What is the difference between board shorts and swim trunks?

What is the difference between board shorts and swim trunks?

While board shorts and swim trunks are very similar, there are a few key differences. Not only can these help you tell the difference between the two, but you’ll also be able to figure out which is better for your needs. We’ve listed 5 of the most common differences and they should help you have an easier purchasing process.


One of the biggest differences between these shorts is the length. Board shorts are usually quite a bit longer than swim trunks. The board shorts will usually go just below the knee, while swim trunks usually sit right above the knee. With that said, though, you can find swim trunks that are the same length as board shorts. If this is the case, you’ll want to use some of the other differences on this list to see what type of swimwear they are.

Type of Fabric

Another big difference is the type of fabric that’s used. Not only is the fabric of board shorts usually softer than swim trunks, but they also tend to be made from cotton instead of polyester. This is great for those that have sensitive skin or can get easily chafed by materials that aren’t made from a softer material. It’s also good to remember that the cotton board shorts are going to dry much slower than polyester swimming trunks.


The styles of board shorts and swimming trunks differ quite a bit and you might find that people prefer board shorts if they’ll be wearing them out of the water. The main reason for this is because board shorts look a lot like normal shorts while swimming trunks are obviously swimwear. The great thing about both types of swimwear is that there are many styles and designs available. You can go with something simple or get something completely unique and out there.


You can also tell the difference by looking at the waistband of the swimwear. With swim trunks, you’ll see that most of them have an elastic band and drawstrings to help keep them tight and in place. Board shorts, on the other hand, don’t use any of these. Since this is the case, you’ll want to find a pair that fits perfectly and doesn’t move around. This is especially true if you’ll be doing things like surfing.

Mesh Lining

The final difference we’re going to talk about is the mesh lining. While board shorts don’t have these at all, almost every pair of swim trunks will. This lining is put in the shorts to try and increase the amount of comfort and ensure that everything stays where it should be. The issue is that some people find the mesh lining to be uncomfortable, itchy, or even the cause of skin irritations. As a result, many people completely cut the mesh out and don’t use it.

These differences might not seem like much, but they are the factors that make swim trunks and board shorts different. It’s important to remember that both types of swimwear are best in different situations, so make sure you’re purchasing the type that’s best for your needs and will work for the types of situations you’ll be using them in.