In Defense Of The Speedo

In Defense Of The Speedo

Speedo, while a brand name of an Australian swimwear company, has become a colloquial term referring to men's swim briefs. In this myTake, I'll be using the term Speedo in this generic colloquial way.

As with the related "tighty whitey," the speedo has become an object of ridicule, particularly in the United States. Contemporary American society has determined it to be "too small, too tight, too European, and/or too gay."

I wholly reject that assessment. The speedo doesn't deserve that type of ridicule. It is superior to the baggy boardshorts that are fashionable today in almost every way, yet men are afraid to wear it for fear of ridicule. Much like other "masculine" standards from the late 20th century/early 21st century, the reasons the speedo have been ridiculed are dated and toxic.

The American stereotype is that men have to cover their upper legs, and women have to show them. The reasoning behind this has way more to do with homophobia than practicality. Men, I'm here to tell you, seeing the upper thigh of another man cannot change your sexual orientation.

I too wore long trunks to the pool in the summer, through the sprinkler in friends back yards, and while swimming at the beach on a local lake. I saw a few boys wear speedos at swimming lessons, and secretly wanted to wear them myself. It took until I was in college to finally order a swim brief (order online of course, how could I dare buy one in Target... that was too public!). I wore them on vacation with my girlfriend. She didn't mind, and I knew no one else there, so I didn't care what they though.

In Defense Of The Speedo

To my surprise, I didn't get any dirty looks, and after the first few minutes strolling down the beach with my girlfriend, I felt confident in my speedo. I don't have ripped abs or a super toned body in general, I'm pretty average. If I can pull it off, I'm confident most men can as well. Now I wear speedo's quite often around people I know (gasp!) and aside from a few jokes, no one has said anything negative about it.

What I Liked About Speedos:

No yards of clingy, wet (sometimes sandy) fabric:

Getting out of the water after swimming in a speedo is miles better than in trunks. I didn't feel like I had to rush to dry off immediately like I did with trunks. The speedo kept my thighs exposed to the sun and air, making them dry out and warm up on their own. I also didn't have to pick and pull fabric that was clinging to my skin.

In Defense Of The Speedo

Speedos dry faster:

Speedos (and other swim briefs) are almost all made of nylon, which will completely dry out while wearing them in the sun. I didn't even need to hit the dingy changing room at the beach before we left, just through my shorts on over the speedo and hopped in an cab. No need to ball up your wet trunks into a bag for the ride home.

Lots of options:

I'm not saying that there isn't variety in the men's swim trunk department, but how many times have you seen pretty much the same Hawaiian flower print trunk on the beach? There's a vast variety of companies out there that sell swim briefs, and there are endless colors and prints out there.

In Defense Of The Speedo

Effect on Swimming:

Anyone who has ever tried to swim quickly in board shorts understands the amount of drag they create. Trunks are also far more likely to be the subject of wardrobe malfunctions while diving or swimming in heavy surf, as there's more surface area to create drag. There is a reason you will never see a professional swimmer in trunks. If you want to swim quickly and unencumbered, wear a speedo!

In Defense Of The Speedo

Beachside Activities:

Want to play some beach volleyball, go for a run, or enjoy some other type of physical activity? Well, not only has your swimwear already dried off, it also provides the same support that briefs do for athletic activity. Speedos get rid of most of the flop and slop that you'd experience in trunks, which can be both painful and unattractive.

In Defense Of The Speedo

No Mesh Liner:

To be fair, by the time I discovered speedos I either bought trunks that came without the mesh or cut the mesh out of my trunks, but speedos are a natural solution to the mesh problem. Sitting on a poolside chair with a mesh liner is a very uncomfortable time, especially if the suit is even slightly damp. The fabric of a speedo is nice and soft, and comfortable to sit on, even right out of the water.

In Defense Of The Speedo

Tan Lines:

If you're like me, not all of your shorts are the same length, and some may be slightly shorter than your fashionable board shorts. You won't have to worry about your tan lines showing in your running shorts if you wear a speedo at the beach.


The speedo, while not universally in favor, is classic, confident, look. I challenge you to find a man on the beach in a speedo that doesn't look confident - you'll have a hard time finding one. I've gotten a few comments from other men along the lines of "I wish I was brave enough..."

Societal reasons to embrace the swim brief:

"Ok, that's great for you, Matchrestore, but why should society in general embrace the brief?"


In many areas of the world, swim trunks are not allowed in public pools, and for good reason. Loose swim trunks collect dirt, debris, lint, etc., making for a dirtier swimming environment. Trunks also are often worn on the way to the pool to avoid changing, meaning other contaminants, are picked up on the way, and objects, such as packs of gum, are often mistakenly left in pockets.

In Defense Of The Speedo

Breaking Gender Norms:

The generally accepted women's swimwear is designed to be revealing, while men's is not. Wearing a speedo cuts against what our culture has gendered as "masculine" and is not what "real" men are supposed to do. I call bullshit on that. Just as we've torn down many gender norms (for the better in my opinion) this too is another one that should fall.



In Defense Of The Speedo
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