Much like socks, the best men’s underwear should be comfortable, durable, and stylish. But those words mean different things for different people. Most men are quite picky about their underwear and many have strong opinions about which style and brand is best. Here, we do not set out to resolve the great brief-versus-boxer debate. Instead, we’re featuring some of the best options recommended to us by stylists, fitness professionals, and other discerning and active men across all categories. We also scoured our archives for underwear recommendations from other interesting men, like actor Neil Patrick Harris, Tan France, and Rick Ross.
For ease of navigation, we sorted their selections into five categories: boxer briefs, briefs, trunks, boxers, and performance underwear. Click through if you know exactly what you’re looking for, or read on to see all the favorite pairs our cool guys recommended — from reliable everyday choices to giftable luxury brands. Yes, there’s a lot of Calvin Klein, but there are plenty of other options too.
Best boxer briefs
Boxer briefs were the most popular underwear style among the men we spoke to. Of all the pairs we heard about, none received more recommendations than Uniqlo’s simple and affordable supima-cotton pair, which five guys (or six, if you count contributor Chris Black) told us they swear by. One of those guys, photographer Sam Schmieg, says these are even superior to Calvins. “I wore Calvin Klein for a minute, but at this price and comfort level, I can’t pass up Uniqlo,” he says. “They’re soft, breathable, and keep their shape well even after many washes.” Other fans include Malcolm McNeil, a photographer and the content manager at rare-sneaker dealer Flight Club, street-style photographer Christopher Fenimore, menswear brand 3sixteen founder Andrew Chen, and Elliott Foos, formerly the director of coffee at Daymoves in Williamsburg, who adds that “Uniqlo’s basics are unrivaled, and these carry the torch. I’ve been into these for three-plus years (I’ve been re-upping, don’t stress), and I love them.” He personally likes to “keep it classic” with the monochrome black, but notes that “if you feel you need a statement piece, other colors are available.”
For a pair of Uniqlo boxer briefs that feel even more barely there than those above, two guys recommend this style from the brand’s AIRism line. Nicolás Lazaro, a community specialist at menswear resale platform Grailed, says he used to wear cotton boxer briefs like the pair above but has “never looked back” since switching to these. “You’ll forget you even have them on,” he says, describing the boxer briefs as “ultralightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking, with enough stretch for comfort while still providing the necessary support.” Lazaro adds that the underwear dries so quickly he can just handwash and hang dry it overnight if he’s ever in a pinch. Publicist Nick Roberts, the founder of Lawrence & Co., is another fan, telling us they’re “extremely comfortable, and, at $15 apiece, I can stock up knowing I’m getting good quality for the price point.”
While typically more expensive than Uniqlo’s boxer briefs, Calvin Klein’s are as classic as it gets (and, when bought in a multipack, are actually a pretty good deal). This pair, also featured in our list of the best boxer briefs for men, is “exceptional, not too tight, and very low maintenance,” according to Phillip Wong, the co-founder and creative director of men’s skin-care and grooming line Hawthorne. While they come in a plethora of colors, style editor Ian Taylor says sticking with darker tones is your best bet. “Grays and blacks have a bit more of a shelf life,” he explains. “White looks great when it’s photographed on a model with a six-pack, but if you’ve been wearing them for six months, they won’t look quite as pristine.”
Saxx underwear was mentioned by a few of the guys we spoke with, many of whom noted how much they like the company’s signature supportive pouch. (Celebrities like Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional and Neil Patrick Harris are also fans of the brand.) Cory Ohlendorf, the editor-in-chief of men’s style platform Valet., told us he’s swears by these “Platinum” boxer briefs. “I’ve tried a lot of underwear over the years, but this is the only brand that ticks all the boxes. They’re thin, supersoft, and yet extremely durable — I can wear them working out or on a ten-hour flight and be completely comfortable the whole time.” That’s because, according to Ohlendorf, the underwear is sewn to mold around your body shape. He’s also a fan of the aforementioned support pouch, which he says “without getting too graphic, means that readjusting is a thing of the past.”
In starting his sock brand Kane 11, Peter Hunsinger did a lot of research into what makes a great men’s basic. For underwear, he says he’s “an Under Armour guy,” describing the company’s Boxerjock boxer briefs as “far and away the best” there is. “They have support, they’re stylish, and, most of all, they’re supercomfortable, with a fit that’s second to none,” he says. Hunsinger adds that while he wears the shorter six-inch style most of the time, in the winter he has “a couple of the nine-inch versions for the extra warmth.”
Ralph Lauren creative producer Yale Breslin’s favorite boxer briefs also come from an athletic brand. While there’s no reason you couldn’t wear these (or Hunsinger’s Under Armour pair) for working out, the fact that both men told us these are their everyday underwear led us to include them here and not with the best performance underwear further down on this list. Breslin calls his favorite New Balance pair the “perfect boxer brief that makes me feel athletic even when I’m doing absolutely nothing.” Describing the feel as “tight and smooth,” he adds that there’s also “this little pocket that is so unnecessary but makes me feel like a badass at all times. Never know what I’m going to hide!”
Thomas Fortune, the creative director for footwear brand Stubbs & Wootton, is another who favors Calvin Klein boxer briefs, which he has been “wearing since he’s been old enough to remember.” His favorite pair is notably made without cotton, but rather a nylon-and-elastane blend. “The microfiber stretch is perfect for preventing the boxer riding up your leg (the worst) and also allows the skin to breathe.” They’re on the m