When you’re choosing a new pair of underwear, what do you look for? A pair that’s breathable? Comfortable? Stylish? If you’re like most men, you probably pick out briefs or boxers without much thought – after all, what more is there to consider besides fit, fabric and color?
While these are important factors, there’s a lot more to keep in mind when it comes to covering up and protecting the most sensitive part of your body. There is considerable research that shows that the underwear you wear has a significant impact on your physical, reproductive and sexual health – not to mention that it can make or break your comfort.
Here’s everything you need to know about the best type of underwear for men’s health as well as 5 must-try underwear brands that will fit well, feel great and provide proper support.
Health Conditions to Keep in Mind When Shopping Underwear
Whether you already have a health condition or you want to avoid developing one, here are some health concerns that may be caused or worsened by the underwear you wear.
The fabric and fit of your underwear can cause allergic reactions and textile contact dermatitis.
While every man’s skin is different, the most common culprits of skin irritation are polyester, rayon and rubber. These fabrics trap sweat against the skin, which can cause discomfort, itchiness and rashes. Underwear that’s too tight can also be to blame. Textile contact dermatitis – an itchy rash that occurs when your skin reacts to the fibers in your clothes – is a common result of wearing underwear that is restrictive.
- Wear underwear made with comfortable, breathable fabric (I’ll talk more about this later in the article).
- Switch to sensitive skin laundry detergent.
- Apply anti-itch cream.
- Sock in a colloidal oatmeal bath.
- Apply a cool, wet compress to the affected area.
If your underwear is too tight, it will trap moisture and sweat against the skin and increase your risk of developing jock itch, crotch rot or a yeast infection.
- Opt for breathable, moisture-wicking underwear.
- Wash the affected area with gentle foaming soap and warm water.
- Apply an over-the-counter antifungal cream or powder.
- Change and wash your underwear after each use.
Chafing is commonly caused by working out, playing sports or engaging in physical activity – but it can also be caused by unsupportive or ill-fitting underwear. Groin chafing causes a painful burning sensation and may result in an uncomfortable, bright red rash.
- Opt for breathable, moisture-wicking underwear.
- Apply petroleum jelly, deodorant or anti-chafing cream to areas that chafe easily before putting on underwear.
An uncommon (yet possible) side effect of ill-fitting underwear is testicular torsion. Testicular torsion occurs when a testicle rotates, twisting the spermatic cord that carries blood to the scrotum. This results in reduced blood flow, which causes sudden and severe pain and swelling. While this is most common in teenage boys, it can occur in older men.
- To prevent testicular torsion, wear underwear with proper testicular support during physical activity and while sleeping.
- Surgery is required to correct testicular torsion. If you suspect that it occurred to you, see your doctor ASAP.
Lower Sperm Count
If you wear underwear that is too tight, you may be at risk for decreased sperm count. Because tight underwear causes friction, your testicles will heat up and sperm is more likely to die off.
- Avoid wearing underwear that is too tight.
- Maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Other Male Health Concerns
There are several medications and remedies available for male health issues. If you need information or you’d like to explore treatments, I’d recommend GetRoman.com – you can speak to an online physician who can prescribe and ship medication to you in complete privacy.
How to Find the Best Type of Underwear for Men’s Health
Your underwear is a vital part of your wardrobe. More than any other item of clothing you own, it has a direct effect on both your physical and sexual health. Just as you pick out your pants and shirts with meticulous care, you should shop for the very best boxer briefs.
What’s the Best Underwear Material?
The best men’s underwear should be made of soft, breathable fabric that doesn’t irritate your skin. Although every man’s needs are different, here are some fabrics you can’t go wrong with:
- Cotton is a soft, breathable fabric that is hypoallergenic and absorbs moisture. It’s also easy to care for and inexpensive.
- Bamboo is a sustainable fabric that is soft, breathable, and hypoallergenic. It is also moisture-wicking, making it a good choice for active men or live in hot climates.
- Modal is a type of rayon that is made from beech trees. It is soft, breathable, and moisture-wicking, and it is also resistant to shrinking and fading.
- Nylon is a synthetic fabric that is moisture-wicking, quick-drying, and stretchy, making it a good choice for men who are active or live in hot climates.
- Spandex is a synthetic fabric that is stretchy and supportive, making it a good choice for men who need additional support.
What’s the Best Type of Underwear for Men’s Health
The best type of underwear for men’s health depends on your specific needs – however, boxer briefs are typically the safest bet. They offer the best of both worlds: the support and coverage of briefs combined with the breathability and movement of boxers. They prevent sweating and chafing, which can lead to irritation and discomfort, and help keep everything in place.
While going commando can certainly be freeing, it’s not the best option for men’s health. Underwear protects the most sensitive parts of the body, and going without it exposes you to bacteria and harsh conditions that could otherwise be avoided. Of course, there’s no issue with going commando after a shower or in the privacy of your own home – just make sure to always wear underwear underneath pants, shorts or any other clothes.
Boxers are ideal if you’re looking to support your reproductive health. Because they’re loose-fitting, they allow for increased airflow and movement. This will keep your testicles cool and, in turn, promote a higher sperm count. However, boxers tend to bunch up and become uncomfortable when worn all day long. I’d recommend wearing boxers when you’re planning on staying at home or when you’re not planning on engaging in physical activity or heavy movement.
Choosing the Right Fit
Always opt for underwear that is close-fitting around the waist and legs (but not too tight that you feel uncomfortable or restricted) and avoid underwear that is loose or baggy. Although underwear sizing is standard across most brands, some brands stray from the norm – so be sure to follow the underwear brand’s sizing guide when shopping to find the right fit.
Healthiest Underwear for Guys
Ready to find a pair of underwear that boosts your comfort and supports your health? Here are five of my favorite underwear brands that fit well, feel great and provide the best support:
Tommy John offers a fantastic selection of men’s underwear in various colors, styles and fabrics. Each pair is carefully made with breathable, 4-way stretch fabric and a built-in pouch that provides just the right amount of support.
My personal favorite Tommy John underwear is the Second Skin Mid-Length Boxer Brief. It features a 6” inseam, perfect for preventing chafing. The silky soft, non-pilling micro modal fabric blend is designed for daily wear, and they’ll stay put from morning to night. They feature a Contour Pouch to comfortably nestle the boys, as well as a Quick Draw horizontal fly for supreme comfort.
- Best for daily wear
- 90% micro modal, 10% spandex
- 3-pack for $84
Known for their crazy designs and in-your-face marketing, Shinesty is yet another exceptional underwear brand for men’s health. I’m a big fan of their Ball Hammock Pouch Boxer Brief, which is equipped with a pouch that provides proper support for your manhood. They’re made of 100% MicroModal fabric, which is breathable, sweat-wicking and three times softer than cotton.
These are some of the softest underwear out there, and they’ll keep you cool, dry and comfortable all day long. Plus, there’s dozens of colors and designs to choose from!
- Best breathable, moisture-wicking underwear
- 100% MicroModal
All iLoveBad Organics underwear are sustainable, all-natural and ECOCERT Certified by their Organic Content Standard. I love this brand because all of their ingredients are grown and processed without chemicals, meaning that you’re less likely to develop textile contact dermatitis or skin irritation.
The Hemp & Organic Cotton Boxer Brief Underwear is my personal favorite, as it’s ultra-soft, breathable and durable. Hemp fabric is a lesser-found fabric in the fashion and clothing industry, but it has a number of benefits – from being naturally anti-bacterial to filtering harmful UV light. Because this underwear is chemical- and dye-free, I’d recommend this brand to anyone who struggles with sensitive or reactive skin.
- Best for sensitive skin
- 64% organic cotton, 28% hemp, 8% lycra
The G3 Men’s Boxer Brief from RibbedTee is my top choice for men’s underwear, whether you need a trusty pair for daily wear or you have a specific health concern that requires a little extra support down there. They’re made with a silk-like blend of nylon and spandex, which wicks and absorbs sweat and dries quickly. These underwear are wedgie-free and no-roll, meaning you won’t be making adjustments while you wear them. And, to top it all off, they’re abrasion- and odor-resistant.
- Best for anti-chafing
- 86% CoolNylon, 14% spandex
Duluth Trading Co
Duluth Trading Co has a lot of great men’s underwear options, but I’d recommend the Go Buck Naked Performance Bullpen Boxer Brief. As the name suggests, these underwear feel like a second skin. They’re non-irritating, stretchy, moisture-wicking, odor-fighting and quick-drying – what more could you want? The carefully designed Bullpen pocket keeps your parts comfortably in place, and the bulk-free waistband requires absolutely zero adjustment.
I’d recommend these ultra-soft underwear to anyone who needs a little extra boost of comfort in their day-to-day.
- Best comfort
- 93% nylon, 7% spandex