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Outerknown’s Merino Swim Trunks Are Ready for a Summer on the Water

When you think of Merino wool, you probably imagine a drawer full of warm winter clothing, or maybe a pair of comfy hiking socks. You likely don’t think about summer wear, especially not a pair of swim trunks. But Outerknown, the outdoor apparel brand founded by pro surfer Kelly Slater, is changing the way we think about wool with the new Woolaroo trunks, released earlier this month.


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We got our hands on a pair while touring Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch, and we’re here to tell you it’s time to leave the itchy stereotypes about wool behind. These 100 percent Merino wool trunks feel great, are super tough, and they’re eco-friendly, too. If you’re in the market for a pair of hard-working trunks that can stand up to a summer’s worth of surfing, swimming, and paddling, the it’s worth considering the Woolaroo.

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What It Is: 

The Woolaroo is a new swim trunk from Outerknown, and the company claims it’s the first-ever trunk made completely from Australian Merino wool (the fiber is sourced in collaboration with The Woolmark Company). It’s a nod to the swim trunks from the early days of surfing, which were made from a heavy-duty twill fabric, but it’s also a clear expression of the brand’s commitment to sustainability. Merino wool is an all-natural, renewable, and biodegradable fiber, unlike the synthetic fabrics used in many other swim trunks.


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Why We Like It:

Finding swim trunks that are comfortable, stylish, and fit well is no easy task, but the Woolaroo gets high marks in all three categories. The pre-stretched wool fabric is light but tough, and the natural benefits of the fiber really shine. It’s breathable and odor-resistant without any synthetic finishes or additives, and wool’s moisture-wicking properties are also evident: Even when soaking wet, water beads up and rolls off the shorts easily. The Woolaroo strikes a good balance between utility and style as well. They hit just above the knee and look trim enough to wear off the beach, but there’s enough give through the thigh that they won’t interfere with swimming, and the zipper fly and drawstring provide a secure fit—you won’t have to worry about these slipping off in heavy surf. Of course, it’s also a definite plus to wear swim trunks that won’t contribute to the plastic that’s choking our oceans.

Nitpick:

The Merino fabric of the Woolaroo is a far cry from your scratchy Christmas sweater, but it’s worth noting that these shorts do have a slightly coarse texture compared to synthetic fabrics. As for storage, the Woolaroo comes with a secure zippered back pocket, but on land, some might miss having side pockets to carry keys and other essentials. Watermen who need a light and lean pair of trunks likely won’t mind the lack of pockets, though.

[$ 125; outerknown.com]

Get it

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12 Stylish Swim Trunks You’ll Want to Wear This Summer

The beach is nothing if not a great equalizer. Once you take off your shirt and you’re left with only your swim trunks, everyone knows what’s going on under the hood. And finding the right pair of shorts has never been easier, thanks to more brands designing versatile and stylish trunks that won’t break the bank.

 

When you’re shopping for new swim trunks, consider a few simple visual tricks: Vertical stripes create the illusion of a longer, leaner frame while horizontal ones (as well as bold patterns) can appear to add bulk. Stick with dark, slimming solids if you have thicker, muscular legs. If your legs are on the smaller side, steer clear of short inseams. These work best for average-height and smaller guys who need to show more skin to look longer. More focused on style? “Navy looks great on everyone and goes with just about everything, and red has been the standard for lifeguards on both coasts since the 1960s,” says Bill Carney, director of apparel at iconic board short brand, Birdwell. “Camo is a style staple that can be worn every summer.”

Whether you want to spend $ 35 or have a little room in your budget, here are a dozen stylish, affordable swim trunks you’ll want to rock in the sun this summer.

Outerknown Apex Trunk By Kelly Slater

We’re not saying your swimwear can make you handle waves like a pro surfer, but these trunks certainly stand up to any swells the ocean throws your way. The durable and lightweight material made from recycled plastic bottles not only offers the comfort of 4-way stretch, but it’s also water resistant, so drying time is minimal once you make it back to shore. 

[$ 145; outerknown.com]

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Patagonia Wavefarer Standup Shorts

Your bag just a got a lot lighter. No need to bring extra shorts when you can wear these quick-drying swim shorts all day. Made from recycled nylon, they’re the ideal piece to transition from beach to barbecue, and the 50+ UPF protection means you don’t have to obsess over sunscreen if you’re too busy having a good time.

[$ 69; patagonia.com]

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Birdwell 310 Board Shorts

You can’t go wrong with these OG surf shorts from the Santa Ana, CA, brand that have been worn by lifeguards and surfers for more than 50 years. The tab closure offers freedom to adjust the fit, nylon offers performance, and the classic camo print actually stands out—in the best sort of way—on the sand.

[$ 79; birdwell.com]

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Bonobos Banzai Trunk

Certain patterns can look a little too precious for the pool. Anchors and flamingos, we’re talking to you. But small geometric shapes like these give off a retro vibe and have a cool factor that doesn’t fade. 

[$ 88; bonobos.com]

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Faherty Brand All Day Short

Consider this pair of shorts the closest a piece of apparel can get to a deep breath of sea air. We appreciate the Zen feels of this laid-back brand known for sun-faded colors like this. Rendered in a soft, stretchy technical fabric—and in a length that hits a few inches above the knee—just add a cotton button front shirt and wear this tailored trunk well after the sun goes down.

[$ 98; fahertybrand.com]

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Vouri Equator Boardshort

If you’ve got an active day ahead of you, these board shorts can take you from your a.m. workout session to a late afternoon swim. The stretchy, anti-odor, and fast-drying fabric keeps you feeling comfortable and prepared for whatever adventures come your way—even if that is just early morning yoga.

[$ 69; vuoriclothing.com]

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Tommy Hilfiger Solid Mid-Length Swim Trunk

Sometimes it’s good to keep it simple. These classic drawstring navy trunks are straightforward, so they’ll go with every color in your closet—from patterns and prints to brighter summer colors—after you dry off. The slightly shorter inseam is just right for average height-and-under guys.

[$ 60; usa.tommy.com]

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Orlebar Brown Bulldog Sport

Along with sunscreen, consider these sophisticated shorts your tropical vacation must. The small pattern, which works for any body type, will stand out when you’re spiking a volleyball on the beach or sipping a frozen drink at the bar. Add a solid black polo when you want to explore after dark.  

[$ 195; orlebarbrown.com]

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Nautica Performance Quick-Dry Swim Shorts

You can’t go wrong with these simple and classic cinched waistband shorts. The bright color is the perfect match for that post-vacation tan you’ve been working on, too.

[$ 40; nautica.com]

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Saturdays NYC x Mr. Porter Colin Boardshort

We like these shorts because the subtle pattern is tonal, so from far away you might not even know there is one until you get closer. The tailored, streamlined fit with only a single back pocket is flattering on everybody.

[$ 95; saturdaysnyc.com]

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LL Bean Classic Supplex Sports Short

Nothing beats a classic performance trunk like this one. Made with breathable performance fabric in UPF 50+, it has all of the attributes you’d want: reliable, versatile, protective, and comfortable in almost any situation.

[$ 35; llbean.com]

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Ralph Lauren Monaco Striped Trunk

Nautical looks are a perennial go-to for guys looking to lighten up their summer style. The horizontal stripes that create the illusion of width are good news for narrow or slimmer frames. The bottom line: They’ll never go out of style.

[$ 85; ralphlauren.com]

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The post 12 Stylish Swim Trunks You'll Want to Wear This Summer appeared first on Men's Journal.

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