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Best Men’s Underwear: A Brief Look at the Best Pairs in 2021
It’s time to reclaim men’s briefs. For many of us, briefs are something we had to wear as kids before we got hip and moved onto boxers as we got older. We know briefs are comfortable, but as a society we’ve somehow deemed them “uncool,” even though they actually fit better with today’s skinny pants models than a pair of oversized boxers and are some of the best underwear for men.
Briefs have come a long way. While you can still get cheap packs of them at any department store, designers now offer briefs in a mind-boggling array of materials and designs that will make you forget your old trusty “tighty whiteys” forever.
Sitting somewhere between the classic briefs and boxer shorts is the trunk, an increasingly popular option that offers the comfort and support of briefs with the look and style of boxers, but with a shorter inseam and a more form-fitting look.
Below we’ve highlighted a number of our favorite models of briefs and trunks to help you narrow down the endless choices you’ll find online and in-store these days. If you want a nice variety in your underwear drawer (and who doesn’t?), be sure to check out our list of our favorite boxers and boxer-briefs.
Men’s briefs = a type of form-fitting underwear (and swimwear) that are short. The material does not extend down the thighs the way boxer briefs do. (See above.)
Mack Weldon AIRKNITX
Mack Weldon claims they’re “out to make briefs cool again,” and their line of AIRKNITX briefs might just do the trick. Available in six colors including “Blue Ice” and “Charcoal,” these stylish briefs are made of lightweight breathable microfiber designed to keep you dry and cool throughout the day. Mack Weldon has truly designed their briefs with comfort in mind – all of their lines feature a tag-less design and a no-roll waistband to avoid frustrating bunching-up, as well as “targeted cool zones” to keep you from over-heating during your workout. The AIRKNITX briefs feature a fly-less pouch, making these a great option for those looking for a great mix of comfort, support, and style.
Calvin Klein Men's Cotton Classic Briefs
Calvin Klein has long been one of the most recognizable names in men’s underwear (who can forget those classic Marky Mark ads from the ‘90s?) and their classic cotton briefs still earn rave reviews from buyers to this day. Made from 100% cotton, these are breathable and stylish briefs without any bells or whistles. They feature the iconic Calvin Klein logo on the elastic waistband, and are available in a number of solid colors (you can also get the classic black briefs with various color waistbands if you really want to stand out). Often available in affordable multipacks, these iconic briefs should be staples in your underwear drawer and are some of the best men’s underwear for the money.
MeUndies Men's Brief
If you’ve listened to any podcast in the last few years, you’ve doubtless heard ads for MeUndies, the popular underwear subscription service that sends you a new pair by mail each and every month. Made from 92% MicroModal, a super-soft natural fibre made from beechwood, these comfortable and supportive briefs feature a black no-roll elastic waistband to keep them snug and secure. They are available in a huge array of colors and designs, from solid colors to MeUndies’ “Adventurous” line, featuring everything from colorful plaid to wrap-around cartoonish Avengers designs. Get yourself a subscription now and see why MeUndies has become the internet’s favorite underwear.
Hanes No Ride Up Briefs with Comfort Flex Waistband
If you want to stock up on some essentials that won’t break the bank, you can’t go wrong with these wardrobe staples from Hanes. Constructed for a snug fit that won’t ride up when you pair them with your favorite skinny jeans, they also feature a comfort flex waistband so they won’t sag, a tag-free design, and moisture wicking properties to ensure you stay nice and dry as you go about your day. Made from a cotton-polyester blend, these are often available in affordable packs for as low as $2 apiece. The only downside is that they are only available in white, but at this price point for some of the best underwear for men we’re not complaining.
Tommy John Second Skin Briefs
If you have large legs you’ll appreciate the high-cut style of Tommy John’s Second Skin Briefs. Less material eliminates the potential for these to bunch up (or give you a wedgie), and the oversize front pouch provides for plenty of room for those guys who need the extra space. Made with MicroModal fabric, these are exceptionally soft briefs that are also non-pilling, so they should stay in great shape for a good while. They are also equipped with a “stay-put” waistband designed to rest snugly on your body. Available in six colorways, these are ideal for those looking to accentuate their lower body without sacrificing comfort.
Jockey Staycool+ Briefs
Along with Hanes, Jockey has been one of the go-to names for the best men’s briefs for generations, and they continue to design a myriad of new models that take advantage of current styles and materials to put a spin on the old classics. Their Staycool+ briefs are made from 100% breathable cotton that will keep you cool and dry. These are form-fitting briefs that still offer a range of motion thanks to their elastic waistband – they provide the support you want from a pair of briefs, but won’t feel constricting. Jockey’s StayNew technology claims to keep these looking fresh and crisp even after repeated washings, which is a selling point few other brands can claim.
Men’s trunks = a type of underwear that have form-fitting fabric that extends slightly down the thigh, but aren’t as long as boxer briefs. (See above.)
Saxx Ultra Trunks
Saxx has quickly exploded in popularity due to their eye-catching “Ballpark Pouch” on all of their underwear styles that stores and supports your package in a stylish way while avoiding friction and chaffing. Their trunks feature a 3” inseam (their boxers run 5”) and offer a form-fitting middle-ground between boxers and briefs. These trunks offer moisture and odor control, 4-way stretch, and are some of the softest trunks on the market. They come in a variety of unique styles, but we’re partial to the Ultra, which boasts better breathability under shorts and pants, an essential element for the summer months. Saxx also offers a 30-day guarantee if you’re not satisfied, so you really have nothing to lose picking up some of the best underwear for men today.
Calvin Klein Body Modal Trunks
One of the most trusted names in the underwear game also offers a few trunk styles, including this version made from ultra-soft modal fabric. These low-rise trunks feature a wide waistband with the iconic Calvin Klein logo, and a contoured pouch to keep everything in its right place. Modal allows for an incredible comfortable fit and is also very breathable, ensuring you won’t overheat. Online reviewers praise their comfort and fit, but note that they tend to run a bit small, so if this is your first pair of CKs you may want to go up a step. These modal trunks are a bit pricey, but you’re definitely getting what you pay for here.
2(x)ist Pima Flex Trunk
If you lean towards skinny jeans and tight pants, the 2(x)ist Pima Flex trunk will be your new go-to. Like the incredibly popular “no-show” socks, 2(x)ist bills their trunks as “no-show,” promising a form-fitting trunk that will make your favorite pants shine without having to go commando. What makes the 2(x)ist trunks unique is the compression stitching in the leg, which avoids them bunching up and riding, allowing for a snug and flattering fit.
Made with 95% super soft Pima cotton and 5% spandex, these trunks offer the softness and comfort of cotton with some added stretch and flexibility from the addition of spandex. 2(x)ist offers a wide selection of eye-grabbing styles, from traditional solid colors to off-the-wall wraparound designs that will make your partner do a double take.
To keep your underwear in great shape, you’ll want to wash them in cold water on a gentle cycle. Hot water can wear out the elasticity in underwear, which is how guys end up with briefs that eventually start looking like they’ve been put through a paper shredder. Depending on the fabric, you may want to hang dry them as opposed to throwing them in the washer. Perhaps most importantly, wash your dirty underwear often – you don’t want pairs of unclean undies sitting in a laundry basket with the rest of your clothes for too long (or better yet, wash and store them separately if you can).
This is a bit of a tricky balance – if you choose briefs over boxers, you want a tight fit, but if they’re too tight you can end up with all sorts of risky issues. Briefs that are too tight can cause chaffing of the skin or can cause a build-up of bacteria that can lead to a whole host of medical symptoms you don’t want anything to do with. Your best bet is to experiment with sizes until you find the proper match. They should rest flush with your body but they shouldn’t be too constricting – at the end of a long day, you should have an idea if your briefs are a snug fit or if they’re much too tight.
Cotton is the most popular material for men’s underwear due to its breathability, comfort and great absorption properties. It’s also hypoallergenic! That said, MicroModal is ultra-soft, polyester has great moisture-wicking abilities, and silk is cool and luxurious. Your best bet is to have a selection so you can change it up depending on your outfit and activity.