There are a lot of things you need to be mindful of when you’re working out including your form, your heart rate, hydration levels, time between reps and, if you’re running outdoors, the traffic, weather conditions, road conditions and more. The last thing you want to be thinking about is whether your underwear is creating a vibrant bacterial pool in your crotch. Instead, you want to be dry, safe, comfortable and in control. That’s what workout underwear is for and below we present the 10 best.
The Best Workout Underwear for Men
Adidas Sport Performance Climalite men’s exercise underwear does a great job keeping you cool and dry. The 91% polyester, 9% spandex Climalite is a superior blend that stretches where you need it to and holds firm when you want it to. It wicks away moisture while the double-lined support pouch provides more than adequate protection even when you’re ATG in the crossfit box. The waistband is comfortable and never digs channels in your skin and the stitching throughout is first rate. If you are looking to upgrade your workout clothes, then make sure you read our best gym shorts review.
Climalite fabric 91% Polyester 9% spandex
Mesh support pouch
Soft, tagless waistband
Won’t ride up
- Weight1 pounds
Neleus Men’s Compression Underwear are handsome enough to wear as shorts. Being 15% spandex this gym underwear goes the extra mile to stretch and accommodate every last detail of your particular physiology. Movement is never restricted while you remain dry, cool and comfortably under control. The fabric breathes as hard as you do and never chaffs or otherwise irritates. Suitable for all sports and 100% machine washable. Be sure to combine this with a cool running jacket from our list.
85% polyester, 15% spandex
Designed to be form fitting
Wicks moisture away, dries fast, highly breathable
Suitable for all indoor and outdoor sports
Tag free logo waistband
Reebok Men’s Performance Boxer Briefs are an outstanding value that deliver much of the comfort and performance of more expensive workout briefs without breaking your bank. The fabric is a breathable, moisture-wicking, form-fitting 90% polyester, 10% spandex blend with a 100% mesh pouch to keep you cool, dry and under control at all times. This is performance sports underwear of a high caliber that fits you like a second skin without ever rubbing you the wrong way. Our handy guide to the best running socks features more great performance products like this.
92% Polyester, 8% spandex blend
Won’t ride up and crimp your style
Tag free comfort waistband
6 inch inseam
Under Armour 6” Boxerjock Briefs could pass for outerwear, as is the case with some of the other workout underwear on our list. They provide you the comfort and protection you need whether you’re pushing yourself with the weights or knocking back 5 kms before you head for work in the morning. The 90% polyester, 10% elastane fabric holds you close while never constricting your movements. It’s also endowed with anti-microbial properties that head off odors before they take hold. Be sure to also check out our list of the best knee sleeves for more great items like this.
Articulated mesh pouch
90% polyester, 10% elastane blend
Antimicrobial properties prevent odors
True to size fitting every time
Tag free performance waistband
- BrandUnder Armour
- Weight4.5 ounces
Tesla Men’s Relaxed Stretch Open Fly briefs hold without binding for a fit that is sometimes so subtle you may forget you have them on. It’s a great feeling and more than a little unexpected for a 9” inseam. The mesh pouch holds you comfortably and securely while you’re bouncing off the walls of the crossfit box, the fabric is agreeable to the skin and wicks moisture away like it’s going out of style and the performance waistband doesn’t crimp the iliac crest or any of the adjoining muscles or tendons. Once you try them on, you will always have at least two pairs in your gym bag.
Support pouch with fly opening
Won’t ride up, machine washable
Flat fell seams for comfort and durability
- Weight8 ounces
Baleaf give their 9” Sport Boxer Briefs a different look that’s as appealing to the eye as the briefs are comfortable to wear. This is high-quality, high performance workout underwear that will keep you cool and dry without impinging your movements or irritating your skin. Though they extend the full 9” down your leg they never ride up. The 90% polyester, 10% elastane blend wicks away moisture before it becomes an issue and the breathable mesh pouch w/fly keeps you under control.
90% polyester, 10% elastane blend
Firm but gentle hold
Won’t ride or bunch up
Breathable 100% polyester mesh pouch
Jockey tosses their hat into the sports underwear fray with their outstanding Men’s Sport Microfiber Midway Brief. Because of the company’s reputation for being aggressively mainstream we approached these boxer briefs with a bit of skepticism but were pleasantly surprised by what we found. The fit was right up there with the best, and indeed better than some other, more expensive workout underwear. The 20% spandex fabric went to great lengths to accommodate every movement without pinching or chaffing and the 9” legs stayed where they belonged even during the most strenuous workout. This is a perfect pair of workout clothes for men.
80% polyester, 20% spandex
100% machine washable
Won’t ride up your legs
Reinforced pouch for extra confidence
New Balance make an appearance on our top 10 list with their Men’s Dry Fresh Boxer Briefs, an excellent example of form following function as well as the value of craftsmanship. Like the Under Armour Boxerjock the NB Dry Fresh is treated with antimicrobial agents that stave off the production of unpleasant odors and keep everything hygienic, dry and fresh, as the name suggests. Tagless comfort waistband, 3/4 inch hem, complete lack of side seams and open fly complete the picture.
87% polyester, 13% spandex
Articulated panels provide structure
NB fresh anti-microbial technology
Wicks moisture away effortlessly
- BrandNew Balance
The 2(X)IST Men’s Speed 2.0 contours itself to you in a way that doesn’t interfere with motion but keeps you in control through all aspects of your workout. The contour pouch provides excellent support and protection, the low rise cut leaves your quads free to join the workout party and the waistband is comfortable, low-riding and non-binding. You won’t feel them even with the weightlifting belt on. The high performance wicking fabric keeps you cool and dry while the 2.0’s articulated mesh inserts promote freedom of movement.
89% nylon, 11% spandex blend
Tag-free not-too-wide waistband
2 inch inseam
- Weight1 pounds
Saxx Men’s Pro Elite Long underwear provides all day performance with dependable moisture wicking properties that insure you don’t wind up swimming in your own sweat. The 9” inseam means you’re plenty warm at the start of your run even in the dead of winter and that you have max support when you’re under the bar. The fabric is 95% polyester, 5% spandex. It’s form fitting and snug without being constricting while the pouch is reinforced and will stand up to just about anything but a direct shot. So grab your running shoes, your Saxx underwear and test them right away. You wont regret buying them.
95% polyester, 5% spandex blend
Comfortable and form fitting
Excellent moisture wicking capability
High quality double and triple stitching
Comfortable tag-free waistband
- BrandSAXX Underwear Co.
Workout Underwear Buyer’s Guide
Things to Consider When Choosing Workout Underwear:
- Material - Athletic underwear is made using a variety of fabrics but all are intended to serve the primary masters of this type of garment: flexibility, breathability and durability. As such you almost always wind up with something like a polyester/spandex or nylon/spandex or polyester/elastane mix. This ensures the garment adapts to your particular physiology while also providing the necessary freedom of movement and breathability. Some manufacturers treat their fabric with antimicrobial agents that keep the environment hygienic and odor free. While others go heavier on the spandex or elastane in order to provide crossfitters and the like that extra bit of stretch they need. What you’ll almost never find in workout underwear is cotton.
- Size - Obviously you’re going to want underwear that is snug but not binding. The last thing you want is to feel your exercise underwear pinching your boys when you’re running on the treadmill in a crowded gym. Or maybe it is what you want. But it’s not what most guys want. So, snug all around to keep everything firmly in place, but not so tight that you’ll need a fertility clinic when you’re done.
- Length - As a general rule (which of course means there are some exceptions) dudes with big legs prefer a longer cut because this type of undergarment isn’t as prone to riding up. Longer workout underwear also tends to improve circulation which is important for bike riders and to help focus your energy, which weight lifters appreciate.
- Comfort - Comfort is the result of fit, fabric, length, moisture wicking properties and more. If your workout underwear feels nice when you first put it on but traps your sweat and rides up on you like nobody’s business it’s not much good. The most comfortable active underwear is that which meets all your practical and functional requirements.
- Design - All the top garment companies today employ world class designers so there’s little danger you’re going to wind up with performance underwear that looks bad. The only question is whether the cut is right for you, if the pouch keeps dry and safe and under control and if aspects of the design such as the waistband dig into your obliques or sartorius or other muscles of the waist or hip area.
- Moisture-wicking properties - Unless you like swimming in sweat while you run or lift or otherwise workout you’re going to want to be sure to select workout underwear that effectively wicks away moisture. Most all of the polyester/nylon/spandex/elastane blends do an admirable job of eliminating moisture so this is rarely an issue. Silk and wool are good examples of natural fabrics that wick moisture away effective but which aren’t particularly good for workout underwear.
- Odor-control technology - Athletic underwear that isn’t breathable and doesn’t vent heat and moisture lays the foundation for gnarly odors and a nice case of crotch rot. Fortunately most workout underwear today does a great job handling moisture, but even so some manufacturers have begun treating their fabrics with antimicrobial agents that kill bacteria before it has a chance to multiple and fester.
- Durability - All of the above profiled exercise underwear is going to hold up to regular use and abuse. The materials are engineered for long term durability and the inclusion of spandex and elastane et al means they are built to be stretched and pulled in every direction. You rarely have to worry about the fabric itself failing. You will have to make sure the stitching is first rate however. Because if it’s not any failure of the garment is likely to occur in the seams.
Workout Underwear FAQ
Q: What Is Workout Underwear and Why Do You Need It?
A: As the physical fitness movement took hold in the second half of the 20th century it became quickly apparent that standard cotton briefs or boxers just weren’t going to cut it in the gym. Men needed a way to minimize the negative effects of sweat while staying cool and obtaining support in the crotch so that their stuff wasn’t getting in the way of the business at hand. The jockstrap, which had been standard issue for athletes for decades, was simply no longer enough. A more comprehensive solution was needed. Enter workout underwear.
Workout underwear addressed the major concerns of men when it came to strenuous physical activity: keeping dry, keeping cool and protecting the family jewels. But there were other things to think about as well. Snug fitting sports underwear was/is great for promoting circulation and control but if the seams are located in the wrong place they could cause chafing and rashes and promote crotch rot. Also, plenty of guys had issues with tags in the underwear which weren’t so good a wicking away moisture and often turned into sweaty, irritating pads rubbing incessantly against the lower back. Hence most modern workout underwear is sans-tag.