Swim Skirt or Swim Shorts: Which Is Best for You?

If you’re anything like us, then you love a little extra coverage and comfort when it comes to your swimwear. For the best possible result, we recommend going with either a pair of swim shorts or a skirted bathing suit.

What Is a Swim Skirt?

A swim skirt can take on a couple of different forms. If you’re wearing a two piece such as a bikini or a tankini, a swim skirt looks like a typical bathing suit bottom, except it has a skirt over the briefs. 

If you are more interested in one piece suits, you might want to look into a swim dress. Swim dresses are one piece, skirted swimsuits. They are ultra-feminine and provide extra coverage where you need it most.

What Are Swim Shorts?

Swim shorts are fairly intuitive. They are shorts that you wear instead of a typical brief-style bathing suit. 

People wear swim shorts as part of a two piece bathing suit. There are different types, lengths, and materials, but they tend to fall into two general categories: a tighter fitting lycra/spandex style, or the looser fitting board short style.

Why Should You Opt for These Types of Bottoms?

Many people, such as active moms who want to play in the sand with their kids, athletes who like to run on the beach, or women who are past the days of flaunting a teeny tiny bikini, simply want more coverage for their beach activities.

In addition to modesty, more coverage means some other benefits too. When more of the skin is covered, you have additional protection against the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. In fact, you should look into the SPF (Sun protection factor) of the swimwear that you purchase.

These types of bottoms are more practical for those who engage in more active beach activities. If you’re just laying on a towel or lounging in a beach chair, a typical girl-leg cut swimsuit is probably perfect for you. If you’re going metal detecting, hunting for shells with the grandkids, or taking long walks on the beach, a skirt or shorts are the way to go.

Are There Any Drawbacks to Swim Shorts and Swim Skirts?

There are mostly just benefits to these versatile swimwear options! There are numerous ways to wear them, they’re comfortable, and they provide a bit of modesty when such situations are necessary. 

The only potential downsides to swim shorts and swim skirts involve personal preference and common sense. Some people simply don’t like the feeling of the extra material on their legs. However, most people agree that the upsides outweigh the negatives. 

Another thing to think about is where you typically like to go swimming. If you are spending time in hot tubs, just make sure you’re not getting your skirt or shorts too close to an intake valve. This is the case, however, with any type of clothing or swimwear that has additional fabric. 

Which Swimsuit Is Right for You?

Ultimately, you want to know which is better for you: swim shorts or a swim skirt. There are benefits to both, so let’s dive right in. 

Benefits of Swim Shorts

Swim shorts are functional, above all else. They give you the capability to go straight from the beach or pool to the street, without ever having to change. This is especially true if you choose a more modest cut.

The swim short offers a sleek, sporty look, so it is an easy way to just throw on a tee shirt and a pair of sneakers over the bathing suit top, and you’ve got a full-on sporty outfit.

Some are made from typical swimwear materials, but others are constructed of a more lightweight, nylon fabric. This means that they are super quick drying and great for women who are in and out of the water frequently. 

Signs That Swim Shorts Might Be Right for You

  • You love a sleek, athletic look
  • You prefer to be more covered up, but you like the feeling of shorts
  • You typically like to be physically active in your bathing suit: jogs on the beach, sand volleyball, metal detecting, shell hunting, etc. 
  • You prefer the aesthetic look of shorts over skirts
  • You like a casual, low-maintenance style

Benefits of Swim Skirts

The swim skirt offers the ultimate in swim elegance and design choices while maintaining functionality and coverage. They are a great choice for something like water aerobics, for example. 

There are so many different ways you can go with a swim skirt. Unlike swim shorts, you will find skirted swimsuits in both one piece and two piece varieties. There are also some that are fuller, more flared skirts, and some that are more of an A-line straight skirt. 

The skirted swimsuit also offers a certain femininity. This is where your own personal preference comes into play. This femininity and elegance make the swim skirt conducive to wear that goes beyond the beach.

Specifically, swim dresses with a slightly longer length can quite literally go from pool to party simply by putting on some stylish strappy sandals.

Signs That a Swim Skirt Might Be Right for You

  • You love a feminine, elegant look
  • You prefer to be a bit more covered up than a typical bathing suit bottom
  • You typically attend pool parties or get-togethers
  • You like to go from the beach out to a date night or drinks with friends 
  • You want to have a lot of options to mix and match swimwear


Swim shorts and swim skirts alike have so many benefits, that you will definitely want to give one of the styles a try. They’re so versatile and stylish, that you might want to consider trying both. Since they all mix and match so well, you could have a veritable arsenal of swimwear at your disposal. Enjoy the beach! 


Water Aerobics: Low-Impact Pool Workout | WebMD

Sun Protection Factor (SPF) | FDA

Home Swimming Pool & Hot Tub Safety | American Red Cross