Posted in Swim and tagged swimming, swim, swimwear
Guide to 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.

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About the author

Damien Whinnery's picture
Damien Whinnery
Published on: 26 Jan 2022

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