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Modest Swimwear for Men

In many countries men are expected to cover up from shoulders to below knees, but there is very little modest swimwear for men on the market.

Modest men often improvise with T-shirts and jeans or 3/4 length shorts, the usual modest male swimming outfit to begin with. Alternatively, a long sleeve sports shirt and lightweight pants provide both modesty and sun protection.

Cool Cotton

T-shirts and jeans are classic swimwear and feel comfy in the water. Cotton shirts and jeans are ideal for warm climates as they dry slowly and keep you cool. Sweatshirts, hoodies or anoraks go well with this. They just feel awesome when wet. Try them yourself next time you jump into a pool.

Pool Policies

Many public swimming pools allow T-shirts in the water, but do not allow other street clothes into the pool. Just ask and check the rules of the pool before swimming in your T-shirt. People will probably not look twice if you choose to wear your T-shirt in a swimming pool.


Keep in mind that light coloured or white T-shirts become almost transparent when wet and may not give you the modesty you want. Darker colours have a higher sun protection factor (SPF).

Wear two T-shirts on top of each other, maybe a short sleeve one over a long sleeve one. Dark colours underneath light colours look very good due to the transparency.

black T-shirt in pool
Darker colours give you better cover in the water.
black T-shirt in pool
White T-shirts become a bit transparent when wet.

Traditional Asian Style

Silky soft, loose fitting swimsuits are popular in the Far East, especially for aquatic martial arts. They are among the most comfortable swim clothes you can get. The nylon or polyester fabric dries so quickly, you can keep this suit on after swimming. Simply rinse the pool chlorine off under the shower, dry yourself with a towel, and wait a short while.

pool modest swim clothes
pool modest swim clothes
These clothes work well for Ai Chi, an aquatic form of Tai Chi.


Waterwear is just a fancy name for waterproof or windproof sports clothes designed to be worn in the water and quick drying, like anoraks and rain pants. Not for fast swimming, more for adventures, fitness training and splashing around.

We often wear these modest bathing clothes in a pool. They are great fun to swim in and feel pleasant in the water while you gain confidence and experience. Many pools will accept them, provided they are clean and fit well.

pool modest swim clothes
modest adventure swimsuit

Reader Comments

Double Standards

by Khun Mee, Phuket, Thailand

Did anyone ever think to ask the question why it is that we feel the urge to insist that a woman cover her breasts at all, but don't insist upon the same thing with regard to men?

I mean if you actually think about it, a woman's breasts and a man's breasts are, by all appearances, identical. Indeed when it comes to breast-size some men beat many women in this particular area (probably much to the chagrin of the former).

It would be nice to find other people who have also taken the time to think rationally and objectively about this peculiar societal double standard.

Personally, I choose to express my individuality and pick swimwear that suits my mood and style. There are so many options if you just widen your swimwear horizon.

My preference are long unlined nylon pants with a matching anorak or a long sleeve swim shirt, to avoid sunburn. These thin nylon clothes are quick drying and feel really good on land and in the water.

Surprise Swim

by Rowan, San Diego, California

It was a warm but rainy day when I came past the local swimming pool which allows for modest swimwear. My friends were having fun dressed in modest swim clothes. They called for me to join.

Then I realised that I didn't bring my swim shirt and shorts, or a change of clothes so I could have jumped in as I were. Too bad.

"Why don't you swim in your rain suit?" one friend asked. Great idea. I took off all my clothes, put on just my unlined rain suit, and jumped into the pool.

To my surprise the suit felt pleasant and comfortable. It was easy and fun to swim in or play around. I got a few envious looks from my friends.

Afterwards, I changed into my dry clothes, shook the water off my rain suit and put it back on. What a simple and practical idea. Why didn't I think of that earlier?

Friends Join New Swimwear Fashion Trend

Now my friends and family do the same when we go swimming. Instead of carrying around extra swimwear, we all swim in anoraks and rain pants, or similar clothes. Many wear some really stylish kit. Looks like we've started a new fashion in the pool.

Update 6 Months Later

The local swimming club noticed that we've gotten stronger and faster from consistently swimming in rain suits or other clothes. They've included it now into their swim training, and asked me join and teach this skill to beginners. Great fun. The young swimmers love it.

Pool Shop

After asking me for a few fashion tips, the pool shop is now selling colourful rain suits, jogging suits, swim shirts and leggings as fitness or sun protection clothes, ready to be worn in the pool. It has become trendy among young people to swim in these colourful clothes. Nice to see.

Wednesday Night

by Karim, London, England

Every Wednesday evening the local pool offers a men only swimming session, mainly for the muslim community. This is always a very relaxed event where I meet with my friends, not the mindless swimming up and down you normally see in most pools.

In our tradition you should wear modest swimwear, covering from above the navel to below the knees. For most men that means a tee-shirt and long tracksuit bottoms or jeans. Others also wear hoodies or long tunics, just for fun or to look good.

Bathing in clothes feels more modest and comfortable to me than shorts or briefs. My  friends and I always dress up for this in nice sportswear or casuals, making sure we look good in the pool.

I couldn't swim

When I started to go to these pool sessions I couldn't swim at all. The shallow end was were I stayed initially, but my friends were swimming in the deep end. So I followed them into the deep side, clinging to the poolside. Back then I only wore jeans and a tee-shirt, so I soon started to get cold and shiver because I didn't move around much.

Swimming Lesson

One of the more experienced swimmers noticed me shivering and offered to teach me how to swim. We went to the shallow end where he handed me a sweatshirt to keep warm. That was most welcome as it felt more wholesome to be fully clothed in the pool.

He explained that the sweatshirt is harder to swim in, forcing me to do the swim strokes right, or not move forward. He showed me the basic frontcrawl and breaststroke skills. At first it was difficult, but as I mastered the skills it got easier, even with all the clothes on.

Using his pocket camera he took underwater videos to show my progress. This worked out really well. After an hour I had enough confidence to swim with my friends in the deep end. That was exciting. I was so happy.

After the session I rinsed all the clothes by wearing them under the shower like all the men did. Then I returned the sweatshirt to my teacher with gratitude. It was such a help and felt really good in the water.

Since that day my friends and I always swim fully clothed to build strength and improve our skills. We think that hoodie and jeans are swimwear for cool guys, shorts are for wusses. We often meet my teacher who usually swims in a jogging suit, and learn new skills from him.

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