If you’ve been on social media lately, you’ve likely noticed that yet another early aughts fashion trend has made a comeback. Joining the ranks of tube tops, low-rise denim, cargo pants, tankinis, and Y2K sunglasses, swim skirts have officially joined the conversation. (On TikTok alone, the term has amassed over 28.3 million views.) Swim skirts are not only trendy, they’re super practical—especially for those days you forgot (or didn’t feel like) shaving or waxing your bikini area. Or maybe you just want to wear a pool-friendly sports skirt-like covering from pool to dinner. Whatever the reason (and there are so many), a good swim skirt is a summer must-have.
Best swim skirts, at a glance:
- Best overall: Athleta, Tidal Swim Skirt, $59
- Best runner-up: Spanx, Pique Shaping High Rise Swim Skort, $118
- Best budget: Grapent, Women’s High Waist Tulip Hem Swim Skirt, $25
- Most stylish: Victoria’s Secret Pink, Shimmer Swim Mini Skirt, $20
- Best compression: Lands’ End, Chlorine-Resistant Tummy Control Adjustable Swim Skirt, $27-41
- Best maxi skirt: SIE, Isabel Maxi Skirt, $210
- Best sarong: Old Navy, High-Waisted Wrap-Front Sarong Swim Skirt, $35
What is a swim skirt?
Once upon a time, swim skirts solely referred to swim bottoms that featured a skirt silhouette. Nowadays, however, swim skirts can pertain to that, as well as to swimwear skirt sets (ie: coordinating skirts that pair perfectly over your bikini or one-piece).
Generally speaking, they add more coverage to overall swim outfits. That said, they also provide the opportunity to thoughtfully style a full swim ensemble that works just as well for the beach as it does for beachside drinks thereafter.
Of course, not all swim skirts are created equally. Where some are designed to actually swim in, others are purely for coverage’s sake (such as sarongs and pareos, for example).
No matter your intent—to wear it in the water or as a coverup post-swim—there are plenty of swim skirts to choose from. Ahead, find 13 of our favorites.
The best swim skirts
If you’re shopping for a swim skirt that you can actually swim in (and looks cute), the Athleta Tidal Swim Skirt is a classic option. Designed with an athletic appeal, the high-waisted silhouette features a built-in brief for optimal coverage. Swim, surf, fish, kayak—the nylon-lycra blend will stretch with you, allowing more movement and comfort (plus, the fabric is made with recycled materials, which makes us love it more—brownie points for sustainability). Constructed from UPF 50+ fabric, it’s also sun-safe, protecting skin from the sun’s UV rays. The fit is more “exercise dress” than “sarong,” so expect a higher waist than other styles. Bonus: It has a zip pocket on the back of the waistband.
Pair it with the matching Square Neck Bikini Top or Maldives Bra Cup Bikini Top.
- It has a built-in brief, so you can wear it during more high-impact water activities
- UPF 50+ material for sun protection
- Classic, sporty fit and style
- Comes in a variety of different colors
- It looks good on all body types
- It has pockets
- High quality
- It may have too high of a waist for petites
- Some say it runs small—try ordering a size up (returns are free)
Looking for a swim skirt that can be worn a couple ways? The Skims Swim Ruched Mini Skirt, which is designed to be worn over your swim bottoms of choice, has a double drawstring feature that lets you adjust the length to your liking. Since the fabric is made of (recycled) nylon and spandex, you can technically wear this in the water—but since it’s supposed to be worn over your actual bathing suit, it’s not ideal for any active swimming (since it’ll easily ride up). This is best for lounging or wading in the pool.
Sizes available: XXS-4X
- Flattering on all body types
- Easily tailors to the length you want, thanks to the ruching detail
- Comes in a variety of colors
- If you’re looking for something with an actual bikini attached, this isn’t it
Originally $30, on sale for $15-$20
Shimmer swimwear is one of 2023’s biggest swim trends, making this bodycon swim skirt a no-brainer, style-wise. This is another pick that goes over your bikini, so it’s better suited for lounging or wading. With that said, it’s a high-waist fit and is only a little bit shorter than most exercise skirts, so it offers some coverage. Its (recycled) polyamide and elastane material is totally suited for the water, and it’s nice and stretchy, so it’ll give you long-lasting comfort.
To complete the ensemble, choose one of the Victoria’s Secret Pink Shimmer swimsuits, such as the Shimmer Push-Up Bikini Top and Shimmer High Waist Cheeky Bikini Bottom.
- Shoppers say sizing is “perfect”
- Comes in a variety of colors
- It works better as a cover-up, so if you’re looking for something more functional, this may not be the best choice
Similar to the Athleta swim skirt, this fan-favorite Amazon find (it has over 6,700 reviews and a 4.4/5 rating from shoppers) has an athletic silhouette complete with a built-in brief. The tulip-hem swim skirt is stretchy and slightly compressive, offering a stylish and functional option. The outer material is a stretchy nylon-spandex blend, while the lining is mainly polyester with 5 percent spandex for a bit of stretch (so it doesn’t shift around, yet doesn’t completely feel like you’re wearing regular underpants). The elastic spring closure makes it easy to put on without help (score), and it’s sold in a bunch of solid colors and prints. Some shoppers say they’ve filled their swim drawers with the style entirely.
- Great for all body types
- A huge variety of colors and patterns
- Thick, sturdy material
- Built-in briefs
- Some colors and patterns are selling out quickly
- Shoppers say it’s not as compressive as they hoped
- It runs small for some—try ordered a couple sizes and return the one that doesn’t fit as well
Originally $35, on sale for $26
Prefer a swim skirt that can be tailored to your body shape? The Aerie Sarong Skirt has two ties on the side so you can choose to tie it tighter for a high-waisted approach or looser to accomplish the low-rise look. It’s meant to be worn over top of your bottoms of choice, so bikini bottoms do come separately, and it’s not attached to bottoms like an exercise skirt may be. Since this one has ties, we recommend low-impact activities or wearing this for lounging or wading. The soft nylon material is agreeably stretchy, and the two vibrant patterns make it fun and summery.
- Material is soft
- Ties are adjustable
- Material is a bit thin
Designed to be worn over a swimsuit, the Summersalt Ruched Swim Skirt can transform any one piece into a lunch-ready ‘fit. The pull-on skirt features subtle ruching on the front left side for a bit of flare and a bit more coverage than other options on this list. Since it doesn’t have a liner, you do need to wear a bikini bottom underneath, and it’s not meant for any high-impact activities. While this skirt is a bit more expensive, we will say Summersalt swimwear is meant to last a long time—it takes a LOT for the material to pill or wear down, so consider it an investment (there’s a reason why the brand is so popular). Hack: Pair it with the matching Summersalt Sidestroke or Ruffle Backflip Swimsuit, it will look like a chic mini dress.
- Great for all body types
- High-quality, long-lasting
- Ruching detail is stylish (and flattering)
- Doesn’t have a liner, if that’s what you’re looking for
- On the more pricey side
This swim skort isn’t entirely a “skort”—it’s really a swim skirt with built-in briefs. But what makes it stand out is a list of features we absolutely love. First, the pique texture of the fabric gives it a high-quality look (it looks like an actual piece of clothing, versus swimwear), so you can do double-duty with it at the pool *and* at brunch. Second, it has hidden tie-down features that keep your skirt down in water (so you won’t have to keep patting down floating fabric all the time—genius). Like everything Spanx does, this gives you a little bit of compression and shaping, making you feel like the best version of yourself. Also? The high waist is super stylish.
- Built-in lining
- Hidden ties to keep skirt down while in water
- Super flattering on all body types
- Not actually “shorts”
If you prefer more of a beachy look, consider layering a pareo (aka, a sarong) over your swimsuit. The Solid & Striped The Mini Wrap Pareo is a shorter sarong sold in a variety of fun prints and unique textiles, including reimagined eyelet options. We love Solid & Striped (and so does Taylor Swift), mainly for their “of the moment” patterns and designs that make us feel like chic Instagram ads—but also because the quality of material is top-notch. However, this is definitely a fashion piece, not a functional swim piece. Wear it to the pool, but it’s not really designed to be submerged in water (it’s 100 percent polyester). Is it gorgeous? Yes. Will it make you look like a fashion influencer in your photos? Absolutely. Is it practical? Eh, not so much—but that’s okay sometimes.
- Gorgeous design
- Works for all body types
- Is absolutely not meant to be worn in the water
Here we have another adjustable swim skirt, only this one can actually be worn in the water, thanks to the attached liner. Made with lycra Xtra Life spandex, this material is designed to last 10 times longer than your average spandex swimsuit, so the longevity on this piece is impressive (no pilling or wear and tear for a decade—and it resists damage from chlorine, sunscreen, and sweat). The mini skirt has ruching on each side, a contoured waistband, plus side ties to adjust the length and body-hugging nature of the piece, and it features a light tummy compression for a feel-good silhouette. Plus, it features UPF 50 for UV protection.
Sizes: 4-26 (more size options here)
- Comes with a built-in liner
- Fit is adjustable
- Made of super-sturdy material
- Features UPF protection
- Perfect coverage
- Runs a size small for some shoppers (size up)
Twisted details are on the rise in 2023, making the Good American Twist Mini Sarong especially stylish for spring and summer. The polyester and elastane swim skirt is meant to be layered over a swimsuit, so think of it as more of a water-friendly sarong or cover-up. Good American is known for its comfort as well as its size-inclusive offerings (and fun, bright colors), so you’ll love the buttery-soft fabric that covers you in all the right places.
- Size-inclusive options
- Bright colors
- Looks good on everyone
- Doesn’t come with a built-in liner
While most swim skirts are mini in length, here in 2023, maxi swim skirts exist, too (and they’re thriving!). We especially love the SIE Isabel Maxi Skirt, which shimmers and stretches for an eye-catching end look. It pairs beautifully with the coordinating SIE Taylor Bikini Top, Stella Bikini Top, and Dani Bikini Top. While it’s meant to be worn over a bottom, thanks to its length, you likely wouldn’t flash anyone if you went without. Made with a nylon-spandex material, it’s water-safe, but not meant to be fully submerged (although you technically can). Size up for a more relaxed fit.
(Love the idea of a maxi skirt swim set but prefer bolder colors and prints? Be sure to check out Farai London’s Izumi Maxi High Slit Skirt and Aurora Coverup Skirt.)
- Provides a ton of coverage (great for chilly summer nights)
- Not meant for swimming
If you’re not quite sure how you feel about the swim skirt trend, you can’t go wrong with this popular split hem option sold on Amazon. It has a built-in bikini bottom so you can wear it from a dip in the ocean and out to drinks, all without having to go home and change. Made of a nylon-spandex blend, it’s meant to be worn in the water, and it provides the perfect amount of coverage. It’s also not super expensive, so you really don’t have to commit if you decide it’s not a summertime wardrobe keeper (but we like it because it’s so versatile!).
- Features a built-in liner
- Easy to style
- Has tons of color and pattern options
- Could be more size inclusive
- Shoppers say it runs small
- Not something that will last you years and years
Unlike most tie-front sarongs, this skirt comes with an elastic waistband that stays put. Made of an athletic poly-spandex blend, this skirt is breathable, stretchy, and feels like a swimsuit. Which, because, it kind of is: It comes with a built-in liner, so you can swim in it without worry. Think of it as a 2-in-1 bathing suit bottom and sarong.
Prefer a more beachy-boho ook? The crochet version of this skirt is just as cute.
- Flattering and fun flare skirt style
- Has built-in liner
- Provides great coverage (a little bit longer than most on this list)
- Looks great on all body types
- Sizing is accurate
- Shoppers looking for something tighter or higher-up may not like the style
Do you swim in a swim skirt?
It depends. Since the label “swim skirt” is applied to actual swimwear as well as coordinating swim skirt cover ups, you’ll want to check the care instructions before diving into a chlorine-filled pool or the ultra-salty sea. (We’ll note in our roundup when you can treat a swim skirt like actual swim attire.)
Do they have shorts underneath?
Some do. Generally, swim skirts that are actually intended for swimming—as opposed to just styling—feature built-in shorts or briefs underneath.
Can you wear a swim skirt as a skirt?
Totally! That’s the beauty of a swim skirt—they’re designed to turn your swimwear into an outfit that you can wear from the beach to brunch (or to the bar). That said, some swim skirts are more appropriate than others, so you’ll want to consider where you plan to go after your swim when selecting which swim skirt to wear. After all, a sheer, high-slit sarong-style swim skirt may not be the best choice for a venue with family and/or kids abound.