Too much of the time, underwear is an overlooked part of the wardrobe. Relegated to the backs of dark dresser drawers and thoughtlessly donned every morning, it suffers neglect: maybe you’re stuck in a rut, busy with life or spending money elsewhere. Life happens. But, refreshing your underwear is as important as buying a new toothbrush. What’s more, it’s comfortable and looks good — so you’ll feel better, too.
There are numerous styles and countless options available in fabrics like cotton, merino wool and high-performance synthetics. Here are our choices of the best underwear out there today in just about every permutation possible — read on for our recommendations.
Briefs might be considered the most practical underwear due to their supportive fit, non-creeping tendencies, breathable cotton fabric and no-nonsense waistband. And there’s nothing inherently wrong with white cotton, but there’s a range of colors and patterns available depending on your taste. Other options are made with odor-fighting merino wool, cooling bamboo fibers and breathable synthetics — all worth a look.
Tommy Hilfiger Cotton Classic Briefs
We won’t knock you if you prefer white briefs, but Tommy’s got the full range of colors. These briefs are made from a combed cotton fabric that’s soft and not too heavy, and an elastic band that doesn’t cut off vital circulation.
Mack Weldon AIRKNITx Brief
Mack Weldon’s taken a good look at the underwear market and figured out how to improve it. The AIRKNITx Brief is a prime example, using a buttery soft synthetic fabric with a generous amount of four-way stretch which perfectly contours to your body. The fabric is also amazing for breathability and wicking moisture while also cutting down on odor.
Schiesser Lorenz Stretch Cotton and Modal-Blend Briefs
Schiesser has been making underwear since 1875 and, as such, these are as classic as it gets. They’ve got super comfy details like the lack of side seams and are made from a heavenly blend of cotton and modal. They’re supportive, soft and not saggy — just what you want in a pair of briefs.
In the mid-’90s, John Varvatos — then the head of menswear design at Calvin Klein — invented the boxer brief. This brilliant melding of boxer shorts and traditional briefs boasts the support of briefs while providing additional length in the leg for more coverage. The hybrid style is both comfortable, supportive and flattering.
Fruit of the Loom Coolzone Boxer Briefs
These moisture-wicking cotton boxer briefs have a breathable mesh fly, a covered waistband and no-ride up legs to keep you comfortable, no matter the season. Available in a variety of colors and sizes, these are a solid option that won’t break the bank.
Uniqlo Airism Mesh Boxer Briefs
Uniqlo might be known for its innovative Heattech fabrics which are a lifesaver in the winter months. But the Japanese basics brand can handle the sweltering heat just as deftly. Its Airism tech fabrics are some of the most breathable and cooling fabrics on the market, ideal for precious applications like underwear. They’re cheap and come in a wide range of colors and sizes, making them a go-to.
Calvin Klein Ultrasoft Stretch Modal Boxer Briefs
Once you have experienced the silky touch of modal, it’s impossible to settle for anything less. Modal is made from the pulp of beech wood, similar to how rayon or silk is made. The result is a fiber that’s both breathable and unbelievably soft.
Merz B. Schwanen 255 Men’s Boxer Button Fly
Is it any surprise that the world-class knitters of some of the rarest sweatshirts also make good underwear? By using their rare loopwheel knitting machines, the same ones that make their sweatshirts, the boxers are supremely soft, dense and comfortable. They’ve got a seamless waistband and no side seams, but they also has gussets in the right places.
Trunk briefs toe the line between traditional briefs and boxer briefs. Longer than the former and shorter than the latter, they essentially have the same cut as Sean Connery’s swim trunks in Goldfinger, hence the name. Again, because they’re a bit longer than the traditional brief, they appear more modern than traditional briefs. Definitely geared more for the athletically focused, they’re supportive without feeling restrictive in the upper leg.
Gap 3″ Breathe Boxer Brief Trunks
Gap’s Breathe trunks are a great affordable option, and, they’re often on sale. The fabric is a comfy jersey blend of polyester, modal and elastic that feels great against the skin.
Tommy John Second Skin Trunks
Made with micro modal and spandex, the fabric is both stretchy and supportive and stretches. The unique fly offers something different than the traditional side-entry fly, and the style is a bit longer than other trunks in this category.
Secondskin Silk-Jersey Boxer Briefs
Secondskin’s Japanese-made trunks feature a special jersey fabric that’s made entirely of silk. The result is an ultra-light fabric with a superb feel and price tag to match.
Boxer shorts were designed to provide the same freedom of movement as shorts worn by boxers. Typically made of materials like cotton and silk, the only restrictive part of this underwear is the elastic waistband — the rest of the boxers are designed to fit loosely. They’re an incredibly comfortable option that’s become one of the staples.
Hanes Knit Boxer 5-Pack
A go-to brand for all basics, Hanes makes great boxers from cotton-poly jersey. Featuring a flat elastic waistband, these feel like a brief but are free-flowing like a traditional boxer.
Druthers Boxer Shorts
Druthers’ Boxer Shorts come in a variety of prints and are made from soft and breathable organic cotton. The elastic waist stays put but isn’t too tight and the made-in-Portugal pedigree means they’re well made.
Sunspel Sea Island Cotton Original British Boxer Short
Sunspel made a name for itself with luxury underwear. We’re thrilled with the heritage brand’s line of poplin boxers, but if you’re gonna splurge on some underwear, its famous Sea Island Cotton is worth a look. Sea Island Cotton is known as one of the rarest cottons in the world and is sought after for its luster, strength and incredible softness. These are the boxers that made the brand famous and come with soft-channel waistband construction and mother of pearl buttons. At nearly $200 a pair, these might be one you want to save for special occasions.
Long underwear doesn’t just come in waffle-knit cotton. In fact, newer styles are made with a host of new fabrics suited for everyday wear and athletic endeavors. Appropriate for the coldest months, long underwear is a necessary base layer to keep you comfortable — styles are available from both performance and heritage brands.
REI Co-Op Silk Long Underwear Bottoms
REI’s long underwear is hin, lightweight and silky soft. And for a pair of pants made entirely of silk, the price tag is surprisingly good.
Patagonia Capilene Midweight Bottoms
Patagonia’s Capilene Midweight Bottoms are an ideal pair for the eco-conscious and are made completely from recycled polyester. The hollow-core fibers help retain heat but also wick moisture and dry fast.
Hemen Biarritz Organic Cotton Long Johns
Hemen’s heritage underwear boasts quality construction and classic design, exemplified in its Organic Cotton Long Johns. The ribbed jersey fabric is both dense and extremely soft. They come with a full button fly and a comfortable, wide waistband.