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  • Writer's pictureThe Underwear Review

Are Guys Supposed to Wear Anything Under Swimsuits?

Here are the key aspects to consider when making your choice.

Man wearing swimsuit on the beach.

Here’s a question that we see all the time.


And it makes sense that some uncertainty exists around the topic because many swimsuit designs have generally the same look and fit as an average pair of shorts.


But when you go to put that swimsuit on, are you supposed to wear anything underneath it?


In other words, are you supposed to wear underwear or a base layer with your swimsuit or just go commando?


Of course, there’s technically no right or wrong answer here.


The best choice for you will be the one in which you feel most comfortable and confident.


But if you’re not sure which way to lean, there are a few key aspects to consider that can help you make your decision.


Here, we’ll cover how the design of your swimsuit can give you hints as to how it’s intended to be worn, as well as why some men prefer a layer underneath their swimsuit and why some men prefer to go without one.



Note: Featured products are independently selected and reviewed by The Underwear Review. If you purchase through our links, we may earn commission.



Intended Swimsuit Design vs. Personal Preference


It’s a pretty straightforward matter of swimwear contention.


Some men prefer to wear their swimsuits with a base layer underneath for additional support and security.


And others prefer to go without any additional layers to maximize freedom and mobility.


So, is one of these ways right and the other wrong?


Not really.


But if you’re looking to decide the matter for yourself, a simple and useful way you can do so is by looking at the intended design of your swimsuit.


Man tying swimsuit at the pool.

Most men’s swimwear options are not specifically designed for you to wear anything underneath them (i.e. are designed to be worn on their own).


In fact, some swimsuits even discourage another layer by featuring mesh brief liners or compression short liners that make an additional pair of underwear redundant.


On the other hand, there are several men’s swimwear options out there that would allow you to comfortably wear a base layer beneath them.


So, keep in mind this key point.


There isn’t a single type of men’s swimwear that requires you wear underwear underneath them.


In other words, it all comes down to your personal preference unless the swimsuit design otherwise discourages it.



Why Some Men Prefer Wearing Something Under Swimwear


While there are a handful of reasons why some men opt to wear underwear or a base layer beneath their swimsuit, they mostly all revolve around the idea of wanting to add an extra layer of security.


This security may come in the form of comfort, modesty, protection, etc.


Essentially, whatever the base layer provides them to feel more secure when wearing their swimsuit.


Man in swimsuit playing volleyball on beach.

Wearing a base layer beneath your swimwear, whether underwear, compression shorts, or another option, can be useful in a number of different ways.


For example, if you’re wearing your swimsuit for an extended period, or for several different activities, you may choose to wear underwear to enhance comfort and prevent any chafing or irritation from occurring.


Another common reason is that certain swimwear designs can be a bit revealing when wet, so some men prefer to add a modesty layer.


Additionally, if you participate in any dynamic water sports or activities, you may prefer to have an extra layer of protection to cover sensitive areas.



Why Some Men Prefer Wearing Nothing Under Swimwear


On the other hand, there are a number of reasons why men choose to forgo an extra layer beneath their swimsuit (i.e. go commando).


For starters, as we touched on earlier, swimsuits are designed to be worn on their own and don’t technically need a layer underneath them.


So, many men prefer the freer, less-restricted feeling it provides, as well as the fuller range of motion that accompanies wearing a swimsuit without a layer beneath it.


Man experiencing free feeling from swimsuit on the beach.

And if you’re wearing your swimsuit in warm weather conditions, as is often the case, adding underwear will also be adding unnecessary weight and bulkiness that results in a heavier, warmer fit.


In other words, adding an additional layer to a swimsuit can actually interrupt the swimsuits intended design, fit, and performance features.


For example, the majority of swimsuits are crafted with quick-drying material, but this is rendered ineffective if you add an extra layer that doesn’t use similar material.


Even if you do add a base layer with quick-drying material, such as compression shorts, adding another layer will increase the overall time it takes for your swimsuit (and you) to dry.



How Swimsuit Type Can Help Your Decision


If you’re debating whether to wear a base layer beneath your swimsuit, keep in mind that really only a few men’s swimsuit types even allow for the option.


In other words, the less fabric used by your swimsuit design, the less opportunity you’ll have to fit a base layer beneath your swimsuit choice.


Roomier swimwear options like boardshorts and swim shorts typically offer enough room to comfortably fit underwear or a base layer of your choosing beneath them.


Man in swim trunks walking on beach.

But as your swimsuit cut gets smaller and snugger, your base layer options decrease and in some cases are eliminated altogether.


For example, even with most swim trunk styles, you’ll find it difficult to fit another layer underneath them, as the leg length typically only extends an inch or two and the overall fit wears tighter to the body then boardshorts and swim shorts.


And if we continue on to other men’s swimwear styles like swim briefs, swim bikinis, and swim thongs, you’ll notice that the cut and fit won’t allow for another layer.



Split the Difference: Choose a Lined Swimsuits


There is, of course, a third option.


If you’re not sure whether you’d prefer wearing a base layer under your swimsuit or going without one, you can split the difference by opting to go with a lined swimsuit.


Lined swimsuits combine several benefits of each method into one convenient, comfortable, and secure swimwear option.


Mesh brief liners have been commonplace in men’s swimwear designs for many years but more recently compression short liners have also become a popular choice.


The mesh brief liners provide a slightly more lightweight and streamlined fit, while the compression short liners offer a more secure fit with thorough coverage from top to bottom.


Both liner types do a good job when it comes to offering comfort, support, and keeping everything in place while you’re active both in and out of the water.



If you’re interested in trying out a lined swimsuit, check out our top picks for the Best Lined Swimsuits.

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