Cotton is classic, comfortable and durable, but there’s a reason it’s seldom used as the primary fabric for workout gear. That reason is all about sweat. While some fabrics are moisture-wicking, cotton is moisture absorbing — that’s why it’s used for towels and makeup pads but not in the best men’s underwear for working out.
So while our favorite boxer briefs are made from cotton blends, that’s the last thing we look for in men’s workout underwear.
When you’re exercising, the last thing you want is clothing so damp you have to cut it off yourself. Nowhere is dryness more important than your underwear. If you’re planning on doing serious working out, you may want to leave your cotton Calvins in the drawer and reach for the best workout underwear instead.
What To Look for in the Best Workout Underwear
Like the best face masks for running or compression leggings, the best workout underwear for men will be made of stretchy, moisture-wicking performance materials — typically polyester, spandex or a combination of the two — that properly wick sweat to keep you dry during long workouts. While polyester is most common, you can also find performance underwear made from nylon and even merino wool.
In addition to material, the best workout underwear for men also features a seam-free or smooth design that prevents chafing. One detail you’ll frequently see is a flatlock seam. Flatlock seams are made by taking the edges of the fabric and sewing them end to end, instead of folding them over. This reduces bulk and can help cut down on chafing. Likewise, many performance boxer briefs feature four-way stretch so that your underwear moves with you.
Finally, it’s worth considering brand name when shopping for workout boxers or compression shorts. In our experience, you can trust underwear from brands like Under Armour, Adidas and other familiar fitness apparel brands.
Read on for our picks of the best workout underwear for men to buy right now.
1. Under Armour Men’s Tech 6-inch Boxerjock
These boxer briefs from Under Armour are anything but brief — the 6″ length provides great coverage, all the way down above the knees. That means that they’re less likely to ride up while you’re working out. The breathable polyester fabric has plenty of stretch to allow you to move. And, unlike many workout boxers, these actually have a functional fly.
2. Adidas Men’s Performance Boxer Briefs
Want another pair of workout underwear for men in your underwear drawer? Then check these out. These Adidas boxers are made from a polyester-spandex blend that dries quickly and moves with you. They come in a pack of two, making them a good value. They’re designed to not ride up while you work out, and the angular stitching is designed to resist common chafing points.
3. Uniqlo Airism Mesh Boxer Briefs
While not expressly designed for performance, Uniqlo’s Airism line is made from breathable fabrics that keep you cool when working out. These boxer briefs have a classic, simple design, while the mesh fabric quickly moves moisture away from the body. They have plenty of spandex to easily move in.
4. Mack Weldon AIRKNITx Boxer Brief
We’re huge fans of Mack Weldon here at SPY. From the world’s best sweatpants (which we named the best sweatpants two years in a row in our end-of-year product awards, the 2021 Man), to incredible undies you won’t believe are so comfortable during workouts, Mack Weldon truly has it all. The AIRKNITx Boxer Briefs are a cooling underwear built with moisture-wicking and odor-wicking materials to keep you dry and cozy during any and all workouts. In addition, the boxer briefs don’t roll up at the waistband or legs so you won’t get uncomfortable during workouts. Complete with a flyless pouch, these are definitely a pair of undies everyone’s going to want to slip into.
5. New Balance Men’s Boxer Brief 3-Pack
This 3-pack from New Balance is available in a wide variety of colors, including subdued options like this blue, gray and black pack as well as more vibrant hues like pink and bright blue. The 6″ inseam is a good medium length, and the comfortable tagless elastic waistband is designed to go unnoticed.
6. Smartwool Merino Sport Boxer Briefs
Wearing wool on your crown jewels might sound like the most uncomfortable thing in the world, but these boxer briefs aren’t just made from the usual itchy stuff — they’re made from merino wool, which is prized for its softness. Merino is also an exceptional performance fabric — it’s quick-drying and moisture-wicking, while still retaining the benefits of natural fabric that synthetics simply can’t replicate. These boxer briefs are made from a blend of merino and polyester. The flatlock seams prevent chafing, while the double-front panel provides extra support.
7. ExOfficio Give-N-Go 2.0 Boxer Briefs
ExOfficio might sound more like a traditional papal title than an underwear brand, but the company makes a variety of great performance and adventure clothing. These boxer briefs are made from a blend of spandex and nylon, rather than polyester. Nylon is noted for its durability as a synthetic, so these boxer briefs will last many washes. Like other performance options, these have flatlock seams to reduce chafing.
8. lululemon Rapid Vent Tech Boxer 7″
Looking for a pair of 7-inch boxer briefs that can handle everything you put them through? Well, you’ve found them. The lululemon Rapid Vent Tech Boxers are your classic pair of boxer briefs designed for all sweaty situations. They’re as breathable as can be with a lightweight construction to help you sweat less. Because there are no seams, the underwear won’t chafe on your skin or leave you uncomfortable as you get your work in. To top it all off, mesh is placed in extra sweaty areas so you can get on with your workout and sweat less.
9. Reebok Men’s Compression Performance Boxer Briefs
These boxer briefs from Reebok have a 9″ inseam, providing extra coverage and compression benefits. They’re made from a blend of polyester and spandex, making them quick-drying and stretchy. The front pouch design adds extra support where you need it.
10. Champion Men’s Lightweight Stretch Boxer Briefs
This three-pack option from Champion has a simple black design, and the polyester blend offers ample breathability, stretch and moisture-wicking properties. It resists odors throughout so you don’t stink as you work out and they don’t ride up during exercise.