Swimming In Underwear? Pros & Cons

Last Updated on June 16, 2024 by Sarah Keene

Even though it may seem obvious, many people are concerned if it is a good idea to be swimming in underwear under their swimsuits or swimming trunks or even alone without any swimwear.

This could be puzzling for both men, women, and even children, and you will be surprised about how common this question is. We can help you figure out if you should swim in your underwear when you go out swimming.

Plenty of people may want to know why you should not be wearing any type of underwear underneath their swimsuits or wearing their underwear alone to swim. Some people may even think it may come down to hygiene issues or be worried about how others may perceive them.

To be honest, you may be more wrapped up than you think you are. Take a look at some pros and cons about whether you should or shouldn’t swim in your bra and panties.


What Are The Pros and Cons of Swimming In Underwear?

Pros include: 

  • You can feel more comfortable in a softer fabric.
  • Wearing your own underwear can be convenient.
  • Good for moments when you want to be a bit adventurous.
  • Fewer items to pack when you are on holiday.
  • Much cheaper as you do not have to spend money on swimwear.
  • They can be worn on the spur of the moment without worry you do not have the correct items.

Cons include: 

  • Swimming underwear has more thickness than underwear, whereas underwear is generally too light.
  • Underwear is not designed for the rigors of many aspects of swimming.
  • Underwear will be see-through when they get wet.
  • Underwear can easily come off in the swimming pool.
  • The chlorine from the swimming pool could ruin your underwear, especially if they are white.
  • Your underwear will not dry as fast as your swimming wear.


Is It Bad to Swim In Underwear?

Yes, it is bad to swim in your underwear. Here is why.

Okay, if you take a fall in a pool or take a short dip while wearing underwear, it will survive, but if you wear it every time you swim, the water will do severe harm to your underwear. This is because chlorine degrades color and damages garment fibers. Salt replaces chlorine in the sea and has the same effect.

Is Swimming In My Underwear Bad For My Health?

Swimming in underwear, overdressing, and wearing excessively tight clothes around the groin region are both bad for your health and appearance. Clothing that is far too tight around the private area may cause UTIs (urinary tract infection), resulting in an overactive bladder, which is a form of bladder weakness.

Always allow plenty of space around the groin region, and make sure your swim shorts or swimming suits are comfortable so that you don’t feel constrained or limited in any way. It is always best to feel comfortable when swimming.


What To Swim In If You Don’t Have A Swimsuit?

These are some alternatives you can swim in:

  • fitted t-shirt or leggings can be worn
  • Sports bra and cycling shorts
  • Home made shirts or shorts made of thin nylon material
  • Shorts for the beach or the pool
  • Leggings with or without shorts are okay.

These alternatives may even be helpful for women who may try to hide their back fat when wearing bathing suits


Should You Wear Underwear Under Swim Shorts?

No, you should not be wearing underwear under your swim shorts.

Swimming is very harsh on your underwear, and you must be aware that it can cause long lasting damage on your underwear. That being said, a single dip won’t harm your undies, but if you’re swimming with your undergarments on all the time, the water is going to do significant damage to them.

What underwear is best for swimming?

The best underwear to swim in should have:

  • Material that stretches and dries quickly when exposed to sunlight.
  • Antibacterial technology that is included in the design process.
  • Anti-odor properties.
  • Thick material cloth, which will prevent it from becoming see-through.
  • Lightweight material that will allow you to move comfortably when swimming.


Can you wear a sports bra as a swim top?

Yes, without a doubt! If you are swimming in a sports bra like this one, there is no physiological reason why you cannot use the bra as a swim top. Just ensure that the water-based activities you are doing are supportive and low-impact, it is completely okay to jump in with your sports bra on and start swimming. Check out how effortless this woman makes swimming with a sports bra looks.

Why Should I Wear Swimming Shorts?

The answer to this is that swimming shorts or swimming suits are specifically designed for swimming use.

Water-resistant shorts are composed of certain kinds of materials that are appropriate for usage in the water. They can also absorb much less water and dry out quicker than other materials. Swimwear is especially designed to remove the need to wear underpants when swimming.

Read More: How to cover bikini nipples


1. Can I wear underwear to the beach?

Yes, it is okay to wear underwear to the beach.

Beaches are places where people choose different types of activities and not just to swim. Therefore, if you decide to sunbathe in your underwear then it is absolutely fine. Beaches normally do not have any regulations about what you should be wearing. Wearing underwear or street clothes is not a problem for most of them.

2. Can you wear a bra to the beach?

Yes, you can wear a bra to the beach.

If your vacation to the beach were more land-based than water-based, a regular-backed bra would suffice for your needs. Just ensure that if you do choose to go in the water, you tighten the straps to compensate for any stretch that may have happened while the bra was submerged.

3. Should you wear underwear when surfing?

No, you should not wear underwear when surfing. Here is why:

Wearing normal boxers or underwear underneath your boardshorts may cause pain throughout the course of a day spent going in and out of the water. This will take the joy out of this sport. Boardshorts usually come with a mesh lining, which makes wearing underwear even more pointless.

4. Do Swimmers Wear Underwear Under Swimsuits?

No, swimmers do not wear underwear under their swimsuits.

As a general rule, you should never be required to wear underwear underneath your swimwear. If it is a one-piece suit, you will not be required to wear a bra or pantyhose. If you’re wearing swim trunks, swim shorts, or swim briefs, you shouldn’t typically wear underwear beneath them either.



Selecting swimwear should be done with care; although it is important to be covered and protected and look nice, let’s face it, no one likes those saggy swimwear bottoms  or camel toe.

You also need to be able to feel comfortable when you are swimming. Instead of swimming in underwear which is not recommended, just pick real swimwear like this beautiful swim dress and enjoy your splash in the pool.

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