Men’s Underwear Styles

There are more men’s underwear styles today than ever before. The types of underwear for men, in fact, are so varied that you could wear a different cut of underwear each day of the week for months. The Underwear Expert’s men’s underwear styles guide breaks down all the types of underwear for men in an easy to read and informative format.

In our expert style guide, you’ll find men’s underwear styles and information including:

  • Pro’s and con’s of each of the different men’s underwear styles.
  • Where the design of the different types of underwear for men originated.
  • Which of the men’s underwear styles will work best for you, and why.


Perfect for:  Moderate Sports, Everyday, Dressing Up, Going Out

Most guys own a pair of briefs, and for good reason.  They’re your standard, run-of-the mill underwear and come in a variety of different rises, designs and variations.  They cover your entire backside and package, but leave the upper thigh and side of the leg exposed making them comfortable to wear under just about anything. Briefs are perfect for guys who need support or prefer to keep everything in one place but don’t care for the excess fabric found in boxer briefs, boxers or trunks; a well-made brief can even provide a little lift.  They now come in low, medium and high-rise and more than ever, more flavorful cuts that accentuate the profile and back-side.

Low-rise Brief:  Low-rise briefs sit below the natural waistline on the hips giving you just enough fabric to cover you up, and not much more; additionally, many are engineered to enhance the package.
Wear With:  Low-rise jeans and shorts, workout pants and shorts.

Mid-rise Brief:  The waistband of a mid-rise briefs sits at the natural waistline.
Wear With: Regular cut jeans, dress pants and board shorts.

High-rise Brief:  The waistband of a high-rise brief sits right below the belly button, providing a more traditional fit.  A high-rise brief can streamline the waist, eliminating love handles and smoothing the stomach.
Wear With: High-waisted pants.

Boxer Briefs

Perfect for:  Moderate Sports, Everyday
Wear With:  Workout clothes and gym shorts, jeans, pants.

A true boxer brief will cover about half of your thigh, but many boxer briefs now cover about 1/3.  They offer protection from chaffing during workouts and sports, and often are made with a moderate rise on the waist.  They provide just about the same amount of support as a standard brief, and provide complete coverage.


Perfect for:  Everyday, Dressing Up, Going Out, Moderate Sports
Wear With:  Just about anything.

Trunks are quickly becoming a favorite cut for underwear among men in the know.  Why? A trunk cut is a hybrid of a brief and boxer brief without the heap of fabric (in other words, they’re boxer briefs with short legs and a square cut appearance). If you like briefs but want to try something a little different, you should try trunks.


Perfect for:  Everyday, Casual Sports, Going Out

Boxers are loose-fitting underwear with no support and more breathability than any other undergarment. Many boxer shorts have an open fly allowing the user an exit route with maximum ease. Boxer short styles are varied, spanning from the underwear you may associate with your Grandfather, to trendier, slimmer ones.

Relaxed Fit:  Boxers are traditionally slightly baggy allowing for maximum leg movement.
Wear With:  Baggier Pants, Pajamas, and shorts.

Slim Fit:  Boxer Shorts are now available in a slim fit, which provide for a loose fit, but are able to be worn under slim-cut pants.
Wear With:  Slim-cut pants, tailored dress pants, shorts.


Perfect for:  Rigorous Sports
Wear With:  Uniforms, Tight Pants, Bike Shorts.

Jockstraps offer complete frontal support and protection, but lack fabric to cover the backside.  They often lift the package up and away from the body resulting in a cooler and dryer wear than basic briefs.  The pouch is harnessed with two leg bands that fall to the sides of the glutes on the upper thigh and connect between the legs to the underside of the pouch.  Cups can be inserted into some jockstraps for protection during rigorous activities like sparring and martial arts.


Perfect for:  Everyday, Dressing Up, Going Out, Relaxing
Wear With:  Tight Pants, Shorts, Gym Shorts, Pajamas.

Men’s bikini bottoms, often designed without waistbands and flys, are used mostly for sunbathing and recreation unless, of course, you’re a bodybuilder, in which case they’d be used as a uniform.  With more material than a g-string and jockstrap, bikini bottoms are acceptable in public and are in many cultures preferred to traditional swim trunks.  Gaining popularity among women in the very early part of the 20th century, bikinis are a possible predecessor of the standard brief, originally sold in 1935.  Bikini’s haven’t made much progress in design for most of their history, but Sasha Baron Cohen  recently made a different take on the bikini famous: the mankini.  A sling bikini that stretches to the shoulders and back leaves the hips and butt bare and very well could be the future of swimwear.  Maybe.

Long Underwear

Perfect for:  Cold Weather, Relaxing
Wear With:  Warm weather pants.

Also known as long-johns and thermal underwear, long underwear has an interesting history.  Originally designed for women in the  19th century seeking less restricting garments, long underwear was actually part of a one-piece garment called the unionsuit.  It quickly caught on with men and was used by working men well into the twentieth century.  Popular for its thermal qualities and rear flap, otherwise known as the “access hatch,”  “drop seat,” or “firemen’s flap,” unionsuits quickly evolved into two piece garments that were worn during colder weather.  Now, a staple in men’s and women’s cold weather wardrobes, long underwear comes in form fitting and lightweight fabrics with moisture wicking properties for optimum comfort on the season’s coldest days.  And most importantly, they’re just like, really cute.


Perfect for:  Everyday, Relaxing, Going Out,
Wear With:  Just about anything.

Not for the faint of heart, or for the avid athlete, g-strings are pretty much as bare minimum as underwear comes.  A thin piece of fabric connects a pouch to the waistband in the back leaving the glutes fully exposed.  Perfect for an underwear fetish, or for men that like their jeans extra tight without having to worry about underwear lines or going commando, the g-string is both an erotic and sensible alternative to more… wholesome underwear.

The men’s underwear industry has exploded with innovations and technology. The astonishing amount of different types of underwear and the variations on each of the different men’s underwear styles are too many to count. For example, briefs aren’t just briefs anymore—not at all; briefs come in low-rise, medium-rise, high-rise, multiple cuts that can expose or hide various parts of your body and a dizzying array of different pouches. Men’s underwear styles now also feature a never-ending list of underwear “add-ons” including:

  • Waist minimizing waistbands.
  • Butt enhancing cuts.
  • Package boosting pouches.
  • Fast-drying fabrics.
  • Anatomically correct designs.
  • …and many more.

Learning about the types of underwear for men that are available, and the various innovations in men’s underwear styles could be a daunting task. With The Underwear Expert’s men’s underwear styles guide, however, everything is spelled out for you so that you can focus on what really matters: looking good in your underwear.

15 thoughts on “Men’s Underwear Styles

  1. Robert Moore says:

    I would like to see an interactive catalog order site. On this site, you could pick the fabric, style, rise, length and anything wanted in particular (like package enhancing) and you could match against brands and products on the market.

    • CASPER GORNIOK says:

      Fine in theory – but I’m sure very expensive. I’m aware of custom “posing suits” for athletes, and they cost $80 and more. Out of most people’s price range, I am sure

  2. John says:

    Why do the sizes come in 32-34, 36-38. And they skip 35? My waist is a 35 and I never know to try a medium or large. They even skip it in slacks, why?
    I’m 6’1, 195 lbs; every thing I buy leans to be on the larger size, unfortunately, it’s always a little loose!

  3. steve wiczen says:

    it seems designers and manufacturers for get that larger men also wear underwear, and would like somew style also. so hard to find stylish underwear that I can wear.

    • Bill L. says:

      Yes as a bigger man where can I find bikini or thong style underwear. I find that a lot of companies don’t make these styles for big men. I’m tired of being pushed to wear boxers!

      • reginald says:

        who would want to see that anyway. ya sayin you’re bigger in da package…think not! biggr all ova an no one wants ta see dat bro.

  4. Steven A. Jones Olivehurst, CA says:

    Reginald- Shut it. Being a “Big Man” in the XXL+ clothing size range should NOT be grounds for exclusion from style. Rest assured YOU would NOT have to worry about seeing us anyway, with a cold, immature, spoiled, pretty-boy attitude like that. Anyway, enough about Reginald.
    I have been stuck shopping at Wal-Mart of all places, and once in a while JCPenney and their 20′ x 40′ Big and Tall section (at the location nearest to me). The styles of clothing that ARE available for us larger guys are often plain, and sometimes just ugly. I am 37 years old and like some of the styles of clothing aimed at younger adults. I prefer to dress casual, not grungy or gangstah or grandpa. I have tried JCPenney, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Sear’s, and even the catalogs of KingSize and BigN’Tall. At the Macy’s store in the Arden Fair Mall in Sacramento, California, I was looking for a shirt and shorts outfit. I spent an hour combing every inch of the men’s department, and, nothing. I asked an employee about larger sizes and, to my fury, was referred to the gangstah section or ordering online or from the catalog. I was pissed! I have explored brands like Andrew Christian, Undergear, etc., and have been met with an empty feeling. I emailed their customer services and got only robo-replies. But the problem goes beyond underwear as I illustrated earlier.
    I have been unable to find the clothes I like, in my size, consistently, anywhere so far. I think it is time for the Million Fat Man March! I am tired of being made to feel like my money isn’t good enough for the department stores, or that I am not attractive enough to be able to shop in-store. It’s no wonder that there is such a Reginald-esque view of heavier guys and sexiness. How can we be sexy if we cannot dress sexy? How can we look our best in ANY situation if we are denied the clothing we feel most ourselves in? We should form an online petition and send it to all the department stores and their designers. Let’s let them know that we are tired of not being able to wear the clothes we want. If that is just too dramatic, then maybe we should just start raising our own cotton, silkworms, etc, get out the mortar-and-pestle and some flowers and powders and start mixing dyes, and weave our own revolutionary business: XL On Style! And if that were to get going, no sizes smaller than XL (38″ Waist). Show the department stores how it feels.
    Anyway, (takes a long breath), just a rant I have had building up for about 20 years now. Anyone else feel the same way? Anyone have any tips on stores that DO meet our needs? EMAIL me at [email protected].

  5. David DiGregorio says:


  6. Michael Mills says:

    I think loose boxers are so out of fashion, plus I tried them years ago to see what all the fuss was about and they were awful to wear. I much prefer briefs, usually Hanes, Fruit of the Loom or Jockey High Rise Y-Fronts

  7. Ethan says:

    I been wearing men thongs and men fashion/bikini type underwear since I was 16 yr. old; I also been on swim teams wearing speedo since I was 7 yr. old. Today, I’m 25 and my girlfriend love seeing me in them and want me to wear a speedo when we go to the beach or pool. It is great that she enjoy me wearing them because I like wearing them. Most girls that I dated did not have an issue with me wear thong or speedo. I’m in good shape and I’m sure that helps.

  8. Malte says:

    Why is the type underwear defined by the activity you do?? What about categorizing it by size of the penis?

    Tell me, which underwear, especially which brand is best for very well endowed men??
    It used to be “Andrew Christian” or “Obviously for men” and ERGO but their new collections are to small for “big” but slim men.

    It’s 2015 and nothing has improved,…. (i guess it is the same issue for men with smaller penis)

Leave a Reply