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Mens Underwear Guide: Understanding Different Styles and Preferences of Men’s Underwear

On a daily basis if you watch television shows there is a good chance that you will see a major brand marketing men’s underwear. Of course it is all done in good taste and nothing that would be considered NSFW (not safe for work).

However, it is not a daily conversation that you would hear every day between two men the difference between boxers, boxer briefs and trunks. Not that they don’t exist at all, but for some reason unless you are a model (or something of that nature) oddly enough men don’t talk about this amongst each other a lot.

Men's Underwear Guide

However, that is why we are here! Instead of verbally talking about it, let's call it even that you reading and us writing suffices as a normal conversation. In this article we are going to go in-depth in regards to the different types of underwear available for men. There are some types better for men than others depending on the situation.

We’ll explain the details so you are no longer be in the dark anymore.

The Ultimate Mens Underwear Guide

Preference in Underwear Material

For the most part when it comes to the materials used to make men’s underwear there are two dominant options available. (Cotton and Synthetic/Polyester are your two options men.)

There is absolutely no problem behind the type you choose (or both at your discretion). Nonetheless, there are major differences that you should look forward to when you are in the market for purchasing new underwear.

Of course if you are allergic to any of the material, seek an alternative version to the other at your leisure. They exist and they are not hard to find by any means.


The most commonly used material that you will see any brand boast about Is cotton. Cotton underwear has its variety of benefits that makes it superb compared to the others.

On average you will see that the majority of the underwear for men out there are either 100% cotton or 90% cotton. Pretty much making it the presumptive dominant material in the arena of men’s underwear.

With this in mind, the material (whether by itself or blended) lasts for a lot longer than the alternatives. Cotton underwear is popular because many men find it to be most comfortable, they last longer, and do not hold in odor (which everyone benefits from without question).

Generally when you are an active man at your job and/or in extra curricular activities such as sports, cotton underwear is the best option for you (again if you are allergic to cotton, you can disregard this part).


What many people don’t discuss (especially men to men on average) are the fun type of underwear options that are available. In hindsight, men don’t necessarily care as much about design (per se) of their underwear in the same manner that women do. However, this does not mean in anyway, form or fashion that men can not have fun “non-traditional” underwear too!

Synthetic/polyester underwear are generally the screen printed/superhero designed underwear. While the underwear is a representation of a man knowing that he does not have to be 100% serious all the time, synthetic/polyester underwear does have its pros and cons.

The Pros include the latter factors (design capabilities/options). Another major factor (pro) is that they are extremely comfortable to sit back and relax/sleep in at your leisure. If you know for a fact that all you want to do is feel good, relax or even have fun (with your significant other per se) by all means go out and purchase you some designed underwear!

The Cons that synthetic/polyester underwear receive is the fact that odor tends to stick in the material and stay there. Unfortunately the material is susceptible to smells because of its thinness. Even after you wash them diligently, overtime, they tend to become unbearable in regards to aroma. With this in mind, look at synthetic/polyester underwear (that are 90%-100%) as your “special occasion” underwear.

Variety of styles

There are a variety of styles when it comes to men’s underwear. Initially there may not seem all too different, yet they are.

Each style has its specific uses and details. At the end of the day, the easy reason why men find it fairly easy to shop for underwear on a routine basis… it’s not a complicated process!

What we are going to do now is share with you top suggestions of each underwear type that you can keep on your radar when searching for new underwear.

White briefs for the athletic men (what many know as whitey tighties)

Lets start the list out on a less serious note. As young boys, the underwear that boys start out wearing after diaper are white briefs (aka whitey tighties).

Although it may seem the joke around town that everyone except the boy wearing them can make fun of, they actually have a specific purpose that they serve.

Even as kids young boys who are athletic need to start understanding that their “male parts” need support on a daily basis. As they grow up to become men (and possibly even more athletic/physically active) in extracurricular activities, they will understand the benefits of white briefs.

As stated earlier, cotton underwear are more susceptible to odor and lasts longer. For the most part, white briefs are predominately made with cotton material (if not 100% created with cotton).

Hanes Men’s Ultimate Full-Cut Pre Shrunk Brief

most comfortable underwear - Hanes Men’s 7 pack Ultimate Full-Cut Pre Shrunk Brief

Hanes is obviously one of the most known and recognizable brands when it comes to men’s underwear.

Hanes full-cut white briefs are available in white (of course), created with 100% Premium ComfortSoft cotton, which makes them extremely comfortable to wear on a daily basis.

The waistband is also highly durable and dependable as you move around on a daily basis.

Unlike regular boxers and boxer briefs (which will be covered next) because of their waistband elements, this is why they are the best options for men who are athletes and play their sports on a consistent basis.

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Regular boxers (also known as a “man’s every day casual wear” boxers)

There are very (and we mean very) few men that do not own what are labeled as regular boxers by choice. Consider this the upgrade from the whitey tighties that boys eagerly await in their younger years.

Unlike whitey tighties, there is really no major specific reason for regular boxers other than being a support system for your man parts. The only other option that one would have if they decided not to wear any type of boxers (even the regular ones) is to go commando.

If you have ever gone a complete day commando on an extremely hot or cold day, you know that it is not the most comfortable situation to be in.

Champion Men’s Performance Cotton Regular Leg Boxer Briefs

most comfortable underwear - Champion Men’s 3 Pack Performance Cotton Regular Leg Boxer Briefs

Champion is another major and well noted brand that have cemented their place in men’s underwear necessities.

One thing that you will notice is different than the white briefs are that regular boxers typically come in a lesser pack (like this pack of 3). Don’t take the latter as a bad thing at all because unlike white briefs, boxers come in different colors no matter what pack they are in.

These are one of the underwear options that has a blend of materials (5% spandex, 37% polyester, and 58% cotton). Keep in mind what we said earlier (cotton is generally the predominant material when it comes to blend-material men underwear).

What makes these boxers unique is that the fabric allows for quick drying due to perspiration (sweat) that can be expected on a normal day. The seams on the waistband are also smooth and flat so you do not have to worry about adjusting them constantly throughout the day.

These boxers are also tagless (which once you graduated from the white briefs as a boy, you understand to appreciate the tag missing).

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Low rise boxer briefs (aka a man’s “sexy underwear”)

Remember that time we were talking about sexy underwear earlier on in the article? Yeah… we will just get straight to the point here.

BOSS HUGO BOSS Men’s Cotton Stretch Boxer Brief

BOSS HUGO BOSS Men’s Cotton Stretch Boxer Brief, Pack of 3

Low rise boxer briefs for men are what lingerie is for women. Depending on the day, weather, and/or extracurricular activity that you are participating in, the long length on the legs of regular boxers can be a bit irritating at times.

With this in mind (because every man is not the same when it comes to comfort preference) these low rise boxers created by BOSS HUGO BOSS are the solution for feeling more comfortable at your leisure.

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Boxer briefs (aka casual underwear option #2 for men)

The difference between regular boxers and boxer briefs are that these are more fitted.

For example, you know that there are regular t-shirts that allow for a little bit of room right? Those are what regular boxers are.

Fitted t-shirts that are very formfitting are what boxer briefs can be compared to.

Fruit of the Loom Men’s Boxer Brief

Fruit of the Loom Men’s Boxer Brief (Pack of 7)

Fruit of the Loom is widely known for being generous when it comes to pleasing the consumer.

These underwear are created with 100% cotton (except the Heather Grey boxers, which are made of 90% cotton and 10% Polyester).

These come in a pack of 7 and if maintained appropriately will last you for a nice amount of time.

If you would like to purchase these boxer briefs in different colors and mix-matched variety, those options are available as well at your discretion.

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As you can see in this list there are definitely some need-to-be-known details when it comes to men’s underwear. There is nothing really too complicated or overly exaggerated by any means when it comes to shop. The great benefit that men have when it comes to shopping for underwear is that everything is pretty much straight forward and to the point.

When you are in the market for new underwear, don’t expect to spend an hour looking for the right choice. If you are looking for a casual/regular style of boxers, playful (and even comedic) synthetic/polyester designs, or underwear that will keep your man parts down under safe, the package speaks for itself.

What do you think?

Written by Terrence Kennedy

Terrence Kennedy is the man’s man on a journey to self-discovery. A traveler, extreme sports aficionado, an observant wanderer, a DIY-Know-How, an ultimate outsider and a documentarist of culture, sex, dating, relationship, fashion, style and gentleman's etiquette. He has learned a lot through his escapades, and is happy to pass that knowledge on to you.