- To surf, swim, play, or chase kids around the beach or pool, you need a swimsuit that’ll stay put.
- Active swimsuits should hold everything in however you move, not ride up, and survive many washes.
- These are six of our favorite brands for active bikinis, one-pieces, rash guards, and more.
There are two approaches to buying a swimsuit: worrying about tan lines and worrying about staying covered. If your main focus is looking good by the pool, check out our guide on the best women’s swimsuits. But if you’re swimming laps, surfing in the ocean, diving for volleyballs, or chasing kids around the beach, you need a bathing suit that will do more than just make you feel good – you need a top and bottom that will stay put and keep everything in.
Luckily, there are more brands than ever making cute, active swimsuits, whether you’re looking for a one-piece, a bikini, or a rashguard.
Here are the best places to buy active swimsuits:
- Best active swimsuits overall: Athleta Swimwear
- Best eco-friendly active swimsuits: Patagonia Swimwear
- Best luxe active swimsuits: Sweaty Betty Bikinis
- Best budget swimsuits: Speedo
- Best plus-size active swimsuits: Swimsuits for All
- Best swimsuits for high-movement activities: Carve Designs
Athleta’s swimwear is comfortable, stylish, and good for both curvey and athletic figures alike.
Size range: XXS-XL for swim suits, XXS-3X for sun shirts
Athleta is known for producing high-quality workout gear that is equal parts functional and stylish, so it’s no surprise its active swimsuits would hit that same sweet spot to look as good as they feel whether you’re swimming, playing beach volleyball, or turning cartwheels on the shore.
The swimsuits range from sexy to functional to high coverage in every design from bikinis to tankinis to one-piece suits to rash guards, so there’s truly something for everyone. While its designs are great for curves, unfortunately, its swimsuits only go up to an XL; however, Athleta is known for running large, so that should fit more like a traditional XXL (small consolation).
Much of the collection is made from sustainable materials like recycled nylon and many of the suits also have UPF sun protection, which protects the fabric and your skin from the sun’s rays.
Athleta’s swimwear is perfect for water sports including swimming, surfing, and paddle-boarding, thanks to the stretchy, breathable fabric that moves with you.
Athleta’s swimwear is priced on the mid-to-high end ($55-75 for a bikini top; $95-120 for a one-piece) but splurging on one well-fitting swimsuit is better than multiple ill-fitting cheaper options.
What to buy:
The best eco-friendly active swimsuit
Patagonia’s swimsuits are fair trade certified-sewn from recycled materials, they look great, and they stay in place whether you’re surfing or swimming.
Size range: XXS-XXL
Considering Patagonia is a leading brand for clothing designed to stand up to the elements and movement of the outdoors, it’s no surprise its line of women’s swimwear lives up to its reputation.
The swimsuits range from rash guards and long-sleeved one-pieces to bikinis, tankinis, and board shorts. In our opinion, the brand really excels on cute one-pieces that will stay put. In fact, when a few Insider Reviews editors tried Patagonia’s active swimsuits, they found them to be comfortable, supportive (including for DD cups), and reliable for playing in the surf.
We were all impressed by how comfortable the suits were and how well they stayed in place. Women’s swimsuits are often designed more for style than substance, so Patagonia’s collection stood out as a great choice for women who like to actually move around in the water in their swimsuits.
All the swimsuits are made of recycled nylon or polyester that has UPF sun protection and is non-slip. Patagonia also states that these suits are Fair Trade Certified-sewn, so you know you’re buying eco-friendly, ethical swimwear.
The biggest downsides are that sizing is limited (XS to XL) and the suits are pricey, around $120 to $180. — Malarie Gokey
What to buy:
The best luxe active swimsuits
If you want a luxury feel to your sporty beach day, Sweaty Betty’s line of swimwear is very well-designed and flattering.
Size range: XXS-XXL
Sweaty Betty is known for its high-end activewear and applies that same ethos to its swim line. The founder and creative director of SB surfs and paddleboards, and she brings this first-hand knowledge of needing to focus more on movement and less on staying covered into its designs.
The brand truly excels in its well-designed one-pieces which are made with swimming laps in mind. The one-pieces are always surprisingly cute and flattering for the category, with small details like a chest zipper or open back to elevate your basic one-piece without losing the swimming-efficient shape. They usually have chlorine-resistant fabric and are designed for performance with a high neck and supportive straps.
When it comes to its bikinis and rash guards, most pieces have 50+ UV protection as well as quick-drying properties to help avoid chafing.
You’ll definitely pay for the silky, well-fortified fabric, but the higher quality also means the suit will last you many seasons.
What to buy:
The best budget swimsuits
Score a professional-grade one-piece for swimming laps or a bikini for secure surfing without dropping too much money from Speedo.
Size range: XS-XL, 4-42
There’s a reason Speedo has been a go-to source for professional swimmers for years. The brand makes high-quality, durable swimwear that offers both support and comfort.
Its classic one-pieces still hold strong with compression in all the right places and a design built for improved performance and faster recovery time. The quick-drying suits feature wide straps for added support and durability, while the smooth and soft fabric is chlorine-resistant.
Speedo also makes very cute and very functional bikinis, albeit only for the small-chested. In general, its suits run small, so the biggest downside is that these suits won’t fit the majority of American women (although Speedo does have a limited plus-size line).
However, if you are smaller and looking for functional, flattering swimsuits that won’t cost you too much, the majority of Speedo’s suits can be nabbed for $28-35 for bikinis, $50-88 for one-pieces, and $48-98 for rash guards.
What to buy:
The best plus-size active swimsuits
Swimsuits for All crafts suits made to move with a wide range of body types — sizes 4 through 40.
Size range: 4-40
Swimsuits for All is one of our favorite swimsuit brands period, but we particularly love how well their bikinis, tankinis, one-pieces, and swim dresses stay put as your chasing after kids on the beach or popping up on a surfboard.
Swimsuits for All also has a ridiculously robust catalog of styles including collaborations with awesome body-positive advocates like Ashley Graham, and really cool offerings like chlorine-resistant lycra bike shorts and swim skirts, in case a traditional suit isn’t your jam.
Five of our editors who wear sizes 8 through 20 tried different styles from the brand and said all the styles fit shockingly well and no one reported any mid-swim malfunctions.
What to buy:
The best for high-movement activities
Carve Designs was created by surfer girls and makes some of the most flattering cuts and cutest prints available for bikinis that will actually stay on.
Size range: XXS-XL with Tall options
Born out of a surf trip in Mexico, this women-owned business started out selling rash guards and boardshorts for women. As women’s style evolved in surfing to be more accepting of bikinis, the founders shifted their focus to also crafting two pieces that would actually stay put while paddling, popping, and carving — and in designs women would actually want to wear.
A decade-and-a-half later, its line features every kind of bikini cut, including more modest high-neck designs and swim skirts to fully cover your booty if that’s where you gravitate. But what we love about Carve is it also makes cheeky bottoms that make you feel empowered on the beach but won’t slip off when you go underwater.
Also worth noting: The brand also recently launched a recycled swim line with suits made from plastic bottles collected out of the ocean.
The main downside, like many brands on this list, are that the suits don’t fit a huge range of body types or sizes.