What Are Swim Jammers?

Ever wondered what swim jammers are? Well, you are about to find out everything you need to know as you read through this article.

Jammers are a knee-length, tight-fitting swim short with much more coverage than aquashorts or swim briefs. They are the preferred swimwear of competitive swimmers, both in training and in competition. If your goal is to use them regularly in the pool, go with a chlorine-resistant fabric such as Speedo Endurance Plus or Xtra Life Lycra. You don’t need chlorine-proof fabrics when you are swimming competitively. But you will need fabrics that are tight-fitting so your swimwear squeezes the muscles a little.

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Key Features

Jammers are swimwear for men which pretty much look like cycling shorts. These are designed to provide a snug fit to promote comfort and a better range of motion when swimming. For women, bodysuits that extend up to their knees are worn.


The swimming uniform back in the early 20th century was made from wool, so it was bulky and somewhat heavy. In 1950, Adolph Kiefer, the champion of the 1936 Berlin Olympics and a legend in the swimming field came up with more suitable swimwear. He innovated lightweight and durable suits made from nylon. A few years later, Lycra and spandex material based fabric were introduced and used to provide a tighter fit making the swimmers more comfortable.

During the 1990s, swimsuit designers began experimenting with new, light-weight fabrics, and paper suits became the leading standard for men’s competitive swimsuits. Despite being made from very little material, it retained the characteristic “brief” style of the decades prior. In order to develop Speedo’s Fastskin product, Speedo studied shark skin, which was designed to minimize muscle fatigue. Manufacturers aimed to create a compressive material that will maximize the swimmer’s efficiency.

Since the mid-2000s, manufacturers have been focusing on producing hydrodynamic suits that wear more formfitting and are more aerodynamic than human skin.

In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the swimwear for men evolved as many professional swimmers fashioned full-body suits. However, effective January 1, 2010, the full-body suits were banned because it was learned that it cuts down fatigue and it gives more buoyancy and speed to the user. Today, the standard uniform for men swimmers is the jammer which covers the body below the waist or navel only.

In what seemed like no time, high-tech suits appeared on the scene. The advantages conferred to swimmers ultimately bred controversy, which led to FINA instituting restrictions on the materials and amount of the body that could be covered in 2009. The FINA rules now clearly state that male swimsuits do not reach below the knee or above the waist. These suits are called Jammers.

Swim jammers look like compression shorts commonly used in many other sports, but they’re normally made from water-repellent material. Moreover, manufacturers invest a lot of money and resources in research and development to create stitching patterns that make swimming more comfortable and hydrodynamic.

Many manufacturers make jammers for racing and for training, including Speedo, Arena, TYR and BlueSeventy. A swim jammer designed for competitions is used infrequently and can cost more than one designed for practice.

Speed Advantages

Swim jammers that are used by professional swimmers in pieces of training and competitions should have sufficient support with a tight fit. With the combination of specialized materials such as spandex, Lycra, and polyurethane, these suits are known to aid in reducing your profile underwater.

When swimming, you want to keep a smooth and sleek silhouette to provide less resistance from the current of the water as you move towards a specific direction. Keep in mind that unlike swimwear made with polyurethane (like speedo) that have water-repelling qualities, traditional swimsuit textiles may slow you down because of friction. Your typical men’s briefs have a lot of loose material or fabric which causes drag as you cut through the water.

Younger Swimmers

Most young swimmers in the United States are more inclined to use jammers. Some say they feel more comfortable rather than the classic swim briefs. They might be a little conscious to move around or work out with so little coverage. Note that the fitness swimmer’s version of jammers is looser and not as sheer unlike the ones used in competition.


Consideration should be given to two aspects when choosing a competition jammer: the material and the stitching. Generally speaking, higher quality suits are made with specially formulated materials that make them more water repellent. Some swim jammers are made with bonded seams, creating less water friction with soft continuous edges, allowing you to cut through the water with less drag.

To minimize drag, if a seam does exist the manufacturer tries to align the seam with the water flow direction.

Though jammers do not make you a professional swimmer in just one snap but wearing the correct jammers might improve your swimming time. Its lightweight quality and ability to speedily swim through the resistance of the water can enhance your skills.