Best Underwear to Cover All Your Bases
The AskMen editorial team thoroughly researches & reviews the best gear, services and staples for life. AskMen may get paid if you click a link in this article and buy a product or service.
With additions from Barret Wertz. Product photos from retailer site.
Here’s a controversial statement: All men, regardless of age, occupation, or lifestyle, deserve great underwear. That is, men’s underwear that both feels and looks better than just “good, I guess.”
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That means all types of underwear. Boxers, briefs, boxer briefs — if it goes on first, it should be something that is going to provide supreme comfort. This means it should fit properly, be free of any holes you don’t need to put your legs through, be less than five years old (that’s not scientific, just seems right) and doesn’t result in cringing by those around you when your pants come off.
Beyond being a practical necessity, slipping on a decent pair of underpants in the morning is one of the most important parts of starting a new day. Think of a good, clean, well-fitting, sexy (yes, sexy) pair of underwear as a psychological advantage. Really, only you’ll know you’re wearing it, and you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with a solid first layer.
Men’s Underwear Style
- Boxer shorts: Best for leisure sports, relaxed wear and loosely tailored dress pants.
- Boxer briefs: Best for sports, everyday wear and tailored dress pants.
- Trunks: Best for medium-intensity sports, everyday wear and tailored dress pants.
- Briefs: Best for low-intensity sports, everyday wear and tightly tailored dress pants.
Best Fabric for Men’s Underwear
- Cotton: The OG. Breathable, comfortable, durable. Not meant for cold weather as it retains moisture. Bonus point for luxurious pima cotton or Supima cotton.
- Modal Fabric: A semi-synthetic fabric made from beech tree pulp generally considered to be a more eco-friendly alternative to cotton because beech trees don’t require much water to grow and therefore the production process uses about up to 20 times less water.
- Viscose: A semi-synthetic fabric made from tree wood pulp such as beech, pine, eucalyptus, and most commonly for underwear, bamboo fiber.
- Nylon: Moisture-wicking and quick drying, this is the fabric of choice for most sport-friendly underwear.
- Polyester: Another fabric used for active underwear, polyester is durable and holds it shape well wash after wash.
- Spandex: The synthetic stretch fabric found in just about anything that is clothing and stretches.
How to Shop For Underwear
- Given purpose: Pick a pair with a specific purpose in mind. Daily briefs can work against those workout goals if the fit and fabric isn’t right.
- Know your size: Fitting varies greatly from brand to brand, so protect yourself by following the size charts online or in-store because when it comes to underwear, if you try it, you buy it.
- Pick the right fabric: Despite most guys preferring cotton, there are other great options including satin, silk, and synthetic fabric that play different roles depending on the function.
- Spend smart: You pay for premium performance, so invest in quality wear and buy in bulk. Do you need to drop cash on designer underwear? No. But you need to be open to buying something above the bargain bin at Costco.
- The right style: Active lifestylers should lean towards briefs, while relaxed types can settle on boxers.
- Wardrobe connection: Never mix lights and darks no matter what undershirts or pants you rock.
Lots of different styles, looks, and degrees of premium-ness to consider — and each has its own place in a man’s wardrobe. Here are some of the best models available that offer A-grade value without threatening your riches. Keep in mind that almost all of these are available in various colors so be sure to click through to see the options.
Best Male Underwear
Best High-Performance Men’s Underwear
Arc’teryx Motus SL Boxer Shorts
Anything with the Arc’teryx name has to stand up to rugged conditions and tough, sweat-inducing activities. It should go as no surprise then that these lightweight boxers are the perfect match for a pair of hiking joggers, snow pants or even active shorts. Yes, they are on the pricier side, but it’s an investment in stepping up your active, moisture wicking underwear game.
Promising Review: “Updated version of the Phase SL boxer it feels pretty much the same except with maybe an updated waistband. I’ve been very impressed so far and am slowly replacing my entire active underwear drawer with these. I’ve worn these hiking, running, and biking and they’ve held up really well so far. I have larger thighs so I ended up going with a large when I normally go medium. I’ve noticed other brands get weird pilling pretty fast between the thighs but I haven’t seen this at all with these.” — ArcAficionado
$49 at Amazon.com
Best Cooling Men’s Underwear
SAXX Underwear Hot Shot Boxer Brief
There’s a reason Saxx underwear has become one of the brands men turn to most for underwear: they simply make great products. One of their newest offerings is the Hot Shot, which fits a bit looser and has built-in technology to keep you (and your precious parts) cool and enjoying maximum comfort even during the warmest daytime temperatures.
Promising Review: “I can’t say enough good things about this underwear. So comfy, so soft. I threw on my old boxer briefs the other day after having only worn my new Saxx underwear for the last couple weeks and can’t believe I wore them all the time. I’ve leveled up, big time.” — Matthew P.
$38 at SAXXUnderwear.com
Best Organic Cotton Men’s Underwear
Opok Boxer Brief
Opok is a relatively new player on the market, pushing an extreme focus on sustainability and materials that are better for the planet. That doesn’t mean they’ve sacrificed anything for style and comfort, though. Their flagship boxer brief is soft and downright comfortable for a long day on the road — or on the couch.
Promising Review: “I’ve been wearing organic clothing for some time, yet the quality has never been comparable to other mainstream clothing brands. Opok is the first organic clothing brand that focuses on style and comfort.” — James
$30 at Opok.com
Best Performance Men’s Brief
Mack Weldon 18-Hour Jersey Brief
This particular blend of moisture wicking cotton, Lycra and stretch material sits for 18 hours to expand naturally before it’s cut into briefs (hence the name). It results in a softer, more tailored fit that doesn’t bunch up or irritate over time. These briefs also include special cooling technology and a perfectly accommodating contour pouch hard to find in other briefs.
Promising Review: “First time buyer, but I really like these briefs! They’re soft and comfortable, but snug enough to not jostle things around, and the colours on each pair of briefs is solid and lovely.” — Anthony S.
$20 at Mackweldon.com
Best Relaxed Fit Men’s Boxer Shorts
UnderGents Inspirato Men’s Boxer Shorts
Sometimes, you don’t need all of that performance technology in a boxer, but you still want that comfort and flexibility. These boxers are meant to move with you as the flexible CloudSoft fabric shifts and shapes as your body does during the day with no tight contour pouch and no chafing. It’s all about an overall more gentle feel than you’ll find with cotton alone.
Promising Review: “Just snagged a bunch more of these, plus the actual boxers. Super comfortable and breathable. I think this order makes 10 pairs so far.” — Phil W.
$22.99 at Amazon.com
Best Fabric Blend Men’s Boxer Briefs
Smartwool Everyday Exploration Merino Wool Boxer Brief
The addition of hemp makes these merino wool boxers softer and more breathable than much of Smartwools other merino-dominant underwear. The nice thing about the blend is that it provides the warmth of a base layer material in a very specific area without warming the rest of your legs. The heathered look is also a very nice touch.
Promising Review: “I bought these because they have a small amount of hemp (wish it was more). Almost all my clothes and sheets are hemp. Fit nice and feel nice while I’m wearing them. Definitely will be getting more pairs, especially if they add more hemp and colors.” — William
$35 at Amazon.com
Best Travel Men’s Underwear
ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go 2.0 Boxer Shorts
If you’re looking for any sort of travel underwear, you don’t need to look further than ExOfficio. They’re the go-to for local and international nomads alike and that’s due to a reputation of durability and functionality. This update to a popular style has improved odor control, more moisture-wicking and, most importantly, more comfort.
Promising Review: “These are great. Perfect fit, almost silky soft (even more than the older versions). My only complaint, and it’s a small one, is ExOfficio seems to have gotten rid of some of the flashier colors they used to have, but I liked those. Bring back the bright red boxers!” — czv84
$26 at Exofficio.com
Best Men’s Tighty Whities
Fruit of the Loom Men’s Tag-Free Cotton Briefs
Ah yes, the classic cotton underwear “tighty whities.” If you’re looking for a pair of comfortable underwear — not a cotton boxer, not cotton boxer briefs, but a snug pair of tighty whities — with a heritage elastic waistband, contour pouch, and price tag that won’t give you sticker shock, this is the mens underwear for you. What else do you need to know? They’re timeless.
From $11.99 at Amazon.com
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Best Budget Workout Men’s Boxer Shorts
Champion Men’s Elite X-Temp Boxer Briefs 4-Pack
If you’re not ready to make the leap into high-end performance underwear, this option from Champion will do just fine. With an elastic waistband that stands the test of time and They’ll last you many a workout and have similar moisture-wicking and cooling properties. They’re built with the expected active fit and you should expect some decent, long-term wear out of a four-pack.
Promising Review: “if you need underwear that wears well under workout clothes and won’t break the bank these are it – I’ve always liked Champion brand clothes but it’s getting harder to find them as the brand has lost popularity … however, these underwear will not disappoint … they fit well, very nice material, wash well and stay in place — highly recommend them.” —Jackbnimble
From $12.99 at Amazon.com
Best Tagless Men’s Boxer Shorts
Hanes Men’s Tagless Boxer with Exposed Waistband Multipack
There’s nothing worse than an itchy tag on the back on your boxers. Before you know it, your back waistline is irritated and that’s just a straight shot to a bad day. Instead, skip the tag and check out this option from Hanes, which has a comfort fly and no gap waistband for prolonged use and survival post-laundry.
Promising Review: “After going through my dresser and realizing that I have more underwear than I care to admit that is older than my child, I decided to pick up a package of these. When they first arrived I thought to myself, ‘these are never going to be as comfortable as the ones I currently own’. My several years-old pairs have been washed hundreds of times and feel so soft. These new ones were stiff out of the package. I washed them and to my surprise, they softened right up. I like that they have no tag. I am happy to report that I have ordered three more packages of these and retired all of my old ones. My wife is beyond pleased.” — Nick W.
From $17.99 at Amazon.com
Best Men’s Thermal Underwear
Icebreaker Men’s 150 Zone Merino Wool Long Underwear
Take it from us: the right underwear in cold weather matters. Avoid cotton here as it holds too much moisture and go for a material like merino wool that wicks away moisture and helps regulate body temperature. The 150-weight is one of Icebreaker’s lighter options and is rated for most temperatures above freezing (keeping you warm unless it really gets down towards 32 degrees).
Promising Review: “Vents well so you don’t overheat, soft, well made, will buy more.” — Hunter Ifland
$95 at Amazon.com
Sexiest Underwear for Men
Calvin Klein White Cotton Trunk
A lot of guys think adding silk boxers, g-strings, or undies even more unexpected is what they need in order to have sexy underwear. Au contraire. Sometimes all the bells and whistles of that bikini brief can just get in the way of what you’re really working with. So when thinking of a pair of undies you intend on someone seeing, go with the designer that took underwear from must-have to must-see: Calvin Klein. Studs seen in nothing but their Calvins include A$AP Rocky, Justin Bieber, Mechad Brooks, Hidetoshi Nakata, Trevante Rhodes, and of course Mark Wahlberg — the face that launched a million crotch grabs. Pick up a pack of these, and you’ll be in good company.
Promising Review: “Exactly what the missus ordered. To be honest, I don’t see much of a quality upgrade from old to new, except the absence of said holes. The material on the CKs is neither thicker nor more comfortable — though not less so either. That said, the smile on the missus’ face when looking at my muscle-toned body in just these boxers was enough to convince me that I made the right choice spending triple the amount of money on these. Calvin Klein it is from now on.” — Mark (Not Wahlberg.)
$29.75 at Amazon.com
Best Underwear Membership
MeUndies Underwear Subscription
If you’re a busy man (or woman) and just want new undies to show up at your door, well, we have your ass covered — literally. MeUndies make comfy, stylish, quality underwear with flatlock seams and a comfortable fit and send them to you tout de suite. Not sure you’re ready? You can take 15% off your first purchase with code MEFAM15. With a solid return policy and great customer service, you have nothing to lose.
Promising Review: Ours, right here!
From $8 at MeUndies.com
Whatever your undies of choice — boxer, brief or in between — there is something here for you. Still looking for more suggestions? Don’t worry, we have plenty.
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