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(Relatively) Inexpensive Swim Trunks – Five Plus One

Five Plus One is our weekly series of buyer’s guides. We pick a specific category and dig up five great options along with one that’s a little outside the norm.


While I appreciate high quality clothing and accessories, living in Seattle means I just don’t have that much need for a expensive swimsuit. And I’m sure many of you are in the same boat, or at least have your own reasons to not want to drop a week’s rent on a pair of shorts that maybe get three wears a year.

Join us, and check-out some of the great swimsuits you can pick-up without breaking the bank.

1) Uniqlo x Tomas Maier: Swim Shorts

(Relatively)-Inexpensive-Swimsuits---Five-Plus-One 1) Uniqlo x Tomas Maier Swim Shorts

These block colored Swim Shorts from Uniqlo are inexpensive, good quality, and feature an attractive yet understated pattern. They have an inner drawstring, zipper, and snap to ensure a snug fit, and are constructed from 100% polyester for durability and fast drying. Their mesh lining make them ideal for swimming, but they are just as well suited as pair of casual shorts.

Available for $30 from Uniqlo.

2) J. Crew: 9″ Board Shorts

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J. Crew’s 9″ Board Shorts feature a simple, and vaguely nautical, navy/white stripe pattern, which match perfectly with the securing drawstring. They’re made from nylon, another synthetic material that is both hard-wearing and quick-drying. This pair also features a keychain loop at the waistband, so you aren’t at risk of losing your valuables next time you take a dip in the pool. Like almost all swimtrunks, this pair is mesh lined, but they’re versatile enough to be work as shorts in a pinch.

Available for $70 from J. Crew.

3) Patagonia: Baggies Shorts

I think everyone should own a pair of Patagonia Baggies. The nylon 5″ shorts are made with 92% recycled material, have a DWR finish, and are sewn in a fair trade certified factory. What more can you ask for from a pair of classic style swim trunks that have been relatively unchanged for decades?

Available for $55 at Patagonia.

4) GAP: 5″ Swim Trunks with GapFlex

(Relatively)-Inexpensive-Swimsuits---Five-Plus-One-4)-GAP-5-Swim-Trunks-with-GapFlex

We don’t talk about GAP too often here at Heddels but some of their offerings are great options, such as their 5″ Swim Trunks with GapFlex. They are constructed from 80%/20% polyester/spandex blend, which makes them strong, quick drying, and comfortably stretchy. The 5″ inseam and wide leg opening give these trunks a very distinctive look, but if you are a fan of the style you’d be hard pressed to find a less expensive pair that is still of respectable quality.

Available for $30 from GAP.

5) Fred Perry: Textured Swim Short

(Relatively)-Inexpensive-Swimsuits---Five-Plus-One-5)-Fred-Perry-Textured-Swim-Short

If there is one thing I dislike about most swimsuits it’s that their fabrics are generally boring, smooth synthetic. Luckily (for me at least), the designers over at Fred Perry seemed to have thought the same thing prior to the release of their Textured Swim Shorts. They’re a 100% polyester pair that features a piqué-style texture, drawstring closure, and inner mesh. While these trunks are definitely identifiable as being for the water, they could certainly be worn as shorts if they had to be.

Available for $69 from End Clothing in Charcoal and Olive.

Plus One – Orlebar: Bulldog Sport Mid-Length Swim Shorts

(Relatively)-Inexpensive-Swimsuits---Five-Plus-One-Plus-One---Orlebar-Bulldog-Sport-Mid-Length-Swim-Shorts

While Orlebar’s Bulldog Sport Mid-Length Swim Shorts are certainly pushing the limit as to what constitutes an inexpensive pair of swim trunks, but what else is the Plus One for? Unlike most swim shorts out there, these pairs feature waistband tabs as a method of tightening them. They are constructed from a blend of synthetics that make them both durable and fast drying, and feature an orange mesh lining that evokes the hi-vis lining from MA-1 flight jackets.

Available for $145 from Mr. Porter.