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Why Don’t Board Shorts Have a Liner?

Ever wonder why most board shorts don't have liners? This article got you. We've also discussed its pros and cons along with the alternatives to mesh liners giving you more options for comfortable swimwear.

Back profile of a man in board shorts carrying a surfboard.

Some board shorts don’t have a liner because they’re designed for quick drying when coming out of the water after surfing or swimming. However, I don’t blame you if you feel “bare” without at least a little mesh to hold your “prized possessions” in place. 

Advantages of No Mesh Liner

Mossy Oak Men's Standard Fishing Board Shorts No Mesh Lining, Equator, Large

Mesh lining might show up in women’s board shorts, but they probably occur more often in the men’s style. Keeping you from feeling chilly for too long when you decide to lie on the beach for a while in the sun remains the number one advantage of not having a liner. Going commando underneath your board shorts also may provide you the most air circulation.

For best results, you will want a pair of shorts that fit snug on the waste but have long, loose-fitting legs. They will allow airflow while keeping you covered. Men wearing liners also won’t have to worry about their private “members” getting caught in a mesh lining rip or tear.

It’s not easy to find board shorts or swimming trunks without liners, however. People sometimes cut out the mesh lining from a pair they just bought, but why?

Mesh liners may not take long to dry. However, they might trap drops of water in areas of your body that may begin to feel cold and uncomfortable once you leave the water. Some people may have an allergy to materials used to create them too, so they prefer to not have them in their water shorts.

Advantages of a Mesh Liner

Nylon Net White, Fabric by the Yard

“The inner mesh acts as a climate control for your crutch,” says a Decisive administrator.

Concerning climate control for the “crutch” area, mesh lining enables air circulation underneath your shorts. Along with that, the mesh provides you extra “private” security that going commando under your board bottoms may not.

A mesh liner can also keep the outer waterproof clothing layer away from your skin, which prevents chafing. In addition to no rashes, the lining may stop your shorts from sticking to your skin, which otherwise may feel uncomfortable and embarrassing. A mesh liner might also irritate you less than bulky, wet underwear once you come back to land.

For men, it may offer the added benefit of extra protection if colliding with another surfer, a swimmer, a buoy or boat—uncommon scenarios but possible nonetheless. Mesh seems to be the most popular choice if wearing any material underneath a pair of shorts made for surfing or swimming.

Why not underwear instead of mesh?

Tyhengta Mens Swim Trunks Beachwear Quick Dry Board Shorts with Mesh Lining Black 38

My question of “why not underwear” instead of mesh lining is not rhetorical. I have a good reason why not to wear underwear under your board shorts. Certain cotton briefs or boxers come in thick materials that may keep you drenched for longer than you’d like.

What’s more, they’re heavier than mesh, so they may slow you down when trying to ride waves or swim laps. The weight of heavier brief materials also may just feel cumbersome—almost like wearing a wet diaper.  

An Alternative to Mesh Liners

QRANSS Colorful Mens Swim Trunks 5.5'' Inseam Swimwear Shorts with Inner Compression Liner Quick Dry Beach Swimming Short Bathing Suit Men Size Small 28-30

“Some consider wearing Speedo-type shorts because this has a property to dry quickly,” advises Paul Smith of iFashion Guy.

Two main alternatives to mesh liners exist, and they don’t just come in the Speedo brand. One type of compression short comes attached underneath a pair of board shorts or swimming trunks.

The first compression liner option comes in similar materials as the second alternative that you would buy separately from the outer shorts: Lycra, spandex, polyester and elastine. You also might find stretch cotton ones, usually unattached.

Billabong Mens All Day Undershort - Black 2 | Medium

If your board shorts don’t come with the attached compression shorts, you can find them as a standalone item. Having these compressed undershorts separate from the top layer may prevent difficulties when dressing. You won’t have to waste time untangling the inner lining if they somehow end up “inside out” when taking them off after a previous boarding session.

Advantages of Compression Shorts

Man in white compression shorts running on the beach.

Compression shorts provide both security and maneuverability without sacrificing breathability. Most of them also feel much lighter than boxers, briefs, boy shorts or other types of underwear. They also dry much faster than cotton, fleece or other heavy fabrics and might not rip, tear or snag as easily as netted or mesh fabric.

Disadvantages of Compression Shorts

I know some people who have allergies to some synthetic fabrics used to make compression shorts. However, some people might find a rare combination of cotton and stretch material that may also serve the same purpose. Compression shorts also might cause genital soreness if worn too long and make a person feel constricted if they’re too tight.

A Stretch-Cotton Undershorts Version

Cotton rib boxer

Source: Skims

I found an alternative type of compression shorts made from a stretch-cotton material. They do come equipped for male and female anatomies, and they may whisk away sweat and dry just as quickly as undershorts made from synthetic materials might. This option may make it easier for people who love the water to enjoy it if they react less to cotton than other fabrics.