In our world of on-water fun boardshorts are a must. Whether we’re riding, hanging out on the boat, chilling at the dock, or something else, chances are we’re always in boardshorts. Thankfully, boardshorts have gotten more comfortable and more high tech over the years. Gone are the days of stiff, uncomfortable materials, poor designs, and the always awkward “see-through” effect of some lighter colored shorts. Given all of this, we set out to find some of the best “multipurprose” boardshorts. Who wants to keep changing in and out of street clothes and ride shorts when you’re pulling up to a marina/restaurant for lunch or hanging out at the lake house? All of these boardshorts are fashion with function. You can wear them anywhere, even while riding, and that’s pretty awesome.
What’s Cool: One boardshort, two looks. When the Solace Patties get wet a pattern appears on the shorts for a completely different look. These were the most traditional of the boardshorts we tested, as they didn’t have side pockets, but with a draining rear pocket you can stash a wallet and/or keys when getting off the boat and heading out somewhere. The length is perfect and hits right at the knee, which means these shorts are comfortable for riding and chilling.
What’s Cool: Vuori has burst onto the outdoor/active scene recently, and for good reason. These shorts are incredibly comfortable and offer a ton of functionality. The Equator is a traditional, flat waistband short that features two side pockets and a zippered rear pocket. Transitioning from on the water to off is a breeze, as the shorts are quick-drying and comfortable. They hit just above the knee and not only look great, but they feature anti-odor tech and are made from recycled materials, so you’re helping the planet too.
What’s Cool: The Banks shorts are similar to the Equator boardshorts, but with an elastic waistband. They are made of the same material and feature the same tech, which means you’re getting some of the most comfortable and functional shorts out there. The tiny, zippered stash pocket is a nice touch too if you want to keep a key on you while surfing, paddle boarding, going for a run, etc. We’ve spent weeks in these doing everything from riding, surfing in the ocean, swimming in the pool, working out, and running to the grocery store. The Banks are easily some of our favorite shorts we’ve ever worn.
What’s Cool: East Coast born and based, Jetty is proof that you don’t have to be from California to understand surf culture or what is or isn’t cool. This brand understands seasons and the on-water lifestyle. The Thompson shorts are a great example. Go straight from boat life to on-shore life, no problem. The Thompsons feature two side pockets and a snap-closure rear pocket. You’ve got room for keys, wallet, phone, and whatever else. Thanks to the moisture-wicking tech and 4-way stretch, the Thompson shorts are comfortable and maneuverable, so you’ll feel good while riding on the water or in the boat.
What’s Cool: Short shorts are cool again, and the Bowery take that cool to the next level. With a classic and comfortable drawstring waist and moisture-wick material, these are the shorts you’re gonna want to wear when you’re out on the boat, at the party cove, or just chilling at home ’cause you went full send the day before (trust us, we have)… Two side pockets and a snap-closure rear pocket make these short-shorts true hybrids. Give your knees some vitamin D love and slip on these bad boys ASAP.
What’s Cool: Long known as a powerhouse in the world of surf, Dakine makes great boardshorts that are capable in many places other than the beach. The stretch and fabric of the Sumbawa shorts make them ultra comfortable, both in and out of the water. The zip closure side pockets are great for added security, and the right pocket has a stretchy key leash. One of the best features is the smell, or lack thereof. The Sumbawa shorts feature anti-odor tech that keeps you fresh, which is great when you’re getting out of the water and heading into town. Nobody wants to be the smelly water-rat…