5 Men’s Underwear To Avoid – Don’t Make These Mistakes!

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I talk a lot about what kind of men’s underwear to buy and wear as part of men’s fashion, but can you achieve comfortable underwear by simply avoiding certain underwear? Today, I point out five kinds of men’s underwear that you should avoid.

Avoid Expensive Men’s Underwear

Don’t feel you must spend hundreds – thousands? – of dollars to get a new underwear drawer! I’ve seen men’s underwear for $50, $100, and $150+ per pair! I have no idea who is buying this underwear, but more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better. Tom Ford’s cotton boxer briefs for $65/pair aren’t necessarily better than these Pair of Thieves cotton boxer briefs for $5/pair. You don’t have to pay a fortune to get comfortable underwear.

The sweet spot for men’s underwear is $10-20/pair. Some great underwear is in the $7-10/pair range – especially when on sale! The key is to get high-quality underwear for a great price. And then, make sure you take care of your underwear by properly washing and drying it (high temperatures degrade underwear quicker). That way, you can spend your money wisely by buying a high-quality underwear collection without spending more money to replace it sooner.

My Separatec bamboo briefs cost around $10/pair and are super comfortable.
Me wearing my Calvin Klein black modal boxer briefs
Even these Calvin Klein modal boxer briefs – my favorite Calvin Klein underwear – usually are $20-30/pair. And these have lasted me for many years!

Avoid Tight Men’s Underwear

Men are into tighter underwear styles now, especially as men’s briefs become popular again. But tight doesn’t mean uncomfortable! Why bother wearing tight underwear for the looks if you are uncomfortable? You can get some sweet, sexy body-hugging underwear that is very comfortable.

First, pay attention to the size chart for each brand, as each brand may have slightly different sizes. This is especially true if you are in between two sizes. Below you’ll find four popular men’s underwear brands and what waist size they consider to be a “medium.” As you can see, the sizes can vary widely. Always double-check the size chart when buying a new brand.

BrandWaist Size for Medium
Saxx32-35 inches / 82-89 cm
Jockey32-34 inches / 81-86 cm
Hanes30-34 inches / 78-86 cm
Intimissimi29-30 inches / 74-78 cm

Another example is that even underwear sizes across the same brand can vary. For example, I love Mack Weldon’s AIRKNITx underwear, and so do a lot of other guys. But several guys have told me they need to order one size larger of AIRKNITx briefs than AIRKNITx trunks and boxer briefs. Why? The briefs are cut tighter in the pouch area, so they need one size larger for the extra space.

Second, ensure you buy men’s underwear with Spandex or Elastane. Spandex – also known as Elastane – allows the main fabric to stretch more than it otherwise would. More Spandex content provides greater stretch, making your underwear feel more comfortable. For softer materials like modal and bamboo, you need at least 5% Spandex/elastane content, with 8-10% being more luxurious. However, synthetic materials like polyester or nylon need at least 10% Spandex content, preferably 15-20%.

My Shinesty boxer briefs are 95% bamboo viscose, so 5% Spandex content works just fine.

Avoid Men’s Underwear without a Pouch

Besides wearing too tight underwear, men’s underwear without a pouch doesn’t make sense. Pouch underwear creates additional room for your package and, depending on the style, can also help with support and prevent skin irritation (“chafing”). And there are so many styles and options today for men’s pouch underwear that you can get something you like.

For example, I really like Saxx’s I-Shaped pouch and Separatec’s Dual Pouch, but I don’t get much benefit from Shinesty’s U-shaped pouch, even though Shinesty makes really comfortable underwear. Check out my Ultimate Guide to Men’s Pouch Underwear to learn about the various pouch designs, brands, and styles. You may need to experiment to find the ideal pouch for you.

Avoid 100% Cotton Underwear

I know many, many people love cotton underwear. Men cite that cotton underwear is soft, breathable, widely available, and cheap. Yet today, there are better options than 100% cotton underwear.

Readers and subscribers know I am a huge modal and bamboo men’s underwear fan. Modal and bamboo are much softer than cotton, breathe well, hold up for years if properly cared for, and are more environmentally friendly. Modal and bamboo aren’t as common in the United States as cotton, so many guys don’t know what they don’t know. But if men tried modal and bamboo underwear, many guys would double down on it!

The ubiquitous white briefs feel a lot more comfortable if they are modal or bamboo, like these Tani Silk Cut white briefs.
Me wearing Jockey modal boxer briefs
These Jockey modal boxer briefs are so comfortable but don’t break the budget at less than $10/pair.

Experiment with 95% cotton and 5% Spandex/elastane pairs if you want cotton underwear. As mentioned above, the Spandex/elastane allows the fabric to stretch more to fit comfortably. Often, this is referred to as “stretch cotton,” like these Calvin Klein hip briefs. Or, for a much more luxurious fit, you can splurge for high-end cotton underwear like Tommy John Cool Cotton boxer briefs or a cotton-modal blend like Mack Weldon 18-Hour Jersey Trunks.

Last update on 2024-06-14 at 08:35 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Tommy John’s Cool Cotton is 86% Pima Cotton and 14% Spandex, for a very luxurious cotton feel.

Avoid Synthetic Underwear without at least 10% Spandex/Elastane

As mentioned above, synthetic underwear – primarily polyester, polyamide, and nylon – needs additional Spandex/elastane content to stretch and feel more comfortable. While 5% Spandex/elastane content is okay for modal and bamboo underwear, you need at least 10% for synthetic underwear, although 15-20% is ideal. You’ll especially appreciate the additional Spandex content if you wear long-leg boxer briefs.

There are very well-priced options in the 10-20% Spandex range. Note that a few pairs have more than 20% Spandex/elastane, but they are rarer, more expensive, and unnecessary. You’ll be fine buying good quality synthetic underwear with 10-20% Spandex content.

Last update on 2024-06-14 at 14:37 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

These 90% Polyester/10% Spandex New Balance boxer briefs are less than $7/pair.

My Final Thoughts

If you want more comfortable underwear, follow my five tips above on what underwear to avoid. Making these adjustments will lead to a more ideal underwear for you.

To design your underwear collection without spending a fortune, read my Buying Guides, including my picks for the Best Boxer Briefs on Amazon and my guide to the Best Briefs.

And if you want personal help choosing new underwear, email me at hello@mensunderwearguide.com.

Frequently Asked Questions about Men’s Underwear

What are the top five men’s underwear to avoid?

The top five kinds of men’s underwear to avoid are:

1. Expensive men’s underwear: you need not spend $60/pair to be comfortable. The sweet spot I find for men’s underwear is $10-20/pair.
2. Tight men’s underwear: Fitted underwear is ideal, but tight and too-tight men’s underwear is uncomfortable and potentially not healthy for you.
3. Men’s Underwear without a Pouch: A pouch provides much needed room for your penis and balls. Additionally, special types of pouches provide separation between your balls, legs, and groin to improve sweat evaporation, keeping things cooler and drier.
4. 100% cotton underwear: Men’s underwear with 5-10% Spandex/elastane content will be stretchier and more comfortable. Furthermore, if you like wearing cotton underwear, I recommend exploring modal and bamboo underwear. Modal and bamboo are lighter, better at moisture wicking, and I find way more comfortable than underwear for not much more money at all.
5. Synthetic underwear with less than 10% Spandex/elastane content: If you are wearing synthetic underwear – primarily made from nylon, polyester, or polyamide – make sure it has at least 10% Spandex/elastane content. At least 10% is best for comfort and stretchability while you are working out, although 15-20% is best.

Which underwear material is best for men?

Underwear made from 90-95% modal or bamboo, with 5-10% Spandex/elastane content, will be best all-around for everyday wear for men. For sweaty situations, such as at the gym or playing sports, try a 80-85% nylon/polyester/polyamide blend with 15-20% Spandex/elastane.

Is it ok to go commando and not wear underwear?

Yes, if you prefer the breezy, natural feeling of not wearing underwear. However, keep in mind these considerations before forgoing underwear:

1. Be very careful of metal zipper flies on your pants or shorts. Without underwear to protect your penis, you can easily cut yourself on the metal of your fly.
2. If you sweat quite a bit, all of that sweat will be absorbed by your pants – especially if you are wearing tight pants. You won’t have any underwear on to absorb your sweat instead.
3. Be mindful of penis outlines. Much like when women don’t wear a bra more details are exposed, the same is true of guys when not wearing underwear. If you are especially wearing tight pants, you may be exposing more of yourself than you realize.
4. Don’t go commando when you have stomach problems or are sick. You don’t want to spread germs to your pants and shorts, or worse, transfer stains.

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Eric at MensUnderwearGuide.com

Eric is the creator and writer of MensUnderwearGuide.com. He loves boxer briefs and trunks, exploring the new world of briefs, the soft feeling of modal and the lightness of mesh microfiber, and of course writing and researching the world of men's underwear.

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