From board shorts to rash vests, and swimming costumes to all-in-ones, our round-up of the best kids’ swimwear for this summer has everything covered – and for all ages.
Whatever type of swimwear you decide to buy for the kids, don’t just grab the first item you see on the shelves. Kids tend to prefer soft – and where relevant, stretchy – fabrics with no itchiness, while parents will be grateful for materials that don’t shrink or fade in the wash. It’s also worth bearing in mind that many modern swimwear fabrics have built-in protection from the sun.
1. Frugi Sally Swimsuit: £18, Frugi
This fun, spotty swimsuit with blue detailing and a 3D fish motif was a winner with our young testers, who loved the stretchiness that makes it easy to get on and off, along with the carefully thought-out flat seams and mesh lining that prevent itchiness. It’s UVF 50 and there’s a fabulous matching swim hat available too. Available for ages 2-10 years.
2. Angel’s Face Sasha Swimsuit: £32, Not On The High Street
This British-made SPF 50 one-piece swimsuit is part of a range that also includes shorts, towelling dress and bikini in the same print (which, by the way, is also available in red). The pompoms are the best bit, according to our little testers, and surprisingly they don’t come off in the wash. Available from age one.
3. New Look Teens Purple Aztec Print High Neck Bikini: £12.99, New Look
You’ll find New Look’s great new range of youth swimwear for this season under the ‘teen’ section on its website, but fear not, most of the range is for eight-year-olds and above, including this funky Aztec bikini. There’s a matching playsuit available separately. Available from age 8-15.
4. Boden Swim Trunks: From £12, Boden
These are just the ticket for boys who prefer snug fitting trunks (or for those whose swimming teacher bans baggier board shorts, which can slow up young swimmers). They are comfy, true-to-size and available in a wide range of designs, as well as providing sun protection (UPF 50). For ages 2-12 years.
5. Mothercare Little Bird Stripe Swim Shorts: From £9, Mothercare
Designed by Jools Oliver (wife of celeb chef Jamie Oliver), the Little Bird collection is inspired by her 1970s upbringing. These retro-looking, rainbow-themed shorts are comfy, true-to-size and dazzlingly colourful. We think they’re particularly well made for the price-tag too. Available for ages 9 months to 8 years.
6. Jacadi Ruffle Strap Swimsuit: £40, Jacardi
This stylish swimsuit comprises of nautical blue and white stripes on the main body, with vibrant red ruffled straps that cross over at the back, finished off with a pretty red bow. It looked as good as new after a season of use, with the hand-me-down potential helping to justify the high price tag. For ages 3-12 years.
7. Monsoon Paradiso Tankini: £16, Monsoon
Go for the tropical look with this flamboyant tankini that has oodles of matching kit, including kaftan, jumpsuit, shorts and surf suit. The tri-colour straps are a nice touch and the colours don’t fade in the wash. Available in sizes 3-13 years.
8. Mamas & Papas Toucan Print Rash Suit: £22, Mamas & Papas
There’s no need for tiny tots to miss out on the fun in the water with this all-in-one, short-sleeved suit with easy-access zip opening down the front. Continuing on the tropical theme – which you’ll by now have gathered is big for this summer – the print features adorable toucans. For ages 0-3 years.
9. Animal Boys’ HIltern Short Sleeve Rash Vest: From £15, John Lewis
This is a great staple for holiday wardrobes if you have any littluns that are going to be swimming and playing under a burning sun this summer. Made from stretchy, snug and long-lasting fabric, it has UPF 40+ and protects little bodies, while also looking good. Available in navy or red, for ages 2-16 years.
10. John Lewis Girls’ Pretty Strawberry Sunpro Swimsuit: From £22, John Lewis
This delightful all-in-one suits all ages and is ideal for those hotter days when the risk of sun damage to young skin is greater. Covering all the important bits – with both long sleeves and a high neck – the fabric itself is SPF 40 and the material feels nice and smooth. For Ages 2-12 years.
11. Konfidence The Original Jacket: £24.99, Konfidence
Watching your little cherubs head for the water when they can’t swim well can be petrifying, which is why British company Konfidence created its own swimming jacket. They’re made of soft neoprene fabric for warmth and comfort and – crucially - eight float pockets around the torso, which you remove in pairs to reduce the buoyancy as they become better swimmers. This is one of two new designs and the jackets also offer 100 per cent UV protection and a hi-vis back. For ages 18-months to 7 years.
12. Weird Fish Seeker Panelled Boys’ Boardshorts: £20, Weird Fish
This is excellent value for a pair of shorts that will serve boys well, especially when they’re in and out of the water all day. The elasticated waistband and draw cord mean they are a good fit, no matter how many water tricks they do and there are handy side pockets too. Available in sizes 5-12 years.
13. MC2 St Barth Boys’ Blue Swim Shorts: £48, Chocolate Clothing
We nearly crossed these off our shortlist due to the price tag, but you notice the quality the moment you take them out of the packet, while boys will love the on-trend emoji print. It’s a shame you can’t wash them in the machine though and they’re only available in sizes 2-12 years.
14. Rachel Riley Nautical Swim Trunks: £39, Amazon Fashion
These look as good as new, even after going through the washing machine umpteen times, and the nautical rope and anchor theme from this British brand strikes a good balance between something classy as well as fun. The mesh inner lining and drawstring cord are both excellent quality too. Available in sizes 3-10 years.
15. Fatface Surfboard Board shorts: £8, Fatface
We love these quick-dry shorts decorated with surfboards. They tick lots of boxes – a non-itchy elasticated waistband, good quality mesh-lining, pockets and UPF 40 fabric. Plus, there’s a matching rash vest (in red) to complete the look. Limited ages available.
The Verdict: Kids’ swimwear
Frugi makes some of the best organic kids’ clothing on the market and its Sally Swimsuit is a great buy for parents who want good quality without paying a fortune. The Boden Swim Trunks were a huge hit with our little boy testers, while our teen favourite is New Look’s Aztec Bikini.
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