If we asked you to describe 2021 in a few words, what would you say?
Two steps forward, two steps back?
All fine options to describe a year that was both infinitely better than 2020 but also not quite what we wanted.
Hello, we’re SPY.com, and we’re here to introduce you to The 2021 Man, our end-of-year awards for the best men’s products. This year, we selected our editor’s favorite products in four categories:
Our editors and writers tested and reviewed so many products over the last 11 months, and for our end-of-year guide to the best men’s products of 2021, we wanted to bring the goods. We didn’t just review the products below; we actually use them in our daily lives.
In 2020, we didn’t live so much as we survived, which is why The 2020 Man featured so many self-care products, emergency kits and face masks. Thankfully, with 2021 came the return of travel, in-person events, and everything else we missed so much during the plague. This year, men returned to the world, whether it was for Hot Boy Summer, your friend’s wedding that was postponed last year or the return of music festivals like Bonnaroo and Coachella.
So for this year’s awards, we tried to pick the products men needed to make up for lost time and really live their best lives.
How We Chose The Winners for The 2021 Man
SPY.com writers and editors receive new products for testing on a daily basis, and we’re always on the lookout for new product launches. This year we saw a lot of companies expanding beyond their traditional product lines. Shave clubs like Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club introduced new skincare and body products. Fashion brands like Off-White, Entireworld (RIP) and Shinola debuted new eyewear collections. Celebrities like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Tom Brady proved that celebrity collaborations could actually be totally awesome. Case in point: the surprisingly stylish collaboration between Tom Brady and Christopher Cloos eyewear, pictured below.
If 2020 gave us anything, it was the mainstreaming of comfy clothing like athleisure, and this year we fell in love with new comfy boxers, t-shirts, joggers and slippers. Perhaps that’s why 2021 was also the year that Crocs officially became cool, against all odds. However, as millions of people returned to work, many of us suddenly realized we had completely forgotten how to dress, and so we’ve been busy covering the latest releases from brands like Rowing Blazers, Todd Snyder and Billy Reid.
We also tried to select products that we found especially useful this year, whether they were for keeping us healthy or getting us ready for the most epic tailgating experience of our lives. In our ‘Always Be Prepared’ category we’ve got portable generators, emergency kits and fun goodies that made it possible to make the most of life after surviving the plague, again.
Finally, we tested so many grooming products. Peek into the homes of SPY editors and you’ll find boxes on boxes full of skincare products, razors, shampoos and conditioners and the latest colognes.
Ultimately, we selected our editors’ favorite products for these awards. Many of these products were newly released in 2021, but some of them have actually been around for a few years. We wanted to recommend the best products, and as everyone who lived through COVID times knows all too well, newer doesn’t always mean better. That’s why some of our award winners from The 2020 Man make another appearance this year.
Keep scrolling for The 2021 Man by SPY.com. We think you’ll find something you like, if not for yourself then for one of the men on your holiday shopping list.
Original Images by Tyler Schoeber. Modeling by Daniel Diodato. SPY editors Barret Wertz, Tyler Schoeber, and Tim Werth contributed to this feature.
Always Be Prepared – The Best Products for Men Who Want To Be Ready for Anything
Last year, we didn’t love the fact that the best men’s products of the year included face masks and emergency kits. And while we’d hoped to put that kind of disaster prep behind us — and while we never want to see another face mask for as long as we live — it’s only become more important to prepare for worst-case scenarios in 2021.
Not only is COVID-19 very much in the air, but this year has also seen a non-stop barrage of forest fires, earthquakes, floods, political upheaval and truly WTF moments. For this category, we included all the miscellaneous gear men need to stay prepared — for disasters and fun alike.
Read on to find the best men’s products of the year in our “Always Be Prepared” category.
Always Be Prepared for Love – Lovehoney x WeVibe Couples Vibrator
BEST SEX TOY
Let’s start off with something fun, shall we? This year, SPY.com covered hundreds of sex toy products in our guides to the Best Male Sex Toys, the Best Couples Sex Toys, and the Best Places To Buy Sex Toys Online. Recently, two of our favorite sex toy brands teamed up for a special-edition vibrator that really stood out — the Lovehoney x WeVibe Couples Vibrator.
This is an affordable yet powerful vibrator for couples, and SPY’s product testers gave it 10/10 orgasms. If someone in your relationship has a vagina, then we highly recommend adding this to your bedroom toy chest.
Always Be Prepared To Party – The BrüMate Backtap
BEST BACKPACK COOLER
Tailgating’s back, baby. And, you know what that means: brews on brews on brews. BrüMate is one of our favorite brands here at SPY. We love that the company was founded by an entrepreneurial 21-year-old man, and it makes the best beer coozies in the world. This year, the BrüMate product we were most excited to review was the world’s first stainless steel backpack cooler with a built-in tap feature — The Backtap Cooler.
You can fill up this cooler with ice and pack it full of your favorite beer or hard seltzer, but you can also fill it directly with beer, wine or homemade cocktails and use it as a keg. The cooler itself is made from extremely durable stainless steel, and the backpack feature is constructed from premium materials. We couldn’t find any flaws in our product testing, and this is the perfect party companion for tailgates, camping adventures and beach bonfires.
We find that lots of cooler backpacks tend to leak and collect moisture on the exterior whilst melting ice way too quickly, but that doesn’t happen with the Backtap. According to BrüMate, this cooler “Holds 3 gallons of your favorite adult beverage, 14 slim cans (White Claw, Truly, Michelob Ultra), 12 standard 12oz beer cans, or 5 bottles of wine.”
Always Be Prepared To Go – Day Owl
This year, SPY readers bought hundreds of these backpacks, and so we decided to test them for ourselves. This backpack exceeded our very high expectations, and it’s so much more than meets the eye. First, it’s a stylish bag that comes in a ton of handsome colors, and it will serve you well whether you’re commuting to work or packing for a weekend trip. This bag comes in two sizes, and we recommend the larger size for men.
This backpack has tons of pockets including a water bottle sleeve and a padded laptop compartment. The material is durable and keeps your possessions dry even in heavy rain. Finally, the shoulder straps are extremely comfortable, so you can wear this backpack without any irritation.
SPY’s Site Director Tim Werth tested this backpack for us, and now he’s recommending it to everyone. “The first day that I tested this backpack I got caught in a really annoying surprise rainstorm, which was actually perfect for product testing purposes. When I got to work, my laptop and clothes were still dry, and the backpack itself dried out quickly. Seriously, I love this bag.”
Always Be Prepared for Disaster – JUDY Mover Max
2X AWARD WINNER / BEST EMERGENCY KIT
Last year, we included an unexpected category in our end-of-year awards — an emergency kit. We wish we didn’t feel compelled to include this category for 2021, but we also read the news. Once again, the JUDY Mover Max was the clear winner. This emergency kit has everything a family of four needs to survive for 72 hours in a disaster situation. The bag itself is made from a waterproof, high-visibility material.
Inside, you’ll find everything you need to survive — food and water, shelter, lights, first-aid gear, tools, hand warmers and, of course, KN95 face masks. In the best-case scenario, you’ll be able to stick this bag in a closet and never think of it again (it has a five-year shelf-life). In the worst-case scenario, you’ll be damn glad you have it. For this reason, it’s also one of our favorite gift ideas for impossible-to-shop-for men.
Always Be Prepared for Bumps and Bruises – Welly’s Excursion Kits
BEST FIRST-AID KITS
Welly’s is the perfect example of the Millennial design trend — take everyday items like bandages and travel medicine, increase the product quality, and wrap it up in an aesthetically pleasing design. Maybe that’s why our Millennial Site Director is also obsessed with the Welly Excursion Kit, Bravery Bandages and Travel Medicine Kits.
“I give these as gifts to everyone. For parents, there are some really adorable bandages that kids will love. For adults, the travel and adventure kits have literally everything you could need to deal with cuts, burns, bug bites, stomach aches, headaches, nausea and other small calamities.”
All Welly Kits come in a sturdy metal tin that will slip easily into a travel bag or kitchen cupboard, and we recommend buying a couple for your home and everyone on your Christmas shopping list.
Always Be Prepared To Power Up – Jackery Explorer Power Station
Given the past two years, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the world is getting … weird. Disease, floods, storms — we simply never know what life is going to throw at us anymore, and in terms of natural disasters, it doesn’t seem to be slowing down at all.
With that said, we rely heavily on our electronics nowadays. Phones, laptops, lights, you name it. Whenever the power goes out, we find ourselves panicking, wondering when we’re going to get that next charge in. But now that we have Jackery, that’s a worry of the past.
The Jackery Explorer Power Station offers numerous ways of plugging in, and this device will keep you charged up when camping and give some light when the power goes out. Multiple SPY editors have tested this power station (if you opt for the solar panels, it instantly transforms into a proper generator), and we think it’s a product you’ll love too. One of our editors took his Jackery to a music festival, and not only did it provide enough power for his entire group all weekend long, but even weeks later it still had almost a full charge (enough that we used it to power our lights during our photoshoot for this feature).
Always Be Prepared To Chill – YETI V Series Stainless Steel Cooler
BEST COOLER OVERALL
This is easily one of the most expensive items on our list of the best men’s products of 2021, but it’s so, so worth it. Multiple SPY editors absolutely swear by this beast of a cooler, which will keep your food and beverages ice cold for days on end. In fact, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which this cooler doesn’t keep your drinks cold enough for long enough.
Everyone who’s up for a good party should own a YETI. Sorry, we don’t make the rules, it’s just that YETI coolers are completely incomparable to any other cooler on the planet. This gorgeous stainless steel cooler has been created to transform the way you’re currently cooling drinks for your backyard BBQ or classic beach day bonanza. It’s insulated to the gods and has a classic look that will have everyone at your party eyeing it the entire time. This is the cooler every man’s been dreaming of — and we’re here to tell you that, yes, it exists.
Always Be Prepared To Thrive – Ritual
BEST VITAMIN SUBSCRIPTION
There have never been more options for guys who want to track their health and hack their bodies. Your smartwatch can monitor your sleep and heart rate 24/7, and vitamin subscription services deliver high-quality vitamins and supplements straight to your door. Whether you’re worried about heart disease, weight gain, hair loss, brain function or general wellbeing, you can find a vitamin subscription tailored to your needs. That did make it difficult to pick a winner, but ultimately we decided that only one brand offered the simplicity and convenience we needed in 2021 — Ritual.
SPY’s Managing Editor Barret Wertz has tested a lot of vitamin companies, and he told us he keeps coming back to Ritual. “I have taken a lot of vitamins and supplements in my day. I love them. I’m not sure why, but I do. After trying myriad varieties and custom combinations, taking pills on pills on pills, Ritual came onto the scene and the game changed. The unassuming yellow capsule arrives via mail once a month — thanks to the easy-to-establish and even easier-to-cancel subscription service — and is a delight to take every morning.”
“Why, you ask? The Ritual magicians manage to infuse minty freshness into each pill, avoiding the dreaded medicinal bite other supplements leave behind. Included are the vitamins I need (D3, K2, Magnesium and Boron) without those that might look pretty on the package, but that I likely get plenty of anyway (calcium and vitamin C).”
The Best Men’s Grooming Products of 2021…
This year, we tested a lot of grooming products. We saw the launch of new skincare lines, the proliferation of gender-neutral skincare products and an evolution away from the hyper-masculine bourbon and gunpowder fragrances of the past. When selecting our favorite men’s grooming products, we took a fresh look at our favorite men’s skincare brands, tested countless new products and compared the best options head-to-head.
Keep scrolling to see our editor’s favorite men’s grooming products of 2021.
Grooming – Geologie
BEST SKINCARE SUBSCRIPTION
Although you can purchase Geologie products on their own, we have to admit that their subscription service is by far the best we came across all year. It starts off with a small quiz in which Geologie asks you a number of questions such as age, gender, current routine, preferences and more. This is all done to create a profile of your skin, which lets Geologie create a custom skincare package just for you. Results include a full regimen that is made specifically for your needs. And in our experience? It works like a charm.
There are lots of men’s skincare brands pushing users toward a subscription, but if you want a true one-and-done skincare solution, Geologie is undefeated. If you’re looking for the best men’s skincare subscription, Geologie is the only name you need to know. Best of all, you can buy a 30-day trial for just $30 right now.
Grooming – Geologie Repairing Night Cream
BEST NIGHT CREAM
Your nightly reread of Goodnight Moon alongside your white noise machine can only do so much. If you want to keep yourself waking up bright-eyed and clear-skinned, you need the extra push from Geologie’s Repairing Night Cream to work on your mug while you slumber.
This night cream is offered in retinol options including .05%, .2% and .3% to effectively repair the skin overnight. It’s built to control acne, reduce signs of aging, control oil and diminish blemishes all while your head is on your favorite pillow. If you’re shopping Geologie a la carte, then we suggest starting with a lower percentage and then increasing if your skin stops responding. This night cream is so good that it’s quite literally considered “magic in a bottle.” So, are you surprised that we love it so much? Because you shouldn’t be.
Grooming – Yves Saint Laurent Y Eau de Parfum
BEST LUXE COLOGNE
We’ve been crushing on Yves Saint Laurent’s Y Eau de Parfum for a couple of months now for its superior scent that has changed the way we judge men’s fragrances. You know how some scents feel like they’re more appropriate for older men whilst others seem more suitable for younger guys? Y has a way of hitting the nail on the head in a strange middle ground that completely defies age. Each bottle uses keynotes consisting of sage, geranium and sensual wood that brings mass seduction and livelihood to everyday wear.
Unlike a lot of modern scents, this one is on the masculine side. It plays with both male youth and sophistication in a way that will have 80-year-olds saying “What’s up, bro?” and 20-year-olds saying “Hello, old sport.” It’s continuously represented in our Best Colognes guide and is a surefire hit to spray every day, hence why it’s easily the best cologne of the year.
Grooming – Fulton & Roark Solid Cologne
BEST AFFORDABLE COLOGNE
We’ll let you in on a little secret — you really can buy great-smelling men’s cologne for under $60. And our absolute favorite men’s cologne in this category? Fulton & Roark’s solid cologne. This long-lasting men’s cologne is great for sensitive skin and it comes in a metal tin that’s easy to slip into your pocket or bag for discreet reapplication.
The idea of solid cologne may take some getting used to, but we think you’ll fall in love with this company’s sophisticated scents just like we have. (We’re particularly big fans of Blue Ridge and Palmetto.)
Why do we love this solid cologne so much? There’s just nothing else like it for sale in 2021. The fragrances combine earthy, coastal, herbal and freshwater notes for unique scents that will have everyone leaning in a little bit closer.
Grooming – Caldera + Lab The Good Face Serum
BEST FACE SERUM
Caldera + Lab only came onto our radar in 2021, and so far the company has a perfect hit rate. They’ve only released a face serum, face wash, moisturizer and face mask, and we highly recommend every single one of them. Other brands talk about using natural ingredients and sustainable practices, but Caldera + Lab really delivers on that promise, all without sacrificing the effectiveness we demand from the best men’s grooming products.
The Good is also a really unique product. To create this powerful face serum, Caldera + Lab uses 27 different wild-harvested ingredients from the Teton Mountain Range in Wyoming. Natural ingredients such as jojoba oil, fireweed, nettle, red raspberry, meadowfoam seed, apricot kernel work together to moisturize, smooth out your skin and improve overall skin tone and dark spots. The ingredients themselves are infused in natural oils for four weeks before being bottled.
This is a premium facial serum that’s worth every penny.
Grooming – Caldera + Lab The Clean Slate
BEST FACE WASH
Here at SPY, we prefer natural face washes over harsh cleansers with too many chemicals or alcohol. And this year Caldera + Lab released an amazing new face wash with unique ingredients that are gentle on the skin while still cleansing. Like The Good, The Clean Slate is made from organic and wild-harvested ingredients.
This face wash also has a refreshing freshwater and mineral scent thanks to a unique ingredient — mineral-rich glacial ocean silt extracts. In addition, this pH-balanced cleanser uses probiotics, plant extracts and hydrating amino acids.
Grooming – Disco Mineral Face Sunscreen
BEST FACE SUNSCREEN
We only recently reviewed Disco’s new mineral sunscreen, one of the newer products on this list. Competition for this category was fierce this year, as lots of companies released high-quality facial sunscreens for men, and it wasn’t easy to pick just one. Ultimately, we chose Disco for a few different reasons. First, it goes on smooth and doesn’t leave too much residue, which is a problem with some mineral sunscreens. Second, it moisturizes as it protects the skin. And finally, we’re obsessed with Disco’s signature eucalyptus fragrance, which really does set this sunscreen apart from the competition.
Protect those mugs, guys.
Grooming – Disco Rejuvenating Face Mask
BEST SKINCARE FACE MASK
There are tons of skincare face masks for men for sale in 2021. Seriously, so many masks. However, there was one face mask, in particular, we found ourselves returning to again and again this year. The Disco Rejuvenating Face Mask combines charcoal, bentonite clay and willow bark to simultaneously purify, moisturize and fortify your skin, combining everything you love about charcoal products with the refreshing deep clean of clay face masks. And, yup, it’s got that calming eucalyptus fragrance, too.
Grooming – Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream
BEST FACE MOISTURIZER
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream with Squalane is the brand’s number one face moisturizer, and for a damn good reason. This cream is formulated for all skin types to provide ultra-light layering with 24 hours of immense hydration, and our skin never feels as soft as it does after using this moisturizer. It includes squalane, which is a natural hydrating formula found in olives that can both strengthen and repair skin’s moisture barrier. No matter your skin tone, texture, type or issues surrounding sensitivity, men can treat their mugs with this cream without any fear whatsoever.
Each jar is completely fragrance- and paraben-free so you won’t have to worry about any negative effects from that. There are numerous jar sizes available, and for a premium skincare company like Kiehl’s, they’re actually surprisingly affordable. A little goes a long way here, too. That said, it’s time to lather up with the best face moisturizer of the year now and every year after.
Grooming – Kiehl’s Age Defender Cream Moisturizer
BEST ANTI-AGING PRODUCT
For those of you thinking, “I don’t need anti-aging cream,” you’re in for a pretty rude awakening in the near future. All dudes should be using age retention cream before they even notice signs of aging to ward off Father Time before he swoops in for the full attack. How are we keeping our youthful glow? None other than Kiehl’s Age Defender Cream Moisturizer.
This anti-aging moisturizing cream has become our favorite this year due to just how well it strengthens the skin and diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It has the power to physically lift your skin to keep it looking young and fresher than you could imagine at your age. Did we just call you old? Maybe. Though, if you give this A1 anti-ager a shot, that might not be the case anymore.
Grooming – Kiehl’s Eye Fuel
BEST UNDER-EYE TREATMENT
Tired eyes are no match for Kiehl’s Eye fuel. Eye Fuel works to keep tired eyes looking lively no matter what’s causing those dark circles. Each bottle uses caffeine and vitamin B3 to full-throttle diminish any under-eye impurities trying to ruin your day. Not only that, but this is the best under-eye treatment for keeping your skin smooth and moisturized as well.
We almost selected a different Kiehl’s product as the award winner in this category, and we also love the luxury skincare brand’s Youth Dose Eye Treatment, so we’ve included links for both products below. No matter which one you pick, you can’t go wrong with Kiehl’s powerful under-eye treatments.
Grooming – Frontman Fade Acne Concealer
BEST ACNE PRODUCT
Frontman is definitely one of the more under-the-radar brands featured on this list. We first reviewed this acne concealer for men in early 2021, and we’re still recommending it to any guy that struggles with acne and random breakouts. This product comes in a variety of light-to-dark skin tones to better hide your blemishes, but it doesn’t just hide your acne.
Here’s what we really love about Frontman: while the concealer is covering up your pimples, acne-fighting ingredients go to work under the surface to zap your zits. Frontman Fade is the ance-fighting secret weapon every guy needs in their Dopp kit.
Grooming – Harry’s Dandruff Shampoo & Sugar Scalp Scrub
Last year, we named Harry’s new Dandruff Shampoo & Conditioner the best dandruff product of the year, and this year we’re still in love with this refreshing and scalp-tingling dandruff shampoo. That being said, there’s another Harry’s dandruff product that we’re even more obsessed with, and we think it’s one that will be totally new to most guys.
We know the concept of a sugar scalp scrub for men might be new to you, but stick with us. Harry’s Sugar Scalp Scrub is a soothing once-a-week dandruff treatment that can help you shake loose all those sneaky flakes and dry skin hiding under your hair.
This scrub uses citrus essential oils, tea tree oil and menthol to exfoliate your scalp and help you get rid of stubborn dandruff. We know you might be skeptical about adding a new type of product to your grooming routine, but for just $9 a bottle, what do you have to lose? Combine this with Harry’s excellent dandruff shampoo and stop worrying about flakes.
Grooming – Bulldog Original Face Scrub
2X AWARD WINNER / BEST FACE SCRUB
We tried a ton of new facial scrubs this year, including many that were way more expensive than this Bulldog scrub, which you can find in any Target in the country. Yet after a year of searching, we still can’t find a face scrub for men that beats this $7 product, which was also featured in The 2020 Man. So why do we love it so much? We’ll let our E-Commerce Editor Tyler Schoeber explain.
“I had refused to try any other face washes because I was too dedicated to what I’d been using since college, but this year, something changed,” he says, “I’d began having more breakouts and had heard folks are supposed to switch up their skincare every so often, but I didn’t want to believe what I’d been using for years was turning its back on me. But, I plucked up the courage, got myself a bottle of Bulldog’s Original Face Scrub and haven’t looked back since. It’s changed my skin for the better.”
This fortifying scrub contains aloe vera, camelina oil and green tea, three ingredients that deep cleanse and keep skin feeling smooth. It feels wicked clean when scrubbing and leaves skin feeling fresher than you’ve ever felt. It’s way too easy to fall in love with.
Grooming – Dove Men + Care
BEST BODY WASH
There are a lot of luxe body wash products for men for sale in 2021, so why is our favorite the new Dove body wash? We know that most guys aren’t interested in paying $20 for body wash, and this drug store pick works just as well as any luxe body wash. Even though we love some of the premium products from brands like Cremo, Disco and Jack Black, these are the bottles you’ll find in our showers.
The new body wash in the Dove Men + Care line has unique fragrances such as Lime + Avocado Oil and Charcoal + Clove. The formula is hydrating and sulfate-free and the fragrances aren’t too strong.
Grooming – Baxter of California Deep Clean Shampoo
2X AWARD WINNER / BEST SHAMPOO FOR MEN
We also named this product the best shampoo of 2020, and here we are again singing its praises. We know that most men wouldn’t pay $35 for shampoo, but we actually like the higher price, because it forces you to shampoo less often, and most of us are hurting our hair by overwashing it. Using ingredients like ginseng, apple cider vinegar and menthol, this shampoo cleanses your hair and helps to fight dandruff.
Seriously, we defy you to show us a better shampoo. No, really, please do try to send us a better shampoo, because we’d be happy to include it next year. But until that happens, we’re confident this is the best shampoo in the world, and we highly recommend you give it a shot for yourself.
Grooming – Goodline Grooming Co.
BEST NEW GROOMING LINE
In May 2021, we wrote about the launch of a new grooming, shaving and skincare line — Goodline Grooming Co. This is CVS’s in-house grooming line, and it’s “free from phthalates and parabens, never tested on animals and good for all skin types, including sensitive skin.” We tested Goodline for ourselves, and we were pleasantly surprised by these affordable products.
Available exclusively at CVS stores, these are high-quality products worth trying out. We particularly like the 5-blade razor, the shaving cream and the truly excellent facial serum with hyaluronic acid.
The Best Shaving & Beard Products of 2021
We know there’s some crossover between the grooming and shaving categories, but there were enough awesome beard products and new razors released this year that we wanted to create a separate category for these award winners. Lately, pretty much every guy we know has a beard or facial hair of some kind these days, and there are countless beard brushes, balms, razors, clippers, oils and even straighteners to help you keep your mane in fighting shape.
That being said, when it comes to proper beard care, we don’t think any guy needs more than three or four good products. We recommend finding a beard balm, beard oil or beard wash you like, but you don’t need to use all three. Next, even for bearded gents, a trusty razor and shaving cream can be indispensable, especially if you’re relying on scissors instead of beard trimmers. Finally, we highly recommend using a beard brush (not a beard comb) to keep your beard and skin looking, feeling and smelling its best.
If you want to try other products, that’s up to you! But to keep your beard looking well-groomed and fresh, you don’t need a dozen different grooming products. After testing tons of razors, shaving creams, brushes and beard oils, we put together a list of our editors’ absolute favorites.
Keep reading for the best shaving products for men in 2021.
Shaving & Beard – Schick Stubble Eraser Razor
BEST NEW RAZOR
It’s not easy to impress SPY editors with new razors. We’ve pretty much tried them all at this point, and you have to make something really special to get our attention. This year, one new razor certainly got our attention — Schick’s new Stubble Eraser.
This razor is priced like a cheap drug store disposable, but it has premium features that set it apart. This razor comes with a deep stubble comb that lets the blades slice through long hair. If you like to go a week or more in between shaves, or if you need a razor for beard edge control, this is the perfect razor for you.
On top of that, it has a design that makes it easier to rinse than the average razor. There are also cushioning gel pods filled with green tea to soothe your skin while you shave.
Shaving & Beard – Harry’s Truman Razor
2X AWARD WINNER / BEST RAZOR OVERALL
For the second year in a row, the best men’s razor is Harry’s Truman razor. And, trust us, we tried out a ton of new razors this year. After trying everything else the market has to offer, we’re still completely sold on the Truman. This is the razor of all razors.
Whether you’re ready to shave off that beard once and for all or you just like a little clean-up once or twice a week, this is the razor to get shit done with. It’s got an ergonomic, rubber handle with a weighted core for an easy grip. Each blade cartridge includes five razors total, which some might feel is a little too much, but this razor will get you that one-over shave of your dreams. Who would have thought that $9 would get you the best razor on planet Earth?
You can now find many Harry’s products in drug stores, but nothing beats the convenience of Harry’s online shave club. Head there now if your shaving routine needs an upgrade.
Shaving & Beard – King C. Gillette Double-Edged Safety Razor
BEST SAFETY RAZOR
King C. Gillette is a new shaving and beard product line from Gillette that was first released in late 2020. It’s named for the founder of Gillette, who started the famous American razor company all the way back in 1901. Even after all that time, this is the first Gillette product line to bear the founder’s name, which is a sign of how much care and precision went into crafting these new razors and beard products.
Well, after testing out pretty much the entire King C. Gillette line, we’ve been convinced. The Double-Edged Safety Razor is a particular standout in this collection and it’s a great option for any man that wants to ditch his disposable razors, which are terrible for the environment. This razor provides a smooth, clean shave and has a satisfying weight in your hand.
“If you rinse this razor with hot water, the metal blades heat up, giving you the sensation of a hot shave, which is something I didn’t know I needed in my life until trying this,” says SPY Site Director Tim Werth.
Shaving & Beard – King C. Gillette Beard and Face Wash
BEST BEARD WASH
For guys with beards, finding a good face wash is a little more complicated, as you need to find a product that can clean the skin under your beard without stripping away the oils from your beard or causing other damage to your facial hair. That’s why we recommend using a combo beard and face wash, which is the exception to the rule that you shouldn’t use the same product to clean your face and hair.
King C. Gillette Beard and Face Wash is made from coconut, argan oil and avocado oil to clean your beard for a nourished look you’ll love time and time again. At the same time, it’s a great face cleanser as well. There’s even a touch of menthol for a subtle cooling effect.
Shaving & Beard – Dollar Shave Club Shave Gel
BEST SHAVING CREAM FOR MEN
We can’t even explain to you how many shaving creams we’ve tested over the past couple of years. Gillette, Harry’s, The Art of Shaving, Public Goods — you name it, we’ve likely had it on our face. With that said, we’ve found nothing better than Dollar Shave Club’s Shave Gel. The entire SPY editorial team is unanimous — this is the world’s best shaving cream for men.
A lot of you might associate DSC solely with their subscription shave club, but you can purchase this stuff solo (along with other favorites, like DSC’s Shave Butter) for what we consider the most comfortable shave you’ll ever experience. It’s thick, moisturizing, safe for sensitive skin and prevents irritation. Does it really get any better?
Finally, you may be able to find this shaving cream in your local drug store or grocery store. Lately, we’ve been seeing DSC products show up out in the real world, which is new for this online shaving club, but a win for you.
Shaving & Beard – Fulton & Roark Formula 5 Beard Oil
BEST BEARD OIL
Fulton & Roark’s solid cologne has been winning awards in the men’s grooming space for a few years now, but this beard oil is new for 2021. It’s also one of the best products Fulton & Roark has ever released. After testing tons of beard oils, this product stood out for its easy application, hair-strengthening properties and unique fragrance. (Leave it to a cologne company to make the best-smelling beard oil of the year.)
“I’ve had a beard since I was 16-years-old and this year was finally the year I allowed myself to try out some beard oils,” says our E-Commerce editor Tyler Schoeber. “With the first couple, I truly didn’t notice anything. I found myself putting it on solely by habit, not understanding what was supposed to happen. Then I tried Fulton & Roark’s Formula 5 Beard Oil and I got it. They definitely understood the assignment. Not only does it keep my beard shiny, textured and at bay, but it smells amazing. For anyone with a beard, this is the beard oil to use. No gimmicks, just good looks.”
Shaving & Beard – Philips Norelco Multigroom Series 7000
BEST BEARD TRIMMER
Since, like, everyone and their father has a beard now, it’s safe to say you’ve been maintaining it somehow. Right? Right, guys?? You’re not rawdogging the bearded lifestyle by pulling a full-on Duck Dynasty, are you? Well, if you are, it’s time for a shape-up with the best beard trimmer of the year: the Philips Norelco Multigroom Series 7000.
This wire-free trimmer helps maintain your facial hair without too much fuss, and it comes with a ton of attachments for precision grooming. So, not only will you be able to get the ideal length you want for your beard and stache, but you can even tackle the nose, ears, chest or any other area that grows hair on your body. To top everything off, the Multigroom Series 7000 is fully washable under a running tap for easy cleaning.
There are a lot of beard trimmers for sale across the internet, and this isn’t the most expensive, the most advanced, or the newest, but all of the grooming writers on the SPY team were unanimous that this is the best beard trimmer of 2021.
Shaving & Beard – Wahl Lithium Ion Manscaper
BEST BODY GROOMER
We have tried manscaper after manscaper here at SPY and we’ve come to notice a similar problem throughout each unit: there’s no way to choose a preferred length. While lots of dudes like to manscape, some of us manscapers don’t want to fully MANSCAPE. You know what we mean? Some of us are lawns, not patios.
That’s why Wahl’s new Manscaper takes the cake this year for its comfortable trim that allows for length adjustment for 20 different length options. Each trimmer is complete with a protective guard to diminish any nicks and scratches that might occur while shaving. Feel free to use this device dry or even wet if desired. Last but not least, it boasts an impressive 100-minute battery life. This seriously is the body groomer to beat right now.
We do have to mention that the Meridian Body Groomer is a solid runner-up and SPY favorite, but the Wahl Manscaper offers a ton of extra features at a lower price. Seriously, it’s just something you can’t beat.
Shaving & Beard – Hammacher Schlemmer Bald-Head Shaver
BEST HEAD SHAVER
It’s an understatement when we tell you just how much our readers have been obsessed with the Hammacher Schlemmer Head Shaver during the past year. Did all of you guys give up and go bald? Because if so, all power to you.
If you’re rocking the bald-headed look, Hammacher Schlemmer is the brand to do it with. This puppy is one of the most ergonomic shaving devices on the market and allows for one of the fastest, smoothest shaves of your life. If you can’t find an electric shaver that gets as down and dirty as your classic razor/shaving cream duo, trust us, you’ve found it. All that’s left is to try this bald head shaver for yourself.
Shaving & Beard – Live Bearded Boar’s Hair Brush
BEST BEARD BRUSH
Growing a beard is just the first step to maintaining handsome facial hair. And if you don’t want that beard to look like a total disaster, or to spread dandruff and weird smells everywhere you go, then you need to learn how to groom your beard properly. We’ve already featured some great beard washes, trimmers and oils to keep your beard looking its best, but there’s one final tool that every beard owner needs — a beard brush.
The best beard brushes are made from boar’s hair bristles and have a wooden handle. Our favorite once again is the Live Bearded beard brush. Live Bearded is a small business that makes high-quality beard grooming tools, and you can buy this invaluable tool on Amazon for just $17. It might just be the most important purchase you ever make for your beard.
These brushes clear away dead hair and skin and help keep your beard untangled. If you’re not using a beard brush, then it’s time to start.
Our Favorite Men’s Clothing & Accessories for 2021…
There are so many exciting fashion houses, designers and indie labels to keep track of these days, and we’re truly living in a golden age of men’s fashion. Gen Z continues to push the boundaries of what it means to dress like a man, and their influence is already having a big impact on the fashion world. That being said, we’re not quite ready to say goodbye to skinny jeans completely.
For our end-of-year awards, we tried to pick products that represented the major men’s fashion trends of the year. On the one hand, comfortable clothing and athleisure are everywhere, but on the other, many of us are dressing up again as we return to the workplace. You’ll find a mix of more dressed-up and dressed-down clothing on our list this year.
From Crocs to expensive leather dress shoes, preppie rugby shirts to the best t-shirt we’ve ever worn, keep scrolling to find our favorite men’s clothing, shoes and accessories of 2021.
Clothing & Accessories – Fresh Clean Tees Crew Neck T-Shirts
If you’ve been following along with us for the past couple of weeks, you would have seen that we’ve been on the hunt for the world’s best men’s t-shirt. We’ve been testing shirts from J.Crew, Cuts Clothing, Goodthreads, H&M, Goodlife, Everlane and so many more. And after testing way too many t-shirts, we actually did it. We found the perfect t-shirt — the Fresh Clean Tees Men’s Crew Neck.
We’ve tested a lot of men’s t-shirts, and when you balance price, durability, style, comfort and color, Fresh Clean Tees is the clear winner. It’s actually not even close. We know this up-and-coming brand will be new to a lot of people, so take our recommendation and go straight to their online store to buy tees for every day of the week. Priced at just $19, these super-soft tees hold up better than some $60 t-shirts we’ve tried.
They’ve got a timeless look that makes them easy to wear solo and underneath layers, which is ideal for a classic tee. Additionally, there is a slew of colors that range from neutrals like blacks and greys to brighter pinks and greens. Their classic white tee is also one of the sharpest-looking white t-shirts we’ve ever worn. No matter the color, it’s a tee that’s made for all-year-round wear and still feels great wash after wash.
Clothing & Accessories – Rothy’s RS-01 Sneakers
BEST MEN’S SNEAKERS
Look, we know sneakerheads might not like it, but the best men’s sneakers of the year don’t come from Nike or Yeezy. Instead, we’re still obsessing over these ultra-comfortable, ultra-durable new shoes from Rothy’s.
This year, Rothy’s dropped a bomb on us with their first-ever shoes for men and we became obsessed soon after. Why? Come on, just look at the RS01s and tell us how we can’t be. But, not only are these vintage look-alikes visually striking, but they’re also built to be one of the most sustainably-made sneakers on the planet. Each pair is built with Rothy’s signature thread that’s spun from plastic water bottles. In addition to Rothy’s sustainable efforts, they also prioritize maximum comfort by adding a padded ankle collar and a contoured footbed.
Unlike most white sneakers, these are even 100% machine washable, so you won’t have to fear dirt the same way you do with your AF1s.
Clothing & Accessories – Allen Edmonds Dress Shoes
BEST DRESS SHOES
There are thousands of men’s dress shoes for sale in 2021, but one company, in particular, rose above the competition this year. That’s right, we’re talking about Wisconsin’s own Allen Edmonds, a little company that provides big style.
With the right care, a well-constructed pair of leather shoes can literally last a lifetime, but most modern mass-produced shoes will fall apart after a couple of years. With Allen Edmonds leather dress shoes, you really can wear them for the rest of your life. The company has a range of handsome styles — cap toe, Oxford, loafers, wingtips — and a bespoke service, which lets you design the perfect pair of shoes for your style.
Clothing & Accessories – Crocs Classic Clogs
We don’t know how it happened, but Crocs became the shoe of the year in 2021. What was once deemed so ugly and unwearable has been cladding the feet of some of the world’s best dressed all year long. Was it the pandemic? The fact that people stopped caring about what they were wearing? So much so that, “post”-pandemic, they unintentionally became … cool? Clearly, the pandemic has made comfy clothing mainstream, and people feel free to wear their slippers, joggers and tees wherever the hell they want.
All that said, Crocs really do embody some of the biggest fashion trends of the moment. They’re unisex. They’re part of the ugly fashion moment we’re having. They 100% qualify as dad shoes. And, most importantly, Crocs are comfortable. They’re also carefree, inexpensive and fun. If you’re still a Croc hater, your attitude’s becoming a little dry. Time to get on the Croc wave, baby.
Clothing & Accessories – Thursday Boot Co.
2X AWARD WINNER / BEST BOOTS FOR MEN
Once again, our favorite boots of the year come from Thursday Boot Co., which just does boots better. As we’ve said before, show us better boots at the price and we’ll put them on this list instead. Until then, this should be every man’s go-to brand for long-lasting and stylish leather boots.
These boots were made for walking and that’s just what they’ll do. But, where can you find the best boots on the planet? Thursday Boots. Last year, we named Thursday Boots as the best shoe to wear in the office, but this year, we’re naming them simply as the best boots, point blank period. And, all of their boots are so great, we can’t even pick a favorite pair. They’re that good.
Thursday Boots offers a wide range of boot styles from lace-ups to chukkas to Chelseas and more. They’re all immensely durable and made with resilient leathers to withstand everyday wear and tear you might put them through. Best of all? In terms of leather boots, they’re priced quite fairly in comparison to others on the web. We really just can’t get enough of them.
Clothing & Accessories – Christopher Cloos x Tom Brady
EYEWEAR OF THE YEAR
Now that Tom Brady is winning Super Bowls in Tampa Bay instead of New England, he’s suddenly a lot more likable. But if you’re determined to hate this quarterback, then we regret to inform you that his collaboration with Danish eyewear brand Christopher Cloos totally rules.
These sunglasses, prescription frames and blue light glasses are effortlessly stylish without being too attention-grabbing, which is a problem with a lot of new designer sunglasses. They just have that classic look, combined with subtle accents in the right places.
There are a few different styles in the Cloos x Brady collection, and all of them are worth a closer look. Plus, they won’t set you back $500 like most designer shades. For all these reasons, they’re our pick for the best eyewear release of 2021. Months after the release, we’re still obsessing over these sunglasses. Go check them out for yourself and tell us we’re wrong.
Clothing & Accessories – Duer Relaxed Fit Stretch Jeans
MOST COMFORTABLE JEANS
We got so used to being comfortable due to COVID-19. Athleisure like joggers and hoodies became the norm because of just how comfortable they are to wear no matter what you’re up to. But, sadly, on a visual level, sweats aren’t up to par with what most of us want to wear outside. That’s why we’re obsessed with DUER’s Performance Denim Relaxed Jeans.
They’re the inside sweatpant transformed into the most comfortable pair of jeans you’ve ever draped on your body. In these, you’ll look fresh when out and about but with all the moveability you’d expect in a pair of gym leggings. Cross your legs. Jump in the air. Do a split. Because in these jeans, you can.
Clothing & Accessories – Everlane Supima Cotton Boxer Briefs
If you really think about it, underwear is one of the most essential articles of clothing on the planet. Sure, tees, jackets, jeans, sneaks — they’re all important. But no matter how great you might look on the outside, a pair of uncomfortable underwear can ruin your confidence entirely. That said, you should never be caught in the rain wearing an uncozy pair of undies. And, thankfully with Everlane’s Boxer Briefs, you don’t have to.
We are firm believers in the fact that the best men’s underwear is made from a specific fabric — Supima cotton. It’s breathable, stretchy and super-soft, so it’s basically perfect for underwear. And these long-lasting boxer briefs are made from Supima cotton with just a touch of elastane for extra stretch.
Everlane’s boxer briefs are lightweight, soft to the touch and support you in ways other underwear can’t. They’re included in Everlane’s Uniform Collection, which ensures a 365-day money-back guarantee if you start to see any holes, rips and tears within a year of owning. But, let’s be frank — these skivvies hold up. You’ll find no better pair for a better price, and we’re sure of it.
Clothing & Accessories – Jambys Shorts
THE “POCKETS WHERE YOU DON’T EXPECT IT” AWARD
Something you never knew you needed? Jambys, aka the boxers with pockets. Before you write them off completely, hear us out. You know when you want to wear just boxers around the house but the time doesn’t call for it? Maybe mom and dad are staying with you for a couple of days. Maybe you’ve got roommates. Maybe you just feel a certain unneeded judgment from your cat. Whatever the case may be, Jambys are the solution.
Because they have pockets, they are made to be way more appropriate for wearing around when you solely want to be in your underwear. Not only that, but these are quite literally the softest article of clothing we’ve ever put on our bodies. Everyone should own a pair of Jambys because everyone deserves to experience a level of comfort this exquisite — and only Jambys can do that.
Clothing & Accessories – The Ridge Wallets
SPY is always on the lookout for the best men’s wallets, and there’s one brand we wanted to call out — The Ridge. This company makes minimalist wallets that slip right into your pocket yet still have enough room for all of your cards, ID and cash. Their wallets come in a range of styles and materials. There are ultra-durable carbon fiber and titanium wallets, but also more stylish options featuring topographical maps of landmarks like Yosemite’s Half Dome.
We know these metal minimalist wallets aren’t for everyone, but at least The Ridge is trying to offer guys something totally new. So many men’s wallets look exactly the same, but The Ridge makes thoughtfully designed products that also keep your essentials safe and protected. Until we discovered The Ridge, we didn’t know wallets could be this cool.
So if your old bi-fold is in need of a replacement, then it’s time to upgrade your wallet with The Ridge. You won’t regret it.
Clothing & Accessories – Rowing Blazers Fall/Winter 2021 Collection
THE “WE WANT IT ALL” AWARD
Our love for Rowing Blazers runs so deep that it’s almost obsessive. Like, “will get down on one knee to propose” vibes. To … a clothing brand. Don’t judge us. This fall, Rowing Blazers dropped its 2021 Fall/Winter Collection, and it’s safe to say we’ve been drooling over it ever since. From effervescent rugby shirts to wild-colored beanies and preppy pullovers, Rowing Blazers is giving their all, and it isn’t going unnoticed in the slightest.
Rowing Blazers has simply become the brand of 2021 in our eyes, and it shouldn’t be a surprise as to why. Just take a look at everything they have to offer and you’ll get it, too. The sweaters from the new Fall/Winter collection are especially awesome, we have to say. This celebrity-favorite brand is known for its preppie stylings and rugby shirts, but it has so much more to offer.
Clothing & Accessories – Shinola
BEST WATCHES & ACCESSORIES
We love watches. Like, we really love watches. And this year there were some exciting new releases. For fans of wearables, the Apple Watch Series 7 was finally released. Rowing Blazers released a Seiko collaboration that sold out instantly. And we continue to obsess over every timepiece in the Todd Snyder x Timex collaboration. However, there was just something about Shinola that we can’t get over this year.
And it’s not just about the watches. Shinola also debuted its first eyewear collection this year, and the company makes some incredible leather wallets for men, too. This made-in-America brand is based in Detroit, and they make straightforward and unpretentious accessories any man can appreciate.
Go check out the company’s watches and wallets for yourself. We think you’ll be just as impressed as we are.
Clothing & Accessories – Mack Weldon Ace Sweatpants
2X AWARD WINNER / BEST SWEATPANTS
For the second year in a row, we simply have to name Mack Weldon’s Ace Sweatpants the best sweatpants of the year. We’re obsessed, our readers are obsessed, heck, anyone who knows a damn thing about comfort is obsessed.
The Ace Sweatpants are exactly the kind of sweats you wanted 10 years ago. They have a way of transforming an everyday casual look into something more sophisticated and tailored. Each pair is spun with their Ace fabric (95% cotton and 5% stretch fabric), and these pants include a number of stretch pockets throughout. Have a favorite color? Well, we bet you can find it on a pair of these Aces.
Clothing & Accessories – L.L.Bean x Todd Snyder
BEST FASHION COLLABORATION
This year the men’s fashion world saw some truly awesome fashion collaborations, including some surprising ones. Alpha Industries x New Balance. Dr. Martens x Marc Jacobs. Converse x Todd Snyder. Tracksmith x Taylor Stich. Casamigos x Thursday Boot Co. Looking back on a very long year, there’s one fashion collaboration that we’re still as excited about today as we were when it first dropped — Todd Snyder x L.L.Bean.
This wasn’t the first time these two brands teamed up together, but the newest collaboration featured some incredibly stylish and colorful menswear. For this collaboration, Snyder remixed classic L.L.Bean designs from the New England company’s archives.
The end result saw colorful fleeces with neon accents, ultra-stylish sweaters and the coolest pair of duck boots we’ve ever seen. There’s still time to shop this collaboration for yourself, so don’t miss out!
Looking for More Awesome Men’s Products?
We considered hundreds of products for The 2021 Man, and not everything could make the final cut. That being said, SPY editors have shared even more fantastic men’s products in our annual guide to the Best Christmas Gifts for Men.
Head on over to our men’s gift guide to find even more goodies including men’s fashion essentials, newly released gadgets, stocking stuffers and grooming gear.