Fabric Glossary

Acrylic A synthetic fiber known for its wicking capabilities due to its quick drying time, Acrylic adds strength and durability to fabrics.
Bamboo Made from the pulp of bamboo grass, Bamboo fabric is light and strong. It has wicking properties, is somewhat antibacterial, and is perfect for those with allergic reactions to other alternative fibers, like wool and hemp.
Combed Cotton A type of extremely soft and lustrous Cotton subjected to an extra production step in which short fibers are removed, and remaining fibers are straightened.
Cotton A natural fiber approximately 3/8 to 2 inches long, Cotton is perhaps the most popular fiber for fabric in the world. It is soft, comfortable and breathes well.
COOLMAX® COOLMAX® is a series of specially engineered polyester fabrics with moisture wicking capabilities often used in active-wear. COOLMAX® fabrics are also resistant to fading, wrinkling and shrinking.
Latex Latex is made with rubber and therefore tends to be skin-tight. It’s used in elastics to enhance elasticity and has similar qualities to Spandex.
Microfiber Known for it’s moisture-wicking properties, Microfiber can be any manufactured synthetic fiber (poly or nylon.) Fabrics made with Microfiber are light-weight and durable, matching the qualities of natural fibers.
MicroModal® MicroModal® is the Microfiber version of Modal and is perhaps more ideal for intimate apparel due to its superior softness.
Modal Once considered an “artificial silk,” Modal is a type of Rayon and is smooth, soft and breathes extremely well. An extremely luxurious fabric, it’s cool to the touch, absorbent and similar in texture to Silk or Cotton. Unlike Cotton, however, it is resistant to shrinkage and less likely to fade or pill.
Nylon A synthetic fabric made from petroleum product, Nylon was first developed as an alternative to Silk. It’s lightweight, durable, resistant to damage, and has low moisture absorbency.
Organic Cotton Made from non-genetically altered plants, Organic Cotton is certified when grown without the use of agricultural chemicals.
Organza A semi-translucent, sheer fabric with a look and feel similar to Satin, Organza is a lightweight fabric blend of Nylon, Polyester, and Silk.
Pima Cotton With longer fibers than Cotton, Pima Cotton is known for its durability and absorbency.
Polyester An extremely durable synthetic fiber, Polyester has superb strength, resilience and generally does not wrinkle. It is quick drying, maintains shape and is known for it’s ability to hold color well.
Rayon A manufactured fiber made of regenerated cellulose derived from plant materials, Rayon has a soft and comfortable Silk-like feel.
Ring Spun Cotton Reproduced on ring frame equipment, Ring Spun Cotton is fine and extremely soft.
Satin A glossy fabric, Satin is made with Polyester, Acetate, Nylon and Rayon. Extremely soft, it is traditionally glossy on one side, and dull on the other.
Silk A filament fiber formed from proteins secreted by silkworms, Silk is known for its softness, insulation and strength.
Spandex Spandex, also known as Elastane, is a synthetic fiber made from polyurethane. An alternative to Latex, it is lightweight, elastic, durable, and resistant to moisture.
Supima® Cotton Supima® Cotton is the highest quality Cotton. It is made from long fibers, and provides a higher quality fabric than other Cottons.
Viscose Rayon Viscose is the oldest manufactured fiber, and is ideal for intimate apparel. It is soft and lightweight, and provides exceptional wicking capabilities. Fabrics made with Viscose Rayon are typically silk-like, and feel somewhat heavy against the skin.

Men’s Underwear Fabric Types for Every Man

Today, there’s an astonishing array of men’s underwear fabric types, combinations and blends; underwear is definitely not just made out of cotton anymore. Now, more than ever, you get more choice in what you wear and when you wear it. Men’s underwear fabric types are literally so varied that you could wear a different fabric or fabric blend each day of the year.
The Underwear Expert’s comprehensive men’s underwear fabric types glossary breaks down these options and details the fabrics you’ll find in today’s men’s underwear in clear, concise and easy to read terms. There’s a fabric for every guy out there. Men’s underwear fabric types include:

  • Luxury fabric blends.
  • Athletic and performance fabric combinations.
  • Quick-dry fabric
  • Every day and special occasion fabrics.
  • Easy-to-care-for fabrics.
  • Hypoallergenic fabrics.
  • All-natural fabric blends.
  • …and everything in between.

Now, with The Underwear Expert’s fabric glossary, you can find the fabric that’s right for you, so that you can make the most of your underwear.
Men’s underwear fabric types are currently driving the technical evolution of men’s underwear, too. Innovative enhancements are increasingly added to men’s underwear fabric types; they include:

  • Anti-microbial.
  • Wicking.
  • Fast-drying.
  • Anti-cling.
  • Anti-sag.
  • …and more.

These are just a few of the many innovations being incorporated into men’s underwear fabric types. Amazingly, the vast offerings of men’s underwear fabric types are even more varied than men’s underwear styles, which are now more varied than ever. Trust us: the more you know about fabrics, the better you’ll feel and the better you feel, the better your underwear looks.

43 thoughts on “Fabric Glossary

  1. Marina says:

    All rayon fibers like viscose, modal and micromodal, tend to the heavy pilling not only after washing or especially tumble drying, but after wearing – i. e. rubbing on other materials. The only viscose fiber that has no pilling effect is a registered Tencel – a high-end rayon jersey knit.

    Rayon fibers, as well as bambus, are very odour resistant. Then goes cotton. I would never recommend to buy any underwear made of synthetic fibers, because these fabrics don’t breathe. Not matter what fancy name they have – you will stink in a couple of hours 😉

  2. Darrin says:

    i am looking for underwear that are snug and fitted akin to compression but has a slippery feel akin to satin what do you recommend?

  3. Dev says:

    I am from India.. It is very hot here (about 110F)… which would be the best material for briefs / boxer/briefs?

    • Gaurav says:

      Hey Dev, you should use a mix of cotton with lycra/spandex, this makes the underwear breathable and dry during the day

  4. Dan says:

    I often do not wear underwear under my jeans as I get so hot… Any recommendations for something that is fitting and not hot? I want to wear something and feel as if I am not wearing anything. I also want support.

    • ASHA says:

      Hi Dan,

      You can very well go for Nylon elastic , which is very comfortable & it wont leave you any mark over the waistline .

    • vincent says:

      hey Dan, i think you should try modal, it meet your needs absolutely. if you choose modal lenzing modal is the best.

  5. Margret Meshy says:

    Thank you for all the information. would have been better if the fiber info was a lil more detailed.

  6. Amit Agrawal says:

    Hey, I am Amit from India. I am looking for a very soft elastic on waist of my underwear as I feel very uncomfortable in broad elastic waistbands and also elastic that feels tight on the waist. Which ones are good and what material. please let me know the brands.

  7. Edgar says:

    Got a pair of Viscose(Terry) Briefs from Modus Vivendi , Love them . Is there any other company making Terry underwear, If so can someone let me know. Also don t like my underwear with the line going thur the crouch area Very uncomfortable Do anyone has that problem. Let me know

  8. Waiaio says:

    I have a suggestion for the information layout.

    This is awesome information. Maybe a new table system could be developed where
    you can toggle between in-depth information (as already displayed) and a simplified
    grid layout.
    In the grid underwear material is shown in rows and in the columns are the
    qualities that the materials poses ie. breath-ability [7/10], fit [saggy], fades [tick],
    shrinks [tick].
    The layout shows boxes that indicate the qualities of the fabrics, thus highlighting
    ideal underwear material easily.

  9. viswanathan says:


    • Ashim says:

      !00% Cotton Single-Jersey means that the fabric has is a Plain-Knitted (single-jersey meaning) fabric and 100% Cotton yarn has been used. The term 160-180 GSM means that 1 square metre of the fabric weighs in a range of 160-180 grams.

  10. safwan says:

    Currently im wearing lycra underwear.and im feeling rash and itch around my genital area.is this is due to lycra fabric?if yes then tell me which fabric should I use..

  11. himanshu says:

    Which type of underwear and its material a man should wear if he working daily on field . Everyday 3 to 4 hr standing.

  12. Allen (South Carolina, US) says:

    This info is very helpful. I’ve fallen in love with Bamboo briefs, they are so soft and comfortable. As the weather gets warmer I’ve noticed that when I sweat they really retain the moisture without allowing it to evaporate like cotton does. I’ll use the above info to try a different material for warmer weather. I’m definitely curious about Supima cotton and modal.

  13. Ashim says:

    Use underwear made with 100% Combed Cotton knitted-fabric. “Cotton-Rich” or just “Cotton” stated on the underwear labels, imply that the product has been made with cotton and synthetic (eg polyester) fabrics.
    You may use boxer-briefs, made with 100% Combed Cotton fabric.

  14. David says:

    I’m a stocky guy, and I have alot of friction in the crotch portion of my underwear. I recently bought some new underwear and after a few wears they are already pilling. Any suggestions on the best way to combat this or type of underwear to buy?

  15. Don says:

    Looking for underwear that can make your stomach flat,something that has a front panel or the entire underwear that will help with a little extra on the stomach area…….most have some some spandex but are there any that have a higher percentage for this purpose.

  16. Spence says:

    You seem to be the NET expert on drawers. My wife and I are trying to have a child. The Dr. Says I need to wear boxers, but I hate them. Can you recommend a fabric that will “keep the boys cool” and still be supportive? Normally I’m a briefs Nylon blend or cotton guy.

  17. Kunal says:

    I want to know about the use of elastic in underwear. How can I know whether my underwear contains elastic or not? And I don’t want to wear it anymore. So can you please suggest me some brands which make the underwear without elastic.?

  18. George says:

    I have not heard of Supplex material before til I got CSX’s Trunks that has 92% Supplex and 8% Lycra. Can someone tell me what it is made of?

  19. Witt says:

    Hi, I developed a rash around the waist band area. My doctor diagnosed it as “polyester intolerance” and recommended that I get some 100 percent cotton briefs without the elastic waist band. Do you have any suggestions ? For now I am rolling the waistband down away from my waist, not very comfortable. The salve he recommended took care of the rash, by the way.

  20. Rich says:

    Try bigger underwear. I tried larger sizes of underwear and socks. They still fit perfectly. They’re just not as tight and has cut way down on the itching.

  21. Brian says:

    I want some cotton boxer briefs. I’ve been wearing cotton boxer briefs for decades and I’m comfortable with them and I like them. I recently needed new underwear so I bought some Hanes boxer briefs. I got them home only to find that they feel like pantyhose. I didn’t want nylon underwear.

    So I bought “Free Range Cotton Short Boxer Briefs” from Duluth Trading Company. The website says they are 94% cotton. They too feel a lot like pantyhose. WTF. When did every underwear manufacturer decide to switch to synthetic fabrics? I just want cotton underwear.

    Any ideas where to get some that actually feels like cotton?

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