Underwear can be a very personal subject; we all wear it (we hope) but hardly anyone talks about it, unless they want to complain about it. The best underwear should be comfortable, breathable, and well-fitting for the activities (or lack thereof) you have during the day. But how do you know what to choose? The choices at the store or online can be overwhelming, so we’d like to try to simplify things for you. In this blog we’ll outline the different types of underwear, tell you what to look for when selecting a style, and give you our recommendation for our favorite underwear.
The 8 Different Types of Men’s Underwear
Note that different brands may refer to the same cuts of underwear differently. For example, one brand’s trunks may be another brand’s boxer briefs. We’ll be sure to differentiate each of the cuts so that you know exactly what you are getting regardless what a brand calls it.
Boxers (also called boxer shorts) are a classic for a reason; they’re reliable and versatile. You know exactly what you’re getting when you pick up a pair of boxers - a relaxed fit and a blank canvas for color or patterns. They provide full coverage of the pelvis area, and are a great choice for a variety of casual or dressy outfits. However, their ultra-relaxed fit means they don’t provide a ton of support, making them less than ideal for athletic activities or more form-fitting outfits. They tend to bunch up on the legs or slide down the body, especially for big and tall men. Thus, boxers are best for lounging around the house or more sedentary activities, such as time in the office.
Think of briefs as functioning the opposite way that boxers do. Also called Jockeys (for the brand that popularized them), briefs offer maximum support and snugness, but don’t provide much (if any) coverage on the leg. Briefs are known for their flexibility and stretch (assuming they’re made of a quality fabric). This makes them great for everyday active wear, as well as lighter athletic activity. While they are functional, they’re not the most stylish, as they usually come in plain colors. They alleviate some of the issues big and tall men face with underwear being snug enough, but not everyone likes them for their lack of coverage.
If boxers are too loose and relaxed, and briefs don’t provide enough coverage, then boxer briefs may be the hybrid solution for you! Boxer briefs have become some of the most popular styles of underwear for men of all sizes, especially big and tall men. With the coverage they provide, as well the snugness they offer, boxer briefs are fit for a variety of occasions, be they active or more sedentary. As long as you size them correctly, they shouldn’t bunch around the thigh the way boxers do, and should stay in place even better than briefs. Their coverage even provides opportunities for additional colors or patterns.
Trunks are a hybrid between briefs and boxer briefs; they provide the snugness and support of both briefs and boxer briefs, and sit on the thigh in between the two. Think of them as a slightly longer brief, or a slightly shorter boxer brief. They offer additional breathability over boxer briefs, which make them ideal for long days in a warm office or under your shorter shorts when heading to a backyard party this summer.
Bikini Cut refers to a style of underwear that is somewhat in between the cut of briefs and trunks, exposing even more of your thigh. You find these to be the cut of a lot of bathing suits for men in Europe, where they are especially popular. They provide the support of briefs with just a little extra coverage for the top of the leg. If you want to add a little flair and personality to your underwear game, perhaps the Bikini Cut is for you!
Traditionally used for high-intensity athletics, the jockstrap provides complete protection to the front of the genital area, leaving the rear completely exposed. Many times, you’ll find jockstraps outfitted with a pocket to insert additional protection, such as a cup. You can combine a jockstrap with another layer of underwear, such as a performance boxer brief, for more coverage without losing that extra protection.
The form of underwear that offers the least amount of coverage, the G-String is for those who want maximum airflow and breathability. Fabrics for G-Strings tend to be very thin, and provide minimal coverage and support. Wear these if you are truly confident in yourself, or if you want to feel more air down there. Just ensure your pants/shorts properly fit, as G-Strings don’t leave much to the imagination if exposed.
Long underwear, also called long johns, are what you reach for when the mercury drops. Long underwear, spanning the entirety of your legs, are perfect for those colder days both inside and outside the house. Big and tall men should look for long underwear with plenty of stretch, as many brands can easily tear when putting them on. When buying long underwear, also look for warming fabrics with insulation technology, so that you can stay as warm as possible in the coldest of temperatures. Long underwear pairs well with socks that keep your feet warm, especially if you have cold feet.
What Type of Men’s Underwear is Best?
What type of underwear is considered the best will depend greatly on a number of factors, including level of activity, conditions outside, body type, and personal fit preference. From a health-perspective, studies have shown that some looser styles of underwear, such as boxers, promote higher sperm production than do tighter styles, such as briefs. However, if fertility is a concern for you, we recommend checking with a physician for more tailored advice. From a popularity standpoint, market data has shown that boxer briefs are the most commonly purchased type of underwear. The bottom line is that the “best” underwear for someone is subjective, and you may require some trial and error before you find the perfect fit or the perfect brand.
Finding the Best Type of Underwear for You
When evaluating underwear options, remember to take the following into account:
- What have you tried in the past? What other features would have improved your comfort?
- What body type are you? Bigger frames may require a looser fit, and taller men need extra length if they want to cover the thigh
- What activity are you doing? More activity means the need for more support and breathability
- What makes you feel confident and happy?