Boardshorts vs. Swim Trunks

Boardshorts vs. Swim Trunks

When you’ve been shopping for new swimwear for your next beach trip or pool day, you might not have ever noticed that there was a difference between the swimwear you were choosing from. That’s why we’re breaking down the difference between boardshorts vs. swim trunks so that you’re getting the right pair for you!

While there are some minor differences between the construction of each style of swimwear, the key difference is clear: swim trunks are made with leisure activities in mind (i.e. hanging out on the beach, lake, or in the pool), while boardshorts are made for active performance for water-based activities like surfing, paddleboarding, etc.


If you are all about watersports, boardshorts are the way to go. Boardshorts are made with several key factors that make them highly effective.


First, the fixed waist of boardshorts allow the shorts to stay on the hips throughout vigorous activity while the rest of the short’s four-way stretch gives maximum freedom and movement.

 Man holding a surf board and waiving while wearing Chubbies Neon Lights Stretch Boardshorts

Another key feature is the length of boardshorts. Although fluctuating based on trends, the general range for the outseam is between 17 and 21 inches. This extra length comes in handy when you need more thigh and knee protection when paddling and protection from sun exposure.


Unlike swim trunks, boardshorts do not have a mesh inner lining because the lining can stifle flexibility, fill up with water, and cause chafing.

Swim Trunks

Swim trunks are definitely more for your average-Joe wearer. If you are planning to relax on the beach or play with the kids in the pool, this is the choice for you. Strenuous activities would cause the pockets of swim trunks to fill with water and pull the elastic waist down. The mesh lining of swim trunks can also become waterlogged, so if you’re looking to take a surf or swim a few laps, boardshorts would be your best choice.

Man wearing blue Southern Shirt Company Coral Cove Swim Trunks

Swim trunks are also typically shorter in length compared to boardshorts, with the average length ranging from 15 to 17 inches.

When deciding between boardshorts or swim trunks, it’s important to think about what kind of activities you’ll be doing to make sure you are picking the right style. Either way, here at Eagle Eye Outfitters, we’ll have the right swimwear you need to “Take Life Outside!”

Don’t forget to stay safe from the sun with dermatologist approved apparel and SPF and shop sunglasses that will keep you outside all day!