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Rash Guards: What They Are and How to Find the Best Men’s Rash Guard

Rash Guards: What They Are and How to Find the Best Men’s Rash Guard

Rash guards are a protective type of swimwear originally developed for surfers to avoid rashes and sunburns. They are typically made of spandex and polyester or nylon, such as Lycra, unlike wetsuits that are usually made of neoprene. Lightweight, stretchy, and versatile, rash guards are designed to offer some sun protection without restricting mobility.

We might most often see surfers wearing rash guards to shield their bodies from getting a rash from the surf wax on their boards. But aside from this, men’s rash guards protect against harmful sun exposure, important for swimmers who stay out on the water for a long time. Most rash guards have built-in UV protection so your body can be protected against sunburn and irritation.

Some people layer rash guards under their wetsuits to prevent chafing and for an additional layer of warmth against cold waves. Since rash guards only provide limited protection from the sun, some athletes might prefer doing away with rash guards altogether.

However, rash guard shirts on their own are also very useful, especially in lighter water sports such as snorkelling, skiing, surfing, and dives in warm shallow water. Men’s rash guards are more breathable for the body and more inexpensive. For most casual swimmers or divers, rash guards may be enough, especially if they will be worn in warm waters or in a tropical country. You can choose to get either a long-sleeved one, a short-sleeved one, or a swim shirt depending on your needs and preferences.

Are men's rash guards supposed to be tight?

Much like wetsuits, men’s rash guards are supposed to fit closely to your body, but not so much as to restrict breathing and movement. It should be form-fitting so you can still layer a springsuit or a fullsuit over it. However, if you are just a casual surfer or snorkeler and prefer a looser fit without needing a wetsuit over it, you can still choose a size that makes you most comfortable or go with a men’s swim shirt. What’s important is that the fit should not be as loose as a regular T-shirt. Men usually do not have anything under a rash guard, so it should already feel comfortable on its own.

When trying on rash guards, make sure to move your arms and shoulders to test your mobility.

Are rash guards only for swimming?

Rash guards were made for most types of water sports. You can wear it while swimming, windsurfing, shallow diving, snorkeling, or kayaking.

Do rash guards keep you warm?

Worn alone, rash guards do not provide warmth. Their main purpose is to protect from sun damage and rashes from sand and stinging sea creatures. If the wind is a bit cool, you might even get colder if you are only using a rash guard or swim shirt.

For this reason, a rash guard or rash vest is a great choice in tropical places where both the water and the wind are not cold. Rash guards are thinner than wetsuits, so you can use them in hotter temperatures to keep safe against rashes and sunburns for optimal performance.

We recommend a springsuit for children or if you are susceptible to the cold. Of course, since rash guards are great for layering, you may also want to get a good quality rash guard to wear under a wetsuit.

Why should I get a rash guard?

Because rash guards are designed specifically for water activities, you’ll quickly find that rash guards do not stretch in the water. Unlike regular T-shirts, which absorb water, the spandex used in rash guards does not stretch and balloon out. It is also quick-drying, good for preventing the buildup of bacteria. The built-in UV protection also ensures that you don’t get sunburns even if your sunscreen wears off in the water.

Aside from protecting your skin, a rash guard can be worn at the pool or at the beach, for a variety of water activities.

How to Choose a Men’s Rash Guard

A rash guard is one of the most basic sports attires you need in water sports. To choose the best men’s rash guard that suits your needs, you’ll need to consider some factors.

Rash Guard’s Sleeve Length

Rash guards come in either short or long sleeves. What you choose depends on your preference or the amount of protection you need. A long sleeve offers more protection for your arms, but some men prefer more mobility in their arms for swimming.

Rash Guard Fit

As mentioned earlier, men’s rash guards are designed to fit your body snugly, though you can still opt to get looser-fitting swim shirts. When deciding what men’s rash guard to get, consider your activities. For activities like surfing or diving, choose a rash guard with a snug fit, so your movements will not be impeded by any extra fabric.

Choose a looser-fitting rash guard for more relaxed activities, such as swimming leisurely in a pool or when you just need to be protected from UV rays.

Rash Guard Material

Many rash guards are made of spandex and nylon or polyester blend. For instance, our Simply Iconic S/S Rash guard features a 4-way stretch from our characteristic 6oz. spandex-polyester blend. We also have the Get Rad Neo Lycra rash guard, which has a 0.5mm neoprene chest for maximum rash prevention and cushion for those days when it’s too warm for a wetsuit but too cold for shirts.

Buell Surf offers high-quality rash guards for men that feature flatlock seams and moisture-wicking material, which come in a variety of colors and styles. Aside from rash guards, we also carry men’s jackets, made from the same “Ninja Neoprene” material our wetsuits are famous for. These can be worn over rash guards for maximum warmth and sun protection for your body, perfect for temperatures over 68F. Check out our full range of men’s rash guards and tops for your next trip out at sea. We also offer accessories for purchase at a good price and different colors and styles of swimwear.

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