Go Back to Shop

6 Beach-Ready Alternatives to Swimsuits

June 28, 2021

With summer come long days at the beach, full of good times with friends and family. But sometimes, hanging out in a bathing suit all day isn’t as much fun. You see, swimsuits aren’t necessarily designed to be anti-chafe or comfortable for all-day wearboth in and out of the water

That’s where double-duty activewear comes into play. You can find leggings, shirts, and sports bras that can keep you cool, dry, and comfortable all day long. But not just any activewear will do. 

Here’s what you should look for in high-quality activewear pieces that can also function as swim gear and a few options to choose from.


Swimwear vs. Activewear

When it comes to beach days, the materials used in swim outfits are the key to whether or not they perform well. Synthetic clothes for swimming rank supreme. Unlike natural materials (like cotton or wool), synthetic materials dry quickly and may even have antimicrobial properties that can keep you smelling fresh.

Advances in fabric technology have brought about a revolution in the high-quality activewear industry. When you invest in high-quality activewear, you often get the same benefits from your active apparel as you do from your swimwear. 

You can easily find pieces that can pull double-duty as a swim top or swim trunks AND gymwear. The quick-drying, light-weight, hi-tech fabrics can perform just as well at the beach as they do in the gym.

But keep in mind that not all activewear is a suitable replacement for swimwear. Ultimately, it comes down to how it’s made –  and only the high-quality activewear will cut it.

There are four things you need to watch for when sourcing your activewear alternatives to swimsuits:

  • Color-fast: This is the biggest quality you need to look for when it comes to activewear that can withstand the sun and salt. While we’re strictly talking beachwear today, pool-ready gear MUST BE COLORFAST. Because chlorine and pool chemicals can do a number on your gear. Not only can it sap the color, it can start to degrade those materials. The easiest way to know whether or not it’ll hold up to that nasty chlorine water is to look at the care tag. If it says no bleach, don’t wear it in the pool. Failing to follow the care instructions is a quick way to ruin the color and function of your gear.
  • Quick-drying: The primary similarity between activewear and swimwear is their quick-drying fabrics. But don’t let that fool you into thinking that just any activewear will do. If you try to save money and go for the low-quality competitors, you’ll probably just end up disappointed – and with an all-day sogginess (which is a quick trip to chafe-town). Make sure you go for activewear with fabrics that were specially developed to be quick-drying.
  • Flat-lock seams & built-in liners: If you plan on spending time in the water, then you know how important fit can be. One easy way to prevent chafing while at the beach is to get the best fit. Go for pieces with flatlock seams that don’t cause excess friction against your skin. Shorts with built-in liners can keep you supported, even when you’re romping in the waves.
  • Antimicrobial fabrics: You know that weird stench you can get from hanging around in your swimsuit all day? Many hi-tech fitness fabrics are designed with anti-microbial properties to keep you smelling fresh at the gym AND the beach. These fabric treatments can help inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria.
  • UV protection: some fabrics are woven with built-in UV protection. While it’s not a must for your swim fitness wear, it’s a definite plus in helping to keep you protected from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Double-Duty Activewear Alternatives to Swimsuits

Swap your swimwear for sportswear and stay dry and comfy throughout your summer adventures with these double-duty activewear alternatives to swimsuits.


Yoga Pants for Days at the Beach

If shorts leave you with chub rub, leggings can be the perfect alternative to wearing shorts to the beach. Let’s make beach yoga pants a thing. This lightweight, breathable pair with mesh inserts is designed to keep you dry – through the most demanding workouts or the longest beach days. 



Running Tights for Surfing

It’s time that you considered using those second-skin running tights for swimming or surfing. They support you at the gym, so they’ll do you one better while you’re staying active in the water. They’re lightweight but gently compressive and act as a rash guard if you’re hitting the waves.



The Biker Shorts Swimsuit Bottom

There’s a reason that biker shorts have taken the world by storm; they’re just so dang comfortable. You might have dressed them up for date nights, but have you made your bike shorts into swimsuit bottoms yet? This pair with mesh inserts dries quickly, resists odor, and helps keep your skin covered from the sun’s UV rays.



Running Shorts as Swim Trunks

Go ahead. Make your favorite pair of lined training shorts your new go-to swimwear alternative. These shorts have side pockets, a liner pocket, and a zip pocket that won’t hold onto water once you get out. They lay flat and include a built-in liner to support you while you’re chilling out on your favorite floatation device. 



Sports Bra Suitable for Swimming

A high-quality sports bra can also be a swim sports bra. This one is a favorite that looks like a tankini – but with a much better fit and more support than swimwear can offer. Keep in mind that that same sports bra might not be suitable for swimming in chlorinated pool water. Check to see if your material has colorfast properties before diving into the deep end of the pool.



Quick-Dry T-Shirt for Swimming

You could go shirtless at the beach – or you could embrace the rash guard movement and put on the fan-favorite quick-drying t-shirt before you take a plunge. Not only does it help protect your skin from abrasions, but it also helps to shield you from some of the sun’s rays. It’s so lightweight, quick-drying, and odor-resistant that you’ll hardly notice it’s there.



Conclusion: Stay Dry and Comfy with High-Performance Activewear Alternatives to Swimsuits

It’s time to say goodbye to those uncomfortable swimsuits and hello to swim athletic wear. With high-performance fabrics, you can turn your favorite activewear pieces into beachwear shorts and tops. But before you make the upgrade, check the labels to make sure the materials that your gear is made out of will stand up to the test of an all-day beach hang session.

Explore the world of double-duty, high-performance activewear and find out what you’ve been missing out on. Shop alternatives to swimsuits today. 

Taryn W


Taryn Willis is an avid fitness junkie. Born and raised in Indiana, she grew up playing sports and continues to this day. When she’s not spoiling her three furbabies, she’s busy kickboxing, running, doing some deep downward dog yoga, or playing intramural soccer. A creative mastermind and wordsmith by nature, she graduated from Indiana University in 2020 with a degree in Communication Studies. She currently writes for several publications as a freelance blogger and copywriter.