The Best Board Shorts

Board shorts are for fun in the sun. Growing in popularity because of their beachside performance and fun prints, board shorts were originally known as “surf trunks” due to their prevalence in the surfing scene. Now, board shorts are worn by men and women all over the world’s sun-soaked coastlines, at lakeside retreats, and even neighborhood pool parties. Affectionately known as “boardies,” board shorts are now as mainstream as sunglasses on a hot day.

We reviewed dozens of board shorts and have selected the best models to help you find your perfect pair. Considering factors such as durability, function, and sweet style we’ve picked our top choices for men and women in both long and short length designs. Many of the choices on our list come in a variety of colors, so give them a thorough look before making your final decision.

Top Pick

Maui Rippers Octo Tako

Premium trunks made for practical use, the Maui Rippers Octo Tako trunks have triple-stitched durability and a cool style that’ll have you showing them off at every sunny opportunity.

There are many great designs out there, but after researching all of the board shorts we’ve seen we’ve chosen the Maui Rippers Octo Tako as our board shorts top pick. The Octo Tako is triple-stitched for supremely strong seams, and its microfiber twill is lightweight, soft on your skin, and dries quickly. All of this comes packaged in a fantastic design that is a blend of rugged surf shorts and slick streetwear.

The 5 Top-Rated Board Shorts

Editor’s PicksBrandRating
Best OverallMaui Rippers Octo Tako4.9
Runner UpHurley Phantom Assault5.0
Best Budget BuyUnitop Classic4.6
Best Long Board ShortsHawaiian Island Creations Kanaha5.0
Best Women’s Board ShortsRoxy Endless Summer

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Our Top Pick: Maui Rippers Octo Tako

The Maui Rippers Octo Tako board shorts have been a top-tier product, and a customer favorite, for over a decade. Constructed of a soft, but sturdy, microfiber twill and sewn together with triple-stitched seams– these board shorts are built to last long and feel good throughout the day. Looking to spend a relaxing day at the beach? These comfortable shorts will be right there with you. On the flip side, swimmers, surfers, and fishers will find the Octo Tako’s to be both functional and flexible during strenuous activity.

Two secured cargo pockets will prevent your keys and wallet from falling into the sand, and the adjustable drawstring tie-up waistband will keep the shorts from falling to your ankles. Both pockets and waistband are reinforced for improved durability to withstand the daily wear and tear of beach life. Care for a round of beach volleyball, anyone?

Dubbed “Octo Tako”, these board shorts were designed with one of the most efficient sea hunters in mind. The octopus is strong and versatile, as are these shorts, and so a representation of the creature has been stylishly embroidered onto one pant leg. This fashionable adornment gives the board shorts just the right amount of personality so that they may catch someone’s eye without begging for attention.

Maui Rippers Octo Tako Key Features:

  • Triple-stitched seams
  • Cargo pockets with hook-and-loop closures
  • Fine attention to detail

Our Runner Up Pick: Hurley Phantom Assault

Runner Up

Hurley Phantom Assault

Colorful camo trunks with an EZ fly closure and lace-up drawstring. These stylish board shorts are going to garner some attention.

Vibrant and camo aren’t two words you typically see together, but the Hurley Phantom Assault board shorts nail it with a fresh design that shouts seaside exuberance. Decorated in a camo design of sea birds, fish, and underwater plant life, these board shorts will have you blending right into the scenery and artwork of any beachside town.

These fun board shorts are comprised of a polyester and spandex blend that stretches well for all of your outdoor activities. The fixed waistband is set with a tie-in that allows you to reign in the shorts for a snug fit so that a surprise wave doesn’t pull off your trunks. An EZ fly closure keeps things neat and simple, and the quick-drying fabric is machine washable. The slim, simple construction is juxtaposed with the lively design for a slick look.

Hurley Phantom Assault Key Features:

  • Polyester and spandex blend
  • EZ fly closure
  • Fun design

Best Budget Pick: Unitop Classic

Best for Budget

Unitop Classic

Budget doesn’t have to mean basic. The Unitop Classic is a step above with quick-dry fabric, velcro pockets, mesh liner, and double stitched construction.

Budgeting does not correlate with sacrifice, at least not when it comes to the Unitop Classic board shorts. Blurring the line between board shorts and traditional swim trunks, the Unitop Classic is loaded with features from both types of beachwear.

The long, solid design of the trunks looks as good in the water as it does perusing the fish taco joints on Main Street. The 100% polyester material dries fast, and the double-stitched contrasted seams bring a level of quality not often seen at this price point. These board shorts will easily transition through whatever string of activities you have planned for the day.

With the addition of two velcro storage pockets and mesh liner, anything is possible. These are your go-everywhere shorts.

Unitop Classic Key Features:

  • Velcro secured pockets
  • Double-stitched seams
  • Mesh liner

Best Long Board Shorts: Hawaiian Island Creations Kanaha

Best Long Board Shorts

Hawaiian Island Creations Kanaha

Solid craftsmanship and the unique, tribal design elevate the Hawaiian Island Creations Kanaha board shorts above the rest of the crowd.

The Hawaiian Island Creations Kanaha long board shorts offer stellar construction, an awesome tribal design, and a 21″ outseam for those of you who like to wear their shorts long. “Kanaha” is a term derived from Polynesian/Hawaiian roots that translates to “reflection,” and that refers back to the Hawaiian surfer roots of all board shorts. These board shorts are as classic as it gets, a true reflection of the original board shorts they’ve evolved from.

The specific polyester and spandex blend that makes these Kanaha shorts are an essential part of HIC’s 8-way stretch that promotes an active lifestyle without sacrificing the durability of the shorts. Coated in a durable water repellant and triple-stitched at the seam, these shorts are on par with the strongest board shorts available.

A single-flap pocket is secured by velcro and comes with a wax comb string for securing your keys. The pocket is double-stitched, and embroidered designs like the company’s logo and the islands of Hawaii add extra detail to an already fabulously design pair of board shorts.

Hawaiian Island Creations Kanaha Key Features:

  • Octo 8-way stretch fabric
  • Triple-stitched seams, double-stitched pocket
  • Embroidered details

Best Women’s Board Shorts: Roxy Endless Summer

Best Women’s Board Shorts

Roxy Endless Summer

Soft and stretchy with an adjustable fold-over waistband, the Roxy Endless Summer board shorts have beach appeal that extends onto the boardwalk and even to downtown.

Fairly new to the market, women’s board shorts like the Roxy Endless Summer shorts are growing in popularity. The term “board short” has taken on a wider definition for women, ranging from short to long and from a loose fit to tight. The Roxy Endless Summer board shorts are short and loose with a fold-over, adjustable waist that offers wearers the option of a higher waist when needed.

A polyester and elastane blend gives these shorts just a little bit of stretch. The lycra knit elastic waistband folds for a sleek low-rise look or opens up to a more supportive and comfortable mid-waist length. There’s one small back welt pocket ideal for a small set of keys or a credit card.

Reviewers note the comfortable feel of the 4-way stretch fabric and appreciate the loose, flowing fabric around their thighs. These board shorts are offered in a variety of styles.

Roxy Endless Summer Key Features:

  • Polyester and elastane blend for 4-way stretch and comfort
  • Fold-over waistband
  • Back welt pocket

Who Should Buy Board Shorts

In short, anyone who loves taking a swim on warm, sunny days. Board shorts were once only used by surfers and hardcore watersport enthusiasts, but their popularity has taken off in recent years and now everybody wears them. They were originally designed to withstand the fury of the ocean waves and double as appropriate attire at a seaside restaurant where speedos weren’t allowed. The length, durability, and functionality are universally sought-after attributes, and the slick designs on many popular models are a fresh breath of air in modern fashion. They’ve taken the swimwear market by storm.

Board shorts are best used by anyone who is going to be hopping in and out of the water whether it be the ocean, a lake, or a pool. The material is often quick drying or altogether hydrophobic, meaning you can be swimming in saltwater one minute and standing completely dry on the boardwalk the next. Board shorts transition well from the beach to the streets, as do waterproof backpacks or any gear that remains dry after a day at the beach.

Men’s board shorts have been a sunny day staple on sandy shores and at poolside barbecues for decades, and there are many styles to choose from. Women’s board shorts are only beginning to show up in stores, though they’ve been popular in Hawaii for quite some time. The market for women’s board shorts is more varied than men’s, and that’ll only help women find the perfect fit and style to match their desired look.

Top Pick

Maui Rippers Octo Tako

Premium trunks made for practical use, the Maui Rippers Octo Tako trunks have triple-stitched durability and a cool style that’ll have you showing them off at every sunny opportunity.

Important Features to Consider

There are a few important considerations to think through before purchasing a pair of board shorts.

  • Do you need a lining? The standard expectation when wearing board shorts is that you’ll be going commando (that means no undies!), though many shorts don’t offer any protective lining for your sensitive areas. Most trunks will have soft fabric around the zipper and mid-seam, which is enough for some people, but you may want to keep an eye out for shorts that offer a liner if you feel you need more coverage or support. Women’s shorts, particularly the very short ones, often, but not always, come with a panty liner to help keep you covered.
  • Make it stretchy! Many of the board shorts on our list come with spandex or elastane interwoven into the fabric to give the material some stretch. You’ll want stretchy shorts if you intend on doing physical activity like surfing, in which case you’ll also want to check out our list of best surfboards once you’re done here.
  • The long or short of it. Long shorts offer more UV blockage for your skin and better protect your legs against harsh surf or the rails of a fishing boat. They also look a little cooler, but that’s just my opinion. Short board shorts offer less resistance in the water, making it easier to move around under the whitecaps, and tend to be more active-oriented as there is less material to get in the way of a sweet game-saving dive on the beach volleyball court.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are board shorts and what are they used for?

Board shorts are quick-drying, water-resistant shorts that work well in the water and look good walking around town. They’re often used by surfers and swimmers for their versatility and functionality.

What’s the difference between board shorts and swim trunks?

Typically, board shorts dry much more quickly than swim trunks. Board shorts often have a tie-up waistband and functional pockets while swim trunks have elastic waistbands and mesh liners for support while you swim. These definitions are not absolute and the lines between the two can be blurry sometimes. Swim trunks and board shorts both serve as swimwear and they share a lot of attributes, but only board shorts transition well to regular street use.

How do you wash board shorts?

Nearly all board shorts on our list are machine wash safe with standard detergent and cool water, though a few specify to hand wash only. Make sure to read the care instruction label on any garment you purchase.

Can I swim in board shorts?

Absolutely! Board shorts were developed with swimming in mind. They operate just fine in the water, and they’ll dry out quickly once you’re done swimming.

Other Board Shorts We Reviewed

Top Pick

Maui Rippers Octo Tako

Premium trunks made for practical use, the Maui Rippers Octo Tako trunks have triple-stitched durability and a cool style that’ll have you showing them off at every sunny opportunity.

We looked at 20 other pairs of board shorts. Even though they didn’t make our five best board shorts list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for a fun day in the water. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.

Men’s Long Board Shorts

Maui Rippers Island Floral

Maui Rippers Island Floral

Strong and comfortable microfiber shorts equipped with two large cargo pockets, triple-stitched seams, and an awesome floral design.

Key Features:

  • Triple-stitched seams
  • Microfiber material
  • 21″ outseam

Cost: $49.95

O’Neill Superfreak

O'Neill Superfreak

Active board shorts with 140% hyper freak stretch allows these trunks to shine on the volleyball court and catch some gnarly waves.

Key Features:

  • 89% polyester, 11% elastane
  • Techno butter neoprene panels and back zip pocket
  • Anti-rash hyper thread

Cost: $19.98 – $59.50

Quiksilver Everyday Brigg Vee

Quiksilver Everyday Brigg

Bold stripes for bold men– reviews praise these Everyday shorts for their quality feel and good looks.

Key Features:

  • 76% polyester, 18% cotton, 6% elastane
  • Dry flight hydrophobic coating
  • Neo fly

Cost: $31.20 – $49.50

Rokka&Rolla Quick Dry Drawstring Waist

&Rolla Quick Dry Drawstring Waist

Dress yourself in UPF 50+ protective microfiber fabric for the ultimate, worry-free day at the beach.

Key Features:

  • 100% UPF 50+ polyester
  • Mesh lining
  • Elastic waistband

Cost: $22.99 – $29.99

Tormenter Reef Break

Tormenter Reef Break

Super comfortable 8-way stretch board shorts with stylized artwork by artist Don Ray.

Key Features:

  • 90% polyester, 10% spandex
  • Dedicated cellphone pocket and a cargo pocket
  • Triple-stitched seams

Cost: $29.95 – $39.99

Tormenter Side

Tormenter Side

Form meets function in these shorts designed for fishing on the high seas where durability and multiple pockets are necessary.

Key Features:

  • 4 large pockets and hidden cellphone/fishing plier pocket
  • Drag-reduced construction for surfing
  • 8-way stretch design

Cost: $41.98 – $54.99

Men’s Short Board Shorts

Guy Harvey Grand Slam
Guy Harvey Grand Slam

Straddling the line between swim trunks and board shorts, this Grand Slam design transitions between the water and pavement with ease.

Key Features:

  • 100% polyester microfiber
  • 2 side pockets, a back patch pocket, and inside coin pocket
  • Mesh liner with inside drawstring elastic waistband

Cost: $21.99 – $36.95

Hurley One and Only

hurley one and only

Perhaps the one and only pair of board shorts you’ll ever need, these trunks are made from a strong and comfortable Recycled Supersuede fabric.

Key Features:

  • 100% polyester
  • EZ fly closure
  • Back patch pocket

Cost: $36.80 – $89.63

MaaMgic Fashion Short

MaaMgic Fashion Short

These slim-fit fashionable shorts scream personality. Choose from an assortment of wild designs to find the pair that best mirrors your wacky side.

Key Features:

  • Quick-dry, water-repellant fabric
  • UPF 50+
  • Multiple fun designs

Cost: $9.99 – $19.99

O’Neill Ultrasuede

O'Neill Ultrasuede

Well constructed shorts with an unassuming striped design best for those who want a good pair of board shorts with a refined look.

Key Features:

  • 100% polyester
  • Single cargo pocket
  • Tie closure

Cost:  $23.44 – $55.00

Quiksilver Division Remix

Quiksilver Division Remix

Active shorts that help “going commando” with a comfortable neoprene fly gusset and chafe-resistant center seam.

Key Features:

  • 80% polyester, 20% elastane
  • Zippered side pocket
  • Tie closure

Cost: $12.93 – $59.50

Rip Curl Rapture Layday

Rip Curl Rapture Layday

Board shorts designed for use beyond the surf, these smart-looking trunks have street style and versatile construction.

Key Features:

  • 38% nylon, 38% polyester, 15% cotton, 9% elastane
  • Side and back pockets
  • Drawstring enclosure

Cost: $21.40 – $54.95

Women’s Long Board Shorts

Aleumdr High Waisted Tankini

Aleumdr High Wasited Tankini

The longest pair of women’s board shorts on our list comes with contrasting side stripes and adjustable cuffs for style and versatility.

Key Features:

  • Polyester and spandex fabric
  • Elastic waistband
  • UPF 50+ protection

Cost: $3.69 – $17.99

Firpearl UPF50+ Sport Surf

Firpearl UPF50+ Sport Surf

Mid-waist board shorts with a breathable brief lining that can stretch for all of your active pursuits. Reviewers love the comfort and self-confidence they feel with these shorts.

Key Features:

  • 80% nylon, 20% elastane
  • Mid-waist below bellybutton fit
  • Athletic stretch

Cost: $17.99

IN’VOLAND Women’s Plus Size UPF50+

IN'VOLAND Women’s Plus Size UPF50+

High-waisted shorts with a “tummy control” waistband that wicks away moisture and provides excellent UV protection.

Key Features:

  • 82% polyamide, 18% elastane
  • Plus size options
  • UPF 50+

Cost: $16.99

Maui Mermaids

Maui Mermaids

Loose-fitting board shorts with a high waist and stretchy fabric that lets you get as active as you want to be without any restraints.

Key Features:

  • 90% polyester, 10% spandex
  • Loose, trunk-style design
  • Useful for a variety of occasions outside of the beach

Cost: $33.95

Women’s Short Board Shorts

Aleumdr Side Split

Aleumdr Side Split

Short shorts that won’t leave you feeling exposed with the included panty liner and roomy cut.

Key Features:

  • Polyester and spandex fabric
  • Classic tankini style
  • Vented hem

Cost: $3.68 – $16.99

ATTRACO Solid Swim Bottom

ATTRACO Solid Swim Bottom

Sporty swimwear that comes fully lined and adorned with fashionable side ties.

Key Features:

  • 82% polyester, 18% spandex
  • Mid-waist coverage
  • Versatile side ties

Cost: $16.99 – $18.99

IN’VOLAND Women’s Plus Size Tropical

IN'VOLAND Women's Plus Size Tropical

A colorful design matched with side pockets, a feature rarely seen in women’s board shorts. These shorts are cute and functional.

Key Features:

  • 97% polyester, 3% spandex
  • 2 side seam pockets
  • Fashionable prints

Cost: $9.99 – $14.28

Maui Rippers 4-Way Stretch

Maui Rippers 4-Way Stretch

Traditional board shorts with all of the form and function you’ll need for a long day at the beach.

Key Features:

  • 90% polyester, 10% spandex
  • 4-way stretch
  • Cargo pocket

Cost: $33.95