Should You Be Wearing Underwear Under Swim Trunks?

underwear under swim trunks

Summertime is here and if you’re not a regular beach goer, you might be wondering if you should wear underwear under swim trunks. Maybe you’ve felt that annoying chafe or are worried about accidental exposure. Or perhaps you just don’t like the feeling of wet fabric clinging to you.

The question of wearing swimming shorts with or without underwear is a lot more common than you’d think and it turns out the answer is really preferential. There are many different reasons why men choose to keep their undies on while others don’t feel the need. According to the opinions of men on social media sites like Reddit and X, it’s really a mixed bag with no right or wrong answer.

Top Reasons Why Men Wear Underwear Under Swim Trunks

underwear under swim trunks


For many men, it comes down to just straight comfort when it comes to their reasoning for wearing underwear under swimming trunks. As one social media user put it, “I feel more comfortable with something covering my junk,” echoing the sentiments of countless others in the thread. 

Several men highlighted the discomfort of wet fabric clinging to their skin after a dip as well as the chafing of the thighs from the damp material, an issue that can be solved by wearing moisture-wicking underwear or compression shorts underneath.

But comfort isn’t the only factor at play here. Some men cited concerns about hygiene, particularly in public pools or shared bodies of water. “I don’t want to expose my nether regions to whatever bacteria is in the water,” confessed another user, reflecting a sentiment shared by others who prefer the added protection of a layer of fabric.


Another common sentiment for wearing underwear under swim trunks was the desire for modesty. While swim shorts are designed to provide coverage, they can sometimes fall short in the modesty department, especially when wet. Wet swim trunks can cling to your skin and reveal a bit more of your print, which can be unforgiving in cold waters.

There’s also the fear of accidental exposure, which underwear under swim trunks can add an extra layer of security. Loose-fitting swim trunks can be an embarrassing accident waiting to happen. Some men simply feel more confident knowing that they have an extra barrier between themselves and the outside world. 


Performance also plays a role in the decision to wear underwear or compression shorts under swimwear. Athletes and avid swimmers, in particular, may opt for compression shorts for their moisture-wicking properties and muscle support.

“I wear compression shorts because I swim laps and they keep everything in place,” explained one Redditor. Others echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the importance of support and stability during physical activity.

Are You Supposed To Wear Underwear Under Swim Trunks?

Wearing underwear under swim trunks may be a common practice, but are you supposed to wear underwear under swim trunks? To get to the bottom of this, we consulted clothing manufacturers, fashion experts, and avid swimmers. Here’s what they have to say.

The Short Answer: No

According to most clothing manufacturers and swimwear experts, the short answer is no, you’re not supposed to wear underwear under swim trunks. Swim trunks are designed with built-in liners that act as a substitute for underwear, providing support and reducing friction.

Expert Opinions

Clothing Manufacturers: Brands like Speedo, Nike, and Billabong design their swim trunks with these liners specifically to eliminate the need for additional underwear. They recommend against wearing extra layers as it can cause discomfort and impede the quick-drying properties of the swimwear.

Fashion Experts: Style gurus also advise against wearing underwear under swim trunks. “Swim trunks with liners are engineered to function without additional layers. Adding underwear can create unnecessary bulk and cause issues like chafing,” says Michael Fisher, a renowned menswear stylist.

Avid Swimmers: Those who spend a lot of time in the water, such as professional swimmers and surfers, rarely wear anything under their swim trunks. They value the freedom of movement and the quick-drying feature of the liners, which additional underwear would compromise.

Choosing the Right Underwear To Wear With Swim Shorts

underwear under swim trunks

But with all this talk of wearing underwear or compression shorts under swim shorts, one question remains: what’s the best option? The answer, as it turns out, depends on personal preference and intended use.

For those who prefer traditional underwear under their swim shorts, certain styles and materials are more suitable for water activities. Look for moisture-wicking fabrics like nylon or polyester blends, which will help prevent discomfort and chafing when wet.

Boxer briefs are a popular choice due to their snug fit and support, while briefs offer a minimalist approach for those who prefer less coverage. Some brands even offer swim-specific underwear designed to withstand the rigors of water sports, featuring quick-drying materials and chlorine resistance.

Compression Shorts Under Swim Trunks

On the other hand, compression shorts are favored by many athletes for their performance-enhancing properties. Look for compression shorts made from breathable, moisture-wicking fabric to ensure comfort during prolonged wear. Flatlock seams can help prevent chafing, while a snug yet comfortable fit will provide the support you need without feeling restrictive.

If you’re planning on swimming laps or engaging in other high-intensity water activities, opt for compression shorts with a longer inseam to minimize friction and provide additional muscle support. And don’t forget to choose a pair with UV protection if you’ll be spending extended periods in the sun.

Swim Trunks With Built In Compression Liners

If you’re wanting the extra support but don’t want to be bothered by wearing a separate pair of underwear or compression shorts under swimming trunks, there is the option of shorts that come with built-in compression liners. Instead of the standard mesh liner, these trunks feature a snug, supportive layer of compression fabric. 

This design aims to enhance comfort and support while maintaining the functionality of swimwear.

  • Support: The liner provides support to your groin area, much like underwear would, helping to keep everything in place.
  • Comfort: By reducing friction between your skin and the fabric, the liner helps prevent chafing.
  • Quick-Drying: The materials used for the liners are typically quick-drying, which helps keep you comfortable both in and out of the water.

Best Swim Trunks with Built-In Compression Liners

SILKWORLD Men’s Swim Trunks with Compression Liner

underwear under swim trunks

These 2-in-1 swim trunks offer a snug, supportive fit with a built-in compression liner and an outer quick-dry fabric.

  • Features:
    • Quick-dry fabric with a comfortable fit
    • Compression liner provides extra support
    • Convenient side pockets for storage

difficort Mens Swim Trunks with Compression Liner

underwear under swim trunks

These board shorts feature a built-in compression liner for added comfort and support, with a super breathable, lightweight mesh fabric.

  • Features:
    • Durable and quick-drying material
    • Integrated compression liner
    • Zipper pocket

maamgic Mens Swim Trunks with Compression Liner

underwear under swim trunks

Known for their stretchy, no-chafe fit, these swim shorts feature a built-in compression liner that provides excellent support without sacrificing style.

  • Features:
    • Anti-chafe design with comfortable fit
    • Quick dry stretch fabric
    • Stylish design with zipper pockets

LRD Men’s Swim Trunks with Compression Liner

underwear under swim trunks

These swim trunks feature a built-in compression mesh lining that is made of a super soft breathable material for added support and comfort, with a focus on vibrant, fun designs.

  • Features:
    • Fun, stylish patterns
    • Comfortable, supportive compression liner
    • Quick-dry, moisture-wicking fabric

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Jay Reece

Jay here, During the day I'm a freelance author and graphic designer specializing in the fashion, style, and health/wellness realm. I also own a small, full service barber shop in the Chicago land area where I still pop in to work my magic as a barber and stylist. When I’m not working, you'll find me on the basketball court playing a pick up game or grappling on the mats. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is my way of finding release and keeping me mentally disciplined. I also enjoy spending time with my two little ones as my family is my greatest accomplishment.

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