Do You Wear Underwear With Board Shorts?

Do You Wear Underwear With Board Shorts

We all know that underwear is a must-have with regular pants, but what about with swimsuits? Women typically don’t use undergarments with bikinis, so do you wear underwear with board shorts?

In most cases, the answer is based on personal preference. If you want to know what is the proper etiquette at the beach, then wearing underwear under your board shorts is a no-no.

In this article, we will take a look at why underwear isn’t necessary while wearing board shorts and some alternatives for people who want a little more protection. We’ll also show you what you can wear to prevent a rash underneath your board shorts.

And for those of you that are uncomfortable with having nothing under your board shorts an easy solution is board shorts that have liners.

Board Shorts With and Without Liners

Some board shorts are designed with built-in liners, whether they are mesh or another material, such as polyester. The liners will fit snug, similar to the fit you’d receive from briefs, thus eliminating the need to wear underwear. The main idea behind wearing boxers or briefs under your swim shorts is to give you added support, which the liners provide.

It’s most common to find board shorts without liners, however. The more affordable designs are likely to have mesh or a polyester lining, similar to what you would find in a traditional pair of swim trunks. Higher-end brands provide the shorts with nothing in between you and the material.

At this point, it might be a good idea to explore other options instead of underwear beneath your board shorts.

What to Wear Under Board Shorts

Now that you know the general answer about wearing underwear with board shorts, it’s time to discuss the other options you have available. Most people prefer to use some type of athletic gear instead of regular cotton briefs or boxers. They can typically be found in sporting goods stores and are recommended to be worn when practicing baseball, football, basketball, etc.

Also known as compression shorts, these undergarments are designed for many purposes. Most often, compression shorts are used while working out or recovering from a workout. They improve blood circulation and protect your muscles from damage.

When worn under board shorts, compression shorts will become one of your most-used pieces of gear. They act similarly to a liner, giving you added support and protection while in the water. In addition, they are an added warm layer if you don’t have access to a wet suit.

Another reason as to why you’ll want to consider compression shorts is because they prevent chafing. Most pairs are designed to reach your knees, if not just above your knees. When hiking, running, playing sports, or swimming, your thighs won’t rub against each other, causing painful abrasions.

The Disadvantages of Wearing Underwear with Board Shorts

The decision whether to wear underwear or not with your swimsuit is completely up to you. Some people prefer the feeling of regular boxers or briefs and others simply don’t want to spend extra money on compression shorts. However, it’s important to know their disadvantages.

Slow Drying Time

Briefs and boxers aren’t designed for use in the water and as such, they are likely to take a long time to dry, in comparison to compression shorts, which are designed to wick away moisture and dry quickly. You’ll have to either change completely or lie out in the sun when wearing boxers while swimming.

It’s also quite often that people find their board shorts dry faster than their boxers. If you’re heading from the ocean to the store, your shorts might be dry, but your boxers won’t be. This can lead to your shorts continually getting wet over and over again and never fully drying.

Color Fastness

This is a particularly important disadvantage for anyone who will be wearing their underwear in a swimming pool or a body of saltwater. The dyes used to create underwear aren’t tested against chemicals and salt. When you wear them while swimming, you can guarantee they will lose some of their color.

Unfortunately, the dyes may react to the chemicals and leach into the pool, and you’ll notice that they won’t be as vibrant or look as new as they did before. This is why most people who choose to wear underwear under their swim shorts keep one pair separate for swimming only.


Unless you wear full briefs, your underwear likely doesn’t give you much support in the first place, though on a daily basis, you’re not likely to be engaging in a lot of physical activity, such as swimming. This means support might not be as important.

When you’re in the water swimming, surfing, or wakeboarding, you’re going to want a lot of support and additional protection. Compression shorts compared to underwear are designed to keep all areas of your body secure. This helps to give you the peace of mind you need to have fun, rather than having to frequently adjust your undergarments.


Aside from the functional and safety aspects of avoiding underwear with board shorts, it’s also important to think about style. Undergarments aren’t meant to be shown off and when paired with board shorts, it doesn’t look well put together. Low-rise compression shorts, on the other hand, are completely hidden beneath your board shorts.

If you’re someone who isn’t interested in the tightness of compression shorts, then consider wearing a Speedo instead. Also designed for use in water, Speedos give you support, durability, and the convenience you’d expect, not to mention they’d be completely invisible to the outside world when underneath shorts.

What to Wear Under Board Shorts to Prevent a Rash

A lot of people have gotten rashes in the groin area from certain board shorts or swim trunks. One of the main culprits that cause rashes is the mesh lining found in some swim shorts.

You could just cut out the mesh lining but then you’re left with no support in that area.

What can you wear under your board shorts to prevent a rash? Surf undershorts or Speedos are a great option to wear underneath your board shorts to prevent rashes.

Surf undershorts are especially effective at keeping sand from finding its way inside your shorts as well as prevent chafing due to their seamless design.

The Benefit of Wearing Nothing Under Board Shorts

At the end of the day, the third option is to opt to wear nothing under your board shorts and that is perfectly fine as well. Your personal comfort is the most important and many people find that there’s no need for liners, shorts, or Speedos under their swimwear. The best recommendation is to try wearing your board shorts with all four options and determining which is right for you.

Wearing just your board shorts helps you to feel free and more relaxed. If you intend on spending most of your time in the water and not on the beach, you’ll appreciate how comfortable it is.

Final Thoughts

When deciding, if you should wear underwear with board shorts, in most cases the answer is no? There are plenty of advantages to wearing other types of undergarments, or none at all. It’s all based on personal preference and whatever you feel most comfortable with is what you should choose.