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 you. 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 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 to buy right now.
Under Armour Men’s Tech 9-inch Boxerjock
These boxer briefs from Under Armour are anything but brief — the 9″ length provides extra coverage, all the way down to just above the knee. 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.
Adidas Men’s Performance Boxer Briefs
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.
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.
Smartwool Merino Sport 150 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 a 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.
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.
Calvin Klein Microfiber Boxer Briefs
Calvin Klein is best known for its comfortable (but not particularly workout-friendly) cotton underwear, but they also make boxer briefs that borrow elements from performance brands while retaining the classic, minimal look that Calvin Klein is known for. The boxer briefs are made from a microfiber polyester material that’s soft and quick-drying. The boxer briefs come in a pack of three.
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.
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.
Champion Men’s Performance Boxer Brief
This two-pack option from Champion has a simple black design, and the polyester/spandex blend offers ample breathability and stretch. They’re also designed to not ride up throughout your workout.