Last Updated on 23 June 2020 by Marie Davis
Finding a great pair of swim trunks for your boy is easy with our guide on some of the best quality, coolest, and best safest options with sun protection around. Whether your family will be taking a dip in a pool or hitting the waves at the beach, we have found amazing pairs of shorts that your child will love to wear when he goes swimming. Little kids and big kid trunks come in lots of options from solid colors to fun loud prints, but it is important to ensure any style you are looking for has UPF protection built into the fabric. You also need to make sure they are comfortable to move in and that the material dries off quickly. The most functional, comfortable, and attractive boys swim trunks for the beach, or the pool is listed below.
Old Navy Tipped-Waist Solid-Color Swim Trunks
Old Navy always has a great selection of children’s bathing suits. They have lots of different styles, but a good one to start with is the Tipped-Waist Solid-Color Swim Trunks. It comes in navy or a couple of beautiful bright solid colors (more vivid colors are great for keeping track of kids a little easier), for kids who are over printed styles. It has an elastic waistband and adjustable drawstring that helps to get a good fit. They have a built-in mesh brief liner that helps to make this style comfy. They also dry quickly and have built-in UPF 50 sun protection. The sizing runs a little large, but sometimes it is okay to get swimwear with a bit more space so you can use them for more than one season.
Available from Old Navy
Tiered Trunks from Cat & Jack™
These Tiered Trunks from the brand Cat & Jack™ that is sold at Target is a popular color block style. The design is a pretty basic board short length with a drawstring at the waist. The fabric is a polyester that has sun-blocking properties, so they are perfect for a pool, beach, or lake. Like a lot of other garments that are made with polyester these days, this short include a percentage of recycled polyester to help make it a little bit more sustainable.
Available from Target
Carter’s Little Boys’ Swim Trunk
These Boys Swim Trunks from Carters are a go-to style for many parents that they go back to year after year until their child sizes out of the brand. These cool shorts are perfect for little boys because they come in bright, fun colors and prints and are easy to get on and off, and they hold up well to wear. The fabric soft, flexible, has UPF 50+ protection. These trunks by Carter’s are known for being very comfortable, and the bright colors make it easy to spot your child right away whether you are at a pool or the beach.
Available from Amazon
Kanu Surf Boys’ Specter Quick Dry UPF 50+ Beach Swim Trunk
Some of the best bets for bathing suits for the whole family come from Kanu Surf. They are a wildly popular swimwear company that you can find on Amazon. Their styles are good quality and relatively inexpensive. They also have a lot of great prints for the boys who like a fun pattern on their shorts. Kanu has a few different children’s’ designs, but if you aren’t sure where to start, check out the Kanu Surf Boys’ Specter Quick Dry UPF 50+ Beach Trunk. It is a simple design that is made quick-dry microfiber: lightweight and durable. One of the great features of this style is that it has pockets, pockets can be a positive or a negative on swim trunks depending on your preferences. This style has not only side seam pockets but also one cargo pocket. So they make a good option if your child wears trunks as regular shorts when he isn’t swimming and needs the storage. The other fun thing about this design is that it comes in toddler, kids, and men’s sizing so you can get matching shorts for adults and kids.
Available from Amazon
Primary Kids Swim Trunk
A great place to find high quality, flexible options in solid vibrant colors is at Primary. Their Kids Swim Trunk is a favorite option for many parents (and grandparents) who are looking for styles that are sustainably made with safe materials. The stand out feature of this style is the super lightweight and soft polyester microfibre that has UPF 50 protection, and kids love how this fabric feels. They’re also straightforward to get on and off, and the length falls a few inches above the knee, so they aren’t too short or too long for most kids.
Available from Primary
Billabong All Day Stripe Pro Boardshorts
Billabong always makes great boardshorts that are cool and stylish enough for the most fashion-conscious boy. One of Billabong’s best styles is the All Day Stripe Pro Boardshorts that are made from a quick-drying stretch fabric that is comfy enough for all-day wear. Part of the fabric is made from recycled materials. The stripe print has a fresh look to it that is stylish and great for the beach.
Available from Billabong
Quiksilver Boy’s 8-16 Union 19″ Amphibian Boardshorts
Like Billabong, Quiksilver is a great place to find high-quality function boardshorts that is great for old kids or teens that are looking for more sophisticated styles. One option that is a little different than your average boy’s boardshorts is the Amphibian Boardshorts. The men’s version of this design is super popular. What is cool about this style is that the shorts look like regular chino shorts, but they have the stretchy water-repellent fabric that you can wear for swimming. The waist closure Non-corrosive zipper with a button. It also has a side and a back zip mesh pocket.
Available from Quiksilver
If you are looking for a style for a child who loves his graphics and cool prints on his clothes, you may want to check out Boden’s selection of swimwear. They have a tonne of adorable options in different lengths and set that come with rash guards. An excellent place to start is with the Boden Bathers. Their prints are fun and colorful and perfect for kids. The fabric is also super soft and includes UPF 50+ protection, and they come with a mesh lining.
Available from Boden
Gap Kids Magic Print Swim Trunks
This swim trunk uses water-reactive technology that reveals print when the fabric gets wet. So the shorts just look like a plain colored short and then when you get it wet you get this fun surprise. Carter’s also has a style that does this. It is a really neat idea, but the execution sometimes doesn’t work as well as people are expecting. Also, if you wash these types of trunks in detergent that can sometimes interfere with whatever it is that makes the pattern emerge. Anyway, despite my sounding so down on them, they are great shorts that are worth checking out, just be prepared in case the print doesn’t work quite as well as you are expecting.
Available from the Gap
O’Neill Boys’ Hyperfreak Boardshort (Toddler, Little Kid, Big Kid)
The O’Neill Hyperfreak Boardshort is an excellent choice whether your boy is a surfer, wakeboarder, casual swimmer, or just want to look good on the beach. The stretch fabric makes this style easy to move around it. The material is incredibly stretchy, making them easy to move around in. They also dry super fast. The anti-rash hyperthread helps stop any chafing while surfing or boogie boarding.
Available from Swimoutlet
TYR Boys’ Solid Challenger Swim Short (Toddler, Little Kid, Big Kid)
The TYR Boys’ Solid Challenger Swim Short feature is a great looking style that is comfortable for all-day wear. They have a nice inner liner that is a soft, breathable mesh that drains and drys quickly. There is lots of storage on this design with two side pockets and one cargo. The waist is an adjustable drawcord that is easy to tighten for a great fit.
Available from Swimoutlet
ZeroXposur Surfer Swim Trunks
The ZeroXposur Swim Trunks is a fun, inexpensive style that you can find at Kohls. They have a relaxed fit, so these work well if your boy likes a little bit more room to move around. There is an Inner Adjustable Waistband that seems to work well at keeping these shorts in place along with the elastic closure. The fabric has the all-important UPF 50+ Protection to make sure your child stays safe in the sun.
Available from Kohls