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Types of Men’s Underwear

From the tightie whities of the 1950s to today’s boxers or boxer briefs, men’s underwear has come a long way.

Now you have form-fitting options that prevent chafing and different materials to keep you cool or warm.

There are even options now that provide plenty of support for your member. So lo and behold, the many types of men’s underwear:

Summary

Here’s a side-by-side view of the most popular types of men’s underwear so you can decide which is best for you:

types of mens underwear

Additionally, we also put together a table that compares the following:

  • Underwear Type: This is the general category for each underwear available to men (we excluded novelty underwear).
  • Recommended For: What we think each pair of underwear is good for.
  • Notable Features: A quick description of what makes each underwear type unique.
  • Brands: Some of the best brands that make each type of underwear.

Underwear TypeRecommended ForNotable FeaturesBrands
Boxer ShortsLounge Wear, Daily WearLoose Fit. Button or Buttonless Fly. AiryFruit of the Loom, American Eagle Outfitters, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Mack Weldon, Hanes
Boxer BriefsDaily WearForm-Fitting, Moderate Support, Non-Bunching, Mid-Thigh LengthTommy John, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Mack Weldon, Hanes, Under Armour, Pair of Thieves, Stance, SAXX, Ethika
BriefsDaily WearForm-Fitting, Moderate Support, Non-Bunching, Higher CutJockey, Tommy John, Fruit of the Loom, Hanes, Mack Weldon, Pair of Thieves, SAXX
Micro BriefDaily WearForm-Fitting, Higher Cut on Thigh Similar to Bikini. Non-Bunching2(X)IST, David Archy, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Pair of Thieves
TrunksDaily WearHigher on Thigh, Non-Bunching, Moderate Support, Modern StyleTommy John, Calvin Klein, Pair of Thieves, Adidas, New Balance, Hugo Boss, Hanes
Hammock Pouch BriefsDaily Wear, Athletic ActivitiesGreater Support, Anti-Chafing, BreathableSAXX, Shinesty, Tommy John, Duluth Trading
ThongLounge Wear, Daily WearBreathable, Light Support, Varying Intent, Nearly Open ButtocksJockey, 2(X)IST, Calvin Klein
JockstrapAthletic ActivitiesSupport, Cup Insert, Open ButtocksCalvin Klein, Pair of Thieves
Long UnderwearDaily Wear, Athletic ActivitiesLong Length, Provides Warmth, For Taller MenUnder Armour, UNIQLO, Carhartt, 2(X)IST, Wrangler, 32 Degrees, Mack Weldon

Boxer Shorts

boxers
Mack Weldon

The classic boxer shorts are a type of men’s underwear that extend to the mid-thigh and have a loose, relaxed fit. They usually have an elastic waistband with a button fly – although buttonless options are available. Boxer shorts are typically made from cotton or a cotton blend and come in various colors and patterns.

Silk boxers are a more luxurious option that is more comfortable and breathable than their cotton counterparts.

Good For: Everyday wear, sleeping, or lounging around the house.

Bad For: Physical activity or when you need support. Fabric may bunch up when you sit down, causing discomfort.

Brands: Many brands make boxer shorts, including Fruit of the Loom, American Eagle Outfitters, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Mack Weldon, and Hanes.

Boxer Briefs

boxer briefs
Tommy John

Reaching the masses in the 1990s, boxer briefs are a hybrid of sorts – combining the best features of both boxers and briefs. They have a snug, form-fitting design that contours to your body and legs that fall somewhere between the thigh and knee. Most boxer briefs have an elastic waistband with a fly, but some brands (like Saxx) ditch the fly altogether.

Boxer briefs are usually made from a stretchy cotton or polyester/spandex blend, making them very comfortable. And because they’re tight-fitting, they offer support and minimize movement – making them a good choice for physical activity.

However, researchers have found that form-fitting underwear such as boxer briefs and briefs can increase the temperature of your testicles, which may have an adverse effect on sperm production (source). So, if you’re trying to conceive, you may want to opt for the looser-fitting boxer shorts instead.

Good For: Everyday wear, physical activity, or when you need support.

Bad For: Usually poor fly access. When you need to use the restroom, you’ll have to completely remove your boxer briefs.

Brands: Many brands make boxer briefs, including Tommy John, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Mack Weldon, Hanes, Under Armour, Pair of Thieves, Stance, SAXX, and Ethika.

Briefs

briefs
Mack Weldon

Briefs are close-fitting underwear that sits high on the waist and offer full coverage of the rear. Unlike the boxer brief that extends down the thigh, the leg opening on briefs rests much higher, closer to the crotch. Briefs come in various materials – from absorbent cotton to moisture-wicking synthetic fabrics.

One key advantage of the brief is that the fabric won’t bunch up when you sit down. However, overly loose or tight-fitting briefs can cause wedgies and uncomfortable chafing.

Good For: Everyday wear, when you need support, or if you prefer a classic look.

Bad For: Physical activity – they can cause chafing.

Brands: Brands that make briefs include Jockey, Tommy John, Fruit of the Loom, Hanes, Mack Weldon, Pair of Thieves, and SAXX.

Micro Brief

micro briefs
2(X)IST

With a higher cut on the thigh than traditional briefs, micro briefs offer less coverage and a more revealing look. However, like the traditional brief, they sit comfortably on the waist and provide coverage to the rear.

Micro briefs are usually made from synthetic stretchy materials like nylon or polyester, making them very comfortable, especially during the summer.

Good For: Everyday wear or when you want a more revealing look.

Bad For: Physical activity as men with larger legs that rub together may experience chaffing.

Brands: Very few brands make micro briefs. Brands include 2(X)IST, David Archy, Calvin Klein, and Tommy Hilfiger.

Trunks

trunks
Mack Weldon

Higher on the thigh than a traditional boxer brief, trunks are a modern take on men’s underwear. Typically feature a 4″ inseam, they offer the same support and coverage as a boxer brief, but with a shorter leg length, they are less likely to experience bunching of the fabric.

Trunks, also known as hipster briefs, are usually made from a stretchy cotton or polyester/spandex blend, making them very comfortable.

Good For: Everyday wear, physical activity, or when you need support.

Bad For: When you want full coverage of the thighs – it may not be as warm during the winter.

Brands: Both traditional and athletic brands make trunk briefs, including Tommy John, Calvin Klein, Pair of Thieves, Adidas, New Balance, Hugo Boss, and Hanes.

Hammock Pouch Briefs

hammock pouch briefs
SAXX

Recently introduced, hammock pouch briefs are a new type of underwear becoming increasingly popular. Similar to the trunk brief, they have a shorter leg length but what sets them apart is the unique hammock-shaped pouch that provides support and enhances comfort.

With a special design that cradles your genitals, hammock briefs offer unparalleled support and separation. In addition, keeping your genitals in a hammock-like pouch prevents them from rubbing against your thighs and causing chafing or sticking.

Good For: Everyday wear, physical activity, or when you want to support and separation.

Bad For: Fit may vary depending on the size of genitals.

Brands: The most notable brand that makes hammock pouch briefs is SAXX. However, other brands that offer this design include Shinesty, Tommy John, and Duluth Trading.

Thong

thong
2(X)IST

With a narrow strip of fabric in the back that runs between the legs and connects to a waistband in the front, thongs offer the least coverage of any type of underwear. Thongs are available in various materials, including cotton, nylon, and polyester.

However, many guys swear by this underwear style for its comfort – thanks to the lack of fabric.

Good For: Summer weather or when you need the least amount of fabric possible.

Bad For: When you want more coverage or support. It can also cause chafing.

Brands: Jockey, 2(X)IST, and Calvin Klein make thongs.

Jockstrap

jockstrap
Pair of Thieves

The jockstrap will vary as either an undergarment or an essential piece of equipment for athletes.

For athletes, the jockstrap has a cup insert designed to protect the genitals from impact.

For casual wear, the design is similar. However, they won’t contain the cup pocket. Jockstraps are made from various materials, including cotton, nylon, and polyester.

Good For: When you need support or protection.

Bad For: Everyday wear can be uncomfortable due to the straps.

Brands: Depending on the intent of use, jockstraps will be made from different brands. For casual use, the most notable brand is Calvin Klein and Pair of Thieves. Shock Doctor, McDavid, and Nike are worth considering for athletic use.

Long Underwear

long underwear
Mack Weldon

Also known as thermal underwear, long underwear is designed to keep you warm during the colder months.

Long underwear is typically made from a cotton/polyester blend or 100% cotton. In addition, they will often have a brushed interior that helps to trap heat and make them more comfortable.

Some men may wear this underwear type as a base layer and still wear their everyday underwear underneath.

Good For: When you need extra warmth.

Bad For: Can run a bit hot when indoors.

Brands: Some brands that make long underwear include Under Armour, UNIQLO, Carhartt, 2(X)IST, Wrangler, and 32 Degrees.

About Adam

As the lead editor of Tools of Men, Adam is an expert in all things men's grooming and style. When you don't find him reading up on the latest style trends, he likes to go jogging, attempt to distinguish the differences between IPAs, and play sports with his kids.

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