10 Tips on Finding the Best Underwear for Men
When deciding on a new pair of underwear, you will want to keep the following in mind:
Men’s underwear can come in 5 types of styles, here’s a quick look at each and how they differ from one another:
Brief: The brief is the quintessential underwear that comes to mind for many men. Also referred to as tighty whiteys, briefs are both short and keep things snug around the crotch area. Typically relying on an elastic waistband and a y-shaped fly, this underwear style won’t bunch up – making it a comfortable pick for a lot of men.
Boxer Shorts: Named after the shorts worn by boxers, these are a modest cut pair of shorts that are a fair bit looser than the standard brief. Proven to increase sperm quality as it gives more breathing room for your manhood, the boxer short is good for men who like to feel cool and airy. Like the brief, the boxer short typically has an elastic waistband. However, the fly on boxer shorts is usually paired with a button. While perfectly fine for daily wear, boxer shorts are also great for sleeping.
Boxer Briefs: A modification of the boxer short, stylish boxer briefs are made of a similar cut, yet have spandex (elastane) properties making them also like traditional briefs (hence the name boxer briefs). Typically cut a bit shorter, boxer briefs extend to the mid-to-upper thigh area. While commonly worn by athletes as performance underwear as they prevent chafing, plenty of men like wearing these daily.
Trunk: A newer style of men’s underwear will be the trunk cut. Cut similar to a boxer brief, the trunk underwear features a pronounced contour pouch making it much more comfortable for your manhood. This not only increases comfort over other styles in way of movement but also helps to circulate air for better breathability.
Long Underwear: Also known as long johns, long underwear is a type of thermal underwear that will help keep your crotch and legs warm during winter months. Helpful in regulating your body temperature, thermal underwear often contains moisture-wicking properties (typically relying on lycra) to help draw any moisture away from the body should you begin to sweat. These can also be a perfect alternative to pajamas.
Other Styles: Beyond the 5 popular styles above, some more novelty underwear that men may wear includes bikini, thong, g-string, silk underwear, and silk boxers.
Rise is how high the underwear rests along your waist. Men’s underwear comes in three rise types:
- Low-rise: below the hip
- Mid-rise: at the hip
- High-rise: at your natural waist (below the belly button)
Which rise will work best for you? For larger men, we recommend mid-rise to high-rise to prevent the plumber’s crack and pronounced love handles. For athletic or slim men, you will want to consider low-rise underwear.
- Body Type
Men’s bodies come in many different shapes and sizes, however, the same cannot be said for underwear. To find a pair that fits best for you, here are a few quick tips:
Men with large legs or thighs: Briefs and trunks have large leg openings that allow for a greater range of motion – especially for men with large legs. This higher-cut of underwear won’t bunch around your crotch when walking.
Thin legs and thighs: Boxer briefs are recommended underwear for men with thin or slender legs. The natural elasticity within this underwear type will ensure that the fabric remains close to your skin to prevent bunching.
Average body types: Most underwear has been designed for men of this body type. You should be able to safely go with any of the underwear reviewed within this guide.
Getting the right sized underwear is important, yet it’s a step that so many are quick to ignore. The right size fit can make a large difference in both comfort and performance. Too tight of underwear and you will have pronounced love handles whereas too large it will bunch up or fall. Before buying underwear, review the size chart. You will find that the size (XS, S, M, L, XL, etc.) will vary from one brand to the next.
Material is important for both performance and breathability. Here is a list of the best fabric for men’s underwear and how they differ from one another:
Cotton: One of the most popular fabric types for underwear, cotton is natural, breathable, comfortable, affordable, and in some instances, environmentally friendly (depending on how the fabric was sourced). While not as durable as other fabrics available, the naturally breathable fabric provides odor control while also helping to increase sperm quality. For the environmentally-conscious men, organic cotton underwear is available. While not feeling significantly better or softer, organic cotton is sourced in a responsible way to lessen the environmental impact. Cotton does come in several grades which includes the following: Supima cotton (best), Pima cotton (better), regular cotton.
Synthetics & Blends: Synthetic or man-made fabrics are some of the most common materials found in performance and thermal underwear. Several synthetic fibers exist including nylon, polyester, micro modal, rayon, lycra, and more. One common property across these fabrics is durability. Engineered for strength, synthetic fibers in underwear will be less susceptible to holes – especially in the crotch area between your legs. While many of these products provide a snug fit, they can wick moisture to regulate body temperature. Naturally, these fabrics often aren’t as breathable, therefore odor control may be a personal issue for some.
Other Materials: Silk and satin are designed for intimate or loungewear as they focus on texture and provide little to no support (with the exception of perhaps ice silk boxers). Another underwear material we came across in our research was bamboo. Bamboo, like cotton, is eco-friendly, comfy, and dries quickly. However, bamboo isn’t as widespread as cotton – which leads to increased prices.
When deciding on the waistband, there are two things you want to keep in mind, the width and design of the waistband.
Waistband Width: A waistband helps to provide comfort by preventing the underwear from digging into your skin while keeping things put. However, too wide and thin of a waistband and you are susceptible to the fabric rolling over. On the other hand, too narrow, then underwear will often pinch or become ill-fitting after repeated sitting and standing. Therefore, its best to get a waistband of moderate width.
Waistband Logo / Design: Many designer underwear brands like to advertise on the waistband. Some men don’t mind this and others try to avoid it. Logos and designs on waistbands are a personal choice. Our recommendation here is to make sure it is discrete if you are wearing mid- or high-rise underwear underneath a dress shirt.
Men’s underwear comes in many different colors. But what color underwear should you go with? While white remains the traditional color, popular brands like Tommy John make their briefs, trunks, boxer briefs, and more in a variety of colors and patterns.
While the color is rarely seen underneath your pants or shorts, safe bets include black, gray, and beige or dark brown. These darker colors are both modern and won’t show stains. If you are wondering which underwear to wear under white pants, then we recommend gray or beige as it won’t show through the fabric.
Based on our research, we found the following underwear brands to be the most popular with men:
- Tani USA / Tani Underwear
- Calvin Klein
- Derek Rose
- Emporio Armani
- Ermenegildo Zegna
- Fruit of the Loom
- Hugo Boss
- Mack Weldon
- Polo Ralph Lauren
- Tommy John
If you decide to buy a brand outside of the list above, we recommend doing your research. Unknown men’s underwear brands are typically inferior in quality and will fall apart rather quickly (plus they typically never stand behind their products).
When reviewing retailer sites, we found that a good pair of men’s underwear will retail anywhere between $10 and $50 for a single pair. Prices may be higher depending on the quality of craftsmanship, the material used, and intent (i.e. long thermal underwear cost more than briefs).
For men looking for price savings, buy in bulk or look for bundles when possible.
No two underwear are the same. Extra levels of craftsmanship can set one pair apart from others. Here are a few extra features we found to be game-changers in our research:
Moisture Wicking/Quick Dry: Whether you live in a warm climate or are buying a pair of athletic performance underwear, underwear that wicks moisture will be a godsend. With the ability to pull moisture away from your skin, you will reduce chaffing while also limiting bacterial growth which causes odor.
Compression: Compression underwear helps to promote blood flow towards your pelvic region. This is helpful for athletes to enhance their athletic performance. Now if you don’t plan on running for extended periods, compression underwear, like compression shorts, help make sure things stay put.
Temperature Regulating: Very different from underwear that wicks moisture, temperature regulating underwear is often sewn differently to increase ventilation. Furthermore, some of this underwear also rely on cooler fabrics like bamboo, which helps to promote this natural airflow. This can be an important feature for men conscious about odor control or looking to increase virility.
Contour Pouch: With extra fabric added to the front of the underwear, a contour pouch is a welcome addition for well-endowed men. A contour pouch provides instant relief and space for your manhood.
Flatlock Stitching: This unique sewing method creates a flat seam on the underwear. If your skin gets easily irritated or you simply want comfortable underwear, then this seam will feel great.