Gildan Underwear Review: Your Next Favorite Pair of Boxer Briefs?

June 16, 2014 | By | 7 Replies More

guest-postFollowing the suggestion of this website, and after viewing several Gildan commercials on You-Tube, I decided to give Gildan boxer briefs and t-shirts a try, which by the way, I am wearing as I write this blog post.

I was unfamiliar with the Gildan line of men’s underwear before reading about it here on UndershirtGuy.com, but I can now report that I am happy to have been introduced to Gildan products.

A Bit Of History

Let me begin this essay by stating that I have been a fan of boxer briefs since they were first introduced by Calvin Klein in the early 1990s. They have remained my preferred style of underwear to this day.

I was probably a college student in the 1960s before I ever purchased underwear on my own. Prior to that, I wore whatever my parents provided me with, and I am sure I wasn’t the exception. In those days, most of my dormitory buddies, and subsequent fraternity brothers (including myself) wore white cotton briefs.

Occasionally a “dorky” freshman would arrive at school wearing old-fashioned, baggy, boxer shorts, but a little friendly peer pressure usually helped him get with the program in “brief” order. We sported all the common brands of the era: BVD, FTL, Hanes, Jockey, and Munsingwear, plus whatever house brands may have been sold at our respective hometown department stores. But regardless of brand, we proudly took our pledge swats in our skivvies – “May I have more sir? Thank you, Sir!”

At some point during my college career, I bought a package of what were then labeled “mid-length briefs”.  These were longer in the leg than what we currently associate with boxer briefs, extending to about mid-thigh.

I discovered that I liked them for several reasons. They provided necessary support but without the sometimes “high and tight” feel of regular briefs. The flat-seamed leg openings didn’t show through my pants. At our college we were not allowed to wear blue jeans and the sight of underwear lines beneath khakis or dress pants were frequently the source of giggles or jibes from classmates.

Finally, during the harsh Midwest winters – short of wearing long johns, which was definitely regarded as “uncool” – the extra leg coverage provided a bit of insulation from the cold. A number of other guys also wore them, which mitigated the feeling being different. But once out of college, I could decide on whatever style or brand of underwear I chose to wear.

And by this time, I was hooked.

Underwear Styles Change Over Time

Mid-length briefs remained fairly common throughout the 1970s and early 80s. Most American brands of men’s underwear offered some version of this brief. I generally preferred J.C. Penny’s Stafford line of mid-lengths briefs or classic Y-front, “Jockey Midways.” But as male underwear gradually became more fashion conscious, the mid-length brief pretty much faded into the background or disappeared from department store shelves altogether; the Jockey Midway being a notable exception.

Fashion of course is as fickle as human nature. When Calvin Klein introduced the “boxer brief” in 1993, and as flaunted by a sexy, young Mark Wahlberg, I thought I had been reunited with an old friend (boxer briefs, that is). I could be stylish besides – even if few outside of the locker room would ever see the source for my style. Unfortunately, I quickly became dissatisfied with my CKs.

While I liked the weight and softness of the cotton fabric, the legs tended to stretch out of shape after only a couple hours of wearing, riding up into a wad in the crotch of my pants or levis. Throughout the day I found myself “unstylishly” tugging at, and adjusting my underwear for simple comfort and movement sake. The thick hems of the leg openings increased the bulk and discomfort. The exposed stitching across the garment was rough and in some pairs the fly opening was so small as to be non-functional.

These factors combined with the premium price-tag told me “nope – false friend.” Other up-scale designers quickly followed CK’s suit and brought out their versions of the boxer brief. I tried several of these as well: A&F, Banana Republic, J. Crew, Perry Ellis, Ralph Lauren, and Tommy Hilfiger. All shared similar design flaws (IMHP) to those of CK, and at comparable prices. To counter “creeping leg” syndrome, some designers added elastic to the leg openings. This added further stricture and caused permanent creases in my flesh.

My Quest Continued

In my quest for the perfect boxer brief, I’ve also tested most of the mid-to-lower priced brands sold at chain department stores, such as Croft & Barlow, FTL, Hanes, Jockey, Joe Boxer, Roundtree & Yorke, Stafford, etc., again without much satisfaction and for similar reasons.

The older brands of men’s underwear had, by this time, updated their earlier “mid-length” briefs to imitate designer name brands. Some manufacturers, to lower cost no doubt, employed coarser or flimsier grades of cotton, or supplemented the cotton with varying percentages of synthetic fabrics. I’ve consistently found the latter to be less absorbent of perspiration during exercise or warm weather. Nor do I enjoy the skin irritation that synthetic fabrics often cause me.

I want the clothing closest to my body to be of as natural a fabric as possible. It may sound boring, but I have also always preferred white underwear to colored versions.

Gildan Boxer Brief Review

gildan-white-boxer-briefsSo this brings me back to I the subject of my essay – my personal assessment of Gildan boxer briefs.

These certainly fall into the mid-to-lower price range, which currently retail online @ $10.49 for a package of four. Not a problem. I’ve spent far too much money on underwear during my lifetime! More importantly, they possess features that I very much appreciate.

The all-cotton fabric (in the solid color briefs anyway), while perhaps not of as high a thread count as used in some costlier brands, feels both smooth and soft on to the skin. It is absorbent during exercise, and perfectly suitable for everyday wear.

The waistband is substantial, comfortable, and doesn’t roll. The taped front seams extending down through the crotch are also smooth, look good, and help shape the goods. Gildan provides as much support as I’ve encountered in any boxer brief and the fly is large enough for convenient egress without fear of fallout.

The over-all sizing is good for me.  I customarily wear a 36” waist in most pants. As boxer briefs tend to come in paired sizes, e.g., Medium 32-34”, Large 36-38”, a size L can sometimes border on being too large or billowy.  Gildan boxer briefs may be sized slightly small, which seems to work well for me.

I will be curious to see how they feel after repeated laundering. Instructions on the package recommend washing in cold water, which may indicate a potential for shrinkage. Time will tell, but so far, a perfect fit.

And now for the leg coverage, the distinguishing feature of boxer briefs over standard men’s briefs.  Gildan boxer briefs have a 3.5” inseam. This is fairly standard nowadays for all-purpose boxer briefs. I could still wish for a slightly longer leg however.

Older “mid-length” briefs had a 5-6” straight-cut leg, which made for a smooth fit with minimal, or no ride-up. The hems of Gildan boxer briefs are lined with a small amount of spandex, and this mitigates the ride-up somewhat.

So have I found a “favorite” pair of underwear? Let me answer that in Gildan boxer briefs, I have come pretty darn close! I would recommend Gildan boxer briefs to any man looking for comfortable, well-made, and reasonably priced underwear. And for those who prefer more colorful underwear, Gildan boxer briefs are also available in several colors and color-stripe combinations.

Other postings on this blog address the corporate goals of the Gildan Company, and their recent entry into the men’s underwear market. The Gildan corporate website is also fairly explicit about their pro-active approach to environmental sustainability, fair labor practice, community involvement, and product safety.

So, give Gildan a try.  It may just become “your favorite pair of underwear”.

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Category: Guest Articles, Undershirt Reviews

About the Author ()

Bob is an academic professional at a Midwest university, a musician, and an enthusiastic follower of The Undershirt Guy.

Comments (7)

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  1. Gary Ferris

    says:

    I purchased new FTL last summer, and what a disappointment.

    I’d already tried changing back to Hanes, Joe Boxer, others.

    Now FTL is advertising their boxer briefs have shorter legs, but like Hanes, I’m afraid to purchase another cheap pair to try them, as enough legs pulling up and making me uncomfortable while riding my bike in the summer.

    FTL had great briefs when they even got to stock brown ones in Military PX’s and Uniform Sales on Army posts.

    Hopefully, someone listens soon, or maybe resort to wearing jock straps instead that don’t even begin by having miserable legs to curl up.

    thanks

    • Tug says:

      hey gary, thanks for stopping by and posting your thoughts!

      have you tried more expensive boxer briefs?

      most of the value-priced products are made cost-effectively, so they aren’t necessarily built to address the big problems with boxer brief underwear (legs riding up, waist too tight, pouch uncomfortable)

      some of the more expensive boxer brief offer more features in these areas, that may fit you better.

      just a thought (:

  2. Bill Gray

    says:

    Purchased a 4 pack of your boxer briefs in Silver Springs, FL. Last week. Got out of the the shower this morning and after putting on a pair of my Gildans for the first time. I was very surprised to find they have no fly! I’m not a “sitter” so this creates a bit of a problem. What am I missing here? I’m a little embarrassed to say the least as I never expected the term “no fly zone” to be applied to under wear. Has the world passed me by? Please respond.

    • Bob Delvin

      says:

      Hey Bill,

      I’m with you all the way on this matter! I have never liked any brand of “no-fly-zone” underwear, so I’ve learned to pay close attention to its styling before purchasing. Unfortunately it is not always clearly stated when ordering online. I have written before on this blog that I generally like the fit of Gildan boxer briefs, and while I don’t wear it daily, I find it a good product for a reasonable price. Best, Bob Delvin

  3. Chuck

    says:

    Calvin Klein wasn’t the first to introduce boxer briefs. I’ve been wearing them since I was a teenager back in the early 1980s. They just became more popular to wear then.

    • Bob Delvin

      says:

      Hey Chuck,

      You are correct. Extended length briefs or “boxer briefs” have been around for quite some time; at least since the 1950s, when I began wearing them as a boy, and perhaps earlier.

      Most manufacturers of men’s underwear offered some variant on the style: BVD, Carters FTL, Hanes, Healthknit, Jockey, Munsingwear, as well as mail order companies, Sears Roebuck, Montgomery Ward, and J. C. Penny. Prior to the term “boxer briefs”, the garments were usually labeled “mid-lenght briefs” or in the case of Jockey, as “Mid-way briefs” – which they continue to market.

      I have always preferred mid-length briefs to regular briefs and boxer shorts because of the extended leg coverage and the support they supply.

      A common complaint of many current boxer briefs (including CK) is their propensity to ride up in the crotch. The older styles had a longer inseam (5-6″ inseams), a straight cut leg, and flat hemmed leg openings, which seemed to minimize the creeping crotch.

      Today, as far as I am aware, only FTL, some Hanes, and Jockey offer the extended length styling. Some sports underwear also provides this, but these often contain spandex, which can be uncomfortable for everyday use.

      Today, I happen to be wearing Jockey-Cooper Midways, a “retro” garment, marketed by Jockey a couple of years ago for a limited time; extremely comfortable and well made. – Bob

      • Tug says:

        thanks for the underwear history information bob (and you too chuck)! great stuff guys (:

        i have a growing number of boxer briefs that i’m trying out, and one of them happens to be the jky boxer briefs from target. the size large i have are made with a 3″ inseam.

        though, since they’re made with spandex/elastane, they stretch some on the leg, but i wouldn’t say they do a particularly good or bad job of not creeping up during the day.

        with all the underwear i have access too right now, the ones i reach for the most are:

        1. saxx boxer brief – i sized up to xl so the waist does’t fit so tight, and although the are a hair on the loose side, from an overall comfort point of view, these seem to be my favorite. longer inseam too

        2. boxer briefs from mypackage – good fit, good front pocket, not too tight waistline

        3. ceceba north america diving modal boxer brief – just super comfy, with a great covered waistband. if i were to complain about anything, it might be that i wish there were a bit more room in the front pocket area. wife absolutely loves these and has stolen all about 2 pair of mine

        4. airism underwear – also sized up to xl, fit and feel is nice and overall good wearing experience. haven’t looked at legs riding up, or anything like that. just a general sense of how comfortable they were.

        5. my old favorite were the evolve square boxer brief from target, though they stopped making them, and the ones i have were so tore-up, wifey “encourged” (read told) me to throw them away.

        i have others, like mack weldon, tommy john, gildan, klen, heritage from flint & tinder, ribbedtee stuck, as well as the jky boxer briefs, etc. – all good underwear in their own right, but not ones i reach for daily. any non-daily wear boxer briefs usually go in the workout clothes drawer.

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