The Best Board Shorts (2021 Reviews)

Roman Herrick
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Summertime means you will often wear a pair of board shorts to the pool or beach. I’ve looked into the best board shorts, with key points discussed below.

As with any clothing, there are different types, brands, and qualities of board shorts out there. Some are designed for rugged outdoor use, while others are intended to be worn on the beach.

Short answer: if you’re going to be doing a lot of outdoor activities that involve water—and you probably will be in the summer, then you want a lightweight pair that resists soaking.

With an eye on the details, you can wear a pair of board shorts pretty much anywhere this summer and look good doing it.

Read on to learn more about how to choose board shorts and what to look for.

NameCategoryProduct
Hurley Men's Phantom Assault BoardshortBest OverallHurley Men's Phantom Assault Boardshort
Unitop Men's Swim Trunks Classic Lightweight Board ShortsBudget PickUnitop Men's Swim Trunks Classic Lightweight Board Shorts
Hurley Men's Phantom Assault BoardshortUpgrade PickHurley Men's Phantom Assault Boardshort

1. Hurley Men's Phantom Assault Boardshort

Our rating: 9 / 10

Hurley Men's Phantom Assault Boardshort

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Pros:

  • Extremely durable
  • The short is well cushioned
  • Board shorts that fit nicely and are ideal for surfers
  • The back has a flatter finish which makes it easier to move
  • Probably worth the price it costs to buy it

Looking for the best board shorts for men? The Hurley Men’s Phantom Assault Board Shorts are the ideal choice.

The Phantom Assault board shorts are crafted from quick dry material which means you can use it even if you get caught in the rain. This short is comfortable and protective thanks to the padded core. It also has a 4-way stretch that provides ample freedom of movement.

The Phantom Assault board shorts comes with a zippered security pocket and you also get a belt and a mesh back patch that features the Hurley design. The belt loops are also not too loose or too tight.

2. Hurley Men's Phantom Assault Boardshort

Our rating: 9 / 10

Hurley Men's Phantom Assault Boardshort

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Pros:

  • Extremely durable
  • The short is well cushioned
  • Board shorts that fit nicely and are ideal for surfers
  • The back has a flatter finish which makes it easier to move
  • Probably worth the price it costs to buy it

Looking for the best board shorts for men? The Hurley Men’s Phantom Assault Board Shorts are the ideal choice.

The Phantom Assault board shorts are crafted from quick dry material which means you can use it even if you get caught in the rain. This short is comfortable and protective thanks to the padded core. It also has a 4-way stretch that provides ample freedom of movement.

The Phantom Assault board shorts comes with a zippered security pocket and you also get a belt and a mesh back patch that features the Hurley design. The belt loops are also not too loose or too tight.

3. Quiksilver Men's Everyday Brigg Vee 20 Boardshort

Our rating: 9 / 10

Quiksilver Men's Everyday Brigg Vee 20 Boardshort

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Pros:

  • Solidly built
  • Stays strong even after intense use

The Brigg Vee 20 pants from Quiksilver is a product that has been designed to help you feel comfortable and confident while you wear it. It features a front zip pocket for easy access to your things, internal mesh pockets that will store your small items safely, and open stretch mesh for an increased range of movement.

The cargo pocket is also great for keeping your things handy yet secure. Its inseam length is 10 inches, while its partial double-stitched outseam will ensure that you have extended durability.

This pair of board shorts by Quiksilver is made from quick-drying, stretch fabric and offers you a wide range of movement.

4. Maui Rippers Men’s Board Shorts

Our rating: 9 / 10

Maui Rippers Men’s Board Shorts

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Pros:

  • Great material
  • Well-made
  • Totally dry and comfortable
  • ATOM Block is for maximum UV protection
  • Quick dry
  • Well-ventilated

Cons:

  • Not for swimming (also not advertised as a swimming short)
  • Perhaps too short for some tastes

5. Hawaiian Island Creations

Our rating: 9 / 10

Hawaiian Island Creations

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The Hawaiian Island Creations (HIC) 21" Kanaha 8 Way Stretch Boardshorts are made from polyester fabric with an 80% stretch rating. The fabric has a matte finish and it's abrasion-resistant.

The inner liner is a microfiber twill material. The shorts have a 3D fit that is cut for extra room in the legs and seat. The waist is cut wide with a drawstring. The side belt loops each have a generous 3" long zipper pocket.

The shorts also have a media pocket sewn into the right side seam. It's large enough to hold a cell phone and a front facing mp3 player. You can also use it to hold your drivers license and some cash.

6. Maui Rippers Men’s Board Shorts

Our rating: 9 / 10

Maui Rippers Men’s Board Shorts

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Pros:

  • Great material
  • Well-made
  • Totally dry and comfortable
  • ATOM Block is for maximum UV protection
  • Quick dry
  • Well-ventilated

Cons:

  • Not for swimming (also not advertised as a swimming short)
  • Perhaps too short for some tastes

7. Unitop Men's Swim Trunks Classic Lightweight Board Shorts

Our rating: 9 / 10

Unitop Men's Swim Trunks Classic Lightweight Board Shorts

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Pros:

  • Easy to clean
  • Durable side panels
  • Great fit
  • Lightweight
  • Good storage pockets
  • Great for surfing
  • A great value for the price

The men’s swim trunks from Unitop are worthy of your consideration when you’re planning on purchasing a new pair of board trunks. They’re easily going to be one of the most comfortable board trunks that you’re ever going to wear. These board shorts come with a lining, which helps to keep you a lot cooler than if they came without a lining. They’re also incredibly lightweight, so you won’t have to worry about getting weighted down by a heavy pair of board trunks.

One of the things that we truly appreciate about these board trunks is their elastic waistband; it makes them incredibly comfortable. This elastic waistband will also help to keep the trunks from falling down while you’re in the water or sunning on the beach. The side panels on these board trunks are also quite durable, so you won’t have to worry about getting them torn up as quickly as you might with some other trunks.

8. Rokka&Rolla Men's Quick Dry Drawstring Waist Beach Swim Trunks Board Shorts

Our rating: 9 / 10

Rokka&Rolla Men's Quick Dry Drawstring Waist Beach Swim Trunks Board Shorts

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Pros:

  • Sturdy split sides
  • Tons of pocket storage
  • Comfortable elastic waist band
  • Good length
  • Quick dry material

Solid Color-Black.

These solid black board shorts are extremely affordable when compared to comparable board shorts. They’re high quality and comfortable enough for extended use.

These five-pocket board shorts have a zippered pocket, two side pockets, two back pockets, and a small inside pocket. It’s not a lot of storage, but it’s enough for most board shorts users.

9. Hawaiian Island Creations

Our rating: 9 / 10

Hawaiian Island Creations

Check Price on Amazon

The Hawaiian Island Creations (HIC) 21" Kanaha 8 Way Stretch Boardshorts are made from polyester fabric with an 80% stretch rating. The fabric has a matte finish and it's abrasion-resistant.

The inner liner is a microfiber twill material. The shorts have a 3D fit that is cut for extra room in the legs and seat. The waist is cut wide with a drawstring. The side belt loops each have a generous 3" long zipper pocket.

The shorts also have a media pocket sewn into the right side seam. It's large enough to hold a cell phone and a front facing mp3 player. You can also use it to hold your drivers license and some cash.

10. Maui Rippers Island Floral Boardshorts Blue

Our rating: 8 / 10

Maui Rippers Island Floral Boardshorts Blue

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Pros:

  • Great materials
  • Polyester with a large amount of spandex
  • Great stitching
  • Double safety pockets
  • Beach bag included
  • Really great for athletic men
  • Cheap
  • Great value for the money
  • And is cheap because it’s not from a big name brand

Cons:

  • No size on the side
  • Not expertly designed

11. O'NEILL Men's 21 Inch Outseam Superfreak Stretch Swim Boardshort

Our rating: 8 / 10

O'NEILL Men's 21 Inch Outseam Superfreak Stretch Swim Boardshort

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Pros:

  • Great for swim lessons
  • Excellent for surf or bodyboarding
  • Fully lined front and back

The O'Neill Men's Superfreak Stretch Boardshort in dark plum is the perfect option for anyone who enjoys surfing, bodyboarding, or swimming lessons.

First off, you'll love the fit as these swim trunks are comparable to men's board shorts, so they wrap around your waist and your legs to give you a flattering, comfortable fit.

I also love the elastic inner brief, which works to give you a seamless, comfortable fit that won't be seen through your trunks.

12. Unitop Men's Swim Trunks Classic Lightweight Board Shorts

Our rating: 8 / 10

Unitop Men's Swim Trunks Classic Lightweight Board Shorts

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Pros:

  • Easy to clean
  • Durable side panels
  • Great fit
  • Lightweight
  • Good storage pockets
  • Great for surfing
  • A great value for the price

The men’s swim trunks from Unitop are worthy of your consideration when you’re planning on purchasing a new pair of board trunks. They’re easily going to be one of the most comfortable board trunks that you’re ever going to wear. These board shorts come with a lining, which helps to keep you a lot cooler than if they came without a lining. They’re also incredibly lightweight, so you won’t have to worry about getting weighted down by a heavy pair of board trunks.

One of the things that we truly appreciate about these board trunks is their elastic waistband; it makes them incredibly comfortable. This elastic waistband will also help to keep the trunks from falling down while you’re in the water or sunning on the beach. The side panels on these board trunks are also quite durable, so you won’t have to worry about getting them torn up as quickly as you might with some other trunks.

13. Hurley Men's One and Only 22-Inch Boardshort

Our rating: 8 / 10

Hurley Men's One and Only 22-Inch Boardshort

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Pros:

  • Looks good and fits well
  • Light and durable
  • Wonderful price

The shorts come in a simple design and look good. They are durable with no stitching or anything that may tear the short over time. The price is extremely good for this pair of shorts, and can be found at discount prices without the need to wait for a sale.

The main mechanism that causes the shorts to become unsightly with age is the material. The fabric itself isn’t too flexible, and will tend to ball up behind legs when you walk. This is probably a good reason for some, but it may not be good for most.

The construction is a bit different but not in a bad way. The seam is pretty straight at the front, and then you have a nice taper out at the leg. The large side pockets are nicely placed and are actually quite roomy. There are also small back pockets sewn onto the rear.

14. Quiksilver Men's Division Remix Vee Boardshort Swim Trunk

Our rating: 8 / 10

Quiksilver Men's Division Remix Vee Boardshort Swim Trunk

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The stretchy and durable Polyester fabric is machine washable and fade resistant so you will look sharp all year long. High performance with its chlorine resistant properties allows for the ultimate life during a swim session and the multi-purpose function of this swimsuit allows for a comfortable experience. We are big fans of the sporty look without the racing stripes along the belt and down the side.

15. Rip Curl Men's Rapture Layday Side Pocket Swim Board Shorts

Our rating: 8 / 10

Rip Curl Men's Rapture Layday Side Pocket Swim Board Shorts

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Pros:

  • True to size
  • High-quality material and stitching
  • Quick drying and hang dry quickly
  • Perfect for surfing
  • Flexible fit under wetsuit

16. Aleumdr Womens Long Boardshort Swim Bottom High Waisted Tankini Swimwear Shorts

Our rating: 8 / 10

Aleumdr Womens Long Boardshort Swim Bottom High Waisted Tankini Swimwear Shorts

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Pros:

  • It is beautiful and nice-looking
  • It does not require any ironing
  • It has a good elasticity
  • It has good quality
  • It has a reasonable price and value
  • It hides the flaws of your waist
  • It looks great
  • It fits well
  • It is excellent
  • It looks fantastic and feels great

17. MaaMgic Mens Swim Trunks Slim Fit Quick Dry Swim Shorts Swimwear Mens Bathing Suits

Our rating: 8 / 10

MaaMgic Mens Swim Trunks Slim Fit Quick Dry Swim Shorts Swimwear Mens Bathing Suits

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Pros:

  • High quality at a reasonable price
  • Stylish and comfortable

If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line item, you may find one in the MaaMgic mens swim trunks.

This item is made from premium nylon and polyester that will ensure you a comfortable fit all the time. Its water-repellent fabric will keep you nice and dry, so you don’t have to worry about experiencing some unwelcome sogginess under there.

The MaaMgic also features a mesh lining, underpants, and a slim fit design. That means you’re going to remain comfortable even if you’re wearing the trunks for extended periods of time.

18. Aleumdr Womens Side Split Waistband Swim Shorts

Our rating: 8 / 10

Aleumdr Womens Side Split Waistband Swim Shorts

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Pros:

  • Added waterproof liner
  • Well-reinforced waist band
  • Good quality material
  • Soft, comfortable fabric
  • Lining prevents bunching
  • Zipper pockets
  • Rounded low-cut back
  • Holds shape well
  • Stretchy side inserts
  • Double lining around leg openings

When you are searching for a great pair of board shorts, you need to get one with a wide range of features that can give you what you need. That is exactly what you get when you choose the Aleumdr Womens Side Split Waistband Swim Shorts with Panty Liner Plus Size S – 3XL.

First, the material is carefully selected to ensure that it has a maximum stretch and comfort. This allows it to fit nicely on your body even if you keep it for quite some time. The fabric is also soft and smooth, so wearing it will be a pleasant experience.

Adjusting the size on this board shorts is simple and straightforward thanks to its side zipper pockets. The zipper pockets are also waterproof, making them an ideal place for items that you do not want to get wet.

19. ATTRACO Swim Shorts

Our rating: 8 / 10

ATTRACO Swim Shorts

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Pros:

  • More plus-sized swimwear are coming to market
  • Trendy, stylish
  • Most color choices available

Cons:

  • Limited sizing available
  • More revealing than full swimsuits

Many of the swim shorts come in only smaller sizes. This as a result means that there will have to be some sacrifices otherwise you can end up not looking good in a suit. There are some known exceptions, but the truth is that you may have to do some tailoring if the manufacturer does not make your size.

There are some terrific colors to choose from so that you have a bright color that will help your confidence. Nothing is worse for confidence than being a plus-sized individual who is trying to enter the water and finding that you are not prepared.

If there is one thing that is going on, it’s that there are more plus-sized trends than there were before. This means that if you are one of the plus-sized you need to start looking at your options. You may need to go online to look for a lot of the plus-sized swimwear.

20. Firpearl Women's Board Shorts UPF50+ Sport Surf Shorts Swimsuit Bottom Swim Shorts

Our rating: 8 / 10

Firpearl Women's Board Shorts UPF50+ Sport Surf Shorts Swimsuit Bottom Swim Shorts

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Pros:

  • Stretchable
  • Comfortable
  • Thick
  • Durable
  • Stylish
  • Medium-sized pocket on the back of the waist, not a mesh nylon one like a lot of other board shorts.
  • Low profile
  • Quick drying
  • Great customer support and service from the company.

Cons:

  • Sizing is slightly inconsistent. I purchased both a Small and a Medium pair, and the Small was actually longer than the Medium.
  • A little more difficult to put on than most board shorts.
  • Can rub under the right leg if you're not care enough.

Overall, I'd recommend these for casual use (hanging out at a pool, kayaking, etc.), but not for heavy use such as paddleboarding, surfing, etc.

21. Maui Rippers Women’s 5" 4-Way Stretch Swim Shorts Boardshorts

Our rating: 8 / 10

Maui Rippers Women’s 5" 4-Way Stretch Swim Shorts Boardshorts

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Pros:

  • Specific board short for women
  • Ideal board short for surfing and paddle boarding
  • Machine-washable and chlorine-resistant

Cons:

  • The short shows and risks revealing butt cheeks
  • Waistband could be better

The Maui Rippers Women’s 5” 4-Way Stretch Swim Shorts are a pair of board shorts that are ideal for surfing, paddle boarding, body surfing, swimming or lounging around in.

It’s 100% chlorine resistant and has a quick-drying material. This also makes it a perfect choice for women who are prone to urinary tract infections. The fabric is also quick-drying, but the inside is lined with cotton to make sure that it’s comfortable.

They’re offered in two great colors- white and black. They’re flexible and easy to move in. The waistband is thicker, which is perfect for women who have a slightly rounded belly.

22. Guy Harvey Men's Grand Slam Lined Swim Trunks

Our rating: 7 / 10

Guy Harvey Men's Grand Slam Lined Swim Trunks

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Pros:

  • Vibrant graphics for a contemporary look
  • Polyester/spandex blend is soft and lightweight
  • Quick-drying, quick-dry and quick-stain-release
  • Fits very well
  • Has a nice long zipper

This is definitely a recommendation for the Guy Harvey Men’s Grand Slam Lined Swim Trunks and Board Shorts.

The Guy Harvey Men’s Grand Slam Lined Swim Trunks and Board Shorts are designed to be a modern looking board short with the perfect amount of coverage during your aerobic outdoor activities. The polyester/spandex blend is soft and lightweight, making them super comfortable and flexible. The look and design is stylish and flattering.

The swim trunks are made in the USA and are available in black and grey and in sizes 32 to 38. The board shorts are made in the USA and available in 3 colors.

23. Roxy Women's Endless Summer Printed Boardshort

Our rating: 7 / 10

Roxy Women's Endless Summer Printed Boardshort

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Pros:

  • U.S. union made
  • Breathable and moisture-wicking
  • Functional cargo pockets
  • Belt loops
  • Drawstring closure
  • Flat seaming

Cons:

  • Runs large
  • The number of pockets could be better

Activity guides and fitter information are available on most shoemaker websites. Other retailers, like REI, Outdoors, Surf & Sport, and Eddie Bauer, also have their own customer fit guides.

Wetsuits and wetsuit tops (male surfing areas) are predominantly crafted from some amount thermoplastic rubber (neoprene). Take note that neoprene is stiff when uncured, but will soften once exposed to water or heat. Wetsuits can be manufactured from perhaps 10mm (0.4in) to 50mm (roughly 2in) thick, but the most popular incarnations are between 10mm and 24mm (roughly 0.4in and 0.9in).

The more neoprene a wetsuit consists of, the greater the insulative properties. However, thick wetsuits are also heavier and more cumbersome to don and doff.

24. Roxy Women's Endless Summer Printed Boardshort

Our rating: 7 / 10

Roxy Women's Endless Summer Printed Boardshort

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Pros:

  • U.S. union made
  • Breathable and moisture-wicking
  • Functional cargo pockets
  • Belt loops
  • Drawstring closure
  • Flat seaming

Cons:

  • Runs large
  • The number of pockets could be better

Activity guides and fitter information are available on most shoemaker websites. Other retailers, like REI, Outdoors, Surf & Sport, and Eddie Bauer, also have their own customer fit guides.

Wetsuits and wetsuit tops (male surfing areas) are predominantly crafted from some amount thermoplastic rubber (neoprene). Take note that neoprene is stiff when uncured, but will soften once exposed to water or heat. Wetsuits can be manufactured from perhaps 10mm (0.4in) to 50mm (roughly 2in) thick, but the most popular incarnations are between 10mm and 24mm (roughly 0.4in and 0.9in).

The more neoprene a wetsuit consists of, the greater the insulative properties. However, thick wetsuits are also heavier and more cumbersome to don and doff.

25. O'NEILL Men's 21 Inch Outseam Ultrasuede Swim Boardshort

Our rating: 6 / 10

O'NEILL Men's 21 Inch Outseam Ultrasuede Swim Boardshort

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Pros:

  • Durable
  • Looks great
  • Comfortable
  • Amazing value for the price
  • Premium quality

If you're looking for high-quality board shorts, this pair will not disappoint you. They are made with the finest ultrasuede, and are very comfortable. The legs have plenty of room for comfort on the water, and the 21 inch outseam means that the material won't be sitting on your thighs while you're paddling, which is very important. The bottom of the shorts is roughly 12 inches, so you'll be able to swim for a long time without having to worry about cutting off blood circulation to your legs.

Although the material is a good quality, the shorts won't last forever if you don't take care of them properly. To keep them at the top of their game, keep them out of the sun, and they'll look good for years to come.

26. Maui Womens Plus Size Bathing Suit Swim Shorts Board Shorts

Our rating: 6 / 10

Maui Womens Plus Size Bathing Suit Swim Shorts Board Shorts

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Pros:

  • Comfortable material-100% cotton
  • Very nice flattering fit
  • Comfortable; The length was long and sat at waist for an adult

These board shorts are perfect if you’re looking for a swimsuit or a bathing suit for a plus size woman. They are made of 100% cotton, have a flattering fit, and are very comfortable. The length is long and sits at the waist, making them especially flattering for an adult.

The only downside is that these shorts are really big and large. They wouldn’t fit an adult who is only above average in size. They run large, so you may need a belt or they may risk slipping off.

However, if you’re looking for board shorts for a woman who carries extra weight in the hip area and rear, these board shorts are perfect.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the best board shorts?

While there is a wide range of options available when it comes to board shorts, we’ve singled out the best board shorts based on the following factors:

Style – We’ve focused on short board shorts that look good on the beach or in the water.

  • We’ve focused on short board shorts that look good on the beach or in the water. Material – Good board shorts should be made of material that feels good against your skin and dries quickly.
  • Good board shorts should be made of material that feels good against your skin and dries quickly. Price – While good board shorts can be expensive, we’ve found the best board shorts that won’t break the bank.

What is the best thing to wear under board shorts?

It's always a good idea to wear some type of layer underneath board shorts. A lot of men try to go without anything else but that is not good idea. You can wear any type of layer that you want and you should be fine. I always go for underwear that has a liner with it but not a necessary thing to have.

Can you go swimming in board shorts?

Yes, they are swim shorts. But they began as a surfers’ outerwear. The earliest shorts were simply long shorts cut off above the knee. Why? Because the early surfers cut boards from redwood logs. The discarded logs became surfboards. The earliest shorts evolved into the pants that you see today. Surfers wore them outside the water, over their bathing suits for sun protection and modesty. Soon, the other beachgoers started copying the surfers. Today, they are wildly popular and very versatile.

What is the difference between board shorts and swim shorts?

Board short and swim shorts are quite similar except board shorts are longer so you can wear them outside of the water. It might seem like a minor difference but it actually turns out to be very important. When wet, board shorts are heavier and stiffer, which in combination with the lower waistline makes them more uncomfortable.

Swim shorts, on the contrary, are lightweight, durable, and elastic. There are no buttons and zippers, and everything is just 2 inches above the knee, which makes them suitable both for a regular beach stroll and a swim. Throw in the fact that swim shorts are usually made from quick drying materials and you get a conclusion: swim shorts are better for just about anyone.

Conclusion

Buying a pair of board shorts is a lot like buying a new pair of jeans. You want something that looks good, fits well, and is made to last. Our goal was to give you the best bang for your buck and show you that that doesn't have to mean sacrificing style or comfort.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Hurley Men's Phantom Assault BoardshortBest OverallHurley Men's Phantom Assault Boardshort
Unitop Men's Swim Trunks Classic Lightweight Board ShortsBudget PickUnitop Men's Swim Trunks Classic Lightweight Board Shorts
Hurley Men's Phantom Assault BoardshortUpgrade PickHurley Men's Phantom Assault Boardshort