Men’s Swim Shorts: The Rise of the Surfer Dude


When did surf shorts become the accepted pool wear for men? Call me old-fashioned but I miss the good old days when men’s swim shorts were actually meant for swimming and not for lounging around on the sand with.

Historically speaking…

In the 19th century men’s swim wear consisted of a one-piece wool suit with long sleeves and pant legs that were fitted to the ankle. This would be the typical men’s swimming garb for many years to come. I think we have revisited that trend with the development of full-body rash guards which help protect swimmers and surfers from the harsh beach elements.

Men's Swim Shorts

Men's Swim Shorts

The succeeding years after 1907 saw the male bathing suit shrinking. The regular 50’s men’s swim shorts were made of cotton, had an elastic band to keep it in place and had Hawaiian-inspired designs printed on them. They usually didn’t bother anymore with wearing shirts specifically designed for swimming. The popular beach look consisted of Hawaiian-print shorts and a collared short-sleeved shirt open to the waist.

The success of the Speedos in the men’s swim shorts market was helped along by the fact that more and more people during the time were breaking out of their modest Victorian sensibilities and were eager to try something new. Not to mention the old designs of men’s swim suits were quite heavy to drag around after being drenched in sea water.

The ‘Yo, Dude!’ Era…

Men’s swim shorts have since undergone a transformation with the surge in popularity of surfing and other beach activities.

The surfer look of board shorts and long loose shirts have completely taken over the men’s swim wear market. Men’s swim shorts now lie loosely around their hips and some boys even wear boxer shorts or briefs under their swim wear

The men’s swim shorts nowadays allow men to switch their street attire to beach garb easily.

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