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Chubbies review: These swim trunks easily take you from the beach to the boardwalk in style

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a man wearing 3 different pairs of Chubbies shorts in side by side images 2x1

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Founded in 2011 as an antidote to fancy fashion brands with unrealistic models, Chubbies initially offered fun, frisky, shorter-than-average shorts that were an instant hint. In the years since, the brand has maintained its unpretentious “Friday at 5 p.m. feeling” while branching out into a wider variety of shorts, shirts, hoodies, jackets, and even (gasp!) pants.

Chubbies also makes a range of swim trunks that run the gamut when it comes to style, color, and function. With summer fast approaching, we tried out three different varieties — classic swim, lined classic swim, and gym swim hybrid — to see if their performance matches the brand’s irreverence. Our main takeaway? These trunks are comfortable, quick-drying, versatile, and good-looking enough for a full season of fun in the sun.

Chubbies Classic Swim Trunks Review

a man wearing Chubbies Classic Swim TrunksSteve, the author, wearing Chubbies Classic Swim Trunks in a 4-inch inseam.

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For my classic swim trunks, I chose The Panoramas, black shorts with rainbow stripes and a 4-inch inseam. While 5.5-inch and 7-inch lengths are also available, these trunks are what I would call “unapologetically Chubbies,” in that the relatively short length is what initially distinguished the brand from other options. This inseam is not for everyone, but if you’re looking to show a little thigh, it’s worth considering. I kind of dig it.

I also kind of dig the performance of these bad boys. The four-way stretch mesh fabric offers maximum freedom of movement, while mesh side pockets drain easily and the back pocket’s zipper keeps beach essentials safe. The stretch mesh basket liner is comfortable, and the shorts dry pretty quickly in the sun. (The fact that they are mostly black and fairly small probably helps on that front.) It’s worth noting that these trunks are part of the Chubbies Pride collection, which means $5 from every pair sold goes to Foundation 43, the brand’s nonprofit, to help with access to mental health care and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth.

Chubbies Lined Classic Swim Trunks Review

a man wearing Chubbies Classic Lined Swim TrunksSteve, the author, wearing Chubbies Lined Classic Swim Trunks in a 7-inch inseam.

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For my lined classic trunks, I opted for a flashy, jungle-themed style, The Hydrofoils, with a 7-inch inseam. As you can tell from the photos, these trunks are noticeably longer, covering most of the thigh and resting just a couple of inches above the knee. Paired with a subtle tropical shirt and flip-flops, I can rock these shorts in various summer settings, from pool to beach to minigolf course.

Function-wise, they offer features similar to the first pair of trunks, including an elastic waistband and built-in drawstring, the aforementioned four-way stretch fabric (courtesy of a 92% polyester/8% spandex blend), and three pockets. Where they differ is the lining, which in this case is a lightweight, breathable boxer brief with ample support. The brief extends to mid-thigh, providing plenty of coverage and security should you choose to wear them on, say, the water slide.

a close up of the Chubbies Lined Classic Swim TrunksA close up of the built-in boxer brief liner on the Lined Classic Swim Trunks.

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Like all classic swim trunks, they feature a UPF of 50+, ample protection for a full day in the sun, and are available in an impressive range of seven sizes, from XS through XXXL.

Chubbies Gym Swim Hybrid Shorts Review

a man wearing Chubbies Hybrid gym shortsSteve, the author, wearing Chubbies Gym Swim Hybrid Shorts in a 5.5-inch inseam.

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While the first two trunks are pretty similar, the gym swim hybrids, which I tried in The Flints colorway with a 5.5-inch inseam, are different in several ways. The fabric is a water-repellant 86% polyester/14% spandex blend. The drawstring is on the inside. All three pockets are zippered, and they are unlined. 

Wearing them for workouts, I’ve found them to be plenty stretchy and rugged enough for cardio and functional strength training with kettlebells and dumbbells. The internal drawstring gives them a clean silhouette that won’t slow you down, and the zippered pockets are generous, providing plenty of room for a phone, wallet, and keys. While I’ve been pairing them with boxer briefs for extra coverage and support, the upside of not having a liner is that they dry super quickly — as they would at the beach or pool — and you can potentially wear them for two or three workouts without washing. The sizing variety is not as wide as it is for the aforementioned trunks — five sizes from small through XXL and two inseam lengths, 5.5-inch and 7-inch.

Cons to consider

One thing the gym swim hybrids lack — that some other top gym shorts offer — is a little compression sleeve within a pocket to keep your phone from jangling around. But overall, the biggest thing to consider with Chubbies is which length and liner are best for you. 

Those 4-inchers, liberating as they can be, could be outside the comfort zone of some shoppers, and going liner-less may limit the activities you can partake in while maintaining your modesty. If you seek maximum coverage and comfort, the second option on this list might be your best bet.

The bottom line

With the incredible variety of styles, sizes, lengths, and liners Chubbies offers, the brand is tough to beat in the swim trunk space. For those counting, there are currently 48 colorways of the classic swim trunk, 38 of the lined variety, and nine of the gym swim hybrid. 

The pricing is pretty competitive with other premium brands, such as Outerknown, Vuori, and Birddogs, and these trunks offer a similar blend of comfort and performance. Where they really stand out is with some of the values the brand stakes its name to — namely irreverence and fun — so if such things are on your agenda this summer, Chubbies swim trunks are worth a dip. 

Shop all Chubbies swim trunks and shorts here.

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