Trend: Boys Preferring Gym Shorts to Swim Trunks

Big tropical print, scratchy net panty, what's a boy not to like?

Why are boys now preferring plain gym or basketball shorts to swim trunks for water wear? This seems to be a growing trend.

I’ve bought plenty of swim trunks, jam shorts, or whatever you call them with fun prints and nice features like pockets, sun protection, and the standard mesh liner (is that what we call it? not panty, for sure). But boys now don’t want to fool with the clothing that was made for all the activity that goes with water sports and swimming. They’re wanting to wear solid color, elastic-waist shorts with regular underwear. Why is this?

One mom told me her sons prefer to swim in regular shorts because they complain that the mesh underwear in swim shorts is too tight. She actually cuts the liner out of his swim shorts so he can wear regular underwear beneath. Another mom told me her son begs to pack his basketball shorts for the swimming pool rather than the usual swim trunks. She and I discussed how we could understand swimming in shorts if you didn’t have your swim clothes with you or had gotten an impromptu swim invitation, but you can’t just go around all hillbilly swimming in gym clothes (can you?).

Like other moms I’ve seen, I force my son to wear a swimsuit, but he fights it. While most camps and pools require proper attire, any visit to a friend’s swimming pool leads to a fuss about swimming in shorts. He complains that it’s easier to “just jump in” and the gym style shorts look and feel “cooler.” (The whole issue of just jumping in, shorts and all, must go along with boys’ innate desire to pee outdoors – don’t even get me started.)

It appears there is a design opportunity out there for someone. The mesh liner and the stiffer fabric of water-resistant nylon isn’t cutting it for boys these days. Can someone develop a swim short that boys will want to wear? Those sopping-wet shorts are no fun to tote home and wash.