When you hear the word “board shorts,” visions of hunky dudes shredding the swells flash before your eyes. Although board shorts were initially created for men, there’s an array of board shorts designed for women, too.
Women’s board shorts are perfect for swimming, hiking, playing in the water, and casual wear. This clothing offers the right amount of protection against harmful elements in the water while complimenting women’s tops.
Women’s board shorts break the swimming restrictions only in swimsuits but in tops and layered bottom half. This article rounds up the best women’s board shorts you can wear on your next trip to the beach.
What Are Board Shorts?
Board shorts were created for surfers who wanted swim trunks to stay on their bodies even when they were battered around in the waves. The legs’ extended length provided more protection in a wipeout and being dragged across shells and sand.
Early board shorts did not have elastic waistbands, instead opting for a rigid band that opened in the front and was secured with Velcro or lace ties. If the wearer was trapped in a wave, this design helped keep the board shorts from being dragged off.
Board shorts are typically worn without underwear underneath, especially by males. The lengthier length also served to protect the legs from the sun.
Can women wear board shorts if they were created for men? They certainly can! Designers are increasingly designing board shorts specifically for ladies as board shorts become more common beachwear and more women participate in active water sports.
Top 6 Best Women’s Board Shorts Reviewed
Women’s board shorts are becoming a favorite clothing item that most women enjoy wearing for water sports and outdoor activities. These comfortable, lightweight, and stretchy board shorts offer just the right gear for you to perform at your best.
Here are 6 of the best women’s board shorts you may check out:
- Roxy Women's Endless Summer 2
- Kanu Surf Women's Marina UPF 50+ Active Swim Board Short
- Maui Rippers Women’s 5
- O'NEILL South Pacific Womens Stretch Boardshorts
- HOLYSNOW Women's Stretch Board Short
- Firpearl Women's Swim Shorts UPF50+ Sport Board Shorts
- Recycled Fabric: REPREVE™ traceable, recycled 4-way stretch polyester made from plastic bottles
- Fit: Short length design
- Waist: Drawcord waistband
- Inseam: 2” inseam
- Composition: 90% Recycled Polyester, 10% Elastane
These women’s board shorts are clearly intended to provide women with the utility of board shorts without being as bulky and intrusive as men’s shorts. When compared to standard board shorts, you’ll find that these are significantly easier to wear for various sports.
Roxy has a style that adapts to going out with friends on the weekend or gardening in the backyard, despite being created for aquatic sports. With its shorter style, you can move freely while swimming, surfing, or running.
The Roxy Women’s Endless Summer Boardshorts will benefit anyone seeking a shorter pair of board shorts. You can tell they’re made to provide comfort and dependability while allowing you to move your hips and legs freely.
Overall, these women’s board shorts are incredibly soft and comfortable on the skin, which helps to prevent chafing in the upper thighs. Furthermore, the 90 percent polyester and 10% elastane blend make it highly flexible and breathable.
|Composition prevents upper thigh chafing||Velcro’s loops become elongated after a few months of use|
|It sits perfectly on hips without sliding|
|Breathable and lightweight|
- Kanu comfort tech quick dry UPF 50+ microfiber
- Fit: Long length with cargo pockets design
- Waist: Drawcord waistband
- Composition: 100% Polyester
The Kanu Surf Women’s Plus Size Boardshorts are made to make choosing a comfortable and freeing pair of board shorts a breeze. Nothing is more aggravating than trying to swim in a swimsuit that keeps you from gliding through the water.
These women’s board shorts have more flexibility and support and increased maneuverability, thanks to the polyester and spandex blend. These board shorts also make finding the right bottoms for your existing swimsuit a lot easier.
These board shorts will be most beneficial to women who enjoy more vigorous activities both in and out of the water, such as volleyball and surfing. On the other hand, their style is easily adaptable to running errands and having a pair of comfy shorts for regular use.
It is now more crucial than ever to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays. The UPF 50+ of the Kanu Surf Women’s Plus Size Boardshorts blocks up to 98 percent of the sun’s rays. Plus, for more accessible storage of your valuables, cargo pockets on the sides are very useful.
|Four-way stretch material that is quick-drying||Size charts can be confusing|
|Softer hand technology|
- Four-way stretch quick dry fabric
- Fit: Long length with cargo pockets design
- Waist: Drawcord waistband
- Composition: 90% Polyester, 10% Spandex
- Multi-use clothing
A surfing enthusiast’s desire for a pair of robust board shorts that could survive the rigors of regular surfing gave birth to the Maui Rippers brand. Ripper Joe, a die-hard fan, began passing around these board shorts to his Maui County Lifeguard mates, who adored them as well.
All this history makes the Maui Rippers what it is today – a brand that makes outstanding lifeguard shorts and great board shorts for men and women for regular beach activities. One of which is the Maui Rippers Women’s 5″ 4-Way Stretch Swim Shorts Boardshorts.
The Women’s 4-Way Stretch 5′′ Board Shorts are meant to be comfortable both in and out of the water. They’re lovely for a day at the beach or just doing errands because they’re so adaptable. If you enjoy paddle boarding or surfing, these women’s board shorts are a perfect choice.
They’re composed of stretchy fabric that makes getting in and out of the water a breeze. Moreover, these women’s board shorts are also quite flattering and fit well with longer legs.
|True to size fit||No inner lining|
|Useful side pockets|
- Inseam: 3”
- 140% Hyperfreak stretch
- 89% Polyester, 11% Elastane
- Comes in 7 different colors
- Streamlined styling with low-key O’Neill logos
O’Neill is a well-known surfwear brand with a reputation for high-quality products, and these board shorts are no exception. The O’Neill South Pacific Women’s Stretch Board shorts are designed for use in and around the water and have been surf-tested.
These women’s board shorts move with you in all directions thanks to the unique quick-drying Hyperfreak Stretch fabric. The low-rise cut of these high-performance board shorts is designed to sit at or below the hip bone.
It has a key loop and an eyelet drain hole on the side cargo pocket. The pocket includes two Velcro snaps that are incredibly durable and require a lot of force to open. This is one of the more secure side pockets ever in women’s board shorts.
Overall, the O’Neill South Pacific Women’s Stretch Boardshorts is one of the many reasons O’Neill became an industry leader in performance surfwear apparel. It is packed with all the quality and features that you need out on the water.
|Perfect length and comfortable waistband||Can be clingy after you get out of the water|
|Fit true to size|
|Secure side pockets|
- Style: adjustable drawstring boyshorts with liner
- Item Type: solid color, board short, beach short
- Composite: 80% Nylon+ 20% Spandex; Lining: 90% Polyester+ 10% Spandex
- Comes in 4 different colors
- Comes in 2 different sizes
Women’s board shorts aren’t always as fashionable as we’d like them to be. The Holysnow board shorts, on the other hand, go a step further and have a more modest and appealing appearance – one that includes a slit on the side of each leg that gives individuals with larger thighs extra room.
Aside from the drawstring waistband that allows for a tighter fit, you won’t be needing to wear capri pants with these shorts. These women’s board shorts come with built-in briefs that are well-fitted and will stay in place while you do your thing.
The Holysnow board shorts, like several of the other shorts we’ve described, are made with UV-protective fabric. This makes them ideal for wearing on hot sunny days. They’re also quick-drying, making them suitable for both water and land sports.
Overall, the Holysnow Women’s Stretch Board Short is another comfortable, stretchy pair of sport shorts, perfect for a variety of different water-related activities.
|Lightweight and soft||May tend to look transparent when wet|
|Comfortable and breathable|
|Offers UV Protection|
- Composition: 82% Nylon, 18% Spandex
- With insert soft mesh
- UPF 50+
- Comes in 11 different colors
- Small elastic waistbands
If you’re looking for long women’s board shorts, the Firpearl Women’s UPF 50 + Sports Board Short is a perfect choice. These shorts have a 9-inch inseam and come just above the knee, providing excellent leg coverage.
These women’s board shorts that come with a panty liner inside are made of 82% Nylon and 18% Spandex. This composition makes it extremely quick drying. It is perfect if you are doing different activities in and out of the water.
Its UPF 50+ sun protection will keep you protected from the sun if you spend a long day outside by the pool or at the beach. In addition, these women’s board shorts run true to size with a stretchable elastic waistband that sits a little lower on the waist.
|Ideal for chlorine and saltwater||It sits lower on the waist than expected for some people|
|Great for a wide variety of water activities such as swimming, paddle boarding, or aqua aerobics|
|Nice long size that comes to a little above the knee|
Types of Women’s Board Shorts
Board shorts sizing is as confusing in men’s as in women’s. This results in choosing the right size as a tricky part in selecting a board short. It also doesn’t help that every brand seems to have its own sizing chart that is totally different from the next.
Aside from knowing your measurements, the best way to understand which size of board shorts you should get is to know what you will use it for. Not every pair of board shorts are created equally. Depending on the tasks for which the shorts are designed, different fabrics, stretches, and fits are used.
You may anticipate two things from board shorts from a reputable brand that usually equips elite surfers: flexibility and a fitting waist. After all, to catch the biggest waves, surfers need unlimited leg movement. Surfers need a fitted waistband to keep their shorts in place in turbulent water.
Because they offer the most current fit, many individuals prefer board shorts developed exclusively for surfing. On the other hand, performance board shorts might be a better option if you prefer a more flexible waistband.
The best amount of flexibility in every target area is provided by performance board shorts. Your waist down to your legs will be able to move freely. Performance board shorts are frequently found to be appropriate for exercising and water activities.
Performance board shorts are also an excellent option for women with larger hips. Because the shorts adjust to your body shape, you won’t have to worry about being restricted by a stiff waistband.
For Hiking or Running
The beach isn’t the only place where you can wear board shorts. Women’s board shorts are ideal for day hikes, trail running, or simply jogging in the park due to the stretchy material and high-quality waistband design.
Be sure to choose a quick-drying material like nylon or polyester, so you don’t end up trekking or jogging in damp cotton shorts.
For Casual and Everyday Wear
You can pick styles that don’t make you look like you just came from the beach now that women’s board shorts are becoming acceptable to wear for casual situations. Some women’s board shorts look like usual shorts, yet they still have many of the attributes that make board shorts so appealing to wear.
A wide elastic waistband that hangs high on the waist provides ample belly coverage and a comfortable fit for all-day wear. Tank tops, T-shirts, and long-sleeve blouses look great with cute board shorts.
Now, What Size and Material of Board Shorts Should I Get?
It’s time to think about sizing once you have an idea of the type of board shorts you’ll be looking for. The waist, inseam, and length are the three primary areas to consider. Depending on your body type, you may also want to pay particular attention to the leg breadth.
The board short’s waistband will determine whether or not you get the correct fit. A waistband that is too big will cause the trousers to fall off, just like any other pair of pants you own. Shorts with an insufficient waistband are difficult to wear and, in some cases, impossible to secure.
Choosing the right waist size for your board shorts is critical, so you don’t have to constantly adjust them in and out of the water. When catching a wave or diving for a volleyball, you don’t want any mishaps where your underwear is exposed.
A fabric measuring tape is all you need to measure your waist. Wrap it around your waist and adjust the tightness to your desired level. The tape should not be overly tight or too loose; instead, it should suit your pants perfectly.
If you have wide hips, look for board shorts with an elastic waistband that stretches well and is comfortable. Kanu Surf makes a pair that is both comfortable and popular for pear-shaped people.
The length of your board shorts’ inseam determines where the shorts will fall. This is especially crucial when it comes to determining the ideal length for your height.
As hinted above, excessively long women’s board shorts make your legs appear shorter, and vice versa. It’s also worth noting that inseams that aren’t the right size can limit your movement.
If you plan on surfing or swimming, an inseam that falls above or below the knee is ideal. Your legs will be able to move freely without being hampered by the fabric’s tightness. Board shorts, which are often used for informal outings daily, are a little more versatile, as they may be worn at any length.
Take your fabric tape and measure from your crotch to your knee to determine the inseam. You can modify the knee measurement according to the length of your shorts.
The length of the board shorts is just as crucial as the inseam and waist measurements. This will tell you how long the shorts are from your waist to your knee. Depending on the manufacturer, length may be used instead of inseam, so make sure you write down both measurements.
There are two methods for determining the ideal length for your board shorts. You can use your fabric measuring tape or an old pair of shorts to measure from your waist to your knee. Simply measure from the waist of the board shorts to the bottom hem if you already have the right length.
Consider the material used to make your board shorts while making your selection. Here’s where you’ll want to think about which board short is best for you based on the activities you’ll be doing.
The most popular fabric used in board shorts, both in men and women, is polyester. This fabric is popular because of its durability and ability to dry fast, making it one of the handiest and comfortable options for board shorts.
This fabric is flexible, allowing for maximum range of motion and performance. The material usually has a one-way, two-way, or four-way stretch. A four-way stretch usually provides the highest flexibility. Professional surfers commonly wear stretch fabric.
Cotton is commonly found in ‘lifestyle’ or ‘fashion’ board shorts. However, the negative is that this fabric does not dry rapidly when wet, making it unsuitable for aquatic sports. It does, however, provide comfort outside of the water and is exceptionally breathable for those hot summer beach days.
Make sure the material you choose is appropriate for the purpose you intend to use your board shorts for. For example, if you know you’ll be in and out of the water frequently, you’ll want to choose a quick-drying material like polyester.
One-piece swimsuits and bikinis are the first items that pop in our heads when we think of something to wear on the beach. But, for some of us, wearing such brings feelings of overexposure, especially on high-impact water sports like surfing.
If you’re a lady who enjoys being active in or on the water, board shorts are a terrific way to add an extra layer to your outfit so you can focus on catching waves while staying warm!
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: Do you wear anything under women’s board shorts?
A: The answer to this question is primarily determined by your particular tastes. On the other hand, many female surfers prefer to wear a one-piece swimsuit or bikini bottoms under their board shorts for increased comfort and to ensure that they are always covered.