The men’s swim brief, colloquially known as a “Speedo,” is the classically-shaped swimsuit most associated with competitive and lap swimmers.
Although new cuts of swimsuits for men have gained popularity in recent years, including square-cut legs and the explosive rise of jammers (both the training and lap swim-oriented jammers and the more elite hydrodynamic racing jammers), the swimming brief still has a solid place in the swim bag of lap swimmers and competitive swimmers alike.
When choosing the best swim brief for you and your swimming, here are some things to consider:
🔑 Fabric: The most durable suit fabric is polyester. This material is resistant to chlorine, soft on the skin, and doesn’t fade.
🔑 Racing vs. Training: If you plan on racing with a swim brief, look for suits that are higher in Lycra. This material repels water and also improves the stretchiness and compression in the suit.
After almost thirty years of training and competing in the pool I have tried just about every swimsuit under the sun. I’ve done laps in briefs, square-cut swimsuits, swim trunks, jammers, wetsuits, and everything in-between.
In this buyer’s guide for men’s swim briefs, I will cover my favorites, highlight the briefs that are better suited for competition, which ones work best for lap swimming, and more.
Let’s get after it!
Speedo Men’s Powerflex Swim Brief
Seeing as they are known as “Speedos,” it would be kinda weird not to have them as our top pick for best men’s swim brief, wouldn’t it?
This particular suit, which is made up of 78% nylon and 22% spandex, is comfortable, fast, and made with enough nylon that it is long-lasting.
The Speedo Powerflex Brief (which is also available as a training jammer) is our favorite, and with hundreds of five-star reviews, it will be yours too. One of the very few suits on our list that are ideal for both competing and training.
- Available in four different solid colors
- Made with durable Lycra Xtra Life fabric
- 78% nylon, 22% lycra
- Fits to true to size
- Drawstring for a secure fit
- Ideal for training and competition
Speedo Men’s Turnz Printed Swim Brief
Looking for something a little flashier but that is also durable? The Speedo Men’s Turnz Swim Briefs are your go-to.
- Available in seven different color combinations
- Made of 53% polyester and a 47% PBT blend
- Drawstrings for a proper fit
- Anti-piling and chlorine resistant
- Available in boys sizes and mens sizes (24-38″)
- Fits true to size
TYR Men’s Durafast Elite Solid Swim Brief
TYR is one of the big swimwear manufacturers. Their racing suit, the TYR Venzo Genesis tech suits, are one of my favorite pieces of swimming gear. Their training suits are also high-grade. The TYR Durafast Swim Brief is their most durable brief for lap swimming.
- Made of 94% polyester, 6% Lycra
- Available in three solid colors
- Durafast is TYR’s most durable training fabric
- Made to fit true to size
TYR Fusion 2 Racer Swim Brief
Unlike the TYR Durafast, the TYR Fusion 2 Racer, as you can guess from the name of the suit, is designed for racing. Perfect for in-season meets, or racing in prelims, the TYR Fusion 2 is designed for reduced drag and extra compression.
- Low profile flatlock stitching
- Made of 80% polyester and 20% lycra
- Available in three colors
- Comes in boys and men’s sizes (20″ to 36″)
Arena Red USA MaxLife Men’s Swim Briefs
Arena is another one of the heavy-hitter swim gear manufacturers. Their gear is consistently awesome, and I have used their training suits and racing suits (the Arena ST 2.0 Jammer is my favorite cheap tech suit).
The Arena MaxLife Swim Brief is just one of their briefs for men, but it’s my favorite for its bright colors and patterns.
- Available in both boys and men’s sizes (22″ to 40″)
- Full front lining
- Made of 100% polyester
- Drawstring for a comfortable and secure fit
Nike Men’s Nylon Core Solid Swim Brief
This classic and solid training brief is made of a long-lasting polyester and nylon blend that fits comfortably around the waist while also being chlorine-resistant.
- Comes in sizes 22-38″
- Fits true to size
- Made with Nike’s proprietary fabric, Nike NX
- Drawstring for an adjustable fit
- Available in five colors
Nike Men’s Surge Polyester Brief
For a more durable training suit, the Nike Men’s Surge Brief is made of 100% polyester, giving you the maximum shelf life of a swimsuit.
- Made of 100% polyester
- Drawstring for a snug and secure fit
- Available in eight different color combinations
- Two-tone, with a black solid and colored side accents
- Fits true to size
Nike Vibe Performance Poly Swim Brief
For a slightly more colorful swimsuit, the Nike Vibe Swim Brief comes in a striped pattern. Like the Surge, the Vibe Brief is made of 100% polyester, giving you a different style option combined with maximum durability for a lap swimming brief.
- Made of 100% polyester
- Resistant to chlorine
- Drawstring for a comfortable and proper fit
- Available in five different color combos
Swim Briefs – FAQs
What are swim briefs made of?
Swimsuits should be comfortable as well as durable. The right set of swim briefs are designed to withstand the elements, both natural and man-made.
When choosing a swim brief, you want one that is going to not fade from UV exposure and can stand up to repeated dunking in lap pools that have lots of pool chemicals like chlorine and bromine.
Here are the most common fabrics you will see in a swim brief, and the key benefits of each kind.
Lycra spandex (also known as Elastane)
This material is awesome as it provides flex and stretch in your swimsuit. It’s also water-repellant, which means it dries fast, and won’t leave your swimsuit feeling like a water-logged diaper.
As wonderful as it is, Lycra spandex (or Elastane) is not as tough when it comes to durability and shelf life as it is a more fragile garment. Over time, and with enough exposure to pool chemicals, this type of fabric will stretch and thin.
Additionally, Lycra spandex is prone to ripping and tearing, as any competitive swimmer who has accidentally ripped one of their expensive tech suits (which has up to 40% of this speed-inducing fabric) can attest.
Most swim briefs have a minimal amount of Lycra spandex, but if you want a suit that has a little flex and stretch, these are the kind of suits you want to zero in on.
Most of the training suits I have worn over the years of churning up and down the lap pool have been composed of 100% polyester.
Totally polyester swim briefs are an excellent choice for the swimmer who is at the pool very often. Polyester doesn’t stretch after repeated use, it hardly fades after long-term sun exposure, and it’s the most durable fabric you will find in a swim brief.
Polyester swim briefs are also very cost-efficient.
The only downside with this fabric is that it doesn’t stretch. Like, at all.
Think of polyester as the denim jeans of the pool. They are tough, they last forever, and when they fit right, they are your best bang-for-buck when it comes to a swim brief.
Lastly, we have a wider range of swim brief fabrics. The blends!
Blended swimsuits have a combination of polyester and Lycra, giving you an excellent combination of the durability of polyester and the stretchiness and comfort of Lycra
Some swim brands have proprietary blends that they give their own name for, but generally, when it comes to swimming briefs, the blends range in 85% polyester, 15% Spandex.
Whichever swim brief you end up choosing, remember that polyester gives you durability, and Lycra gives you a stretchy fit.
Why should you train with a swim brief?
When you look at the range of swimsuits available to men, it’s natural to wonder why you should wear these kinds of swimsuits, particularly for newer swimmers who are slightly intimidated by the less modest coverage swim briefs provide.
There are a few different reasons to consider briefs.
First, the range of motion that comes with a swim brief is unparalleled when it comes to men’s swimsuits. The hips and legs can move easily internally and externally while you stroke up and down the pool.
One of the main issues I’ve encountered with jammers (knee-length swimsuits), especially the training ones, which are often made of non-stretch polyester, is that they can be a little restrictive in the water. Briefs provide the highest range of motion in the water.
Second, training briefs provide the least amount of drag and resistance in the water. Jammers, square-cut suits, and
Third, swim briefs generate a minimal amount of drag and resistance in the water. The reason for this is patently simple: less fabric means less swimsuit that is absorbing water and generating additional resistance in the pool.
And finally, swim briefs are very versatile. Yes, they can be used on their own. But they can also be used as a base layer when wearing a larger drag suit. Similarly, if you train with jammers, a swim brief can give those jammers extra shelf life when they begin to fade.
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