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Speedos vs. Swim Shorts

author image Raymond DeWire
Raymond DeWire has worked in the fitness and recreation industry as an aquatic supervisor and swimming coach. He is a former college swimmer and current competitive cyclist. He has a Bachelor's degree in sport and recreation management and a Master's degree in sport management and coaching leadership.
Speedos vs. Swim Shorts
Swim briefs, or Speedos, are the preferred choice for aquatic exercise and lap swimming. Photo Credit Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

An oft-asked question for male swimmers has always been: Speedos or swim shorts? Each has their advantages and disadvantages, but both serve their purpose in the pool. Your swimming ability and needs dictate the type of swimming suit you prefer. A variety of considerations will probably affect your decision on what to wear, but comfort and utility are often the deciding factors.

Speedos -- Also Known as Briefs

A speedo, or swim brief, refers to the small, tight bathing suits that men wear while swimming. These suits are made of quick-drying material that fits snugly to your waist and are similar in shape and size to regular briefs. Swim briefs create little drag and do not limit your range of motion while you swim. These suits are often worn by competitive athletes and recreational lap swimmers. Similarly, you may find the same material and tight fit in a knee length version, known as a jammer.

Swim Shorts

Swim shorts, or trunks, are worn for leisure and recreational purposes but pose challenges when worn during lap swimming. Swim shorts are square-legged swimsuits that fit tightly around the waist but are loose fitting from the hips to the mid thighs. Swim shorts can limit your movement as you kick in the water and their bagginess creates drag as you swim, making you swim slower and requiring you to put forth more effort. These bathing suits are available in a variety of lengths and fits.

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