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Trans Swimwear, Part Two: Swimsuits for Trans Men and Other Transmasculine People

Welcome to spring! As part of an ongoing quest to find great lingerie for trans and genderqueer people, I’m tackling swimwear. This week is Part Two: Swimsuits for Trans Men and Other Transmasculine people. Read part one, swimsuits for trans women and transfeminine people here.

Swimwear is like lingerie except that, for reasons obvious to no one, we are all supposed to be cool with being this naked at the beach in front of strangers.

Trans men and transmasculine people can especially struggle with swimwear since traditional male-oriented swimsuits are topless, and if you haven't had top surgery, this can be...vexing. There are also concerns about packing, and whether or not you want to do that in a swimsuit. Luckily, today's swimwear industry has a range of options for trans men and other transmasculine folks. Hopefully, you'll see something you like.


There are a few different binding swim tops on the market. Unfortunately, a lot of them suffer from the same problem as binders in general: plain designs and conventional styling. But they get the job done, and I've also found one or two that exceed expectations.

Note: please be very careful when binding while swimming. You're compressing your chest, so if you're having any trouble breathing, please take a break or take your binder off for a bit. If you don't want to fully bind while swimming, or you want more coverage, try a rash guard (those surfer shirts). You can find them here.

Underworks, an old standby in binder world, makes a binding swim top that looks a little bit like a rash guard or part of a wetsuit. Its a very basic design, but if what you're looking for is coverage, it's a good bet.

Sleeveless Swim Top via Underworks.

Sleeveless Swim Top via Underworks.

Over at Danae, where the swimsuits for trans women are not my favorite, there is a great-looking swim ensemble for trans men. The Trans-Vormer top is a binding swim top that is cut like a muscle shirt, which makes it look like something you'd want to wear to the beach anyway. It comes in three neutral colors: black, navy, and grey.

Trans-Vormer 301 Top via Danae.

Trans-Vormer 301 Top via Danae

Outplay (not to be confused with PlayOut) makes a few flattening swim tops that seem geared toward masculine-of-center folks, and which may work for trans men as well. Their styling is more androgynous and less overtly masculine, but their products are still for compressing and "flattening" chests.  They have a full-coverage and chest-only version of their binding swim top.

Flatsea Swim Top via Outplay.

Flatsea Swim Top via Outplay

Finally: this merman binder, by Shapeshifters, is made of Spandex and could work for swimming. Truthfully, I have a hard time imagining something I'd want to swim in more. If you like the idea but aren't sold on the scale motif, it also comes in a range of other colors and prints.

Custom Merman Binder via Minasmis on Etsy.

Custom Merman Binder via Shapeshifters


Swim trunks for men are available everywhere, and if you're not concerned with packing, you can buy any pair you like.

If you're looking for something you can put a packer in, you'll probably want some trans-specific trunks...although there are a few other options. You can certainly always use a packing jockstrap in combination with any other kind of swim trunks. You can get packers and straps here (warning: link is not safe for work.)

For trans-specific trunks, I really like the Trans-Vormer shorts that Danae sells. It's a short European-style swim trunk designed to hold a packer. Ignore the language on the page, which includes some "male bodied/female bodied" wording, as well as the supremely unsexy phrase "a closable compartment for a prosthetic penis." The page is translated from Dutch. I think something got lost along the way.

Trans-Vormer 303 Swim Shorts via Danae

Underworks also makes swim trunks to go with their swim top. They are described as "compression" shorts, and may or may not have room for a packer. Their ad copy includes the ambiguous phrase "an inner pouch for comfort," which may or may not be the same thing.

Compression Swim Shorts via Underworks.

Compression Swim Shorts via Underworks

Coverage Garments

I talked about this in Part One as well: a garment to wear over your bathing suit is a good extra thing to have with you at the beach always, in case you're feeling insecure or getting sunburned. For men and masculine people, a t-shirt or a button-down is a great option. That way if you need to unbind for a bit to catch your breath, you have something you can go change into. Please be safe out there! There's no reason to risk your health, guys.

How do you do swimsuit while trans? Are you planning on trying any of these options? Let us know in the comments!



5 Comments on this post

  1. Nathan says:

    So the binder brand gc2b has said that their binders are okay to swim in, but that you should have a binder dedicated to swimming, and that binder should be a size larger so it doesn’t do any harm. Same with exercise.

  2. Robbyn says:

    Personally, since I’m not out and still live with my parents, I wear a sports bra that works well in water, and a t shirt that’s okay to get wet over it. On the bottom I wear androgynously coloured athletic shorts. It’s not the best swim suit aesthetically, but it works for swimming and isn’t as feminine.

  3. Rae says:

    Hi! It seems that ShapeShiftersInc has moved from Etsy to StoreEnvy.

  4. A says:

    I haven’t ever had good luck with swimming binders. I have a very large chest, and not even the underworks swimming binder works well for me. I’ve been swimming twice in the past five years, at a very close friend’s house in their backyard pool with just a sports bra under a tshirt. It sucks, but I’ve never found a good swimming binder.

  5. D says:

    I used a SpareParts “Pete” harness under a normal set of swim trunks for when I packed and swam. It comes in a few different styles (trunks, briefs, jockstrap, etc) and I think it’s specifically designed to dry quickly. also has a section of their site devoted entirely to swim trunks and athletic shorts for trans guys, and are customizable in any number of ways for packing, with several different pocket options. I think they even have options available for trans kids as well. They also offer a few different styles and colors for swim trunks, which I appreciated. I got the Freegun trunks in the smallest size they had. Overall I just didn’t feel like packing while swimming was doing much for me, in fact it made me more paranoid since the packer would shift around and look kinda weird. It might have been to do with my body type (very small person, small butt) as well – in my experience, the tighter the thing holding the packer against your body, the better. Maybe I could have done well with getting a kids’ size pair of packing trunks. But overall it just felt like too much of a hassle and I feel pretty comfortable not packing anyway, so right now I’m just going with unaltered swim trunks which honestly fit me a lot better.
    One thing I might offer up as advice for people who don’t want to pack but still feel nervous about swimming, besides the standard “not nearly as many people are staring at you/your crotch as you think you are,” is to look into swim trunks which have a sort of long velcro fly. I have a pair of trunks from American Eagle, and when I swam in them without packing, the velcro was rigid enough that they didn’t cling really obviously to my crotch. I think this is the majority of swim trunks on the market, actually. So that’s an option.

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