Why Do Swimmers Wear Speedos?

Why Do Swimmers Wear Speedos

Swimmers began wearing speedos when they came out in 1914. Speedos quickly became popular with competitive swimmers because they promised to reduce drag, making one cut faster through the water. Today, speedos are made from nylon or elastane. Many swimmers choose to wear speedos, and many Olympians and competitive swimmers are making a switch. We detail why this may be and what pros and cons speedos bring to the table.

Pros of Speedos

Loose clothing is one of the major culprits of drag when swimming. Speedos eliminate the possibility of drag from clothing. Additionally, speedos are much more comfortable than other swimwear. They allow the swimmer to stretch and move their legs with ease.

Speedos are also much cheaper than other forms of swimwear because they use less fabric to make. Additionally, many swimmers may like the look of speedos more than other forms of swimwear.

Speedos also cause one’s legs to be exposed to the water as one swims. Though this results in drag, it can be beneficial when training, similar to how boxers throw punches underwater. By adding some drag while training, swimmers can get an edge if they wear compression clothing while competing.

Cons of Speedos

Although speedos have pros, their many cons cause professional swimmers to switch them out when competing. While speedos do eliminate a lot of drag from clothing, they do not eliminate drag from a swimmer’s thick legs.

On the other hand, jammers are like tight compression shorts that suction-cup a swimmer’s legs to their body, compressing their legs and eliminating drag from clothing and bulky surface area.

Additionally, speedos are made of nylon, whereas jammers are made of water-repellent material. Also, swimmers who wear speedos have to shave all over their body, as hairs can increase drag.

Finally, speedos have seams. Although this may not seem like a big deal, even the smallest bump on clothing can mean a split-second of drag: something professional swimmers cannot risk.

What Do Professional Swimmers Wear?

Professional swimmers normally wear speedos when training because speedos are more practical. They make training more comfortable and less grueling. Also, speedos are less expensive; therefore, it is much better to use them when training, as they will probably get beaten up. Although they do not reduce drag as much as jammers, training with them can be beneficial, as working with the added drag may make it seem easier to go faster when professionals wear jammers while competing.

Many professional swimmers wear jammers, really tight water-repellant compression swim shorts, while competing. Jammers compress a swimmer’s thighs, reducing their surface area. They are also very smooth, making it easier for swimmers to slice through the water. Professionals and Olympic athletes will wear jammers to shave off any milliseconds that the drag from speedos would have cost them.

Both speedos and jammers have their pros and cons. You will see both types of swimwear during Olympic competitions. Ultimately, it is up to the swimmer to decide what they like best.


Do speedos make you swim faster?

Speedos eliminate any drag that swimmers face from their clothing while swimming. In that respect, they make one swim faster. However, they require a swimmer to shave all over their body hair so that stray hairs will not catch on the water as they swim. Additionally, speedos do not eliminate as much drag as jammers because jammers compress a swimmer’s legs and are seamless, smooth, and water-repellant.

Why do Olympic swimmers wear speedos?

Olympic swimmers wear speedos because they are comfortable and practical. They are perfect to wear when training. Additionally, they allow a swimmer to freely move their legs. As a result, many choose to wear speedos when training and competing.