Zio Sport boys' board shortsI’d love to find some boys’ board shorts that don’t look like gangster-wear. Can you help? -reader question via Twitter

With his fair skin, I love board shorts on my son for the simple reason that they cover more of his body that shorter swim trunks. And I’m pretty certain that any little boy would look surfer-dude cute, and not gangster tough, in these great board short options that we’ve pulled together. –Christina

Our editor Liz recently raved about Zio Sport’s great sportswear for boys and girls, and their brand new board shorts are pretty cool too. I love the dark Distressed Plaid pattern (above) on soft, quick-dry poly/microfiber fabric. And unlike a lot of boys’ suits I’ve found, these do not have a mesh liner, something I know my son will be happy about after a few hours on the beach.. Though note that a size 6 swims (heh) on my skinny six-year-old, so if your son has a slight build, go with one size smaller.

Boys' board shorts from UV Skinz

UV Skinz is one of our favorite brands for sun-protection swimwear since it blocks almost all UVA and UVB rays without chemicals or lotions. Plus their Navy Stripe board shorts are such a great color combination, and I appreciate the working drawstring waist to keep the shorts in place.

Boy's board shorts from Mini Boden

Preppy alert! Love Mini Boden’s Pool Check Board Shorts in plaid. With sizes up to 14, I can’t think of a pattern that would look less “gangster” on a tween. Ok, maybe polka dots.
Boys' swimwear by Cabana Life
Another brand we’ve long loved in the surf, Cabana Life sells their board shorts in sets with sun-protection swim shirts. Smart if you really prefer to keep your son under wraps when he’s building sandcastles. And with nautical stripes so in style right now, the Anchor Stripe Swim Set is not only in fashion, it’s on sale.
Boys' board shorts by Haiden Surf

Haiden Surf knows a thing or two about surf gear, and we love their boys’ “boardies” even if the closest thing you have to an ocean is a chlorinated pool. Also unlined so as not to get in the way of a swim diaper, their Da Bull Toddler Boardie has a cool black-and-white hibiscus print that’s fantastic set against a punky checkerboard waistband. 

Check out our other answers to our readers’ questions in our archives.