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Best kids' swimwear for 2022

Make a splash at the beach or pool with our pick of the best swimming costumes and bathing suits for kids of all ages. Dive right in...

By Lara Kilner | Last updated Mar 24, 2022

Child swimming underwater in a swimsuit

Shopping for kids’ swimwear can be a minefield. There are style, comfort and fit factors to take into consideration. And of course you’ll want to ensure that fabrics offer UV protection and can hold up to chlorine and saltwater. For younger children, there are safety factors like whether to buy a swimsuit with an in-built flotation aid. And for older children it’s worth noting whether a swimsuit can stand up to water sports like surfing and bodyboarding.

To help you find the perfect swimwear, we’ve consulted the Mumsnet forums for recommendations and have put together a handy guide to standout suits for everything from swimming lessons to lounging around on beaches near and far this summer.

Here are the best kids’ swimsuits to buy in 2021.

1. Best overall kids’ swimwear: Decathlon Anti-UV T-Shirt

Decathlon swimming top

Price: £6 | Buy now from Decathlon

“If you are near a Decathlon store, they do very reasonable rash vests which are SPF 40. My DD just wears them with bikini bottoms. I buy cheap bikinis from the supermarket and chuck the tops in the bin.” - pinkcarnations

These anti-UV t-shirts offer UPF 50+ sun protection and are great for body boarding and surfing, reducing the possibility of irritation to the skin. They’re quick drying and low maintenance with a textile mesh preventing sand from getting stuck inside. They’re also pleasingly eco-friendly, made from 84% recycled polyester. The close fit ensures they’ll stay in place when hitting the waves. 

Key specs

  • Size range: 4-14
  • UV protection: Yes

2. Best budget swimwear for kids: Tu Pink Tropical Bird Surf Suit

Sainsburys surf suit

Price: From £9 | Buy now from Argos

“My mum found a couple of suits in Sainsbury's! £11 and £13.” - LIZS

This fun, colourful surf suit offers plenty of coverage for less than a tenner. Perfect for splashing around in rock pools or kicking back in the paddling pool, this summer staple is pretty and practical for little ones, and there's even a unicorn version available too. Mumsetters rate Sainsbury’s Tu swimwear (also available at Argos) for its quality and price.

Key specs

  • Size range: 1-6 years 
  • UV protection: No

3. Best swimwear for babies: Swimbest Baby Wetsuit

Swimbest baby wetsuit

Price: £10 | Buy now from Amazon

This baby wetsuit comes in seven colourways and has adjustable velcro fasteners on the sides and under the nappy area, and it opens flat for easy dressing and undressing. Made from soft neoprene to keep your precious one warm in the water, it’s perfect for baby swimming sessions. And it comes with high accolades. “Such a good buy! I would 100% recommend,” said one reviewer. If you’ve ever wrestled with tight-fitting trunks or all-in-one pieces, this easy-fit design is a godsend for babies. 

Key specs

  • Size range: Age 0-24 months
  • UV protection: No

4. Best kids’ swimwear for swimming lessons: Speedo Allover Splashback Swimsuit

Speedo girls swimsuit

Price: £15 | Buy now from Amazon

“An all-in-one is fine as long as it's really well fitted, if it’s too baggy and it fills up with water, it becomes heavy. Same with board shorts. Short tight trunks or a plain swimsuit is ideal. No bikinis as they spend too much time rearranging them. *Swimming teacher here” - dancemom 

Trusty Speedos win out here.  It’s long been the classic, sensible brand but you can find some pretty jazzy designs these days, such as this Mizulanterns Allover Digi Splashback Swimsuit for girls.

The fabric has a higher chlorine resistance than standard swimwear fabric and it wears well and stretches so as not to restrict your child’s movement in the water. The straps are also set back from the shoulders for the same purpose. One reviewer recommends ordering up a size up, while another raves about the “excellent quality and great design” and for it being the “perfect base suit for watersports.”

Key specs

  • Size range: 5-16 years
  • UV protection: No

5. Best swimwear for older boys: Lands' End Boys’ Rash Vest

Lands End rash vest

Price: £17 | Buy now from Lands’ End

“Definitely look at Lands’ End. I’ve bought a few things from them over the last couple of months and the quality has been fantastic. I just bought some board shorts and a three-quarter sleeve rash vest from there for summer, both are lovely and the fit is bang on” - Moreginneeded

This boys’ short sleeve rash vest in deep sea colours with a tie dye effect pattern is lightweight, comfy and quick to dry. It’s machine washable and has SPF 50 sun protection. One reviewer commented that the sizes come up a little small, but they were very pleased with the design and how well it went with other items from the range, saying: “Good pattern, matches well with the plain navy shorts. My grandson is six years old and I bought age size 8/9.”

Key specs 

  • Size range: 4-14 years
  • UV protection: Yes

6. Best floatsuit for kids: Zoggs Learn to Swim Floatsuit

Zoggs swimsuit

Price: £30 | Buy now from Amazon

This learn-to-swim water buoyancy floatsuit is designed to boost confidence in the water and allows total freedom of movement to help children master basic swimming strokes. It also has UVF 50+ protection against the sun. And it comes with some high praise indeed: “We have bought and used lots of Zoggs products over the years and I much prefer their products to some of the other leading brands because I feel that they have better designs for children and more thought has been put into making a product that is both functional and good to look at,” said one reviewer.

“The materials are great quality too, and the printed designs appeal to me and to kids too. This swimming suit, with built-in floats is a great example of combining a sun suit with a buoyancy jacket, which will appeal especially well to children who don’t want to wear a bulky separate buoyancy jacket, but who still need a bit of extra flotation to feel confident in the water.” A reminder though, that you should supervise your child in the water at all times, even when wearing this swimsuit, or any other item with floatation aids. 

Key specs

  • Size range: 4-5 years
  • UV protection: Yes

7. Best boys’ board shorts: Hurley Phantom Board Shorts

Hurley board shorts

Price: £33 | Buy now from Surfdome

“Have a look at separates - Surfdome has loads” - idontlikealdi

These Hurley Phantom Fastlane Woodland boys board shorts are bound to be a hit with older boys conscious of looking cool on the beach. These cargo khaki shorts from Surfdome contain 14% spandex to give them plenty of stretch in and out of the water, and feature lots of nifty design details, with the Hurley branding printed on the left leg and a fabric patch over the back pocket. They also have a fixed waistband with a fly closure for a secure fit.

Key specs

  • Size range: 24-27 inch waist
  • UV protection: No
  • Buy now from Surfdome

8. Best swimwear for teenage girls: Maru Fly Back Swimsuit

Maru girls swimsuit

Price: £26 | Buy now from Amazon 

“Maru were the only costumes that fitted my skinny girls. Speedos would gape at the legs” - bluedomino  

Maru has a great selection of designs for older girls, including this shark bait swimsuit made from their durable Pacer fabric. It’s 100% chlorine proof and offers UPF 50+ protection. And it’s front-lined with a sporty fly-style strap that’s ideal for swimming. These swimming costumes aren’t just practical, they’re stylish enough to lark about on a beach in them too. 

Key specs

  • Size range: 26-32 inches
  • UV protection: Yes

9. Best designer swimwear for kids: Stella McCartney Flamingo Bikini

Stella Mccartney bikini

Price: £38 | Buy now from Stella McCartney

Pretty and practical, this cool two-piece set from Stella McCartney will up the style stakes on a family holiday. Made from recycled nylon and elastane, it offers a decent amount of stretch for active kids and the design features on-trend flamingos and palm leaves. The swimsuit comes with a cute pouch featuring a shark motif to keep it looking its best.

Key specs

  • Size range: Age 2-14.5 years
  • UV protection: No

How to choose the best swimwear for kids

There are many factors to consider when choosing swimwear for children. Do your kids need built-in floatation aids? Will they be swimming in chlorinated pools or in the sea? Are the fabrics machine-washable and do they dry quickly? Consider whether you want an all-in-one piece for full coverage in the sun, or a practical swimsuit for swimming lessons. Do you need a rash vest for watersports? And style wise, do your older kids want boards shorts or sporty swimming shorts, a tankini or a one-piece?

Do kids’ swimsuits offer UV protection?

Some do and some don’t, it varies between brands. As a general rule, swimsuits designed for sports rather than just for fashion usually offer UVF protection of 40 or 50.

What’s the best kids’ swimsuit to buy?

We like Maru for its chlorine-resistant UPF 50+ fabric and its wide range of designs and prints. It’s also a sustainable brand that uses eco-tech fabric made from recycled bottles found in the ocean, with profits donated to the Sea Life Trust.

How we chose our recommendations

Because we know that there’s nothing like a real recommendation from a real parent, we first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out which kids’ swimsuits discerning Mumsnet users had bought for their children. We compiled a list of the swimwear they recommended.

We then did some research across the wider web, looking at what customer’s reviews said about kids’ swimwear

Having collated all that information, we picked the swimsuits we thought would make the best buys.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.