Which Boardshorts Are the Right Ones for You?

We tested five of the best. Here’s how they stack up.

May 16, 2017 9:00 am

The great irony of the outdoor enthusiast is that their love of new gear tends to directly contradict their (alleged) penchant for conservation.

According to McKinsey, making just 1kg of fabric generates 24kg of pollution.

The good news: outdoor apparel companies are on the path to mitigating that statistic with clothes made from recycled materials, ethical labor practices and timeless durability.

Here are five pairs of boardshorts that fit the bill, all of which we tested for comfort, dryability and versatility.

Patagonia Light and Vairiable Boardshort
Dry time: 3-5 minutes
Functionality: The four-way stretch is great for active pursuits, but a lack of pockets will limit your options.
Eco-friendly? Very much so. They’re made with 100-percent recycled polyester but feel very robust on the hand.


Outerknown Nomadic Trunk
Dry time: 10 minutes
Functionality: Great for a morning surf or hike, but they’ll also earn you plenty of plaudits at a pool party. There’s a hidden key-ring and pockets, making them super versatile.
Eco-friendly? They’re made from recycled plastic water bottles.


Hurley Phantom
Dry time: 3 minutes
Functionality: These are crossover shorts, ideal for surfing or working out. Leave a pair in your car and you’ll always have something on hand for hitting the beach, trail or gym.
Eco-friendly? Not as self-evidently as the previous two, but Hurley is now owned by Nike and subject to their quality control, which has been a big emphasis in recent years. They’re built to last, which means you need fewer shorts.


Almond Surfboards Lumberjack
Dry time: 10 minutes
Functionality: These are great for skating, hiking and surfing, but there’s only one back pocket, which somewhat limits them as a day-to-night option.
Eco-friendly? They’re made with 65% recycled plastic and 35% organic cotton. And the thick weave has a heritage look that will always be in style, which should keep them in your closet and out of the landfill.


Linksoul Floral Boardshort
Dry time: 5-7 minutes
Functionality: Linksoul makes golf threads with an edge, and while these shorts are firmly part of their beachier offerings, you might be able to pull ’em off on the public couse.
Eco-friendly? Like the Hurleys, they don’t have conservation written in to their mission, but expect them to last.


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