Skip to Content

What are Board Shorts?

Board shorts have come a long way from what surfers would wear to hang 10. Now, they are a cool and stylish part of every summer wardrobe. They have many uses and varying styles making it important to know how you want to use your board shorts.

This is a surfer at the beach wearing a pair of floral print board shorts.

When I think of board shorts, I think of surfers paddling out to meet the waves on a clear sunny day. While that probably conjures up a visual of some surfer movie, it is a clear picture of what I think about board shorts. What I did not realize is that they are so much more than just surf shorts.

This article answers the question, what are board shorts?

How Are Board Shorts Used?

Board shorts have traditionally been for surfing, but over the years, their use has become varied. They are now a more mainstream addition to summer attire. They can be part of your casual wear, worn for fitness, physical activities, and surfing.

You can find board shorts in different variations and styles. It is essential to know how you plan to use them so you can find the perfect pair for your needs. 

Different Types of Board Shorts

Surfing Board Shorts

A woman wearing a pair of pink board shorts about to go surfing.

No matter if you are an experienced or novice surfer, your boardshorts are just as important as your surfboard. These shorts are made of durable fabrics. They are longer and looser in your legs to prevent the board wax from being irritating to your skin and leg hair.

These shorts are usually 22 inches long to protect you from the rough board. When they are this long, they fall below your knees, and you will not get a rash. If you are an experienced rider, you want shorts that have a 4-way stretch.

Four-way stretch means that the fabric will stretch lengthwise and crosswise, making sure you are not restricted by your shorts. The most flexible shorts are made from nylon, spandex, cotton, or polyester. 

You want board shorts that have a lace up fly and velcro, so you do not lose your shorts anytime you wipe out. Surfing board shorts do not fit the same way swim trunks do. They give your legs room to move but are not baggy like typical swim shorts.

They are tighter in the waist and sit on your hips without fear of them sliding down. When you are out on your board, you can suffer from the sun, even on overcast days. Unlike regular shorts, these men’s board shorts provide UPF protection on your legs. 

Versatile Swimmer Board Shorts

TSLA Men's Swim Trunks, Quick Dry Beach Swimming Board Shorts, Bathing Suits with Inner Mesh Lining and Pockets, Solid(msb13) - White, Medium

These board shorts are considered a hybrid model. They can be worn in the water, while playing in the sand, or hanging out with friends. They are functional like a board short should be but styled like shorts in which you can walk around.

They are called many different names, including land to sea shorts, surf n turf shorts, or amphibian shorts. No matter their name, they all can easily go from sea to beach. These trendy boardshorts options are created with style in mind, so you look good no matter what you are doing. 

These trunks are made from material that dries quickly and wicks away sweat and moisture. You will not have to wait for an hour to be completely dry. After about 10 minutes, they are usually dry.

Surfing board shorts are usually constructed from nylon and polyester. These shorts have different options for closure. They may have Velcro, drawstring closure, zippers, or some combination of two closures.

They have a pocket that have a secure closure, and you can feel confident that all your items are secure. 

Stylish Board Shorts

This is a man wearing a pair of colorful floral pattern board shorts.

Stylish board shorts are made of bright colors, fabric that is comfortable, and designs that are inspired by surfing. They come in various fun patterns, lengths, and styles and are found in many different places. There are even retro style board shorts with lengths that are shorter and even have scalloped edges.

These are a great option to add to your wardrobe in the summer. These board shorts are created to be modern and sleek to accentuate but not be too much. They have moisture-wicking capabilities, so you will not sweat through your shorts even on the hottest day.

The moisture-wicking ability also keeps you from feeling wet all the time, which no one likes. They can also feel cooler. Board shorts are affordable, and you will not have to break the bank to buy them.

They are typically made of durable materials to last an entire season and from year to year. 

Swimming Board Shorts

A man wearing a pair of swimming board shorts at the beach.

Swimming board shorts is what you might want to find yourself hanging out by the pool. They fit loosely, made of soft fabric and a secure fly. Many men prefer these shorts to men’s swim trunks.

Their durable and quick-drying material takes you from sunning to swimming and back to sunning again. Some of these swim board shorts have an elastic waistband, while others have a Velcro waist. Swimming board shorts hold up better than traditional swim trunk options do.

Fitness Board Shorts

A man wearing a pair of red fitness board shorts while paddle boarding.

Board shorts have become more popular with those interested in fitness. Many people who enjoy participating in CrossFit wear board shorts. Newer material that stretches makes these shorts work well in the gym.

You can also wear them during an energetic game of beach volleyball. You can find board shorts just about everywhere. Brand names like Nike and Under Armour are now making board shorts. 

Life Guarding Board Shorts

A man wearing a pair of blue lifeguard board shorts.

The job of a lifeguard is to keep people safe. When peoples’ lives are in your hands, you want to make sure you have all the right equipment. That includes shorts that allow you to move freely and comfortably.

Most board shorts, or boardies, are red to ensure lifeguards easily stand out and you know exactly where they are located. These board shorts also have secure pockets to allow lifeguards to carry whatever they may need. 


Do You Wear Anything Under Board Shorts?

Choosing to wear something under your board shorts is really about personal preference. Many people choose not to wear anything under their board shorts. Board shorts are a one piece swimsuit that is a women’s swim trunk or men’s swimming trunks.

Some have a mesh lining in them, while others do not. Women may choose to wear bikini bottoms or bathing suit bottom under their board shorts. It may depend on how the board shorts fit. 

What Are Board Shorts Used To Do?

Boardshorts are ideal for summer and warm weather coverage. They are quick dry fabrics and have UPF 50 coverage; boardshorts are great in and around water. You can wear men’s boardshorts for water skiing, kayaking, paddle boarding, life guarding, and hanging out with friends. 

Can I Run in Board Shorts?

Board shorts are lightweight and feel like you have nothing one. They dry quickly and are comfortable, which make them ideal for running. Some board shorts are longer than others.

If you plan to wear them for running, you want to make sure you get a length that is not going to prevent you from running as quickly as you want. You also do not wear a pair of board shorts that are going to chafe or give you a rash while you are running.