EXTRA,  GEAR,  May 2024,  Product Reviews

Nine of the best swimming bikinis

Dive-proof, wave-proof and cut to allow freedom of movement in the water, we put nine swimming bikinis to the test

ORCA Rs1 Bikini Women Swimsuit


They say: The RS1 range is designed for intensive use in pools or open water, built for swimmers looking for extreme durability and high performance. The women’s line is available in a one-piece and two-piece version for outdoor swimmers who value having options. The RS1 Bikini is the perfect solution for those looking for swim kit that is both high performance and extremely durable. (Size 6-18).

We say: This high performance and hard-working two-piece did not move one inch during pool training. The discreet waist chord, tucked inside the waistband, kept the briefs secure while still letting the waist fabric lie flat on the hips. The crop-style top is super stretchy, easy to put on and supportive with a cut-out racer back style that gives unhindered movement. This is going to become a staple of our pool and open water kit.

DEAKIN & BLUE Sports Swimbra Bikini Set


They say: A new and improved version of our best-selling Sports Swimbra bikini, now available in Forest Green. Featuring built-in bust support and a low cut under the arms for active use without chafing. Our high waist bottoms are designed to offer a firm but flush hold on the hips: they’re diveproof, we tested them. Twice as resistant to chlorine, salt water and oils than standard Lycra, the Sports Swimbra is designed to last. (Size 8-24, AA-HH cup).

We say: We’ve admired D&B’s Swimbra from afar so were delighted to try this new colour. The high-waist briefs have a firm but flush fit, with good coverage that doesn’t hinder your stroke. The top is thoughtfully designed, with a racer back and low cut arms for freedom of movement while the back zip allows a glove-like fit. There’s also a soft underbust band that’s gentle on the skin while holding the top firm. As always, we appreciate D&B inclusive sizing with its choice of three shapes to fit AA-HH cup.

DAVY J Halter Crossback Swim Top and Sculpt Swim Shorts

£85 + £75

They say: No need to compromise on style over substance, with this striking high neck design. Adaptable with that bit of extra coverage, the top features a gorgeous high neck, dropping over the shoulders into a bold crossback and finishing on the natural waist. Based on our best selling Jones High Waist Briefs, these swim shorts are the perfect alternative for those who prefer a little extra coverage. (Size 8-18).

We say: We love the versatility of Davy J’s mix and match separates, designed to pair or layer so you can create an individual look to suit your body. We like the high neck of the reversible Halter Crossback, which not only gives a good amount of support for larger busts but also takes the sting out of cold water across the chest and neck. We also appreciate the way you can overlap the top with the super high waisted shorts to create a one-piece silhouette or roll the waist down to show the contrast blue lining and sport an active two-piece.

SOUL CAP Bikini Top and Bikini Bottoms

£40 + £30

They say: Athletic isn’t a shape – it’s a state of mind. Experience the perfect blend of style and performance with our Women’s Bikini Top with Adjustable Straps, available in sizes from XS to 3XL. Crafted to provide a comfortable and flexible swimming experience, this swimsuit is designed for women of all sizes. Dive in with confidence, as our super-stretchy swimwear, made from recycled materials, ensures you can move freely. (Size 4-30).

We say: While the construction and material of the bikini bottoms and top is undoubtedly high quality, we found the elasticated waist and chest band a bit too restrictive. Perhaps ordering the next size up would alleviate this issue. Also the branding on the waist and chest bands reminded us of underwear, meaning we felt self-conscious wearing it to the pool. That said, we appreciated the quality of the set for the price, the adjustable straps and the inclusive range of sizes.

LEOA Clevedon Classic Top and Bottoms

£60 + £60

They say: A sporty style swim top with a scoop back, supportive straps and zig zag stitching. Elasticated and double stitched at the seams for extra durability. Paired with mid-rise, sporty and flattering swim bottoms that come up a few inches below the belly button and show just the right amount of bum. If you like feeling water on your stomach or high waisted isn’t your thing, but you aren’t into tiny, super low bottoms, these are the style for you.

We say: We really loved the feel of this handmade bikini top and bottoms – the seams and stitching are so soft and well constructed. The straps of the top are just the right thickness, and the bottoms aren’t too revealing – we would happily explore rock faces and run around on the beach after a swim wearing these. A supremely comfortable two-piece for wearing under a wetsuit or on its own.

DAVY J Jones High Waist Briefs and Wrap Long Sleeve Swim Top

£65 + £85

They say: Designed for comfort, coverage, style and versatility, these ‘really big pants’ are the perfect style to sculpt your silhouette and make you feel shaped and secure. The wrap top is a super versatile top designed as a stylish alternative to a rash vest or can be worn as a stand alone long sleeve crop. It provides warmth, sun or wind protection without compromising on mobility. (Size 8-18).

We say: We get why these are called ‘Jones’ briefs, they’re truly are enormous pants but that’s their appeal. Like the Sculpt Shorts, you can pull them up to their fullest height to overlap with any of the mix and match tops, or roll them over to whatever rise you desire for a flash of colour. Providing comfort and support for bloated, postpartum or pregnant tums, they made our tester feel super confident. We paired them with the super stretchy cropped wrap top and loved the thumb holes!

FINISTERRE Women’s Anella Reversible High Waist Pant and Crop Bikini Top

£45 + £55

They say: This set will stay put when diving in. Flexible and flattering with a medium coverage high waist, these swim bottoms are perfect for wearing on their own or under a wetsuit. Designed with ease of movement in mind, they have a soft-touch finish that feels great against skin. Wear with the Anella reversible crop bikini top for a complete swim-ready look. (Size 6-22).

We say: We really rated this truly reversible crop and high-waist pant, which you can buy as separates to get the correct fit. The comfortable high-waisted pants offer descent coverage, and the waistband felt secure while sitting flush against the skin rather than pinching. The slim racer back of the crop allowed for great freedom of movement. We appreciate Finisterre’s inclusive sizing. An excellent bikini set for those of us who don’t always feel confident wearing a two-piece!

VIVIDA Athena Reversible Crop and Nefeli Bikini Bottom

£49 + £39

They say: Named after the ancient Greek goddess of wisdom, the Athena surf bikini top is designed with functionality and style in mind. This sports-bra style top is made to stay put, the additional seams around the bust providing extra support and ensuring you feel confident and comfortable all day long. Pair with the Nefeli surf bikini bottom. (Size 8-16).

We say: Surfers and swimmers have vigorously tested these stylish and sustainably made separates to make sure they can withstand high impact water activities with reinforced waistband and four-way stretch for secure fit. We loved the colours and slim bar style back, which gives great flexibility for swimming. On our size 16 tester, the waistband pinched and didn’t suit their body shape, but there’s a great ‘In the Wild’ gallery online, which helps you decide if this is the style for you.

WALLIEN Rash Guard and Sport Shorts

£99 + £79

They say: For superb sun protection during your aquatic adventure, combine these two items for maximum coverage. Made from recycled soft and ultra stretchy fabric, they offer excellent UV protection (UPF 50+) and are chlorine and sun cream resistant. Paired with athletic shorts designed for water sports enthusiasts. With its lightweight design, super-soft feel and lack of metal parts, this is also your ultimate wetsuit companion. (Size 6-16).

We say: We loved the versatility of these stylish bikini separates, which you can wear as a rash guard under a wetsuit to prevent chafing, layer over a swimsuit for extra coverage and to take the edge off wind chill or as an elegant set. With high UV protection, they’re great for long days by the water. The recycled material is so stretchy and soft, with a lining that feels silky and soothing against the skin. Wallien also sell crop tops, high-waist bottoms and stay-put bikini tops so you can find the combination that works for you.

Last updated June 2024. All products were chosen independently by our editorial team. This review contains affiliate links and we may receive a commission for purchases made. Click here to subscribe to the magazine. Read more Outdoor Swimmer gear reviews. Main image: LEOA

Jo is the Gear Editor for Outdoor Swimmer and also writes news and features for the website. A keen open water swimmer and long-distance walker, she loves seeking out lakes and lidos close to her home in the Mendip Hills, Somerset. She is the author of The Slow Traveller, editor and founder of independent magazine, Ernest, and has previously tested outdoor clothing and kit for BBC Countryfile Magazine, BBC Focus and Ernest Journal.