The wrong pair of underwear can ruin a man’s day. Whether it’s scratchy fabric, lack of support, or a sweaty crotch, wearing underwear that’s not right for you can be a major distraction.
Though it might not be first on your list of priorities, finding the perfect underwear for you can make a real difference in your daily routine. It can even help you keep everything down there healthy, clean, and comfortable.
There’s more to the underwear debate than just boxer briefs vs boxers. With all the styles, designs, and fabrics to choose from, knowing what’s right for you isn’t as simple as it used to be.
Here’s a guide to finding the perfect underwear for your lifestyle so you can stay comfortable all day long.
Boxer Briefs vs Boxers
Buying underwear might seem like something any guy could master. Boxers or briefs? But it can be a lot more complicated than you might think. Depending on your personal style and preferences, there’s no shortage of underwear options out there. Here are a few classics and—some lesser known underwear styles—you can try.
Most guys own at least one pair of briefs, and there’s a good reason for that. These underwear are comfortable, and you can wear them under any type of clothing—whether you’re exercising or at a formal event.
As a standard, go-to pair of underwear, you can find briefs in a variety of styles, designs, and colors. They come in low, medium, or high rise, depending on your preference. They provide coverage for the backside and package, but they don’t cover the upper thigh. It’s the perfect style for supporting, lifting, and keeping everything in place while still being comfortable enough to wear under almost anything.
Unlike briefs, boxers are more loose-fitting and provide less support. They offer more complete coverage—about a third to half of your thigh—and are more breathable than any other undergarment. Boxers are perfect if you’re looking for something with a loose fit that’s easy to exercise in. They offer freedom of movement and great air flow to avoid excessive sweating. While boxers might be associated with the underwear your grandpa wears, there are a wide range of styles, including trendier, slim-fit cuts.
As the name suggests, boxer briefs offer the best of both worlds. Boxer briefs are a collaboration between the brief and the boxer. It has a style that fits like a brief but is longer, covering about a third of your thigh. It offers the same kind of coverage and support as standard briefs but is still breathable and optimized for workouts. These are great for everyday wear or for the gym because they offer protection from chafing without being too restricting.
Can’t decide whether you want to pick boxers or briefs? Try out these men underwear that offer isolation, breathability, and support.
Trunks are often mistaken for boxer briefs because of the similarity in style. While trunks also offer a mix of coverage and support, they usually provide a closer fit. Using less fabric and a shorter leg, trunks are less likely to ride up the leg. They also create a square appearance, which looks good underneath sportswear, casual clothes, or formal outfits.
When it comes to intense exercise or high-impact sports, there’s no better choice than the jockstrap. These underwear offer full frontal support and protection. The pouch lifts your package away from your body while supporting bands keep the pouch strapped close to your legs. This provides extreme support and keeps your manhood safe—no matter what you’re doing.
A cup can also be fitted into the jockstrap for extra protection, especially for sports like soccer or martial arts.
How to Guarantee Comfort and Safety
Each type of men’s underwear has its advantages and disadvantages. It’s all about which ones are the most comfortable for your body type—and which ones are the best for taking care of your manhood.
Riding up or falling out could lead to an embarrassing and uncomfortable situation. A supportive, well-fitting pair shouldn’t cause any irritation, discomfort, or excessive sweating. Here are some tips to help guide your choice and a few pointers to keeping everything clean and healthy down there.
1. Material Matters
When it comes to underwear, the material can make or break your experience.
To avoid irritation or chafing, it’s best to choose cotton or another synthetic blend. If you have sensitive skin, look for soft, breathable fabric. You can even choose something more luxurious, like silk. While it might seem like it would be scratchy and uncomfortable, wool fabric can actually be one of the better choices for an active man. Its moisture wicking and anti-odor properties can help keep you fresh.
For the gym, it’s best to opt for the newer synthetic blends. Not only will this material help provide more flexibility and support, but it is designed to avoid a buildup of sweat and odor. Don’t wear cotton while working out, and definitely don’t go commando.
2. Keep Things Clean
When it comes to the more skin tight underwear options—like briefs, boxer briefs, and jockstraps—they might seem ideal for someone who’s active and likes to work out. But while these types of underwear can reduce chafing, they might not be right for everyday wear.
The tight, close-fitting underwear can make things a bit hot and humid down there. Creating a hot, sweaty environment in close quarters is the perfect way to breed fungus. The combination of heat and moisture can lead to infectious skin issues like tinea cruris, also known as jock itch.
So how do you keep things clean and healthy? If you’re wearing tighter fitting underwear, be sure to use moisture-wicking materials. Always shower right after exercising and change into a fresh pair regularly.
Another pro tip: Try putting on your socks before your underwear. This will keep athlete’s foot fungus from hitching a ride to your crotch when you step through your underwear to put them on.
3. Not Too Tight
Can tighter underwear cause fertility issues?
Several studies have shown that the temperature of the testes can actually reduce sperm count. In order for the testes to produce a sufficient quantity of sperm, the temperature of the testes must be lower than the core body temperature. This is the reason why testes are outside of the body. When wearing tight underwear, the testes can overheat, resulting in low sperm count.
While there are studies backing up this claim, don’t panic if you prefer underwear of the tighter variety. It’s unlikely to be an issue with most men, and you don’t need to completely change your underwear habits if you don’t think fertility is an issue for you. You can always have a sperm test done by a doctor to see if tighter underwear is having an effect on you. If you want to plan ahead, you can also try wearing looser underwear 10 to 11 weeks before you plan to conceive.
4. Going Commando
If all the talk about sweat and fungus is grossing you out, underwear isn’t the only options you have.
Going commando can greatly decrease your risk of jock itch. Without underwear, you can increase airflow, decrease moisture, and take some pressure off of your next laundry load. But that doesn’t mean it comes without risks. You’ll have to be sure you’re keeping your pants and shorts clean—and there’s always a risk of stains to the inside of your clothing.
There’s also a slight risk of injury from zipper accidents or testicular torsion, so you’ll have to be careful that you’re keeping everything aligned and out of the way. Going commando can be fun and feel great, but it’s best to proceed with caution.
5. Mix It Up
When it comes to both health and style, your best bet with underwear is to mix it up.
Don’t get locked into just one type of underwear. Unless you’re completely committed to boxers, briefs, or something in between, have fun with your underwear and switch it up when you can. Colors, fabrics, cuts, and styles—have a few different pairs of your favorites and wear them whenever you need them.
Also, be sure to throw away old underwear when they’ve passed their prime. Once a month, toss out any underwear that are gray, ripped, or stained. Keeping your underwear clean and refreshing your old pairs with new ones will help keep everything hygienic.
A Man’s Guide to Picking the Right Underwear
Boxers, briefs, or baring it all? Making the right underwear choice might be harder than you think.
It’s about more than just boxer briefs vs boxers. There’s a whole range of underwear styles to choose from. And whichever one works best for you, knowing how to care for your undergarments can help you keep your manhood clean and healthy. Looking for more tips and tricks in men’s fashion? Check out our style section for more articles!