Posted in Swim and tagged swimming, swim, swimwear
Men's swimwear

Confused about the different swimwear designs for men and what they’re for? By the end of this article you’ll know how to tell apart jammers from aquashorts, and briefs from watershorts.

You’ll know what they’re for, and if they suit your needs, and ultimately which you should go for.

The long and short of it is that even in this simple garment, there is a great deal of variation in terms of design, fabric, purpose and appearance.

There can be considerable material advantages in picking the right type for you, while knowing which style best suits your body shape can bring a big boost to your pool-side confidence.

What are the different men’s swimwear options?

There are four main types of swimming shorts for men – jammers, aquashorts, briefs, and watershorts.

But there’s more to consider than just shape: modern shorts offer the latest materials, such as chlorine resistant fabrics to prevent degradation from repeated pool visits, four-way stretching fabrics, and even UV protection for hot days at the beach.

Draw string waists are another design addition, welcomed by those still crafting those abs, allowing the wearer to adjust the fit as necessary.

Compression is another area worth looking at; the tight fit, especially around the quads and hamstrings, providing support for those important kick muscles.

Performance swimmers will also be interested in the inclusion of flat seams to reduce drag in the water with the short acting as a second skin through the swim stroke.

Swim short styles

There are four basic men's swimwear styles.

Jammers are knee length and close fitting, and have become popular among professional athletes and competitive enthusiasts for their compression qualities, which can aid performance in the pool. They are generally chosen by those with tall, athletic physiques and avoided by those of below average height.

Briefs are the classic swimwear design, minimising drag in the water. They are also popular as performance wear for racing and competing, and tend to be close-fitting with minimal fabric. Again, these tend to be chosen by athletic types, and are well suited to those below average height.

Aquashorts, meanwhile, are a compromise between jammers and briefs, providing a little more coverage than the brief yet less drag than the jammer. These are the perfect choice for those under average height that are looking for more coverage and compression than what is provided by a brief. But they remain popular among taller wearers too. 

Finally, watershorts are the preferred choice of leisure swimmers, particularly for their quick-drying properties and comfort. They tend to suit those with either thin or overweight physiques, and look best on those of average height and above.

Now you know the benefits of each type of short style , take a look at some handpicked examples from Wiggle.

2018 Jammers

Speedo Fit PowerForm Pro Jammer

The Speedo Fit PowerForm Pro Jammer provides complete compression for a professional-standard training short. A low profile waistband and elastane and nylon mixed fabric create a comfortable garment that looks great in and out of the water with a subtle design flare. 

Speedo Fit PowerMesh Pro Jammer

Speedo's powermesh

Speedo's powermesh is another compression-focused jammer with chlorine resistance and a UPF reating of 50+. The modern design, meanwhile, is eye-catching and sleek. 

Nike Logo Jammer

Nike Logo Jammer

The Nike Logo Jammer (to the right in the above picture) provides an unmistakable statement at the poolside. It also features a stretch-waist and internal draw cord for an adjustable fit. Flat seams also feature, alongside chlorine resistance, and an inseam gusset. 

Nike Kid's Rush Heather Jammer

Nike Logo jammer

With many of the same features as the Nike Logo jammer, the Rush Heather version comes with a distinctive blue strip on each hip and a similarly ergonomic fit. 

Zoggs Ballina Nix Jammer

Ballina's Nix jammer

Ballina's Nix jammer is made from 100% chlorine-proof Aqualast fabric, lasting up to 600 pool hours. It too features a drawstring and offers compression for a competitive edge in the water. 


2018 Aquashorts

Speedo Fit PowerMesh Pro Aquashort

Speedo's Power Mesh aquashorts

Speedo's Power Mesh aquashorts are built for training, with a mesh compression design made from chlorine-resistant, lightweight fabric. 

Speedo Energy Blast Placement V Aquashort

Speedo's Energy Blast aquashorts

The striking print on Speedo's Energy Blast aquashorts will ensure you standout at the poolside. Endurance+ fabric will keep the pattern over a long lifespan, but there are performance features too, with four-way stretch material and chlorine resistance also present. The shorts also feature a drawstring for added comfort. 

Nike Fade Sting Square Leg

Nike Swim Square Leg

These Nike Swim Square Leg shorts are sleek, compact and comfortable, with stretch fabric providing a contoured shape that moves with you. A stretch waistband with a drawcord makes for an adjustable fit, while flat seams ensure easy movement through the water. 


Zoggs Cottesloe Hip Racer

Cottesloe Hip Racer

The popular swimwear brand's Cottesloe Hip Racer shorts provide excellent colour and shape retention, along with quick-drying properties and excellent UPF protection. 

2018 Briefs

Speedo Endurance Plus 7cm Sportsbrief

Speedo Endurance shorts

These classic black Speedo Endurance shorts have been firm favourites among elite swimmers for years. Chlorine and fade resistant, these come with draw string adjustment for extra security. 

TYR Men's Petra Allover Racer

TYR's Petra racing shorts

TYR's Petra racing shorts utilise Durafast Elite fabrics to provide over 300 hours of pool time. Comfort support and a fitted style make these shorts an easy choice for the performance swimmer. 

Arena Men's Solid Brief

Arena Solid Swim Brief

The Arena Solid Swim Brief include an integrated draw cord and are manufactured using Arena Max Life fabric, making for a soft, long-lasting, chlorine resistant fit. 

MP Margareta 6cm Slip Brief

With two-way stretch and 200+ of pool time, these shorts standout significantly with their vibrant print, personally selected by Micheal Phelps himself. 

2018 Watershorts

Nike Solids 4" Volley Short

Nike Swim Vital 14" Volley Short

Nike Swim Vital Volley Shorts come with an elastic stretch waistband, a built-in mesh brief for support, and a perforated back pocket to drain water quickly. 

Nike 2 in 1 Training Short

ike's 2-in-1 training short

The built-in compression in Nike's 2-in-1 training short make these an incredibly versatile short for those with an active lifestyle. Mesh side-pockets drain water quickly, while quick-drying properties will keep you comfortable in and out of the water. 

Maru Solid 16" Short


Maru Solid 16" shorts

With block colour the prevailing trend in pool shorts this year, the Maru Solid 16" shorts are a top choice for the pool or beach. Quick drying, and 100% polyester, these shorts are tough and comfortable. 

Speedo Solid Leisure 16 Inch Water Short

Speedo's stylish leisure watershorts

Speedo's stylish leisure watershorts are perfect for the pool, beach and holiday wear. Quick-drying and comfortable with a fully elasticated waist, they feature water-repellent fabric for active wear in and out of the water.

About the author

Damien Whinnery's picture
Damien Whinnery
Published on: 26 Feb 2018

Fascinated by fitness, serious about sport, and joyous about the gym