Choosing the right kids swimwear is just as important as choosing the best childrens swimming lessons. We give you the lowdown on everything related to childrens swimming gear including accessories

What to look for when choosing boys and girls’ swimwear 

Choosing children’s swimming gear isn’t just about making sure they look and feel good all summer long. And though it's great fun to choose from the variety of kids styles and glorious patterns, remember: these points aren’t as important as the fabric you make your kids swim gear and swimming accessories from.

That’s because the fabric makes it easier for the kid to swim in water by reducing friction and drag. And it’s great for protecting and covering up, too.

Here are some important points to consider when choosing the ideal swimwear and accessories for kids:

The fabric should be durable and able to withstand salt in the sea and chlorine in swimming pools. Many a swimsuit is made from chlorine-resistant fabric. 

If possible, the fabric for swimming outfits and accessories should also include sun protection, as the sun reflects onto the water, which makes the kid even less protected from harmful rays.

A lot of swimming gear and swimming accessories for children have sun protection in the fabric up to UPF50, which blocks 98% of UV rays. Of course, this shouldn’t stop you from applying plenty of sunscreen on your boy or girl. It’s there to protect the covered areas of the bathing suit from harsh UV rays.

The right fit and fabric for the right sport

The swimming outfit must be comfortable for children to wear and should fit correctly. (View 'How to measure children for swimming gear’ below.)

Look for fabric that is a blend of nylon and spandex, durable fabric that is snug but not tight even after your kid has worn it and you have washed it several times. We make many of the best girls’ swimming gear and boys’ trunks out of this fabric, which dries fast and is machine or hand-washable.

If your nylon/spandex fabric blend of childrens swimming gear has a polyester lining as well, you’re adding another level of comfort and making sure your child is free to move around in the water.

How to measure children for swimsuits

Fit is very important in children’s swimsuits and accessories. Make sure you measure your children to ensure that the swimwear and outerwear will fit comfortably. Don’t just take the label size for granted.

To measure a girl: Measure under her arms around the bust, waistline and hips. Make sure to also measure her height, because she may need a larger size if she is tall for her age.

To measure a boy: For swimming trunks, measure around his waist. If your kid is between a size, rather go to the next size than choose a swimming outfit that is too small.

For all children: Choose a full elastic waist if you can, with a drawstring so that the kid can fit the swimming costume comfortably. 

Why swim gear is so important

Swimsuits are vital, but so are cover-ups as accessories for children. These accessories are perfect for after a swim, as beachwear, at a school swimming event or by the pool at home.

Take a look at the stunning childrens after-swimming cover-up accessories available – some are so beautiful, even those children who are difficult to please will enjoy grabbing one after swimming.

The most important features to look for in a list of cover-up accessories include sun protection, long wear and moisture-wicking. The kid should be comfortable at all times, dry and protected, especially on the shoulders, neck and chest. Children with sensitive skin are even more susceptible.

Don’t let your children run around without cover-up accessories. After a while, sun protection like sunscreen tends to wear off, so you need to ensure that you protect your kid's skin at all times. Remember: even when it’s cloudy, one needs sun protection.

Remember: it’s great choosing swimming products for children that tick all the boxes, but make sure that when your kid gets out of the water, you have a protective cover-up for them.

Choose one made from polyester and spandex, preferably also with some degree of sun protection. Check the labels of each of the brands carefully to view what the fabric is made of, and the benefits that are provided. Many brands are following Australian trends and offering sun protection in cover-ups, too, so that children can be protected from the sun at all times, even when they’re outside but are not in the water.

Selected styles to shop

For females:

The ‘onesie’: The most common type of swimming clothing for girls. Also called a tank suit or maillot.

The 2-item: Known as bikinis.

For males:

Swimming briefs: Similar in many way to underwear briefs, this type of swimwear is the most common. They come in various iterations including Speedos, briefs and bathers.

Trunks: Medium-style shorts that usually feature lining. These shorts are a very popular choice for young children.

Board shorts: A longer version of swimming trunks, board shorts are not commonly elasticated at the waist. These shorts are ideal for surfing and different water sports like paddle boarding.

For both:

Rash vests: Often made from a blend of spandex and nylon fabric, these vests are used to protect children’s skin against chafing and sun exposure. 

Wetsuits and dry suits: Usually made of neoprene, these close-fitting suits are perfect for snorkelling and board sports.

Swimming shirts: These protective garments are great when the sun is at its harshest (midday, from 11am to 2.30pm) or if your kid has sensitive skin and is prone to sunburn.

Products for every age

        • Swimming gear for a baby: If the baby is still wearing nappies, it would need swimming nappies to wear alone or under a swimming costume, board shorts or bikini bottoms. These nappies don’t swell when they get well. These baby nappies also have special elastic guards and flaps at the sides, so they are easy to remove. For cooler weather, the baby should have a little cover-up to keep warm.

        • Toddlers 3 to 5: At this age, little boys can wear swimming trunks, and little girls will feel comfortable in a one piece swimming costume. This type of swimming outfit is ideal if they’re learning to swim. If your children have fair skin, make sure they wear a swimming shirt to protect them from the harsh sun rays.
        • Children 5 and upwards: Childrens swimming costumes come in every style, colour and pattern imaginable. Little girls swimwear ranges are vast and include one and two-item swimming outfits, and boys can select from a variety of briefs, shorts and swimming trunks. As your daughter reaches teenagehood, make sure she has a bra in her swimming costume. And even though they might not want to, keep their skin covered if it’s sensitive with a swimming shirt. And check that they have a cover up

Size does matter

Swimwear designed for kids must fit well – if not, they will feel uncomfortable and won’t enjoy their time in the water. Before you shop, make sure the swimming costume fits your boy or girl. In fact, you can measure your kid before you shop, so that you know what size you’re looking for.

Measuring girls: Make sure to measure under the arms, around the back and bust, and also the waist, hips and inseam. Take note of your child’s weight and height, too, as tall or larger kids may well need a longer suit, and petite kids may need swimming gear that is one size smaller.

Measuring boys: Measure around the waist to get the perfect fit for shorts for boys and girls. If the kid is between a size, or the waist of the shorts is too tight, it’s better to take one size bigger for both girls and boys, as the shorts must fit comfortably around the waist. Remember: elasticated waists are the most comfortable for girls and boys, although a drawstring waist will give the perfect custom fit.

Size guide

World-wide, swimming outfit brands either offer size guidelines based on age or sizing that ranges from extra-small (XS) to extra-large. We have compiled the following guide to make it easy for you. The guide doesn’t give baby, toddler or junior sizes under the age of 4.

  • XS – 4 to 5 years – with a 20 to 21.5-inch waist
  • S – 6 to 7 years – with a 22 to 23.5-inch waist
  • M – size 8  to 10 years – with a 24 to 25.5-inch waist
  • L – 11 to 12 years – with a 26 to 27.5-inch waist
  • XL – 13 to 14 – with a 28 to 30-inch waist.

      Consider this before you shop brands

      Before you buy swimming gear for kids on a swimwear sale or make a product for your small business, ask yourself the following questions:

      1. How does the suit fit?

      Can your kid swim easily in the swimsuit? Make sure that the bathing costume is made from a quality fabric that enables them to move easily and that fits well. If your kid is wearing a ‘onesie’, the middle section needs to offer mobility.

      1. Is the fabric durable?

      Pool chlorine and saltwater both wear out any swimming costume – this is another reason to look for quality fabric that will be resistant to chemicals and last for a long time. Choose a swimsuit made from a nylon or Poly/spandex fabric with a polyester lining, as these fibres are designed to resist chlorine and saltwater.

      1. Does the garment dry fast? 

        Wet swimming gear is always heavy and uncomfortable. As kids enjoy spending hours in the water, fabric used to make the costume must dry quickly. To keep the garment lasting longer, rinse the swimsuit after use, then dry and store away till next time.

      1. Does the fabric provide UV protection?

      Water reflects the sun, so your child’s skin is very vulnerable whilst the kid is swimming in the pool or the sea. Swimwear for kids should be made of fabric with a UPF50 rating, as this will block 98% of the sun’s rays. To give your kid the best sun protection, make sure you apply sunscreen to your child’s skin as well. Remember: even when the sun isn’t shining or is hiding behind a cloud, harsh UV rays are still likely to penetrate the skin.

      The best swimming fabric for children

      Your kids need the best possible swimming costume when they swim. Although they aren’t competing in the Olympics, they still need the best quality swimming fabric available.

      Choose fabric that will keep them comfortable while they learn to swim and have fun in the water. Once you’ve considered fit, wearability and how the fabric stretches on the body, think carefully about the type of fabric you choose for kids swimming events.

      Different types of swimming fabric

      Technology has enabled us to create bundles of fabrics that protect the skin against harmful pool chemicals, keep out the harsh sun rays and are comfortable and long-wearing.

      As different fabrics feature different properties, you need to look at the different types of fabric available to decide what is perfect for your kids swimsuit. We make most swimming clothing out of a blend of different fabrics, and here we discuss the most common fabric types:


      A combination of spandex and lycra, Elastane swimming items fit well and are extremely popular for swimsuits for adults and kids. It’s very long-wearing and comfortable, too. The best elastane swimming fabric blend only includes around 10 to 20% elastane in the mix.

      Natural fabrics

      These fabrics are certainly not as popular as they used to be when all swimming costumes were made from either wool or cotton. Nowadays, synthetic fabrics are the popular choice for swimming gear.

      You can still shop for swimwear made of natural fabrics – they’re cheaper than synthetic alternatives but don’t last as well or keep their shape after a swim.

      They also don't wear particularly well and are often damaged by sun, salt water and pool chemicals. However, they are more sustainable. 


      Technically we don’t call neoprene a fabric at all, despite people often using it to manufacture wetsuits and some types of swimming gear for kids and adults alike.

      This fibre stays close to the skin and keeps the body warm. We use it for swimming in open waters, which isn't something a kid is likely to do. But kids may land up wearing these for snorkelling.

      We make this material out of insulated foam. It’s soft, comfortable and not slippery at all during a swim.


      Another very popular fabric for swimming costumes, nylon is light, smooth, soft and fits well. However, it’s not resistant to chlorine or UV rays and doesn’t wear as well as polyester. This swimming fabric doesn’t absorb water easily, is extremely elastic, washes well and dries quickly. 

      Manufacturers blend nylon with other fabrics like elastane to create swimming costumes that are comfortable and stretch well.

      PBT (Polybutylene terephthalate)

      This fabric features plastic yarn fibre. It’s smooth, matte and light with an excellent stretch. It’s very popular for competitive swimming events. The fabric repels pool chemicals and is resistant to UV rays. It’s easy to wash and dries quickly, comfortable and doesn’t pill.


      The majority of summer swimming fabric includes polyester in the mix – and for good reason. Polyester protects the skin from pool chemicals like chlorine as well as UV rays. It’s also long-wearing and fits comfortably.

      We often mix polyester with lycra for swimming items. It's a popular swimming fabric choice for those who compete in swimming events. Colour prints beautifully on this fabric. Swimming costumes are comfortable and soft, don’t shrink or pill, dry quickly when washed and breathe well. They also doesn’t absorb water during a swim.

      The most durable suits for swimming will be a blend of fabrics. Polyester blended with elastane or PBT will be the most ideal for competitive swimmers. These suits will last longer, hold their shape the best, resist damage from UV rays and chlorine, and aid your movement in the water.

      What to look for when you choose swimming gear

      Swimming costume fabric has to tick a number of boxes. It needs to be:

      -       Comfortable

      -       Hard wearing

      -       Flexible so that the body can move whilst wearing it

      -       Lightweight

      -       Able to wick away moisture

      -       Resist fading

      -       Can withstand sun exposure, chlorine and salt water

      -       Will stop water drag.

      Lycra is a favorite choice for swimwear for kids, so read our excellent guide on What is Lycra? right here.

      If you intend making your own children’s swimming outfits or want to make swimming items for your small business, make sure to read our guide on How to sew stretchy fabric.

      Explore maake's fabrics

      The best swimwear fabrics for end sale price from the maake collection. All are at a great price. Orders and shipping take just a few days. Pick up some of these and include them when you shop online!

      Active Eco Lycra:

      This lightweight lycra fabric is a blend of polyester and elastane. It’s a favourite choice for kids swimming gear. It’s smooth to the touch and has an excellent stretch; you can pull it in any direction and it will spring back to its original shape.

      The print face and backing are identical and colours print vibrantly on its white polyester base. A great swimming fabric.

      Eco Glitter Dot Lycra:

      This stretchy fabric is a blend of recycled polyester (rPET) and elastane with a silver foiled dot effect. It’s popular for all sorts of activewear, swimwear included. People often choose it because it is more sustainable than other polyester blends. Colours print vibrantly on this fabric, which is certified child-safe.

      Recycled Eco Lycra:

      This sustainable fabric blend features 78% recycled polyester and 22% elastane. We often choose this lightweight lycra swimming fabric for all activewear, and because it’s sustainable and hard wearing. Colours print vibrantly and strong on this fabric.

      Scuba BodyFit:

      A soft double-knit fabric that is a special combination of polyester and elastane fibres. It is very similar to neoprene. Made of polyester and elastane, this fabric is similar to neoprene. It’s ideal for swimming as it’s easy to care for and long-lasting with a springy, smooth feel.

      Eco Sprint Knit:

      This midweight 100% recycled polyester-wicking sports jersey is great for rash vests and swimming tops. It’s a very popular fabric for the summer sports and outdoor market, and prints beautifully.

      Heavy Lycra 210:

      The heaviest lycra fabric in the maake range, so this polyester fabric is perfect for all activewear including swimwear. It’s a smooth, stretchy fabric that can be pulled in any direction and springs back to shape every time. Print face and backing are the same and colours print vibrantly on this material.

      Printing on polyester fabric at maake 

      Our polyester printing requires no water used in the printing process. All inks meet Oeko-tex requirements and pass EN71-3 certification. For more information on Fabric Certification, check out our extensive guide right here.

      Choosing fabric colours, styles and patterns

      When you choose kids swimming gear, don’t forget to take your child’s personality, likes and dislikes into account before you choose you colours, patterns and designs for swimwear and accessories.

      If you shop online, remember: what you view on the screen isn’t necessary what will arrive on delivery day. Computer screens show colour deceptively, so be careful with your colour choices. You’ll notice that when we give descriptions of our fabrics, we often include details about how colour will print on that particular fabric to make sure you have an idea of what to expect. Alternatively, why not shop for a Sample book? It features swatches of all the fabrics we offer so that you can view exactly what your choice of fabric will look like when you print on it.

      To give you more inspiration and all the information you need about colour, check out our informative blog An Introduction to Colour Theory and the Color Wheel.

      Design perfect products

      You know which fabric will suit swimwear for your kids best. Now design your kids swimming outfits that are exclusive and unique to keep them happy. Ordering and shipping takes just a few days, so shop now to get Christmas party or other gifts sorted while we still have stock! That’s the beauty of our easy-to-use site. You can count on us: we’ve got you covered so that your kids can make a splash!

      Upload Your Design

      April 05, 2023 — Artemis Doupa