Are Briefs Superior to Boxer Briefs? Trying on Mack Weldon Briefs

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Author’s Note: I purchased the Mack Weldon underwear featured in this blog post with my own money.


Table of Contents


Brief History

As a millennial, I did not wear briefs. I had been boxer briefs-only for at least a decade now. Yet I took a chance on briefs by ordering a pair of Mack Weldon AIRKNITx briefs – my first briefs in decades. And guess what? I love them! Thus, this raises an interesting question: are briefs superior to boxer briefs?

As a millennial, I grew up in high school and college wearing boxer shorts, primarily to be “cool,” of course. Since college, though, I have been 100% boxer briefs. And why not? They are comfortable, look amazing, and with an explosion in options, everyone can find something that suits them.

However, as men’s clothing trends have grown to tighter and tighter clothing, I started experimenting with trunks over the past few years. Trunks are simply boxer briefs with shorter legs (usually 2-3 inches instead of 5-6 inches) for those not in the know. My first pair of trunks was my partner’s old pair of Calvin Klein Steel Trunks. It seemed so short at first! Slowly – over months – I got used to them. And why did I keep wearing them? Because they are even more comfortable than boxer briefs!



I added a couple more pairs of trunks to my collection during the past year from Intimissimi, and I have been looking for more. At the same time, I have wanted to try Mack Weldon since they have been getting such positive reviews (read my full Mack Weldon guide here and why I believe AIRKNITx is the best Mack Weldon underwear). So during the holidays of 2020, I treated myself to a collection of trunks from Mack Weldon. And yet, while browsing their pages, something about their briefs made me want to get a pair to try. So I did, and it was an excellent decision. (Since then, I bought more briefs, and below, I highlight my two latest acquisitions of briefs since I originally wrote this article.)

Do Millenials even wear briefs?

Yes! As a millennial, I struggled to overcome my recollection of high school and college when briefs were very uncool. Wearing “tighty-whities” was probably the worst thing we could do in school and was a sure-fire way to get made fun of. Yet, we millennials are all grown up now, and briefs are now cool. This is especially the case for Gen Z as well.

Sadly, there are not really any scientific polls to study underwear trends among different age groups. I know companies have this information from their customers, yet for weird reasons like “trade secrets” and “proprietary information,” no one wants to share that information with me. I found one poll of British retailer Bang & Strike that noted over 20% of straight men and 50-60% of gay and bi men wear briefs. While the poll did not consider age groups, considering Bang & Strike’s target demographic, I believe the poll included significant amounts of Millenials and Gen Z men.

Nonetheless, we can turn to the market to discover guys’ attitudes towards briefs. Many underwear companies catering to gay guys feature briefs front and center. That is not surprising anecdotally as a gay guy, and the above poll from Bang & Strike demonstrates that. As a gay guy, I am behind my cohorts in just now wearing briefs again. Yet, what about straight guys, who dominate the men’s underwear market?

During the past year or two, many underwear brands added briefs to their underwear lineup. Saxx is the biggest converter – a “cool” brand with a large following. Even more interesting about Saxx is that its Instagram account openly rallies its followers to purchase briefs. Saxx isn’t considering briefs as a side product; it actively focuses on developing the lineup. Other mainstream brands recently embraced briefs, such as Shinesty, Pair of Thieves, and Separatec, although American Eagle flip-flops between selling and not selling briefs.

But if all of this hasn’t convinced you that Millenials wear briefs, then there is no better proof than Instagram. Charlie Puth – a Millenial born in 1991 – recently came out of the briefs closet on his birthday. To be honest, I would have preferred Charlie wearing something better than a pair of gray Calvin Klein cotton classics (Charlie – please contact me for advice!). Nonetheless, the point is made. ::mic drop::

https://www.instagram.com/p/CW–h-ZF0yM/

From Boxer Briefs to Trunks to Mack Weldon Briefs

If you switch from trunks or boxer briefs – especially boxer briefs – briefs are short, very short. Hip briefs – like Mack Weldon Briefs, Tani Hip Cut briefs, or Separatec briefs – are even shorter! Since I had started transitioning to trunks during the past year, I was not so shocked, but still an adjustment. And that adjustment is worth it! Here are my top reasons for wearing briefs:

Greater air circulation and cooling

Less fabric means your legs are cooler (temperature-wise!) during hot weather or exercise. I felt cooler under my shorts during my first walk in moderate Texas weather (around 80 degrees). I welcomed air circulation higher up on my legs than with boxer briefs, and it felt better. This feeling transferred over during my first workout in briefs, which is essential as my body tends to run hot during exercise.

Package support

Simultaneously, because briefs are snug, just like boxer briefs or trunks, they supported my package the entire time. Perhaps even more so than boxer briefs because of how briefs wrap around the top of the legs. I was concerned that this might be uncomfortable. To be honest, it was a bit tight around the crotch, yet never uncomfortable. And the support was on point, crucial for high-activity events like sports and working out.


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No fabric bunching on the legs

Fabric bunching on your legs is an issue with boxer briefs, also known as “riding up.” Trunks have less of this issue – since they have less leg fabric – yet trunks can also ride up. Briefs don’t have this issue since there are no legs. No need to pull down your boxer brief legs every so often or suffer from uncomfortable fabric bunching. Briefs won’t ride up straight out of the box (or bag!).

Comparing length of Separatec Briefs, Mack Weldon AIRKNITx Briefs, Intimissimi Men Stretch Supima Cotton Boxers, and Mack Weldon AIRKNITx Trunks.

No boxer brief lines

Speaking of legs, if you wear cheaper boxer briefs that have thicker leg bands, you may have “boxer brief lines” show through your pants. Lines appear especially if you wear thinner pants, such as dress slacks. Briefs don’t have this issue either since there are no legs. Now, some guys may ask about visible brief lines. Brief lines may appear when wearing dark-colored briefs with white or light color shorts. However, this is easy to avoid.

Feeling sexier and more confident

Finally, dare I say I felt a bit sexier while wearing briefs? The first time I walked around the house in briefs, I was a bit embarrassed. However, I soon got over it, much like my change from boxer briefs to trunks. And once I did, I felt more confident and sexier than wearing boxer briefs. I purchased Mack Weldon’s AIRKNITx HD briefs, which are dark blue with red stitching. Since they look modern – and the opposite of white briefs! – I felt more confident walking around. Feeling sexier and confident was the icing on the cake!



Caveats

I based my opinion on one pair of briefs, the Mack Weldon AIRKNITx HD (although I have many more briefs now, see all of my briefs reviews here). I chose these briefs because they were mesh material and contained 15% elastane. 15% is on the high-end of elastane content in men’s underwear and more elastane – also known as Spandex – means greater stretch and higher comfort. Lightweight materials are vital, especially for temperature control, as I tend to overheat in cotton.

Based on my experience with Mack Weldon’s 18-hour Jersey Trunks and Initimissimi’s Cotton Boxers (Square-Cut Trunks), if I had purchased briefs in either of those two styles, I do not know I would have had the same results. On the other hand, the bamboo and MicroModal briefs I have received after these Mack Weldon briefs have been awesome because of how breathable and lightweight modal and bamboo are.

Additionally, color is also quite important. I refuse – refuse! – to wear tighty-whities. The pair I purchased are dark blue with orange stitching. I prefer darker colors, and the red stitching is different, making it stand out and striking. The color and design choices are also one reason I like Mack Weldon, as they have a variety of patterns and colors that mainstream manufacturers just don’t get. Since many mainstream underwear brands feature plain, solid colors or wacky designs, I appreciate that Mack Weldon offers a beautiful middle ground in design.

Mack Weldon

Finally, I will note that briefs are not a good idea if you wear baggy or rough pants and shorts. I have worn my briefs with baggier shorts, and I did not appreciate the shorts’ material rubbing against my thighs. Boxer briefs covered this area, while briefs do not. Likewise, I love wearing jeans, yet denim isn’t that soft. Again, boxer briefs are better for me with jeans, while my khaki and athletic pants and shorts are perfect pairs with briefs. Mack Weldon also sells AIRKNITx boxer briefs and trunks, which is awesome!

Conclusion

If you have been wearing boxer briefs and are either 1) wanting something a bit cooler temperature-wise, 2) tired of underwear bunching up on your legs, or 3) intrigued about experimenting with shorter underwear styles, I strongly encourage you to try briefs. Considering my recommendations, I know you’ll find a great pair of briefs you’ll enjoy!

Purchase briefs that align with your favorite boxer briefs or trunks. I knew I prefer mesh-type fabric, so it made sense to purchase mesh briefs. If you prefer modal boxer briefs, then purchase modal or bamboo briefs. Furthermore, choose a pair that has a penis pouch. A pouch will help prevent everything from being squished and also provide some cooling to your balls. Especially since briefs are tighter than trunks or boxer briefs, having extra room for your penis and balls will make briefs much more comfortable.

For example, as readers know, I love modal underwear. After I wrote this blog post, I expanded my collection of briefs by purchasing a three-pack of Separatec’s bamboo briefs. I chose bamboo because I knew it was very similar in comfort and feeling to modal, even though I had never worn bamboo underwear previously. I love them! Separatec’s bamboo briefs are an amazing buy for a three-pack and much cheaper than Mack Weldon. Read my full review of Separatec’s briefs here.


Separatec bamboo briefs in black.


Separatec bamboo island briefs.

Finally, as your first pair of briefs, please do not purchase cheap 100% cotton briefs in a 7-pack. I want your first experience wearing briefs as an adult to be invigorating. At the same time, no need to spend $20-$30 for one pair of briefs to start. I’ve included my recommendations throughout this post to start your brief-wearing journey. Once you get used to briefs, you can continue stocking up on these models or splurge for higher-end brands like Mack Weldon (read my full Mack Weldon guide here) and Tani USA. While Mack Weldon is on the higher end of pricing, if you are in the US military, a teacher, a First Responder, or a nurse/doctor/medical staff, you may be eligible for 25% off your first order from Mack Weldon.


Mack Weldon

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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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