The wrong underwear can ruin your look—and your day. Even your favorite jeans won’t feel right if fabric bunches underneath them or if your waistband is slowly strangling your torso. And who can concentrate when you’re uncomfortable? Solution: Upgrade to a pair from our list of the best underwear for men.
There’s no reason to suffer anymore. Underwear has come a long way since the 80-grit cotton loincloth you wore as a kid. Today’s pairs are comfy, sturdy, and stylish.
“You should own at least 10 pairs,” Matthew Marden, a New York City–based men’s stylist, tells Men’s Journal. “And definitely have a few special pairs, either for slim-fitting pants or for specific activities and sports.” For instance, cotton underwear works well most of the time, but opt for stretchy, moisture-wicking, or anti-microbial fabrics for the gym or warmer months.
Finding the right style and fit isn’t always easy, but prioritize fit, advises Marden. “Men often buy a bigger size because they think looser is more comfortable,” he says, “but that can lead to extra fabric that can bunch under your pants.” The ideal fit is snug but comfortable, often with a little stretch.
As for style, patterns can be fun, Marden says, but they’re not for everyone. “A simple palette is the most flattering to every body type,” he says. Darker colors like navy, black, or burgundy are more forgiving because they don’t discolor easily.
Finally, know when to fold ’em: Replace damaged undies “the minute they rip,” says Marden. “They will quickly get worse with washing and wear.”
Our roundup of the best boxers, briefs, and more can help you make sense of the sea of options. These are the pairs you need to know.
Best Classic Brief: Calvin Klein Cotton Hip Briefs
Are you a sucker for an iconic waistband? Us, too. Calvin Klein’s wide range of fabrics and fits makes this the go-to brand of men everywhere, many of whom opt for this cotton hip brief. Unlike some other brands, this all-cotton brief doesn’t have that polyester sheen, and that familiar elastic at the waist is forgiving when you need a little extra room. The handy pack of four is just right to refresh your collection.
[$43 for 4; calvinklein.us]
Best Affordable Basic: Uniqlo Supima Cotton Boxer Briefs
Sometimes, simple is all you need. Uniqlo, the go-to brand for basics, doesn’t disappoint with this folded front-fly boxer brief that’s equal parts soft, comfortable, and extremely affordable. In fact, the price makes these an easy choice for buying in bulk when you don’t have time to shop around. Stock up in solids or prints and you’ll be set for the season.
Best Everyday Underwear: Mack Weldon Airknitx Boxer Brief
Whether you’re the type who starts his day with lunges or lounging, the Mack Weldon Airknitx line has an unbelievably flexible fabric that stretches to suit every activity. The knit microfiber lets air flow while also delivering moisture and odor-fighting properties so you’ll feel fresher longer. The no-roll waistband and form-hugging legs stay put when you’re sitting still or on the run.
Best Performance Pair: BN3TH Pro XT2
When it comes to performance underwear, it doesn’t get better than the Pro XT2 from BN3TH. In addition to its seamless, no-chafing construction and the company’s unique MyPakage pouch, which provides all-around lift and support, the Pro XT2 is made with Ionic+ fabric, where silver is permanently embedded into the yarn for anti-odor properties that won’t wash away. It’s a supremely comfortable fit that can stick with you through the toughest workouts.
Best Socially Conscious Underwear: Patagonia Men’s Essential Boxer Briefs
If you’re thoughtful about every purchase you make and its implications for the planet as well as for the global supply chain, don’t compromise on your underwear. These Fair Trade Certified briefs are the best of all worlds. Not only are they moisture-wicking and breathable, but the Tencel lyocell material is derived from wood pulp, so your conscience can feel as good as the rest of you.
Best Underwear for Athletic Builds: Rhone Everyday Essentials Boxer Brief
These ultra-lightweight briefs feel almost like wearing nothing at all. Made from a soft blend of modal and pima cotton, the stretchy fabric won’t box in muscular legs or developed glutes. Instead, these briefs offer a range of movement with a no-roll waistband and a specially designed front pocket that keeps friction at bay.
Best Underwear for Slim Builds: Tommy John Second Skin Relaxed Fit Boxer
High-stretch, clingy fabric is no friend to guys with skinny legs. These modern-fit boxers offer all of the comfort of old-school versions with contemporary comfort. Micro-modal fabric is smooth and lays flat while the thick waistband feels substantial. The horizontal fly means you’ll never fuss when you’re in a rush.
Best Travel Brief: Jockey Staycool+ Brief
Endless miles spent on the road or running around an airport before sitting for hours on a plane can take a toll on your fresh factor. That’s why a breathable brief is an essential travel companion. The higher leg lets you move without constant adjusting and the special stay cool cotton keeps the sweat away for a pleasant arrival.
[$30 for 4; jockey.com]
Best Statement Underwear: BN3TH Classics Boxer Brief in Tie Die Love
Why not wear a pair as daring your personality? Aside from being incredibly comfortable, supportive, and breathable, BN3TH underwear also comes in some eye-catching patterns as well. This Tie Die Love version is part of the brand’s “Inspiration Series,” and the bold pattern is a welcome departure from the bland neutral tones that usually flood underwear drawers.
Best Eco-Friendly Underwear: Nice Laundry Boxer Briefs
This innovative brand is not only eco-minded, but also design-focused. Their flexible micro-modal trunks come with a horizontal fly instead of the typical vertical flap, which streamlines your daily activities. And for an extra feel-good incentive, you’ll get a prepaid mailing label to send back old underwear and socks, which the company recycles. To date, Nice Laundry says it has recycled 462,076 items.
Best Occasion Underwear: Tom Ford Stretch-Cotton Boxer Briefs
Do you really want to attend a gala or walk down the aisle in underwear you bought at Target? Special occasions call for exceptional underwear, and Tom Ford makes the Maserati of briefs. Even if you can’t afford this designer’s luxe suits or dress shirts, treat yourself to an expensive pair of his skivvies. Made in Italy from cotton with a hint of elastane, these boxer briefs exude class and sophistication, so you’ll feel like a power player just by wearing them.
Best Underwear for Traditional Types: Sunspel Classic Boxer Shorts
The heritage English brand that introduced boxer shorts to Britain in the 1940s, Sunspel isn’t about trends or flash, and neither are its boxers. Made from extra-fine cotton in a perfectly respectable length, these premium shorts are made for men who appreciate old-fashioned refinement. If it’s good enough for the discerning Brits, who are we to argue?
Best Bargain: H&M Short Boxer Shorts
When your budget is tight, there’s nothing wrong with going with an ultra-economy option that also happens to be ultra-cool. These briefs offer a surprisingly good fit for the price, and the funky prints are a fun way to experiment with new looks without investing a ton of cash.
[$13 for 3; hm.com]
Best Underwear for Lounging: Mack Weldon 18-Hour Jersey Knit Boxer
We’re not advocating hanging out in your underwear as a regular habit, but with these ultra-cushy cotton jersey knit boxers, you’ll definitely be tempted to. The covered waistband, button-fly front, and tailored fit will make you feel like you’re chilling in the most comfortable pair of shorts you’ve ever owned. Just remember to add pants when you go out in public.
Best Date Night Underwear: Michael Kors Performance Cotton Trunks
Subtlety can be sexy. And though you may have been expecting us to suggest a pair with a wild pattern or a gravity-defying support system, you’ll feel better in these. When it comes to confidence, wearing a sleek and simple pair is always the best way to go. Plus, these modern trunks also come with anti-odor and wicking technology for when things start getting steamy.
[$40 for 3; macys.com]
Best Underwear for Creative Guys: Pair of Thieves Superfit Boxer Brief
If solids or stripes aren’t your idea of interesting when it comes to dress shirts, you’re probably not the guy who wears these traditional looks in underwear, either. With everything you need in an everyday boxer—including cooling mesh, quick-drying fabric, and flat-stitched construction—these shorts offer the added benefit of eye-catching fabrics you’ll be excited to slip on every morning.
Best Underwear for Outdoorsy Guys: Duluth Trading Company Buck Naked Performance Boxers
Enjoy that feeling of freedom when you hike or camp? Add a pair of these loose-fit boxers to your backpack before you head into the wild. The comfy stretch fabric not only wicks away moisture, but it also dries quickly, so if you rinse them out at night after you set up your tent, they’ll be dry before morning.
Best Boxer Brief for Playboys: TBô Ballsy Boxer Brief Long
This Swiss startup’s popular trunk really brings your assets to the forefront. It may look like a regular pair of boxer briefs, but the signature “man-shaped pouch” enhances the look of your manhood while also keeping it secure when you work out. But that’s not the only focus here. The premium bamboo viscose offers support and breathability, plus temperature and odor control, for any kind of activity.
Best Underwear for Running: Under Armour Tech 9-inch Boxer Jock
Chafing is a primary concern for regular runners, so consider this polyester-elastane blend a skin saver. The supportive, moisture-resistant fabric with four-way stretch holds everything in place without keeping it too close for comfort. The seamless construction makes for a smooth jog, no matter what the distance.
Best Underwear for Cycling: Lululemon Always In Motion Boxer 7″
Long rides in tight shorts require a special breed of boxer that fits like a second skin. Meet the Always In Motion line. The soft, naturally breathable modal fabric, an ergonomic pouch, and long 7-inch inseam means you’ll stay comfortable, so you can keep your focus on the road.
Best Underwear for Sleeping: Tommy Hilfiger Cotton Classics Knit Boxer
When temperatures rise and the humidity sinks in, wearing boxers to bed is a recipe for a good night’s sleep. But not just any pair will do. The waist has to be forgiving, the inseam should be low, and the fabric should be feather-soft. You’ll feel relaxed in these jersey cotton trunks thanks to the mid-rise waist and the button fly, which reduces the risk of exposure when you toss and turn.
[$30 to $40 for 3; amazon.com]
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