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Swimwear: The brilliant world of 21st century designs

Written by Fiona

June 15 2023

There was a time when the choice of swimsuit was a straightforward one piece, usually in a plain colour, or a bikini, for beach wear. These days, swimwear comes in a wide range of designs and for all sorts of goals. 

Let’s take a look at a range of different designs 

Bright and cheerful

Gone is the plain black or navy blue swimsuit, although if you want to buy one of these they are still available. I much prefer the range of beautiful bright and cheerful designs these days.  I love the adidas X Farm Rio Bikini, for example.

Swim shorts

This is a relatively new concept in swimwear, although I have seen plenty of people wearing surfing style and holiday shorts over swimsuits. Swim shorts, such as adidas X Farm Rio swim shorts,  are great if you feel self conscious about revealing your bum and upper thighs in a dinky bikini. I really like this idea.

More cover

Following on from the shorts theme, there a many people who prefer not to have all of their body on display in a swimsuit. It might be they are not so keen on how their arms or legs look, or there could be religious reasons why more cover is required when swimming. Check out the adidas long-sleeved swimming top and full-length adidas swim pants.

In addition, a swimsuit with arms, such as the adidas Parley padded swimsuit, provides cover for the skin in hot sun. By the way, the Parley is made from a yarn that contains 50% recycled Parley Ocean Plastic, which is plastic waste, intercepted on remote islands, beaches, coastal communities and shorelines, preventing it from polluting our ocean.  It also has a built in bra and padding if you want a bit of support.

Trisuits and swimsuits with short legs are also a good solution for a bit of cover.

Better for the environment

As I mentioned above, there are swimsuits made with recycled fabrics, which means less impact on the environment. Look for the details on labels and in product descriptions.

Plus size swimsuits

There a some options for swim wear with a more generous cut but still in colourful designs. Check out the adidas Rich MNISI Plus Size swimsuit, which is also made partly with a blend of recycled and renewable materials. 

For different sports

Triathlon is a popular sport and there are swimsuits to cater for people participating. The adidas by Stella McCartney Trunature trisuit, for example, is made with a “second-skin” feel and support in all the right places for events that require you to swim, cycle and run in one outfit. Other features include a full length zip, racer back and tight fit. 

There is also the adidas ADIZERO XX open back swimsuit with features such as a “very compressive fit”, ultra-flat fabric, performance racing swimsuit and gripper tape at the hem so the fabric doesn’t ride up the leg.

Neoprene swimsuits

Another newer innovation is swimsuits made of neoprene, or similar insulated fabrics, for wild swimming, open water swimming and swim-run. I’ve written about these previously.

Easy on

I’ve found some sporty two-piece tops to be tricky to get on over the head. It’s the same with some sports bras. They need to be tight and supportive but that means they can be hard put on.  The adidas Tape Bikini solves this problem with a zip-on top.

Maternity swim wear

I remember when I was pregnant 25 years ago, I simply bought a swimsuit a size or two up to cater for my changing body. Of course, these days there are specific maternity suits and they are also made in bright colours and funky designs. For example, there’s the adidas by Stella McCartney Maternity Bikini top and bottoms

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