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It was once that case that mens underwear choices were limited to boxers and guys briefs. Whereas women had the choice of dozens of different knicker underwear, men were basically limited to two. In recent years, as men have become as interested in fashion and individual expression as women, the tides have turned. Mens underwear have become more diverse not just in style, but also in material, color, fit, and purpose. Below are descriptions of the types of mens underwear available and their purposes.
Boxers are considered the “classic” mens underwear, so popular that even women wear them on occasion. They are considered the most comfortable form of mens underwear and are certainly the loosest. They generally have a straight leg, cover all of the rear and at least part of the thighs, and usually have a working fly in the front (though not always). Boxers are almost always made of cotton, one of the softest and coolest materials available.
Despite their comfort, boxers can have drawbacks that make them unappealing to certain men. First, they offer no support, so they are completely unacceptable for any activity that rises above the “minimal” designation. Running in boxers is highly discouraged! The second drawback to boxers is that the loose leg openings can bunch and ride, so they are not suitable for wearing with tighter, form fitting clothes. None of this is to say the iconic boxer is a bad choice, it is only to say that mens underwear have finally diversified to meet the needs of every occasion, even those rare occasions when boxers just won’t do.
Trailing only boxers in mens underwear popularity are guys briefs. When it comes to men underwear briefs, the class style is a prominent waistband, full coverage, and a fly opening in the front. Briefs offer more support than boxers, which make them better for higher levels of activity. Some, however, find them constraining and don’t appreciate the tighter fit, particularly around the legs. Most guys briefs are made of cotton with an elastic waistband.
Over the years, briefs have undergone many changes. The traditional mens underwear brief is now sometimes referred to as the “high rise brief” or “full cut brief” to distinguish it from the newer mid-rise and low-rise briefs. Mid-rise briefs site about two inches below the waist and low-rise about three inches below the waist. They have been designed to wear with low-rise pants. The mid-rise and low-rise men underwear briefs are usually found in cotton and in higher end materials such as silk.
It is interesting to note that despite the common conception that guys briefs are better for “high impact activities,” they are actually also better for jobs that require long periods of sitting. This is because they ride up less than boxers do and because they keep things “out of the way” so to speak.
It seems these underwear offer the best of both worlds and are exceptionally popular. They are a sort of middle ground are often purchased by men who need the support of a brief, but like the feel of a boxer. They provide top support and, interestingly, can offer a little “sculpting” of the lower trunk. They come in spandex and cotton mostly, though there is a bland of Tencel and spandex that costs a bit more, but lasts longer. Ratings of mens underwear “sexiness” put these at the top in the opinion of most women.
These types of mens underwear are a little more “adventurous.” Bikinis have gained a bit of popularity in the U.S. in recent years, but thongs trail far behind. In Europe and Australia, these types of mens underwear have much wider popularity.
Bikinis sit well below the waist and do not have a fly. They have thin waistbands, expose the entire thigh, but still cover all of the rear. They are often made of spandex or nylon and are best suited to be worn with low-rise and tight clothing.
Thongs are the smallest of all mens underwear. They have a string-sized waistband, expose the entire thigh, and expose the entire rear. They are also less supportive than other mens underwear besides boxers. Thongs come in spandex, nylon, and nylon-spandex blends. Interestingly, studies show that women find these to be the least appealing of mens underwear.