There are many good reasons why you’ll find boxer briefs, rather than briefs or boxers, under the jeans and chinos of most American men. The hybrid style combines the extra support of briefs and the thigh coverage you get with boxers. Plus, they don’t bunch up under pants like boxers do — an important distinction for men who like to wear slim pants. “They’re infinitely better than boxers,” says Derek Guy, editor at men’s style site Put This On and blogger at Die, Workwear. Boxer briefs disappear under clothing, making them the ideal base layer for everything from suit pants to jeans. And today’s market encompasses a huge amount of variation, from those that feel like luxury loungewear to those that incorporate feats of engineering designed to swaddle your balls. To find the very best pairs, we talked to a panel of 17 designers, stylists, and other fashionable people about the boxer briefs they like best.
What we’re looking for
Depending on where you plan to wear them, you might prefer boxer briefs made of 100 percent cotton or you might opt for a blend of synthetic fibers like spandex, Lycra, or micromodal. Cotton is generally very durable, soft, and breathable, while synthetic fibers can add stretch or moisture-wicking properties. Beyond personal preference, you should base your choice of fabric on factors like how much you sweat and how careful you are with laundry.
The most common fly styles for boxer briefs are the traditional vertical fold-over fly (pull the top layer of fabric aside when using the bathroom) and the horizontal fold-over fly (pull the top layer of fabric down when using the bathroom). Less common fly situations include the button fly and no fly at all. For the most part, all of the brands we recommend have some sort of fly, but in writing this story, we’ve learned that no-fly designs are often popular among men who like to wear slimmer-cut pants. The style may also feel more secure to some men.
Few things are as annoying as a too-tight waistband cutting into your sides all day. And one that keeps rolling or slipping down isn’t great, either. The best waistbands are the ones you can’t feel at all. According to the experts we talked to, every waistband on this list passes muster for comfort. But many people have specific preferences about the width, color, or whether there is a logo or not. So we’ve listed which ones are extra wide or feature a brand logo.
The fit of your boxer briefs depends on cut, rise, and inseam length; where the seams land; and how they’re sewn. Finding a great fit may take some trial and error, but for the purposes of this list, we looked for options that are supportive without feeling too restrictive and that stay in place without sagging, riding up at the waist, or bunching in the legs.
There are two types of rise: regular and low. For anyone who prefers low-rise trousers, a low-rise pair of underwear won’t peek out quite as much. In contrast, regular-rise underwear sits closer to the waistline, and many people find it more supportive. Inseam lengths for boxer briefs typically fall between three and five inches, which is usually enough to provide good support and coverage without adding too much bulk under pants. With that said, longer inseams can be helpful for keeping boxer briefs in place, especially during workouts.
Best overall boxer briefs
Fabric: Supima cotton | Fly: Traditional | Waistband: Exposed elastic | Fit: Regular rise, sizes S–3XL
Of all of the pairs we heard about while reporting on boxer briefs (and men’s underwear in general), none received more praise than Uniqlo’s Supima Cotton Boxer Briefs. Our trusted sources swear by them for both quality and value. “They’re soft, breathable, and keep their shape well even after many washes,” says photographer Sam Schmieg. Other fans include Strategist columnist Chris Black, photographer Malcolm McNeil, street-style photographer Christopher Fenimore, and Andrew Chen, the founder of menswear brand 3sixteen. The simple and affordable design has a regular rise and a vertical fold-over fly. Supima cotton is rarer and usually more expensive than other kinds of cotton because it has a longer staple fiber (the average length of fibers pulled from the plant). This makes it extra soft, durable, and good at taking dye.
[Editor’s note: These are currently sold out, but you can sign up to be notified when they are back in stock. In the meantime, they’re also available in regular cotton.]
Best ultrathin boxer briefs
Fabric: Polyester, spandex, and nylon blend | Fly: Traditional | Waistband: Exposed elastic | Fit: Regular (also available in low rise), sizes S–3XL
Uniqlo’s Airism line promises moisture-wicking technology intended to keep you cool, dry, and feeling fresh. Nicolás Lazaro, a community specialist at menswear resale platform Grailed, prefers them to cotton boxer briefs because they are especially lightweight and breathable. “You’ll forget you even have them on,” he says. They come in two rises, regular and low, with a traditional fly and a more generous inseam of four to five inches, depending on the size you wear. Former Strategist writer Jordan Bowman says they hold up well after multiple washes and don’t shrink in the dryer. Lazaro also notes that they dry so quickly that he can just hand-wash them and hang them up for a bit if he’s ever in a pinch.
Best performance boxer briefs
Fabric: Nylon | Fly: Traditional | Waistband: Exposed elastic | Fit: Low rise, sizes S–2XL
Barron Cuadro, the founding editor of Effortless Gent, says these boxer briefs are perfect for outdoorsmen because they’re anti-microbial and they dry superfast. He likes that they’re made of breathable fabric and notes that, even though he normally prefers a higher rise, they are still comfortable. In addition, he says they’re durable and that he’s worn some pairs as long as six years.They also have flatlock seams, which means the fabric doesn’t overlap, to minimize chances of chafing or irritating the skin.
Best multipack boxer briefs
Fabric: 95% cotton, 5% spandex | Fly: Traditional | Waistband: Logo elastic | Fit: Regular rise, sizes S–XL
In addition to the logo appeal, Calvin Klein boxer briefs are beloved for their comfort, fit, and durability. Phillip Wong, the co-founder and creative director of Hawthorne, says the brand’s underwear is some of the best out there. “I’ve worn the classic Calvin Klein boxer briefs for as long as I can remember,” Wong says. “The shape is exceptional, not too tight, and it’s very low maintenance.” They feature a regular rise and a traditional fly, and they come in packs of either three or five pairs as well as a variety of colors.
Best less expensive multipack boxer briefs
Fabric: 75% cotton, 25% polyester | Fly: Traditional | Waistband: Logo exposed elastic Fit: Regular Rise, sizes S–2XL
Hanes’s boxer briefs are “simple and inexpensive, and they last,” says Tim Melideo, who runs Stay Classic, a men’s fashion website focused on affordable style. Queer Eye stylist Tan France is also a fan, and he wears them daily because they suit those who wear slim pants and want to avoid bunching or visible seams. They have a classic elastic waistband, a traditional fly, and a regular rise, and they also have some elasticity in the leg opening designed to keep them from riding up or bunching.
Best supersoft boxer briefs
Fabric: Micromodal and elastane | Fly: No fly or traditional fly | Waistband: Exposed elastic | Fit: Regular rise, 6-inch inseam, sizes S–4XL
Melideo and actor-model Kyle Andrew are fans of MeUndies for the same reason: their feel. That’s thanks to the fabric. MeUndies are made of micromodal, a type of rayon that is known for its softness and resistance to shrinkage (it also has moisture-wicking properties). Melidio describes them as “supersoft,” and Andrew agrees that the brand’s fabrics are “oddly soft.” Former Strategist associate editor Louis Cheslaw wears MeUndies boxer briefs not only because of their aforementioned softness but because they “never ride up, fray, or tighten at the waistband no matter how many NYC-laundromat drying cycles you blast them with,” he says. You can choose between no fly at all or a traditional fly as well as more than 70 colors and prints.
Best long-leg boxer briefs
Fabric: Micromodal and spandex | Fly: Horizontal fly | Waistband: Logo exposed elastic | Fit: Regular rise, 8-inch inseam, sizes S–2XL
Several folks we spoke to named Tommy John boxer briefs as their favorite. Guy is a big fan of the micromodal fabric used in these Second Skin boxer briefs, which have an eight-inch inseam so the leg openings will fall closer to the knee. “The non-pilling blend wicks moisture away from the skin better than pure cotton, which means you feel drier and more comfortable throughout the day,” he says. Guy told us he “bought a pair of boxer briefs from Zimmerli, widely regarded as the best maker in the world, for $150,” but says his Tommy Johns have proven even better than those over time. They have a horizontal fly, which Megan Collins, founder of menswear site Style Girlfriend, says her best friend’s husband raves about. “I was skeptical when I first heard about it,” she says of the style, which is designed to feel more secure, but notes that since he tried the Second Skin boxer briefs, he now prefers them over other options. Cuadro likes their fit, wide waistband, and ultrasoft fabric that he says hasn’t pilled over the course of many years and washes. (If you want a longer leg but find that an eight-inch inseam is overkill, Second Skin boxer briefs also come in a six-inch inseam.)
Best extra-supportive boxer briefs
Fabric: 95% viscose, 5% elastane | Fly: Traditional | Waistband: Logo exposed elastic | Fit: Regular rise, 5-inch inseam, sizes XS–2XL
We first learned about Saxx boxer briefs and their supportive yet gentle “pouch” technology from actor Neil Patrick Harris. He told us that of all the brands and pairs he’s tried, these are the best. “They provide comfort and stability in a way that no other underpants do. It’s all about the pouch. I mean, I like some space. Neil-y no like-y smashie,” he says.
Additional reporting by Jordan Bowman, Louis Cheslaw, and Karen Iorio Adelson
• Kyle Andrew, model and actor
• Chris Black, former Strategist columnist
• Jordan Bowman, former Strategist writer
• Jessica Cadmus, wardrobe stylist
• Andrew Chen, founder of menswear brand 3sixteen
• Megan Collins, founder of menswear site Style Girlfriend
• Barron Cuadro, founding editor of Effortless Gent
• Chris Echevarria, creator of the footwear brand Blackstock & Weber
• Christopher Fenimore, street-style photographer
• Tan France, Queer Eye stylist
• Derek Guy, editor at Put This On and blogger at Die, Workwear
• Neil Patrick Harris, actor
• Nicolás Lazaro, community specialist at menswear resale site Grailed
• Malcolm McNeil, photographer
• Tim Melideo, editor of men’s fashion website Stay Classic
• Sam Schmieg, photographer
• Phillip Wong, co-founder and creative director of Hawthorne
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