Are You Supposed to Wear Underwear with Board Shorts?

Are You Supposed to Wear Underwear with Board Shorts
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Are you supposed to wear underwear with board shorts? People do not typically wear underwear with board shorts when going to the beach or pool. 

Board shorts are often intended for wet conditions. Standard boxers and briefs are uncomfortable when wet and may restrict your movement and cause chafing.

If you do not plan on getting in the water, you may feel more comfortable wearing underwear under board shorts without liners. Without the support of a liner, some individuals may feel too exposed.

Most board shorts offer a loose fit and less restriction compared to other types of swimwear. They also traditionally come without liners. Manufacturers started adding mesh liners to make the shorts appealing to consumers who typically wear standard trunks.

In the following article, we’ll look at the main features of board shorts and whether you should wear anything underneath them.

What Are Board Shorts?

Board shorts are a type of swimwear that evolved out of surf culture. The shorts have more length and longer inseams compared to standard swim trunks, which helps prevent chafing and discomfort. People wear modern board shorts as both swimwear and casualwear. You can wear board shorts in the water or on the street.

Compared to standard swim trunks, board shorts often include the following features:

  • Tight waistbands
  • Velcro or neoprene fly
  • Drawstrings
  • Pockets
  • Longer length and inseams

Companies typically make board shorts with a rigid waistband instead of the elastic waistband found in most swim trunks. The rigid waistband has a Velcro or neoprene fly and a lace-up tie with drawstrings. The design of the waistband keeps waves and sudden force from pulling the shorts off the body.

Older board shorts typically included a small pocket with just enough space for a car key or house key. However, many of the modern designs include cargo pockets on each leg. 

There are two main types of board shorts: board shorts with liners and shorts without liners. Traditional board shorts do not include a mesh lining. Modern, luxury, and designer brands are also less likely to sell board shorts with liners. However, the mass-produced board shorts found at popular retailers often include a liner.

Why Do Board Shorts Have Mesh Lining?

Board Shorts Mesh Lining

Many styles of men’s swimwear include mesh (net) liners. The mesh lining is included to provide support when wearing less restrictive swim trunks or board shorts. The liner is often made from polyester fabric with numerous holes. It covers the crotch area to keep the genitals supported and protected while swimming or engaging in water sports.

Swimming and other water activities involve a lot of leg movement. The constant movement may become uncomfortable and distracting without support. The genitals also become more prone to injury.

Along with providing support, liners provide better circulation compared to solid fabric. If you were to wear standard boxers or briefs under board shorts or swim trunks, your thighs and crotch area would likely remain damp for much longer.

The liner also helps ensure a better fit when wearing baggy swimwear. Loose trunks or board shorts may shift and move as you walk, swim, or surf. The support provided by the netting helps create a smoother line under the boardshorts. The design evens out anatomical features and changes in size as you move.

If mesh lining offers so many benefits, why do traditional board shorts not have liners? The first board shorts were made before the use of liners became common in swim trunks. Board shorts also traditionally have a tight fit around the waist. Despite the baggy legs and inseam, surfers do not always feel the need for extra support.

What Are Board Shorts for?

Board Shorts - board sports

Board shorts are meant for use with board sports, such as surfing, bodyboarding, and wakeboarding. 

In the late 1940s, surfers at the Manhattan Beach Surf Club began cutting white sailor pants off just below the knees. They would wear large sizes for a baggier fit, which resulted in a longer inseam.

The longer inseam protected their thighs from chafing. Chafing often occurs when rubbing exposed legs against the paraffin wax used on surfboards. The style would gradually catch on with other surfers.

People originally called board shorts “surf trunks,” as they were designed for surfers. The shorts eventually became popular with individuals engaged in other water sports that use a board, resulting in the name “board shorts.”

Along with aquatic board sports, boardshorts are common in land-based board sports, including skateboarding. Skateboarders often enjoy the design of boardshorts, as they do not need to worry about catching the worn hems on their pant legs on the board or structures.

People also commonly wear board shorts as a type of casualwear. People who prefer athleticwear or streetwear styles may like the style of board shorts due to the baggy design.

What to Wear Under Board Shorts?

Deciding what to wear under board shorts depends on where you plan on wearing them and whether the shorts have a liner. If you wear board shorts without liners as casual wear, you can wear them with standard boxers or briefs. 

Some people prefer the lightweight, baggy fit provided by board shorts and may wear them outside of the water. 

Keep in mind that wearing underwear with a pair of board shorts that includes a liner may be uncomfortable. The mesh liner often provides a snug fit and is intended to replace the need for underwear.

For those who plan on wearing board shorts in the water, you just need to look at what surfers wear under their shorts. Many surfers wear compression shorts or jockstraps with board shorts that do not have liners.

Compression shorts offer more support compared to wearing boxers or briefs. They are made from a stretchy material that forms around the shape of your body for a tight fit. Along with support, compression shorts offer enhanced moisture-wicking properties, which allows them to dry quickly.

Jockstraps offer less coverage compared to compression shorts and mesh liners. Yet, jockstraps provide greater support. A jockstrap consists of a pouch that cups the genitals and elastic straps connected to a waistband.

You could also wear lightweight briefs or boxer briefs under board shorts without the underwear becoming too heavy or uncomfortable when wet. For example, micro-stretch briefs made with a combination of polyester and spandex are more breathable and lighter compared to traditional cotton underwear.

Final Thoughts 

Board shorts are made with and without mesh lining. The shorts with liners eliminate the need for underwear, as the liner provides support and coverage. Traditional board shorts are made without liners, but many surfers and swimmers choose to wear something underneath. Board shorts have tighter waists, but long inseams and baggy thighs.

When wearing board shorts without liners in the water, you may want to wear compression shorts, a jockstrap, or lightweight briefs. Standard briefs and boxers do not dry quick enough, leaving your thighs and crotch area wet and uncomfortable. However, briefs and boxers work fine when wearing traditional board shorts as casualwear.

If you enjoyed this article we have another one on What to Wear Under a Dress Shirt.

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