A History of Men's Swimsuits: Are You Team Jammers or Team Briefs?

The Great Debate.

"Are you a Boxers or Briefs man?"


For decades, older ladies have been asking this question, hoping to get a blush out of younger men. The swimsuit equivalent? "Jammers or Briefs?"


The History Behind Male Swimsuits:


For most of history, recreational swimming was done in the nude, even by United States Presidents. (I know, right?) Nude swimming was even common for training at men’s schools!


Towards the late 1800s, however, laws banning nude swimming emerged and companies began making modest, one-piece knitted wool swimsuits, as wool absorbs less liquid than cotton.


Rumor has it they were overheard saying, "We'd rather be wearing Zone."

In the 1930s, following many organized protests (and many arrests!), the laws were removed and so were the upper parts of bathing suits. This transformation ushered in a new wave of swimsuits. The suits look vaguely like modern day briefs, but they also featured an important and "patented" high waist for support!


Notice the zipper on the righthand swimsuit. That's right, the top of the suit zipped right off! Talk about progressive.

The world wars and resulting fabric shortages led to shorter lengths over the years and by the 1980s, with theatres dominated by beefy characters like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, the television sets dominated by World Wrestling Foundation (now World Wresting Entertainment), everyday people began interesting themselves in bodybuilding and physical fitness. Tight briefs were the obvious next step as swimwear needed to complement the male physique.


To be honest we don't really know how to caption this.

The late 1990s brought forward compression shorts called ‘jammers,’ which resemble biker shorts as they begin mid-waist and ending above the knee.



Now that looks pretty familiar, huh?

Cut To Modern-Day:


You can see both jammers and briefs being sported, but which do you prefer? We, at Zone, have decided to give you both sides.


Those who prefer briefs argue that less fabric, just like less hair, helps with hydrodynamics. In other words, you cut through the water faster. Less fabric also means your skin breathes easier; you dry faster; your range of motion is not limited. And, of course, your tan lines will be far less evident.


Some claim that more coverage given by the jammers is better: It creates less drag, as the water repellent fabric is faster than skin. The compression of the jammers also reduces muscle fatigue as well as minimising muscle and skin movement in the water, further lowering skin friction drag.


In the end, nobody has definitively concluded which is better, so it comes down to how you feel and how you will use the suit! Looking for a little more speed? Is sun protection your priority? Are you more comfortable in one style than the other? Consider your needs and make your decision - you will be great.


Of course, whether or choose a jammer or briefs, we would be silly if we missed the opportunity to tell you that the most important thing is that they are Zone Swimwear!


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The team at Zone is excited to make custom swimwear, and we're proud to do it right here in the United States. We are a team that supports teams and allows them to celebrate themselves. 

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