Do Board Shorts Have a Liner?

One of the most commonly asked questions about swimwear is, do board shorts have a liner? The answer is both yes and no, as various brands create different products. Most board shorts don’t come with a liner, especially when looking at luxury brands.

If you feel like you need a liner, there are plenty of options available to you. You can search for specific shorts with liners, opt to buy a liner separately, or wear something else such as compression shorts. Below we’ll discuss the various types of liners and undergarment options you should consider.

Different Types of Board Short Liners

If you’re specifically looking for board shorts with a liner, there are three main types you’ll find, polyester, cotton, and mesh.


Polyester liners are known for their flexibility when in the water. Most often, these liners will have four-way stretch, which allows your body to move freely. Other advantages of this material include:

  • Dried quickly
  • Does not fade
  • Breathable
  • Comfortable against the skin
  • Prevents chafing
  • Moisture wicking
  • Adds extra support


Cotton is another popular material typically used to make liners inside of swimwear. You’re likely to find pairs of shorts that are slightly more expensive than polyester but not the most luxurious styles. The most notable advantages of cotton liners include:

  • Prevents chafing
  • Ideal for people with sensitive skin
  • Dries moderately fast
  • Prevents color fading in chlorine
  • Breathable
  • Gets softer over time
  • Adds extra support


Mesh is the third and the most common material you’ll find in some board shorts, though it’s always found in regular swim trunks. The main disadvantage of this material is that it isn’t as comfortable against your skin as polyester or cotton. Depending on the style you choose, it may also cause chafing.

With that said, board shorts with a mesh lining also have a few benefits, including:

  • Prevents the shorts from sticking to your skin
  • Dries the fastest
  • Most breathable
  • Prevents shorts from ballooning while swimming

Benefits of Separate Board Short Liners

Higher quality brands such as Hurley, Patagonia, O’Neill, and Vissla typically don’t have liners in them because they cater to experienced surfers, wakeboarders, and others who prefer to wear nothing under their board shorts. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t customize your swimwear to meet your needs.

Separate board short liners are specifically designed to give you the support and protection you would expect from a regular rash guard, just for the lower half of your body. Made of high-quality materials and built to last, they are an exceptional option for underneath your board shorts. As they are made specifically for wear in the water, they’re likely to last longer than regular compression shorts.

Most of the time, these liners will be made out of the same material as your swimsuit, which makes them feel equally as comfortable. Separate liners also prevent the two fabrics from rubbing against each other and creating unnecessary static. For a more seamless experience above and under the water, they’re something to consider.

If you opt for higher end short liners, you’ll find that they come with additional features, including:

Antimicrobial lining

To prevent long term smells and damage to the shorts, the antimicrobial lining is essential. It fights against harmful bacteria and eliminates the chance of mold and the smell of sweat.


As your liners are under your shorts, you’ll want to make sure they dry as quickly as your swimsuit. Most high-quality liners will dry faster, if not as fast, as your board shorts.

Seamless fit

Unlike regular underwear, liners need to stick as close to your body as possible. They typically won’t have a drawstring or a heavy elastic waistband. They will fit similarly to a wetsuit.

Though there are many benefits to opting for separate board short liners, they are also an added cost. As they are a specialty item, you’ll find that they are far more expensive than regular underwear, compression shorts, or wearing nothing underneath. If you’re willing to invest extra into your swim gear, then they’re highly recommended.

The Benefits of Compression Shorts

Compression shorts are most commonly used by people looking for support and comfort while surfing and swimming. They’re often the first item people use instead of underwear if they need something under their swim shorts. As they are affordable and widely available, they’re a fantastic option.

These shorts are specifically designed to give your muscles more support. They also help to improve blood circulation through your legs and hips to aid with repairing muscles after working out. As they are mostly designed for exercise, they have plenty of benefits that cross over to swimming.

After wearing them for the first time, you’ll appreciate how quickly compression shorts dry. They are mostly used to wick away moisture from sweat, which makes them ideal for drying quickly after swimming. Compared to other materials, such as cotton, you’ll be ready to run errands after swimming in a matter of minutes.

You’ll also appreciate the generous amount of support compression shorts offer. They will keep everything in place and comfortable to where you don’t need to frequently adjust yourself. This gives you the ability to put all of your focus into the activity you are doing rather than feeling uncomfortable.

There are multiple lengths that you can choose from when looking at these shorts, though the best idea is to choose a pair that falls just above where your board shorts come to. This way, you won’t have to worry about chafing or rashes from your legs rubbing together. In addition, it prevents the shorts from riding up when running or swimming.

You can find compression shorts in many different colors, which makes it easier to find the perfect pair that matches your board shorts. They add an extra layer between your skin and the material of the shorts, which is ideal, especially if your shorts are transparent.

Final Thoughts

Do board shorts have a liner? Sometimes they do, but more often they don’t. If you like the style of board shorts but are interested in having the help of a liner, consider buying a special liner separately or wear compression shorts instead.