Womens swim shorts and board shorts are our favorite summer secret—we reach for them anytime we’re planning on doing more than lounging on the beach (which, let’s face it, is almost always). Here’s why these two swim bottoms are our favorite beach, swim and watersports picks, and how we decide when to reach for each.
They may look similar, but these two must-have swimwear pieces do serve slightly different purposes.
- Board shorts are shorts that go over your swimsuit, kind of like swim cover ups. They’re best for both in and out of water activities—think volleyball, sailing, paddleboarding, or grabbing a quick bite from the snack shack. Board shorts are typically made of 4-way stretch, quick-dry fabrics with UPF coverage. We've got a selection of solid color board shorts to coordinate with our swimwear.
- Swim shorts, on the other hand, are basically the shorts version of a Bikini Bottom. They’re great for—you guessed it—swimming! (And in the surf, with the kids, or whatever else you’re doing in the water.) Swim shorts are made of the same stretchy material as other swimwear, and usually have a built-in brief and drawstring waist. They pair perfectly with bikini tops or tankini tops.
Think of boardshorts as an addition, while swim shorts are a replacement. We wear boardshorts over our regular swimsuit or bikini bottoms for that extra level of coverage. So, to review: grab boardshorts to go OVER your swimsuit bottoms; grab swim shorts INSTEAD of your swimsuit bottoms.
Our boardshorts and swim shorts are all built to dry quickly, but because swim shorts are made from the same fabric as our suits, they’re specifically built to stay put, provide sun protection, and be quick drying.
The good ones do, yes! It’s key to check the label of any swim piece you’re purchasing to make sure you’re covered in the sun, but at Title Nine, all our swim shorts come with UPF 50 sun protection built right in. (You’re welcome.)
Board shorts for women should fit like regular shorts—snug enough to stay put, but loose enough to give you all the stretch you need. These pull-on shorts can be high-waisted or low-rise; they also come in different inseams from boyshort to mid-length, just like regular shorts. Our other must-have features? Built-in pockets and an adjustable waistband.
Looking for more on the ins and outs of board shorts and swim shorts for women? Check out our guide to all things Board Shorts vs Swim Shorts.