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Our Five Favorite Swim Trunks


As you may have noticed, it’s beautiful out there. You may not have found a swimming pool just yet, but it’s only a matter of time—and when you do, you’re going to need a pair of trunks.

Fortunately, you’ve got options. Specifically, these five.

The shorts at the left are from Sundek, who lets you customize colors through their interactive site. (We’d advise anything but the colors of your favorite sports team.) They had their heyday as an Italian import in the 70s, so there’s quite a bit of history to the wavy patches. Fortunately, the hemline’s gotten a bit longer since then.


For a more hi-tech approach, the fabric scientists at Aether just expanded into swimwear with this piped trunk, stitched together from a quick-dry micro fiber. It’s definitely on the minimalist side, but that kind of elegance is in remarkably short supply in swimwear.

A company called Orlebar Brown came up with the very good idea of putting cinchable side-tabs on their trunks, particularly useful once they’ve got some extra water weighing them down. It’s a high price tag, but it’s as close as you’ll come to bespoke. And, more importantly, they’re GQ-endorsed.


These Opening Ceremony swim shorts are one of the few items here we’d consider wearing in a non-aquatic setting. Understated checks are always a good idea, and the cuffing gives the whole thing a reform-school vibe that more than makes up for the nylon fabric. Scott Sternberg’s kicking himself for missing this one.

As an added bonus for those of you in New York, the Saturdays Surf Shop currently stocks some retro trunks from Lightning Bolt, which have so far managed to keep completely off the eCommerce radar. Consider it the modern equivalent of a collector’s edition.