Swim Shirts vs. Sun Shirts: What’s the Difference? - UVwise Clothing

Swim Shirts vs. Sun Shirts: What’s the Difference?

3 minutes read

When choosing UV protective clothing, it’s important to consider what activities you’ll be doing in them. This will ensure you find an optimal balance between comfort and functionality for all of your outdoor activities. A common misunderstanding among customers is the difference between sun shirts, swim shirts, and rash guards. 

While the terms “sun shirt” and “swim shirt” are commonly used interchangeably, they are actually two different products serving very different needs. So what’s the difference between them? Let’s dive into it. 

Swim Shirts vs. Sun Shirts

Swim Shirts 

Swim shirts are just that: shirts made to swim in. Typically coming in a more relaxed fit, swim shirts fit like a regular t-shirt, but with the added benefit of UV-protection. Comfort is of course a concern when playing in the water, especially when it comes to chafing, which is why they use soft anti-chafe seams similar to rashguards. 

The relaxed fit and water compatibility features make swim shirts a popular choice for anyone looking to seamlessly transition between the beach and boardwalk. They are also a popular choice for active individuals, such as boogie boarders, who require flexibility and sun protection for spending longer periods in the water. For this reason, swim shirts are commonly referred to as surf shirts, and are a great choice for anyone who enjoys water activities.

Rash Guards

Introducing swim shirts tighter fitting companion, the rash guard. Rash guards boast all of the same benefits as a swim shirt, with the added bonus of water-ready compression. Because of this feature, rash guards are popular for high-output water activities such as surfing. This also means that rash guards are a less comfortable option for wearing around town, but it’s all a matter of personal preference.

Dr Lize Wiese wearing a sun shirt and other upf clothing walking on the beach

Sun Shirts

Sun Shirts, on the other hand, are better suited for activities out of the water. While they typically feature water-wicking technology in the fabric, their main attraction is their UPF rating. Because they are not designed to be worn in the water, sun shirts aren’t confined to specific shapes or seams, which enables companies to create a wider variety of styles and colours. 

This greater variety in styles makes them a more popular option for daily wear and also means you can get great sun protective clothing for a variety of activities. Whether you’re relaxing outdoors, going out for a jog, or doing yard work under the hot sun, there’s a sun shirt to suit all your needs.

Finding the Right Fit 

Despite their many similarities, there are important differences to consider when deciding between a swim shirt and a sun shirt. The first and most important consideration to make is whether you plan on wearing your shirt on land, in water, or a combination of both. 

If you intend to use this shirt even occasionally in the water, a swim shirt will satisfy this need, while still giving you the option to wear it around town. On the other hand, if you are looking to add uv-protection to your everyday clothing, a sun shirt will be your best bet. Sun shirts will also be more versatile and come in a variety of options, including pull-overs, button-ups, and hoodies. 

Pro tip: whether you’re choosing a sun shirt, swim shirt or rash guard, selecting the right size is important. Check out our sizing guide to find your perfect fit.

Worry Less, Enjoy More 

Dr Ben Wiese and his kids playing on the beach, wearing sun protective clothing

Don’t let harmful UV rays stop you from enjoying the beautiful weather. Thanks to the advancements in sun-smart clothing, we can do more of what we love and worry less about those harmful rays. Like Drs. Ben and Lize Wiese always say, “prevention is better than the cure.” This is why they created their own line of high-quality lifestyle and sport-specific UV protective apparel.

Whether you’re preparing for a winter vacation or planning ahead for the warmer months, it’s important to stay mindful of the risks associated with UV exposure. Sun and swim shirts are a great way to stay protected, giving you the peace of mind to spend more time focusing on your favourite outdoor activities. 

Browse some of our popular swim and sun shirt options below:

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