When it comes to boxers vs. briefs vs. boxer briefs, which is best? There are so many varieties of men’s underwear available today, which can make it tricky and confusing for the average dude. [Note: for those of you wearing thongs or going commando – we’ll save those topics for another day].
Feeling comfortable in your underwear is a good thing, but comfort isn’t the only metric you should evaluate when choosing your undergarments. Men’s underwear provides benefits that may differ in importance for each of us, but at their core, underwear provides:
- A layer between you and your clothing
- Sweat, stain and odor absorption
- Protection from exposure and chafing
Today I’ll compare and contrast boxers, briefs and boxer briefs to help you find the right style and fit.
Boxers are also known as boxer shorts or trunks. The term “boxers” has been used for elastic shorts since 1944, named after the shorts worn by boxers for their free leg movement.
Classic boxers are generally made of woven, non-stretchy fabric. However, they can also be made of cotton (like briefs), moisture-wicking material or even fabrics like silk. Their key differentiator is that they are loose-fitting rather than form-fitting. In addition, boxers have more extra fabric than other styles, creating bunching underneath certain kinds of clothing.
While boxers are breathable, their relaxed fit offers the least amount of support, which may not be a big deal if you’re young or only wear them while sleeping. However, as you get older or do lots of activities, support becomes much more crucial (gravity, anyone?).
Tighty whities, skivvies – are you a briefs guy, or does seeing them take you right back to grade school? Men’s briefs are the traditional choice for many, especially while working out, as their minimal profile makes them invisible under your shorts. This “legless” look also offers maximum movement without any restriction.
That being said, briefs aren’t large enough to cover the inner thighs, leaving you vulnerable to chafing. Briefs can also feel tight and hot, contributing to swamp ass and stickiness on warmer days. There are also concerns about whether or not wearing briefs affects sperm production, which may be something to consider if your fertility meter is already on the low side (see the Science Sidetrack below for more on that topic).
Briefs are typically made with cotton, often with a bit of stretch for comfort. Make sure you look for non-rolling waistbands to reduce irritation.
Science Sidetrack: Can Briefs Interfere With Your Sperm Count?
Can wearing briefs cause problems in the baby-making department? This may sound like an old wives’ tale, but there’s actually some truth to it. Testicles hang outside your body to keep them cool — about two degrees cooler than your normal body temperature, in fact. This helps ensure overall sperm health and production.
Several studies have examined whether a man’s underwear choices impact sperm count and health. For example, one study found that men who reported mostly wearing boxers had 25 percent higher sperm concentrations than men who wore other types of underwear.
As you may already know, wearing briefs isn’t the option you want to take to keep your privates comfortably cool. While it’s unlikely that wearing briefs will reduce sperm motility enough to cause infertility, many men elect to go with boxers when they’re trying to conceive. So if you’re already dealing with poor fertility or know you have a low sperm count, you may want to consider this tactic to keep the odds on your side.
Read more: The Best Underwear for Men’s Health
Boxer briefs are a hybrid between boxers and briefs (hence the name, duh) and have become very popular. In fact, boxer briefs were responsible for 33% of men’s underwear styles sold in 2018, primarily due to their fit, comfort and support.
Boxer briefs mimic tapered boxers but with a more snug fit. Unlike briefs, boxer briefs cover the inner thigh, protecting you from annoying, painful chafing. In addition, they’re now available in various pouch options and fabrics, including cotton, microfiber blends, and spandex, which increases their stretch and comfort.
Boxer briefs provide superior support and comfort and offer a seamless line under dress pants.
Boxers vs. Briefs vs. Boxer Briefs: A Comparison
Now that we’ve broken down boxers, briefs and boxer briefs, we’ve put together a handy comparison chart for you. Here’s what each category means:
- Function: How well it protects your clothing and keeps your boys in place.
- Comfort: How well it protects you with a minimum of readjustment.
- Style/Appearance: Is it flattering? This one is subject to personal preference, of course.
- Support: How much support does it give your package overall?
- Fit: Loose, tight or somewhere in between?
- Exposure Risk: Does it protect your junk from spilling out?
- Coverage: How much coverage it supplies your butt and thighs.
More Underwear Resources
If you’re interested in more underwear-related articles, check out my underwear topic.