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.



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.


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.

51 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.

      • Patrick says:

        Bigger guys should wear bikini or thong really (to be attractive in a thong takes a great bod, on the slimmer side); It’s best to dress along your own physiognomy. You don’t have to wear skirt like shorts, but your body type would be enhanced with a mid rise brief or trunks. Of course you can do whatever you choose, but wearing a very small piece of garment bring more attention to the rest of your body; It optically enlarge it.

    • Robert Moore says:

      I agree. For example, trunk briefs are only available to xl. A big man could really benefit from a lower rise as the waste band on a typical brief or Boxer Brief is typically pushed down by a larger belly.

  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. 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

  6. Fred Trujillo says:

    I love most men’s underwear, except loose cotton boxers. Right now I’m into short boxer briefs.

  7. michael whitworth says:

    how does a man 200 pounds find sexy lacey underwear that fit will and the band does not roll down ?

    • DaninMCI says:

      Many Bodyaware styles come in 2XL or larger. I’m 210 and 6’2″ and find many that fit me well. I enjoy small bikini type underwear and own many from there with no issues. Xdress does as well but a little more daring.

  8. 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.

  9. 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)

    • Braeden says:

      Yes I agree. I’m also a little bigger than ‘average’ guy, and have the same problem with the size of the pouch being too confining. You’re also right about Obviously. They also havea line with a fuller size pouch. But I live in South America where the dudes tend to be “bigger”, and it’s easier to find comfortable underwear. Good luck bro

  10. Peak says:

    I am a big guy who just lost about 90lbs and have another 90 or so to go. My problem throughout my “Bigness” has been finding underwear with a wide waist band that wont “Roll” on you. For you skinny guys, guys with bellies need a wide waistbands for the underwear to stay up. I wear boxer briefs and cannot find any wide waistband underwear. One of the best things about hitting my 75-80lb weight loss area was I was able to fit back in the only underwear I ever found wear the wide waistband did not roll on me; and of all places it was the Walmart Life Brand from ten years ago. While Walmart still carries their own Life brand underwear, the wide waistband boxer briefs are no longer made. the bands on this underwear were close to 2″ wide. I heard the Duluth and Exoficio have wide 1 1/2″ waist bands, but I do not want to invest that kind of money, if they’re only going to roll. My Walmart specials are wearing out badly and I need to replace them! Anyone know of any 2″ waistband underwear? Help!!

    • Peak says:

      Damn, I posted this two months agao; No One has any suggestions for a wide waist band boxer brief??

    • Maya says:

      Oh! I had no clue, men find issues with their clothing too. especially the intimates. Its nice to know you guys have special needs too.. just like women.. and a little sexy that you pay attention to detail. although I stumbled onto this site for fun, I think it might be a great idea to tell all my male friends abt it… woo ! hoo !

  11. Edward says:

    Why is it that nowhere on your site does it mention men’s “C String” underwear? I have done a search on the site but nothing comes up. I have seen this style on other websites for at least a couple of years now yet no mention of it here. ???

  12. John Bindas says:

    I have searched for underwear with a FLY, Years ago they had them, but had no pouch, you just got choked. I get tired having to drop my pants to take a wiz.

  13. Charles Anctil says:

    I have asked several times can you let me, and others know what brands offer butt enhancers. We older guys loose the shape of our butts and would like to have something so that it looks like we have a butt again. And the plus side is it helps to hold our pants up. I hope that I get an answer this time.

  14. Seth says:

    I’ve been wearing jockstraps for about 15 years consistantly as daily wear. I prefer more the athletic type such as McDavid’s 2.5-3inch waistband or similar styles. I don’t go for the narrower bands. I love their functionality and sexyness as I wear them daily.

  15. Cam says:

    Hey I’m a chubbier guy and I’m looking for something other than briefs and I’m willing to be daring. I am grow not a shower so i would like support but since I’m a bigger guy I need something that won’t make me sweat. Help please!!!

  16. Benjamin Chan says:

    I wear boxer briefs and trunks, but sometimes I get a wedgie. Is it because I am pulling them up too high like tighty-whities or is there a certain way to wear boxer briefs and trunks that won’t make for wedgie maintenance?

  17. jerry stebe says:

    I need a low rise brief and my waist is 35 ,, all the medium are 32-34 which is a 33 , all the large are a 36-38 which are a 37 . where are the 35 ,they might as well just make a one size fits all .

    • T.M. says:

      I wear a 36-38 jeans depends on the brand and a medium 32-34 underwear in several brands fits just fine, not sure why your having a problem unless your just weird about needing it to say your size on it???? I”d be more concerned about what feels right then what it says on the tag.

  18. Shawn says:

    may I ask in the first video, what’s your waist size and the size of the teamm8 briefs? I really like them. I’ve been thinking for a while if I should buy them. Now that I just came across you wearing them in the video and they looking really good on you, I hope you would see my comment and maybe even replay. I am short and thin so I am concerned if they will be too big for me.

  19. Nick says:

    Try the HOM range of underwear. It is amazingly comfortable, well designed and unrivalled for overall quality. Not cheap – far from it – but well worth the investment. Range of designs and fabrics to suit all tastes. I have now completely switched to this superb brand.

  20. shanmuga says:

    i need a trunk or boxer brief with separate pouch for penis and balls. my size is 36-38 inch. please suggest the website where i can order it.

  21. tom says:

    Need briefs with a high rise and wide waist band. Tried a few Jockey etc. I bend over they slide off my butt. I am very tall.

  22. Peter says:

    this may sound silly… but how do we actually know how each pair should fit one’s body when talking about “rise”??

    i mean… how do we objectively know whether we are wearing one certain pair to the height it’s meant to be worn up one’s body? could a guy say that he wears undies properly if he always makes their so-called “waistbands” sit on his hips without even asking such a thing as “low/mid/high-rise”, no matter how loose or tight that pair would feel (like many of us do)? maybe are we meant to pull them up as much as possible? this still remains a mystery to me…

    (note that i’m not talking about choosing the best size since I understand it depends on waist measurement. that’s a different question)

    in short, i wonder: how is tight underwear supposed be put on?

  23. Rick Vermunt says:

    There are so many variants in male lingerie/underwear we are almost getting the same choice as the ladies. Many ladies are now buying their men lingerie to spice up their erotic encounters and I think that is a good thing. Me personally though I like something that is going to give me comfort and security and low-rise briefs are the choice for me.

  24. Spencer says:

    @ the author:

    Hey, can you include pictures or something, rather than solely videos? Not everyone likes watching videos and you’ve already included text for these people. Please go one step further and add either new photos or stills from the videos for reference. (I.e., put a picture of the type of underwear at the top, put a diagram or something below, etc.)

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