The first question to ask when selecting your swimwear is how you intend to use it, because the needs of someone aiming to smash out 50 laps at their local pool of a morning differ greatly from those of someone intending on cooling off with a quick dip in the sea before lounging the day away at a beach bar. One will be hunting down streamlined trunks or jammers to minimise drag as they perfect their front crawl technique, the other will be looking for stylish shorts that are more impressive out of the water than they are in it.

Fortunately we have rounded up the finest examples of every type of swimwear for you, so the needs of every swim-shorts-searcher can be met by simply scrolling down.

The Best Swim Shorts And Trunks

Orlebar Brown Bulldog Sport

The go-to for designer swim shorts that’ll catch admiring glances wherever you take them, this retooled pair of shorts (formerly known as the Jack) are ultra-lightweight and versatile enough to cover a swim and a game of volleyball. The pattern’s also available in navy or ocean blue if don’t think you’ll ever have the tan to match this bold berry. £115, buy on orlebarbrown.com

Jacamo Flamingo

In any other brand’s range these shorts would be the clear choice, but with Jacamo we had to think long and hard over which pattern to pick, because there are several excellent options available. If you hate this flamingo design, perhaps the parrots shorts suit? But you won’t hate it, because flamingos. £18, buy on jacamo.co.uk

Nike Swim Volley Short

The fadeaway blue design on these shorts is suitably oceanic, and the fitted cut means that although they’re long shorts, they won’t flap around in the water. £35, buy on asos.com

Quiksilver Highline Kaimana

The Repreve fabric used in these shorts is made from recycled plastic bottles, so you can feel really good about wearing them in the sea. The block colour design of the Highline Kaimana range is pleasantly understated – ideal for those few who don’t want flamingos all over their legs. £40, buy on quiksilver.co.uk

Speedo Vintage Printed

While Speedo specialises in exceedingly tight and streamlined shorts, jammers and briefs, it would be a mistake not to check out its range of fashion-focused swimwear, the highlight of which are these leaf-print shorts. As you’d expect from Speedo, all the swim-specific features you’d want are present and correct, including quick-drying fabric and pocket drainage so sand doesn’t clog them up. £32, buy on speedo.com

Superdry International

From afar, this pair have a pleasing abstract pattern that draws you in until you realise you’re staring at pelicans – and a man’s swim shorts. Swim shorts that also come with two pockets on both the back and the front, as well as adjustable straps on the waistband to help ensure a comfortable fit. £30, buy on superdry.com

Animal Darwin

Surf giant Animal crams serious stretchiness into these classic board shorts, giving them high-performance manoeuvrability in the waves. They’re a great option out of the water, too – that dusty colour’s strong enough to pass them off as smart-casual chino shorts when you head for the beach bars come evening. £50, buy on animal.co.uk

Zoggs Penrith

You get a pinkie promise of 750 hours of swim time in these bright, no-nonsense shorts thanks to the chlorine-resistant fabric. And after it got you through many a year of school pool lessons with its go-to goggle range, who are you to argue with a trusted brand like Zoggs? £18, buy on zoggs.com

Boardies Santa Carla

Named after the fictional beachside town in classic 1980s vampire movie The Lost Boys, these lightweight, quick-drying shorts have two side pockets and a Velcro back pocket – plus they come in a handy drawstring bag. £50, buy on boardiesapparel.com

Bowler & Beach The Seahorse

Bowler and Beach pink swim shorts

Inspired by the sunny beaches of Portugal, Bowler & Beach is a British label that falls firmly in the affordable luxury camp. The distinctive Seahorse pattern is one of its signature designs and perfect for a playful style. £89, buy on bowlerandbeach.com

The Best Jammers And Performance Shorts

Zoggs Bridge Jammer

Zoggs is so confident in the durability of the chlorine-proof Aqualast fabric this jammer is made from that it comes with a lifetime guarantee, so it might be the last piece of swimwear you ever need to buy. The V-front lining on the jammer provides a little extra comfort where it’s most appreciated, as well as protecting modesty where it most needs protecting. Up to a point – it’s still a jammer after all. £32, buy on zoggs.com

Speedo Fit Panel Aquashorts

The panels on these shorts are designed to keep your body in the perfect position to cut through the water at speed, with targeted compression in parts of the legs and core. The shorts are also 100% chlorine-resistant, so they won’t degrade no matter how often you hit the local pool. £39, buy on speedo.com

Nike Swim Printed Trunks

These trunks are our pick for the more confident gentleman out there, thanks to the eye-catching pattern and skimpy design. Flat seams and the high-stretch fabric ensure the snug fit is comfortable and won’t chafe. £29, buy on asos.com

Adidas Three Stripes Jammer

The classic Adidas white-stripes-on-black design, but on jammers! What’s not to like? £29.95, buy on adidas.co.uk

Arena Spider Shorts

Arena offers a range of performance shorts and jammers that goes right up to pro-standard racing swimwear with prices that rise well above three figures, but for your everyday training there’s no need to look beyond these chlorine-resistant shorts and their funky spiderweb design. £22.99, buy on arenaswimwear.co.uk

dhb Aquashorts

All the features you’d want from a pair of performance shorts, including flat-locked stitches and a front lining for extra comfort, plus chlorine-resistant fabric, at an excellent price. These shorts typify what we’ve come to expect from a dhb product. £18 (currently reduced to £13.50), buy on wiggle.co.uk