Let’s face it: there are so many different men’s underwear types that it’s hard to find one that suits you best. What’s the difference between boxers and briefs? How do you even choose the best type for your build? If you’re keen on learning the answers to these questions, then here’s a guide on men’s underwear types — complete with tips on how to choose underwear that fits your body, as well as the best brands to look for!
Comparing Types of Men’s Underwear
Choosing between men’s underwear types depends on the shape of your body. Still, a large part of it also boils down to preference. It’s important to know the differences between each type of underwear.
Boxer shorts are a classic form of underwear for men that looks a bit more like shorts. They are comfortable and loose, giving you much-needed breathing room, as well as ample thigh coverage. Believe it or not, boxers draw their namesake from how this type of underwear was modeled after the shorts that actual boxers wear. Because they are known for being the baggiest of all types, boxers are best worn with loose pants due to their tendency to bunch.
Best for: Lounging, casual occasions, resting at home.
Briefs are arguably the most iconic of all the men’s underwear types. It sits lower on the waist, with the leg hole stopping right at the beginning of your thighs. Briefs are perfect for form-fitting pants. They also come with a pouch that cups your privates, providing more support. Briefs are the type of underwear you want to wear under dress pants.
Best for: Everyday use.
3. Boxer Briefs
You’ve heard of boxers, and you’ve heard of briefs. Here comes the perfect combination of the two: boxer briefs. This type of underwear possesses the same stretchy material as briefs. At the same time, it possesses the same length as boxers. When you shop for boxer briefs, you want to specifically look for stretchy fabrics that are smoother and silkier. In addition, the elasticity and material used in boxer briefs make them form-fitting, preventing bunching.
Best for: Everyday use.
4. Boxer Trunks
Boxer trunks are slightly longer than briefs but shorter than boxers on average. This makes them perfect for people who want to avoid bunching when they wear tight or form-fitting pants. The pouch for your privates also means you’ll be a lot more comfortable when you spend the whole day walking or running. Generally, boxer trunks are more form-hugging than boxer briefs, making them one of the better men’s underwear types for tighter pants.
Best for: Hot weather and summertime.
Thongs are one of the many kinds of skimpy briefs. This type of underwear is significantly more revealing than most, which is why it’s mostly worn by men who are comfortable in their bodies. However, they do perform some practical purposes. For starters, some men do prefer thongs for the flexibility, comfort, and lateral support. Men who like to keep fresh and dry down there may prefer thongs over other underwear types. It all boils down to your own personal preferences.
Best for: Nightwear.
Jockstraps are another form of skimpy briefs, designed for ease of movement. This makes them popular amongst cyclists and sportsmen, namely men who play rugby or American football. Because they were designed for sports activities, they protect your privates and emphasize the comfort of pants like joggers. Similar to briefs and thongs, some men also prefer wearing jockstraps with formalwear like bespoke suits because they have minimal underwear lines.
Best for: Sports, cycling, and other athletic activities.
7. Thermal Underwear
Similar to choosing the right hoodies to stay warm, wearing thermal underwear is an absolute must for people living in colder countries. This form of underwear, also known as thermals, is usually worn over other underwear types. Thermals are unique in how they’re designed to help your body retain its warmth, staving off the cold and keeping you nice and snug regardless of what you wear. Thermals are essential for people who want to get away with wearing jeans or joggers in wintertime or in colder climates.
Best for: Cold weather or wintertime.
Believe it or not, bikinis for men do exist. Briefs tend to offer a lot more support around the waist area, covering it up. Bikinis, on the other hand, are a lot more low-rise and do a better job at showing off your body. Typically, the leg hole is higher on the thigh and the waistband droops lower. Your buttocks will also be more exposed.
Best for: Days at the beach.
Among all the men’s underwear types, this might be the most controversial. Also known as sling swimsuits, the mankini is typically worn as a one-piece swimsuit that takes on a Y-shape reminiscent of a slingshot. This is one of the more stylish men’s underwear types. The mankini received a lot of attention following the hit Sacha Baron Cohen mockumentary Borat (2006), thrusting the underwear into the mainstream. Nowadays, the mankini can be worn underneath your clothing in the same way a thong can. They’re ideal for significantly naughtier activities — specifically ones that you can share with your partner.
Best for: Days at the beach.
One of the more recent types of underwear, the C-string is unique in how it cups over your privates, held in place by a curved wire that goes between your butt cheeks rather than around. The C-string was first created for women who wanted to avoid showing their underwear lines. Despite this, it’s since been adapted to be usable by men as well. The C-string is flexible and comfortable, all while being secure and safe to wear.
Best for: Nightwear.
11. Midway Briefs
If you’re the sort of man who likes the coverage boxers provide but hates the bunching that comes with them, then you’ll want to check out midway briefs. This long-length underwear is form-fitting like regular briefs, making them resistant to chafing. This means they’re perfect for men with more active lifestyles. These differ from trunks in how this underwear goes all the way down to the lower half of your thighs, hence the name “midway”.
Best for: Everyday use.
12. Pouch Underwear
Last on the list of men’s underwear types is pouch underwear, also known as ball hammock underwear. Named after the special pouches attached to them, this underwear prevents chafing and discomfort. It accomplishes this by separating your privates from your thighs. Their shape and elasticity also mean they don’t hike up your legs the same way boxers do. By cupping your privates, the men’=s underwear pouch also keeps everything in place to maximize comfort.
Best for: Hiking, cycling, and other athletic activities
Men’s Underwear Types: How to Choose Underwear That Fits Your Body
If you’re picking out underwear, then you’ll need to know about all the different factors to keep an eye out for. These are things like measurements, added features, and even the fabric that your underwear is made of.
1. Know your measurements
People come in all shapes and sizes, and your build will determine how certain clothes will look good on you. The same can be said for the underwear you choose, even if they aren’t as visible.
The bottom line is you’ll need to know which underwear best fits your body type. One way to help you narrow down your options would be to learn the measurements of your waist, hips, and thighs. This can help you pick out underwear that reaches the perfect middle ground of form, function, and comfort. Certain types of underwear simply work better on specific builds. For example, if you’re slim enough as is and you want something a little more form-fitting, boxer trunks are your best bet. They’re form-hugging and don’t bunch in the same way that boxers do, meaning you can afford to wear these with skinny jeans to show off your physique.
Conversely, you’re better off saving briefs for men with large thighs. Unlike boxers and boxer briefs, classic briefs don’t constrict your thighs. This means you’ll have more room to walk around without fear of having wedgies or any kind of discomfort. Lastly, men with large butts should consider investing in boxer briefs as they combine the benefits of both boxers and briefs. Comfort is important, and men with bigger rear-ends will need underwear that’s form-fitting so they can fit into their pants.
Lastly, take into consideration whether you are more comfortable in tight or loose underwear. It’s likely some of you find underwear chafing, tight, or otherwise extremely restrictive. If you feel as if you need more breathing room in your nether regions, it’s best to invest in flowy and baggy underwear like boxers.
2. Choose the right fabric
The material your underwear determines its overall elasticity, durability, and breathability. 100% cotton is one of the most common types of underwear, notable for its ability to absorb moisture and provide good airflow to your privates. Most men’s underwear is made of cotton, however many are also made of polyester.
Polyester, a synthetic fabric, is more well-suited for athletes. They’re durable enough to withstand the wear and tear that comes with athletic movements. This material is also good at absorbing moisture, and it’s comfortable to boot. The only glaring downside is how its production is harmful to the environment. Polyester isn’t biodegradable, and manufacturing it causes the release of greenhouse gasses.
For those of you looking for additional protection, keep an eye out for padded underwear. These undies do a lot more than make your rear-end look good. Athletes usually wear padded underwear because of the many benefits they offer. They prevent chafing by dispersing vibrations. They reduce pressure points, increasing overall comfort while you run or cycle.
Because of their padding and shape, they protect your privates as well while cushioning your bottom. This form of underwear is most commonly worn by cyclists as they help prevent saddle sores and chafing. Most padded underwears are also moisture-wicking, meaning they’re perfect for sporty, outdoor activities.
3. Pay attention to what you wear
Build aside, another important factor to consider when choosing the right underwear is the type of clothes that you wear. For example, specific pairs of jeans work best with specific types of underwear. If you plan on wearing form-fitting bottoms like skinny jeans, then underwear like briefs or trunks is your best bet. Wearing boxers will only result in bunching — which happens when the excess cloth folds inside your pants create an ugly sagging look.
For activities that require lots of movement, avoid wearing boxers that don’t have any form of support for your privates. You should instead consider underwear that come with pouches, support, or other forms of compression to keep the goods in place. Briefs, jockstraps, and pouch underwear are your best bets. Aside from a good set of boxers, consider investing in these waterproof socks if you plan on engaging in various sporty activities.
4. Look for added features
Whether or not you live in a hot country doesn’t matter. If you’re the type of man who sweats a lot below the waist, then it might be a good idea to consider investing in a set of underwear with a moisture-wicking feature. Keeping the sweat and moisture away from your crotch area prevents the development of fungal and bacterial infections, which have the potential to spiral out of control. Without getting rid of the moisture, you’re making your nether regions the perfect hotbed for infections, inflammations, and itchy spots.
Conversely, you’re going to want thermal underwear if you live in a cold country. The same also applies if you know you’ll be experiencing a harsh winter, and you’re in dire need of something to keep yourself warm.
Temperature-specific features aren’t the only ones worth keeping an eye out for. Some underwear has waistbands that help secure them to your waist, making them less likely to bunch or fall off. By being more form-fitting, the odds of them slipping down decreases exponentially. This makes them perfect for athletic activities as they won’t slide off while you perform high-energy maneuvers.
There are also underwear that contain functional flies. Instead of having to undo your pants and pull down your underwear when using the toilet, you can pull the fly aside to make room for your privates.
Men’s Underwear Brands and Best Picks
Listed below is a selection of 12 different kinds of briefs, boxers, and beyond to help you find the best underwear for you!
Coming in packs of five, six, or 12, this moisture-wicking pair of underwear is designed with comfort in mind. This underwear is made of 55% cotton and 45% polyester, optimized for comfort and convenience while keeping sweat and humidity away from your privates. The material is soft and light, and their shape means they don’t bunch or chafe your legs. This is one of the better boxers for men when it comes to combating the heat.
The CHOHB Men’s Underwear Micro Modal Boxer Briefs is made of 92% modal and 8% spandex. It’s as light as it is durable, featuring a micro modal make that’s soft on the skin. The best part? The material is eco-friendly and biodegradable, making it more sustainable for the environment in the long run.
This underwear comes with a 3D pouch complete with an openable fly. Its unique shape minimizes chafing, and the fact that it comes without a tag means comfort is guaranteed. It’ll almost feel like you’re wearing nothing at all — like a second of skin layered over your own.
For those of you who find yourself sweating a lot below the waist, the Gildan’s Men’s Woven Boxers are the right pair of underwear for you. Coming in packs of 4 to 10, this moisture-wicking underwear is made out of 55% premium cotton and 45% polyester. The material is soft and breathable, giving your privates ample room and space. The underwear itself is resistant to bunching, laying flat underneath your pants. Best of all, there’s also no tag, preventing irritation.
The Hanes Men’s Exposed Waistband Knit Boxers’ strongest suit is its comfort, being made out of 100% soft cotton. It’s also tagless, and the waistband is made of a soft and stretchable material that retains its shape even after washing. This underwear is sturdy and long-lasting, and its generous cut means you have more freedom to move around with relative ease.
Made out of 95% performance cotton and 5% elastic spandex, these handy briefs will help keep you cool and dry throughout the day. The Natural Feelings Men’s Briefs Underwear rocks a traditional fly and a contoured pouch to provide you with support.
This underwear also offers an elastic waistband to ensure it sticks to your waist, remaining firm while keeping your privates safe and secure.
Boasting durability and better elastic for comfortable leg openings, you can’t go wrong with Calvin Klein Men’s Cotton Multi-Pack Knit Boxer. The material is made of 100% cotton, making it breathable and soft. For your convenience, this pair of underwear also comes with an openable fly complete with a button. This is the sort of underwear that pairs well with any pants you wear, featuring an elastic waistband that clings to your figure.
Fashioned from 100% cotton, the Jockey Men’s Underwear Men’s Elance Bikini features a no-fly, low-waist design that allows you to show off some of your best assets. This underwear makes your legs look longer and more slender, all while helping you move around with ease. They are comfortable, breathable, and perfect for absorbing moisture given their pure cotton make.
Long johns are essential for men living in colder countries. The Thermajohn Men’s Thermal Underwear Pants Long Johns Bottoms are crafted with 92% polyester and 8% spandex. This thermal underwear has much to offer with regard to durability, stretchability, and cold resistance. With this pair, you’ll be able to retain your warmth. The breathable fabric also prevents moisture and body odor, meaning you won’t feel sticky or dirty despite the retained heat. The best part? This underwear isn’t restrictive, fitting over your legs like a second layer of skin.
This midway brief serves as the perfect middle ground between briefs and shorts, providing more coverage than boxer trunks. Made of 95% cotton and 5% spandex, this pair of underwear is designed to be form-fitting and comfortable, all while giving you the means to move around freely. Not only are they easy to wear, but they’re also able to provide your privates with ample support. The Jockey Men’s Underwear ActiveStretch Midway Brief is also able to withstand the test of time — they are durable and able to hold their own shape.
If you’re keen on picking up a pair of padded boxer briefs, then this underwear from BRODDLE should do the trick. Made out of anti-pilling, anti-twist materials, the BRODDLE Men’s Package and Butt Padded Underwear Enhancing Boxer Briefs is 92% cotton and 8% spandex. Its make is soft yet firm, preventing bunching while keeping your privates safe and secure. The extra padding also offers protection to your buttocks while giving them a better shape. By wearing this underwear, you can sit down for hours without feeling any discomfort.
Another recommended pair of padded underwear is the JOCKMAIL Men’s Underwear Padded Underwear Boxer with Hip Pad. This underwear is made up of 90% polyamide, 5% spandex, and 5% other fibers, featuring a low-rise cut, a stretchy wide waistband, and breathable fabrics. Both the front and the back of the underwear have small pockets that can be fitted with hip pads.
Last but not least is the Natural Feelings Boxer Briefs Men’s Underwear, which rocks a more traditional design. Made from 95% cotton and 5% spandex, this underwear boasts comfort and function. They fit snugly, and the material is soft. The seams have been designed to prevent pressing into your hips, promoting better airflow. Even though the material is form-fitting and elastic, it isn’t chafing or uncomfortable. Your privates are also well-secured, and nothing will move around to cause discomfort.
Men’s Underwear Types: Finding the Best Underwear For You
Now that you’re more caught up with the different men’s underwear types, you can make an informed choice on what to wear. Whether you’re looking for something to protect your privates while you run or something with a little padding to give your buttocks more volume, you can always count on a certain underwear type to get the job done.
Good clothing doesn’t have to stop with underwear, though. It’s also important to consider what goes over those boxers. Here’s a guide on the different types of pants every men’s wardrobe should have.