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The Perfect Fit: How Tight Should Board Shorts Be? The Perfect Fit: How Tight Should Board Shorts Be?

Design: Best Running Shorts

The Perfect Fit: How Tight Should Board Shorts Be?

Discover the perfect fit for board shorts with this comprehensive guide. Explore the considerations for determining the ideal tightness of board shorts, including personal comfort, style preferences, and intended use.

Running shorts come in all shapes, sizes, and styles, and among the range of options, board shorts have found their place. Yes, the very same shorts that are typically synonymous with surfing and other aquatic activities have made a splash in the world of running. However, one question often arises: “How tight should board shorts fit?” Let’s dive in and unravel the mystery behind achieving the perfect fit for board shorts in a running context.

A Look at Board Shorts

Board shorts, initially designed for aquatic sports like surfing, paddleboarding, and swimming, are known for their distinct characteristics:

  • Longer Length: Board shorts usually reach the knee or slightly above, offering more coverage than other types of shorts.
  • Loose Fit: They typically boast a loose, relaxed fit that allows maximum freedom of movement, a crucial requirement in surfing.
  • Lace-up Closure: Unlike many shorts that feature an elastic waistband, board shorts often come with a rigid waistband fastened with a lace-up tie, similar to swim trunks.
  • Quick-Dry Fabric: Made from polyester or nylon, board shorts dry quickly, making them suitable for water-based activities—and, of course, for sweaty runs.
  • No Inner Lining: Unlike many other athletic shorts, most board shorts don’t have an inner lining, thus reducing potential for chafing and increasing comfort.

Given their structure, board shorts, with their loose fit and absence of inner lining, can be a good option for runners who prefer a free range of motion and dislike the snug fit of many traditional running shorts.

Board Shorts Fit: Finding the Sweet Spot

While the fit of board shorts can be largely a matter of personal preference, there are certain factors that can help determine what’s best for you. Let’s explore these elements:

  • Comfort: Comfort should always come first. The shorts should be loose enough to allow unrestricted movement but not so loose that they risk falling down or moving excessively during your run.
  • Waist: The waistband should sit comfortably on your hips without digging in. The lace-up closure allows for some adjustability.
  • Length: Ideally, board shorts should hit just above the knee. If they’re too long, they might restrict your movement; too short, and they may not provide the coverage you want.
  • Range of Motion: Remember, running involves a lot of leg movement. Make sure your board shorts don’t interfere with your stride.

Choosing the Right Fit

Here are some tips on choosing board shorts with the right fit:

  • Try Before You Buy: Whenever possible, try on board shorts before buying. This will allow you to get a feel for their comfort and fit.
  • Check the Size Chart: If buying online, always check the brand’s size chart. Sizes can vary between brands, and your usual size might not give you the best fit.
  • Go for Adjustable Waistbands: Choose board shorts with adjustable waistbands, as they allow you to customize the fit to your body shape and comfort.
  • Consider Your Activities: Are you planning to wear the board shorts just for running, or will they double up for swimming or other activities? Your planned activities may affect your preferred fit.

In Conclusion: How Tight Should Board Shorts Fit?

The fit of board shorts can largely depend on personal preference and comfort. They should be loose enough to offer freedom of movement but not so loose that they slip or cause discomfort during your run. An adjustable waistband can provide a customized fit, while the right length ensures freedom of movement and the coverage you desire. Whether you choose to wear something underneath your board shorts can also affect how tight you want them to fit.


How should board shorts fit for running?

For running, board shorts should be comfortable and allow for a full range of motion. They should sit comfortably on the hips and fall just above the knee.

Can I wear board shorts for running?

Yes, you can wear board shorts for running. They’re lightweight, loose-fitting, and often made from quick-dry materials, making them a good choice for a run, especially on a hot day.

Do I need to size up or down when buying board shorts?

It depends on the brand and your personal preference. It’s best to refer to the brand’s size guide and consider how you want your shorts to fit.

What should I wear under board shorts when running?

If you choose to wear something under your board shorts, opt for something lightweight and moisture-wicking. This could be performance underwear or compression shorts.

Why do board shorts not have an inner lining?

Board shorts are designed primarily for water sports. The absence of an inner lining provides greater freedom of movement and reduces potential chafing, making them more comfortable for activities like surfing.