede fabric
Hyperdry, durable water repellent (DWR) finish
Hook-and-loop flap cargo pocket
Pocket is fitted with key loop and drainage eyelet
Easy loop closure
Lots of cool designs to choose from
Caution is advised with sizing
May not be stretchy enough for some
Fishermen everywhere will appreciate the practical and stylish design of these awesome board shorts. After all, who better to understand the needs of anglers than the folks already part of that crowd? This is one of the main reasons why the Tormenter Waterman 5 Pocket Boardshorts is an all-around great board shorts option. Included in the overall design of this board short is a total of 5-pockets: the fishing pliers’ pocket, a small terminal tackle pocket, a cargo pocket, and extra-deep pockets right outside the pliers pocket.
The material is also super-durable, lightweight and pretty comfy. They are designed to be quick-drying, with a sturdy yet smooth polyester-cotton blend. Though these are well-suited for fishing, they can be used for a wide range of water activities or just for a fun day relaxing at the beach.
5-pocket design with the pockets on the hips for easy access
Equipped with a saltwater resistant zipper
No drag pockets to guard against resistance
Made of a sturdy yet smooth quick-drying polyester & cotton blend
- Weight8 Ounces
Designed by fishermen for fishermen
Awesome range of colors and designs
Velcro faux fly
Not much stretch
You’ve probably never really put much thought into something as simple as a pair of swimming trunks, but get the wrong ones and you’ll soon realize that not all the board shorts are the same. The Kanu Surf Men’s Barracuda Swim Trunks are perfect if you’re looking for a great pair of swim shorts. They are made of 100% polyester material and boast UPF 50+ sun protection, making them great for all kinds of water pursuits (still, don’t forget your sun block!).
This stylish pair of men’s boardshorts feature an elastic waistband as well as drawstrings so you can easily pull them on and tighten the top and hit the surf. They also include side seam pockets and an extra mesh-lined pocket to stash all your gear. For super convenience, the shorts are easy to care for and can be machine washed.
Made of 100% polyester material
UPF 50+ protection
Full elastic waist and drawstring closure
Equipped with both side seam pockets and mesh pockets
Includes comfortable mesh lining
- Weight12 Ounces
Great sun protection
Easy pull-on with elasticized waistband
True to size
Comes with a mesh lining, which some guys may not like
Anytime is a good time to get a great pair of board shorts and when it comes to affordable board shorts, the Goodthreads Men’s Swim Boardshorts are a great option. Not only are these super stylish, but they are also quite versatile and durable. You can wear them in and out of the water and as a part of casual summer attire.
They offer unrivaled comfort and are equipped with quick-dry performance. Some of the additional features of these shorts include a flap pocket on the right leg as well as a tie-front waistband. Bear in mind that these are shorter than standard board shorts – they end above the knee. For all the yoga fans, we have prepared our selection of the best-rated yoga shorts, so be sure to check them out.
Made of a 90% polyester and 10% spandex material
Quick-dry material which is also machine washable
Fitted with a flap cargo pocket on the right leg
Super comfortable four-way stretch fabric
Versatile and well priced
No internal liner
When it comes to the best boardshorts, you don’t need to compromise comfort for style. Nonwe Men’s Sportwear Quick Dry Board Shorts are available in a variety of colors and patterns so you can express your own personal style and, thanks to their comfy design, you’ll always look and feel relaxed and confident.
The polyester/spandex blend offers an almost silky touch that is soft and thin against the skin and these are also boosted with UPF 50+ to protect your skin against the sun’s harmful rays. Whether you’re into water sports or just want to look cool hanging by the pool, these are the best men’s surf shorts for the summer. If you are also a fitness enthusiast, check out our reviews of the most popular gym shorts and pick your favorite.
Made of a 95% polyester and 5% spandex
Velcro closure with adjustable straps
Has one cargo pocket for accessories
Available in a range of fun colors and designs
Suitable for beach, pool and water activities
UPF 50+ for sun protection
The drawstring may not tighten properly
Has a mesh lining which some may find uncomfortable
The Quicksilver name is synonymous with comfort and style and these Men’s Everyday Board Shorts come in all sizes for all body types, including big guys. The shorts are made from recycled materials so they’re durable and a great an eco-friendly option. There are also just enough pockets to stash a few personal items such as keys or your phone.
These are the coolest board shorts for a number of reasons. The Quicksilver logo ensures you get the outstanding quality the label is famous for and they are also true to size so once you get your first comfortable pair, you’ll always know which size to get. If you only get one pair of board shorts this summer, get the best men’s surf shorts that you can wear anywhere there is a body of water.
Made of 100% polyester material
Flap cargo pocket and lace-up fly
Stylish contrast logo at the leg
- Weight10.9 Ounces
Made from eco-friendly recycled polyester
Comfortable sizing for all body types
These should only be hand washed
Make a statement without saying a word with these unique-looking board shorts. The Tormenter clothing company designs some of the best board shorts for fishermen which is not surprising considering the designers are anglers themselves. The first thing you’ll notice with these board shorts is the dazzling fish motifs with some being as eye-catching and colorful as fishing lures. The shorts are made from a polyester blend material that is lightweight, quick-drying, and incredibly comfortable. The four-way stretch also ensures you have a full range of motion which you’re really going to appreciate when you’re out at sea trying to reel in the big one.
The shorts are equipped with a total of 4 large purpose design pockets, which include an invisible cell phone and plier pocket making them one of the best board shorts with pockets. For the man who enjoys more than the occasional surf, these top-rated board shorts are unbeatable. They are made in such a way that they can hold their own against the wear resulting from constant comfort with a wakesurf board.
Made of a quick-drying, smooth polyester/cotton material
Fitted with a cell phone pocket on the left hip
Velcro fly & drawstring closure
Colorful designs with fish motifs
- Weight11.5 Ounces
Plenty of unique and stylish designs to choose deom
Strategically placed pockets
Lightweight and comfortable
No internal mesh (can be a minus or a plus)
If it’s performance you’re looking for in a pair of board shorts, the HUK Freeman 21-inch Boardshort is the right pair for you. They are the perfect combination of style, comfort, and all-around functionality. Made from polyester and lycra, these top board shorts feature four-way stretch fabric that allows for natural movement and the material is super lightweight, yet durable enough to cope with the rigors of all sorts of water activities. The sizing is also great, from smaller sizes to ones for the big guys.
The fastenings are of the same quality as the other aspects of these shorts and feature a sturdy security zip. On the storage front, it is equipped with one plier pocket that is deep enough to carry a few essential items and they are aesthetically pleasing with an ultra scallop cut that makes it more than suitable for a day out in the sun. Stitch-free welded seams.
Made of a 91% Polyester and 9% Lycra material
Quick-drying with anti-microbial properties
UPF 30+ for sun protection
Fitted with a security zip and one plier pocket
Classic ultra-scallop cut
Stain-resistant with a water repellent treatment
- Weight14.4 Ounces
Quick-drying, lightweight and comfortable
Antimicrobial so no smells, bacteria, or fungal growth
Limited color choices
Why Trust Us
We love the outdoors and that also means we love our outdoor gear. That's why when we look for the best men's boardshorts, we look for comfort and enough stretch to allow us to engage in our favorite outdoor and water activities. Board shorts need to be comfortable in and out of the water and so we focused on shorts that are quick drying so we could go swimming and then hang around the pool or beach. Most of our team has a collection of board shorts that see a lot of action over the summer months so, needless to say, we've quickly discovered the differences between good board shorts and excellent ones.
Who This Is For
This guide is for anyone who loves a good pair of board shorts, especially when the weather heats up. If you're tired of generic shorts and trunks and want board shorts that are durable, lightweight and comfortable, you're sure to find a pair you love in this guide.
How We Picked
Board shorts have to look good but that doesn't mean you need to sacrifice your comfort. When putting together this guide, we looked at materials that were lightweight and breathable as well as having enough stretch to ensure comfortable movement. As the best boardshorts are worn in and out of the water, often simultaneously, we also looked at shorts with quick-drying fabric.
No good pants are devoid of pockets because you must have somewhere to stash your keys and other personal items. We like a rear patch pocket or a zippered back pocket to keep our valuables secure.
Features To Look For In Board Shorts
Fit - Board shorts are just like any other shorts, pants, or jeans in terms of fit. You want them to be tight enough to stay up but not too tight to cramp your style. They need to fit snugly around your waist but still have a little bit of room in the leg for comfort and breathability. Obviously, board shorts are also worn for athletic pursuits so it's best to look for two-way stretch fabric or even four-way.
Lining - Some board shorts have a lining, while others do not. If you don't like the idea of soggy underwear inside your shorts when you come in from the water, a mesh or compression liner is a good choice. In short, if your shorts do have a lining, you can get away with not wearing underwear but this is a matter of personal choice.
Waistband - Board shorts are all about comfort without the trappings of your usual pants and shorts. You have the option of an elastic waistband or a drawstring closure. Some also have a velcro closure that simply keeps the shorts in place. The main element to watch here is to ensure the waistband is snug enough to prevent your shorts from slipping down when you are swimming or surfing and that the closure is secure.
Material - Most board shorts are made with a polyester blend of some type and there is also a trend to use recycled materials as well. Stretchy fabrics like spandex or lucra are a must for comfort. This combo - polyester and stretchy fabric - is great as it dries fast, is durable and comfortable, and easy to clean. Moisture-wicking material is also great if you tend to sweat a lot or are frequently in and out of the water.
DWR coating - Durable Water Repellent coatings are essential with some types of board shorts, especially if you wear them when surfing, board paddling or fishing. Not only is a DWR coating great for quick drying properties, but in most cases, it also makes the fabric stain resistant so you can be sure your shorts won't be permanently ruined from using live bait and when you're cleaning fish.
Length - The best length for board shorts is right at the knee although some may be a little higher or a tad lower in the leg. It's really up to you which you prefer. You can also think about the way you move your legs and knees when in these shorts. Are you playing an intense game of volleyball, surfing or bar hopping?
Design - With so many different designs to choose from, you may need a lot of time to choose your board shorts. In general, we believe that the color and design should suit your personality and tastes. You can choose a single color or an outlandish pattern or design; there is definitely something for all tastes.
Board Shorts FAQ
Q: Why are they called board shorts?
A: The first board shorts were worn by surfers so they have their roots in surf culture. Once their comfort and style were noticed by non-surfers, they gained popularity among beachgoers all over the world. Now, even world-renowned surfers such as Kelly Slater (Outerknown Apex Trunks) have entered the world of board shorts with their own labels.
Q: Are boardshorts the same as swimming trunks?
A: Board shorts and swimming trunks are often made of the same materials but the main difference is that board shorts tend to be longer and may feature more shorts-like features.
Q: What do I wear underneath boardshorts?
A: Unless you have an anti-chafe lining in your board shorts, it is recommended that you wear some type of undergarments such as compression shorts or regular briefs to prevent friction.
Q: What fabric is used for boardshorts?
A: The most common type of fabric used to make board shorts is polyester or nylon fabric. Often, other materials are also blended with the fabric such as spandex or lycra that offer fast-drying properties and a comfortable stretch. Also, with the push for eco-friendly options, many manufacturers are also using recycled polyester to make their shorts.
Q: How tight should boardshorts fit?
A: Boardshorts should always be tight enough around the waist so that you don't need to pull on the drawstrings but not too tight to pinch into your waist. The legs should be loose, but not too loose. The main purpose of the drawstrings is to give you a little extra security when surfing or swimming in the sea to prevent losing your shorts.
- The Short History Of Boardshorts - Surfing World Magazine