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.
Men's Underwear Styles
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.
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.
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.