What to Wear Under Board Shorts: A Guide to Comfort and Style

what to wear under board shorts

Regarding beachwear, figuring out what you should wear below your board shorts can be challenging. Board shorts are a popular option for guys looking for comfort and style.

However, the issue that must be answered is, “What to wear under board shorts?” This guide will help you choose the solution that best fits your needs by examining the various factors. 

We’ll help you choose the perfect beach gear, whether you want a snug fit or more room to move. Join us as we explore the world of board shorts and discover the best undergarments to wear to feel confident and at ease while enjoying the beach.

What are Board Shorts? 

man wearing Board Shorts
Credit: hurley on Instagram

Men’s and women’s board shorts are a style of swimwear that seem more like regular pants than a bathing suit. They’re fantastic if you’re looking for something more subtle than a bathing suit can provide.

The shorts are not as form-fitting as swim trunks and are usually knee-length. 

Board shorts are typically composed of polyester or nylon, which allows them to be waterproof and quick-drying. They were initially created for surfers but have since acquired appeal among non-surfers of both sexes.

It is ideal for exploring tropical climates, enjoying beach vacations, or even having backyard staycations; board shorts provide excellent coverage. Their Flexibility, quick-dry materials, and UPF 50 coverage make them ideal for various water activities.

Importance of Wearing Undergarments with Board Shorts

Here are some strong reasons why wearing board shorts is good:

  • Hygiene

Even though board shorts dry fast, they can still hold sand, salt, and other debris. Wearing undergarments under board shorts is a barrier that keeps these bits from sticking to your skin. This is very important if you spend time in the water or on the sand.

  • Revealing

When wet board shorts are worn without undergarments, the fabric tends to stick to the body, which could show off private parts.

Some board shorts have built-in liners, but more is needed to keep swimwear from showing. On the other hand, wearing undergarments adds another layer of covering, making it harder to see what’s underneath.

  • Comfort

Some board shorts have built-in padding but may differ from everyone’s taste or give the best comfort. By wearing undergarments of your choice,  you can adjust the support and ease to meet your needs.

  • Chafing 

Wet cloth rubbing against your skin can cause uncomfortable friction, leading to chafing and other skin problems. Wearing undergarments under your board shorts reduces friction, making the experience more comfortable and less likely to cause soreness.

What to Wear Under Board Shorts?

Plenty of options are available on what you can wear under board shorts. But it depends on your personal preferences. You can: 

1. Board shorts with liners 

Man wearing Board shorts with liners
Credit: _tucann_ on Instagram

Choose board shorts with an attached layer if you want the most comfort and support while surfing or swimming. Surfers tend to avoid board shorts with a liner to escape any damage that liners cause when catching waves. 

With the rise of board shorts with built-in liners, makers have prioritized giving the groin area more support and compression. If you choose board shorts with liners, you don’t have to wear underwear or tight shorts because the liners do the job. This new design ensures that surfers and swimmers can be as comfortable as possible without giving up their freedom of movement.

2. Wear nothing

man wearing white board shorts
Credit: saucecourt on Instagram

If you want to feel more free, you don’t have to wear anything underneath your board shorts. This simple style means accepting the freedom and flexibility that board shorts offer without the restrictions of knickers or compression shorts.

Board shorts are made to be worn alone, and many brands and makers make them with this in mind. By going without undergarments, you’re sticking to how the product was meant to be used.

3. Shorts

Man wearing orange Compression shorts
Credit: rawgear on Instagram

Compression shorts are popular and useful as they give you the support you need and keep you from getting chafed in the water. They are made to improve performance and reduce the chance of rashes and soreness, which are common problems for surfers. 

One benefit of compression shorts is that they are longer, which can give you more safety from the surfboard. They give you the support and coverage to enjoy the waves or walk along the beach more confidently and easily. 

Look for tight shorts made of moisture-wicking materials to stay dry and comfortable at the beach.

Remember that compression shorts shouldn’t be worn when wet, so take them off when you get out of the water. Moisture can make germs grow, so it’s best to change into dry clothes after swimming or other water activities.

4. Underwear

man wearing boat shorts in beach
Credit: supawear on Instagram

Wearing underwear under board shorts is a common choice for people new to surfing or just wanting a more relaxed beach experience. But you should be careful about what kind of underwear you choose.

Don’t wear regular cotton underwear because it tends to soak up water and make you feel heavy. Cotton also takes a long time to dry, which can be annoying. Instead, choose underwear that is made of polyester or nylon. These materials dry fast and don’t soak up much water.

Why Shouldn’t You Wear Undergarments with Board Shorts?

It’s up to you whether or not you want to wear undergarments with board shorts, but here are some reasons why you might not want to:

Drying Time

Normal pants, like boxers, take a long time to dry, and wearing them under board shorts can slow the drying process. This means you have to wait for each pair of underwear to dry before you’re ready to go. On the other hand, board shorts are made to dry fast.

Color Fading

When you wear undergarments with board shorts, they may lose their color over time. When the chemicals in pool water or ocean mix with the dye in the pants, it can make the undergarments look dull. So, if you want your underwear to keep its color, you should not wear them under board shorts.


Underwear might not be as supportive and comfortable as board shorts alone. It’s annoying and uncomfortable to readjust your underwear while swimming or surfing constantly.


You might not get the look you want if you wear underwear with board shorts. Board shorts are meant to be worn without underwear, so putting them together might not look good.

Ultimately, you should put your comfort first when deciding whether or not to wear something under your board shorts. Comfort is important when you go to the beach to relax and rest. Going without extra clothes can make you feel free, relaxed, and comfortable. This can be helpful if you want to swim and hang out at the beach all day.

How to Choose the Right Undergarment?

There are things you have to consider before you choose the right undergarment. Such as:


man wearing teal beach shorts
Credit: sevencs on Instagram

Choosing the right material for your pants is very important if you want comfort, longevity, and the ability to eliminate sweat. Polyester, spandex, and bamboo are common materials.

Polyester is a light cloth known for drying quickly and not getting wrinkled or shrinking. On the other hand, Spandex is a manufactured material that stretches and is often used to support compression shorts. Lastly, bamboo is a natural cloth known for being soft, breathable, and eco-friendly.


man wearing Spandex  board shorts
Credit: kudosurf on Instagram

Considering the tightness factor when wearing compression shorts under board shorts is important. The additional layer aims to give coverage, protection, and support. As a result, many swimmers and surfers prefer spandex compression shorts.

Spandex is well-known for being breathable and tight. It has a lightweight, firm feel, breathability, and compression. This is good for the skin since it prevents chafing and irritation. In addition, the tightness of the shorts ensures that nothing moves around underneath.

However, it is essential to note that the tightness should still allow for comfortable movement. It should not feel suffocating while absorbing muscle movement. It is critical to have easy breathing, especially in sensitive places. If compression shorts are designed to improve athletic performance, they are also appropriate for wearing at the beach or during water activities.

Moisture Absorption

Moisture absorption may not seem important when considering underwear, but it is essential.

Moisture absorption means a cloth can pull moisture away from the skin and let it escape into the air as vapor. These fabrics are usually linked with exercise and training for sports, but they are also very useful for water sports.

And it is very important for water-based activities because it keeps clothes from soaking up water and getting heavy. It also keeps chemicals or germs in the water from getting to the material, which keeps it from breaking down over time.

Dries Quickly

When spending a whole day at the beach, it’s important to switch easily between doing things in the water and just relaxing. Part of the fun is being able to swim, take a nap, and then go back for another swim. But you can only enjoy this if your clothes dry quickly.

If the cloth under your board shorts is wet and sticky, it can ruin the experience. That’s why avoiding materials that dry slowly is important. 


Think about what you want your undergarments to do for you, affecting your choice. For example, choosing compression shorts or swim underwear would be best if you need more support. 

Polyester and spandex are good choices for people who want clothes that dry quickly and don’t smell bad. However, bamboo is the best choice if someone prefers natural cloth. 

When choosing the right pants, consider what you need and like.


When choosing what to wear under board shorts, focus on your comfort and how easily you can move in the water. 

Remember that what you wear under your board shorts is up to you. And by making the right choice, you can enjoy your time in the water without feeling uncomfortable.

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