The Bare Essentials

A Brief Overview of Men’s Underwear

A symbol on the chest, a tight spandex suit and underwear on the outside… Many superheroes put a lot of consideration into how they incorporate underpants into their more-flashy-than-functional costumes.

For many mortal men, however, underpants are probably one of those things that would comfortably sit on top of the list of ‘least fun things to buy’. Even the most seasoned shopper occasionally stands guilty of investing little to no thought when purchasing these highly undervalued staple items.

However, even though it’s an item that no one will see, it’s still an important clothing piece, which shouldn’t be downplayed. Since no one wants to feel their undies pinching, sagging, rolling, or rising up all day, it’s important that your best bits always have the finest fit.

So, here’s what you need to know about choosing what you wear, under there:


Boxer shorts are loose and offer little support, making them perfect for sleeping. They come with an elastic waistband and a button fly and straight leg openings with a short inseam. Boxers are usually made of absorbent cotton, perfect for those hot summer nights.

But before you run to the boxer aisle, remember they do have a tendency to bunch up underneath clothing and don’t work well with skinny jeans or trim cut pants. The loose and airy fabric also means they are not supportive enough for physical activities.


The most classic silhouette of underwear (think tighty-whities), briefs provide super support for athletes while leaving the legs exposed for easier movement. Choose a classic cut for a slightly more covered fit, the trendier low-rise briefs for those who prefer a closer-to-the-body feel, or the side-less sport-brief to achieve the maximum athletic mobility of a jockstrap with slightly more coverage.


It’s time for the best of both worlds, boys! Boxer briefs are cut like a tapered boxer with the snug and supportive fit of the briefs. They are excellent for physical activity and look especially good even if you are not in your best shape. When it comes to cons, we’re still waiting for these to expose themselves.

Material Matters

Whether you choose boxers, briefs or decide to drop the knickers altogether; it’s important to consider what materials you’re letting close to your… *cough*. That’s right: material actually does matter. Men, just like women, should choose cotton or synthetic blends for everyday wear and save the more luxurious silks and other fun fabrics for special occasions.

If you’ve decided to go commando, remember that dancing the night away first is going to have a sweaty outcome, which is not ideal. Keep the fresh, breezy feel for occasions with a predictable outcome.

The Hot and Cold of It

When it comes to choosing your undergarments, you would think that comfort comes first, right? Not if you’re thinking of starting a family. According to Dr. Jorge Chavarro, associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard, briefs can raise the temperature of the scrotum, which can lower sperm counts.

This is because testicles hang outside the male body to keep them about two degrees cooler than our normal body temperature. When you sport tight underwear that keeps your testicles close to your body, you risk overheating them and hindering healthy sperm production.

The Bottom Line

Go with whatever fits your lifestyle and comfort standards. There are enough styles and cuts to ensure you get the comfort and function that meets your needs best. If you’re unsure of the effect it may have on your fertility, speak to a urologist before making a choice.

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