At least for guys, underwear isn’t one of the most glorious topics around. However, it’s certainly a necessary undergarment – mostly because underwear is something that’s worn 365 days a year no matter what the weather. It’s the silent hero that acts behind the scenes to help us remain comfortable underneath our daily wardrobe. And we should be thankful. From keeping everything snug and supported underneath it all to helping us stay dry and mobile on the trail or in the gym, underwear is an intimate garment, sticking with us (not to us) through thick and thin. The possibilities range widely as well, from tight-fitting briefs to more casual and loose-fitting boxer shorts – that in some cases can be worn all by themselves – to the more athlete-friendly boxer brief.
This isn’t to suggest you go prancing around in your underwear for the world to bear witness. Men’s underwear is meant primarily for form; leave the aesthetics to our female counterparts. It’s also important to consider individual use and personal preference. Are you a brief-wearing individual or more of an athletic boxer brief fan? And does it really matter what materials make up your underwear at all? The answer to both those questions and more can be found in this list of the best underwear for men.
Despite public belief, the world of briefs extends far beyond the realm of “tighty-whities.” And while many of us may feel like we’ve grown out of this form of underwear, you’d be surprised at how comfortable and secure this style can make you feel. However, due to their snug fit it’s advised, for athletes especially, to opt for briefs made with a moisture-wicking material in order to prevent issues like jock itch from arising. However, when cared for and worn properly, briefs can reduce chafing and keep you quite comfortable.
In terms of recommendations, we’re certainly fans of any pair of briefs with an elastic waistband. This feature makes them comfortable and adaptable over time. For instance, 2(x)ist offers a three pack of quality 100-percent cotton briefs in different colorways for a reasonable price point. However, if white is the only color you’re into then we suggest a good old pair of Calvin Klein classic briefs, also made from 100-percent cotton. More of the athletic type? Saxx has you covered with their 3Six Five briefs, made with prima cotton that’s soft, breathable, and cooling. However, if style is paramount, then a pair of briefs from Zimmerli never hurt either. They’re made from a stretch micro modal fabric for a breathable and soft experience and boast a precise fit that’s ideal for tailored clothing.
2(X)ist Men’s Essential Fly Front: ($20)
Calvin Klein Men’s Classic: ($20)
Saxx 3six Five Brief Fly: ($30)
Zimmerli Pureness Stretch Modal: ($70)
Known to many men as the happy medium between boxers and briefs (and rightly so), boxer briefs fit similarly to their snug-fitting counterparts, but boast a length comparable to boxer shorts. The end result is a pair of underwear that’s supportive where it needs to be, snug enough to go practically unnoticed, and long enough that they don’t immediately come off as underwear. As far as use is concerned, boxer briefs are ideal for athletes or everyday wearers who are looking for style and support. They work to prevent thigh chafe, don’t bunch up in tight-fitting clothing or tailored suits and are a bit more aesthetically pleasing.
For the most part, boxer briefs are limited in the realm of design. However, MeUndies does a decent job of offering both quality boxer briefs made from sustainably-sourced fibers that are 3-times softer than cotton in various colorways for the fashion-driven individual. For a bit more of an athletic wear, Mack Weldon sells their Airknits with their signature no-roll waistband and a stay-put leg design to enhance comfort along with their breathable nature working to keep you dry. However, nothing quite matches a pair of boxer briefs made for the movement and inevitable sweat involved in an outdoor hike. That’s why both Arc’Teryx and Smartwool are two of our ideal options for outdoor-purposed boxer briefs. They function as quality base layers – with the Arc’Teryx Phase SL hosting superior moisture-wicking technology and Smartwool’s flatlock seam construction working to eliminate chafing and boasting a Jersey Knit style.
MeUndies Boxer Brief: ($20)
Mack Weldon Boxer Briefs: ($28)
Arc’Teryx Phase SL: ($45)
Smartwool NTS: ($55)
Many guys find themselves switching to wearing boxers and transitioning away from briefs as they grow older. We’re told they’re cooler, more relaxed, and more personable. Functioning simply as a pair of lightweight shorts to be worn as a base layer, they can take a bit of getting used to – as we have all experienced for ourselves during this transition. It’s for this reason specifically that boxer shorts are worn by those who have dedicated themselves to the style, rather than making a further transition toward boxer briefs. They’re also known for a more leisurely wear, rarely found under tailored suits or in the gym as they are known to bunch up and can become uncomfortable at times. Think weekends at the lake house and you’ll get a better idea of what we’re talking about.
For the basics, we suggest setting yourself up with a pair of Window Pane boxers from J.Crew. It’s a classic style and pattern that’s both unassuming and comfortable. They feature an elastic waistband, a cotton composition and fit true to size. Though if you’re looking to step it up a notch, the boxer shorts from Derek Rose boast a subtle polka-dot design and are cut in the classic relaxed shape boxer advocates swear by. However, it’s tough not to include anything from Thom Browne in any fashion piece. That’s why we made sure a pair of his Cotton-Poplins made the cut, too. They are tailored in the traditional manner, feature the Thom Browne signature tricolor trim, and feature mother-of-pearl buttons at the waist. Now, if you’re looking for the Ferrari of men’s boxer briefs, The Slim Boxer from The Eighth is certainly your calling. They’re made from 100-percent Sea Island Cotton, are woven in Italy, and offer an incredibly soft feel that will make you want to wear these things all by themselves.
J. Crew Windowpane Check Boxers: ($18)
Derek Rose Plaza Polka-Dot Boxer Shorts: ($50)
Thom Browne Cotton Poplin: ($125)
The Eighth Slim Boxer: ($360)
Prepare Now For Next Season With Some Thermal Underwear
In case winter hasn’t let up in your locale or you’re looking to prepare now for next season, here is a handful of the best thermal underwear we found on the market today.