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Table of Contents
- Why do shorts have built-in underwear?
- What are the drawbacks?
- What to look for?
- What brands sell shorts with built-in underwear?
- Wrapping Up
My favorite season by far is summer. I love the long days, the hot weather, and the overall summer feeling of being outdoors. Summer’s arrival means it is time to start wearing shorts all of the time (well, outside at least; at home, it’s time to hang out in underwear!).
A new trend I’ve seen growing is shorts with built-in underwear. For years, athletic companies have made shorts with compression liners – very tight boxer briefs meant for muscle recovery. Yet Birddogs moved this trend forward, transforming regular khaki shorts and trousers into all-inclusive pants with underwear (or all-inclusive trousers with pants, for my British readers). Other companies caught on and hence this blog post.
If you are curious about this two-in-one trend in men’s fashion, keep reading to learn the ins and outs of built-in underwear.
Why do shorts have built-in underwear?
Riding up is a common problem with guys’ boxers and boxer briefs – especially looser styles. Shorts have built-in underwear primarily for less riding up. Built-in underwear helps prevent riding up as the underwear is physically attached to the shorts, so everything moves together. Note, though, that riding up is still possible.
Besides reducing ride-up, four other reasons contribute to the benefits of having built-in underwear:
- No waistband shows: The shorts and underwear waistbands will move together as the underwear attaches to the shorts. You won’t have your underwear waistband showing above your shorts or pants.
- Ensure proper material for activities: Generally, brands design shorts with built-in underwear for activewear, including heavy sweating and swimming. Thus, the built-in underwear is made from a polyester/nylon blend (or a derivative), ensuring your underwear will be comfortable.
- Easy way to organize pants and underwear: Your wardrobe will be much neater and uncluttered if you just need to organize your shorts and pants without bothering to fold your underwear.
- The shorts themselves are higher quality: While this is not a direct reason why shorts have built-in underwear, as built-in underwear is a premium product, generally, you’ll expect to have higher quality shorts and pants than the average brand.
What are the drawbacks to shorts with built-in underwear?
Not everything is sweet about built-in underwear. More laundry, higher prices, no mix and matching shorts and underwear, and limited underwear options are the primary drawbacks of purchasing shorts with built-in underwear.
- More laundry: Most built-in underwear are polyester/nylon blends so that they can tolerate moisture far higher than cotton underwear. It is possible to re-wear for a few days without getting a stink. However, the underwear will get dirtier every time, so keep that in mind. Since you can’t detach the underwear from the shorts, it is hard to re-use the shorts without washing.
- High prices: Brands treat shorts and pants with built-in underwear as premium products; prices will be higher than your average pair of shorts and pants. On the other hand, if you already buy higher-quality shorts and underwear, then the price might be in line with purchasing them separately, perhaps even better. It depends on what shorts, pants, and underwear you are already buying.
- No mix and matching: As you buy the shorts and the underwear together, you can’t mix and match your underwear with other pairs of shorts and pants. For example, during the winter, you can’t wear your built-in underwear with another pair of pants. Thus, you’ll have to keep a separate underwear wardrobe for pants without liners anyway. So while you can buy swim shorts with boxer briefs, you can also buy boxer briefs for your swim shorts.
- Not many options for briefs-wearers: If you wear briefs, it will be hard to find shorts and pants with built-in briefs that aren’t running shorts. Most built-in underwear options are boxer briefs.
What to look for when buying shorts with built-in underwear?
To start, many brands will refer to built-in underwear as liners, so don’t get confused when you keep seeing the word “liner.” Besides the terminology, brands do not manufacture shorts with built-in underwear the same. Here are six main items you’ll want to pay attention to when purchasing:
- Design: Before seeing your underwear, people see your shorts. Buy shorts and pants that match your unique fashion. Choose the style, length, colors, and design you love, just like when buying any other pair of shorts.
- Underwear Fabric – Check the fabric details and ensure it is a material you already enjoy. I recommend a 90-95% modal/bamboo blend or an 80-90% polyester/nylon/polyamide blend for ultimate comfort. Remember, the higher the elastane/Spandex/Lycra content in the fabric blend, the greater comfort you’ll experience.
- Briefs or Boxer Briefs? – By far, most of the built-in underwear market is exclusively boxer briefs. Lovers of briefs or boxer shorts will have a hard time, although Mack Weldon designed their Stratus Active Shorts with their Silver briefs built-in. Additionally, check the underwear inseam length. Most guys will want a 4-6” underwear inseam; however, some shorts come with 7-9” underwear inseams for intense activities and sports.
- Is there a cell phone pocket on the underwear? Built-in cell phone pockets on underwear are a new and cool trend. You’ll appreciate the built-in pocket when wearing athletic shorts, as exterior pockets often are non-existent or too small to carry your phone. Additionally, built-in cell phone pockets keep your phone snug, so it isn’t bouncing around while you move.
- Compression or non-compression: Compression shorts or liners are boxer briefs that hug your skin more than regular underwear. By “compressing” your muscles, the compression liners help blood circulate to repair and build new muscle. Most athletic or gym shorts will tout their compression liners; however, if you don’t intend to wear them during workouts, the compression liner might feel restrictive or overly tight. Compression liners are underwear themselves; you don’t wear underwear underneath compression shorts.
- Prices: In this category, expect to pay $60 to $90 for shorts and over $100 for pants. Always be on the lookout for sales so you can snag a great deal. Anything below $40 may indicate a lower quality or inferior product, although always perform your research!
Should you wear underwear with lined shorts?
No, you should not wear underwear with lined shorts. Not only does this defeat the purpose of buying shorts with a liner, but you will be wearing two pairs of underwear simultaneously. It won’t be comfortable!
However, I have worn underwear with my shorts that have built-in underwear. I have done it for hygiene reasons so I can wear my shorts longer between washes. My advice is that if you choose to do this, only wear briefs or bikini briefs to minimize the amount of double fabric you are wearing. You could even try it with a thong or jockstrap as well. But if you wear trunks or boxer briefs with your lined shorts, you will not have a comfortable time.
What brands sell shorts with built-in underwear?
Most of the brands below sell gym or athletic shorts with built-in underwear since this is where the trend originated. Yet, you can buy comfortable shorts to wear at any time with built-in underwear, including from the first brand on the list, Birddogs.
Saxx’s claim to fame is their version of the single-separated ball pouch, dubbed the “Ball Park” pouch. While Saxx originally was only a men’s underwear company, Saxx expanded its clothing line up tremendously to include its Ball Park pouch in its shorts and pants options. I own a pair of Saxx boxer briefs, and you can read my full review here.
Also, if you aren’t familiar with Saxx underwear, please check out my Ultimate Guide to Saxx Underwear here.
In this respect, Saxx is very much like Birddogs in that Saxx offers everyday shorts, athletic shorts, and khaki shorts with built-in underwear. Yet, Saxx takes it further by providing built-in underwear with its swim trunks and select regular shorts and pajamas. If you are already a fan of Saxx underwear, buying Saxx shorts is the perfect next step in 24/7 comfort.
- Design: Saxx includes its underwear and Ball Park pouch in the following collections:
- Swim shorts: Betawave and Oh Buoy collections. I have a pair of Oh Buoy 7″ swim shorts, which you can read my review here.
- Everyday shorts: Sport 2 Life, Go To Town, and Ascender collections. I also have the Go To Town swim shorts, which I wrote about as well.
- Athletic and gym shorts: Hightail and Gainmaker collections
- Pajamas/Lounge pants: Sleepwalker pants contain the Ball Park pouch but not an actual liner. You wear Sleepwalker pants without underwear, so everything below doesn’t apply. I’m including the Sleepwalker pants if you want the pouch while sleeping but don’t like wearing underwear.
Sleepwalker pants in Black
- Underwear inseam and style: Saxx doesn’t give any underwear color or style options with its built-in underwear collections. Most of the shorts don’t even show the liner color. All styles come with the Ball Park pouch, and most feature a 5” inseam liner (identical to Saxx’s boxer briefs). Yet the Gainmaker, for example, includes an 8″ inseam liner.
- Underwear fabric:
- Sport 2 Life and Go To Town shorts feature Saxx’s Sport Mesh boxer briefs comprising 89% polyester and 11% Spandex.
- Saxx’s swim shorts feature its Hydro Liner boxer briefs (87% polyester and 13% Spandex).
- The Ascender collection features Saxx’s Quest boxer briefs (77% nylon, 9% polyester, and 14% elastane/Spandex).
- Gainmaker and Hightail series include Saxx’s Kinetic boxer briefs (85% nylon and 15% Elastane).
- Cell phone pocket: Some of Saxx’s shorts include a pocket on the liner, such as the Oh Buoy swim shorts. However, many do not, so please double-check if this is important to you.
- Compression: The Gainmaker and Hightail series are the only collections featuring compression liners.
- Price: Prices are high because Saxx is a premium product, yet they are in line with Birddogs. Expect to pay between $60 and $90 per pair of shorts, depending on the collection.
Despite being perhaps the best-known brand in the built-in underwear category, thanks to flashy social media campaigns and the first-mover advantage, I have not tried them out yet. But Birddogs has a fantastic selection as they solely focus on the built-in underwear market and sell both shorts and pants.
- Design: Birddogs’ shorts lineup consists of gym shorts, khaki shorts, Oxford shorts, and swimsuits, plus khaki pants and joggers. Every design has many colors to choose from, and for shorts, you can choose from 6”, 7”, and 9” inseam options.
- Underwear inseam and style: Boxer briefs are the only underwear option. While different colors of shorts and pants come with varying colors of underwear, you cannot choose the underwear color. Additionally, Birddogs offers select pants without liners if you like Birddogs pants but don’t need underwear.
- Underwear fabric: The boxer briefs are a polyester/nylon blend, which is typical for built-in underwear and excellent for both everyday use, working out, and water activities.
- Cell phone pocket: Birddogs says they have pockets on the shorts themselves for cell phones, but not on the built-in underwear.
- Compression: No compression.
- Price: Prices are in the $60+ range for shorts, $72+ for bathing suits, and $100+ range for pants.
I have written about Shinesty several times before in several of my blog posts for two reasons. The first reason is that I love Shinesty’s X-Rated collection of patterns, and I find the designs quite humorous. While Saxx also offers whimsical prints, Shinesty’s patterns are much louder and bolder than Saxx’s.
The second reason is that, like Saxx, Shinesty features a single-separated penis pouch – the “Ball Hammock” pouch – in all of its underwear. If you don’t know what a separated penis pouch is, I highly encourage you to read my guide on underwear pouches first. Although I found Saxx’s Ball Park pouch more comfortable – I couldn’t fit into Shinesty’s pouch – Shinesty’s boxer briefs are still quite comfortable for me.
Shinesty has added built-in liners to some of its swim and athletic shorts, featuring the Ball Hammock Pouch. Now you can have wild patterns inside and outside of your shorts!
- Design: Shinesty’s built-in liner lineup features athletic shorts and swim trunks. The athletic shorts (gym shorts) comes in both 5.5” and 7.5” inseams, but black is the only color option. 5.5” inseams are relatively short – around mid-thigh – whereas 7.5” inseams hit above your knee. The swim trunks are 5.75” inseam, which is about right for swim trunks (not boardshorts, which are much longer), and feature several whimsical patterns.
- Important: Not all swim shorts have built-in boxer briefs and the Ball Hammock Pouch. Make sure the shorts you are looking at contain a built-in liner.
- Underwear inseam and style: For the athletic shorts, Shinesty offers a conservative style – black with dark gray stars – and a bolder option with an exciting pattern of triangles and lines. On the other hand, Shinesty offers a more extensive selection of swim trunks and matches its built-in underwear to each swim trunk design. Of course, Shinesty’s underwear comes with a separated “Ball Hammock” pouch for your penis and balls.
- Underwear fabric: Shinesty uses a polyester/Spandex fabric blend for its shorts and the built-in underwear, which is very typical. Spandex content ranges between 11-15%, which is quite good.
- Cell phone pocket: Yes! Shinesty provides a built-in cell phone pocket – “tech pocket” – on the underwear of both its athletic shorts and swim trunks. Both types of shorts include pockets on the exterior as well.
- Compression: Shinesty states its athletic shorts contain the “perfect amount” of compression, while the swim trunks are non-compression.
- Price: Prices are in the $70 range for athletic shorts and swim trunks, although you can get them cheaper when Shinesty has a sale. You can also use my code GUIDE10 for $10 off a purchase of $30 or more.
Inspired by Bermuda Island and the style of shorts named after the island, Bermies makes its shorts from recycled plastic bottles to help preserve the oceans. Besides selling shorts with built-in underwear, Bermies also sells other clothing, including shirts, loungewear, jackets, and bags. I haven’t tried Bernies yet, although I really like their patterns.
- Design: Bermies only sells select shorts with built-in underwear, namely their Gym Shorts and Compression Liner Swim Shorts. All other shorts do not come with underwear, or for their swim shorts, they contain a standard mesh liner for swimwear.
- Underwear inseam and style: The Gym Shorts and the Compression Liner Swim Shorts contain boxer briefs around the +/- 4” inseam range. Different shorts come with varying underwear colors, although around half of the swim collection includes plain white boxer briefs. The colored boxer briefs also have a fun tropical pattern.
- Underwear fabric: The boxer briefs and shorts are a recycled polyester and Lycra blend, which is typical for built-in underwear and excellent for everyday use, working out, and water activities.
- Cell phone pocket: Yes! Bermies’ boxer briefs contain a built-in cell phone pocket.
- Compression: Yes. Both the gym shorts and the swim shorts both contain compression liners.
- Price: Prices are in the $60 range for gym shorts and swim shorts.
If you have analysis paralysis, Brutal Buddha is a good solution! Brutal Buddha fully embraces the yoga lifestyle, and their shorts originated from the need for comfortable yoga shorts. And this simplicity is what you’ll find on their website…one style of shorts made in five colors. NEW: As of February 2023, you can pre-order Brutal Buddha’s new joggers with built-in boxer briefs!
Note that Brutal Buddha includes its own enclosed U-shaped pouch with its shorts. The pouch is somewhat similar to Shinesty’s pouch. However, the whole pouch is enclosed, not just the bottom.
- Design: Brutal Buddha only sells one style of shorts – their “Original Shorts” – and one style of jogger pants, both of which comes with boxer briefs. Brutal Buddha sells in five colors for its shorts: black, blue, gray, red, and green. However, you can only select from black, blue, and gray for the joggers.
- Underwear inseam and style: Brutal Buddha’s Original Shorts and joggers only come with black boxer briefs. There are no other options, again keeping it simple.
- Underwear fabric: Brutal Buddha uses a recycled nylon and Lycra blend for its shorts, joggers and underwear, which is nice. Furthermore, the 21% Lycra (elastane/Spandex) content is impressive for men’s underwear, with men’s underwear usually containing 5-8% elastane content. A 21% Lycra content means the underwear will be super stretchy and quite comfortable. Note, though, that the pouch mesh is 92% recycled nylon and 8% Lycra.
- Cell phone pocket: The underwear has no cell phone pocket, but the shorts and joggers contain security pockets for your valuables other than your balls.
- Compression: Brutal Buddha notes that its underwear contains “light compression.”
- Price (as of February 2023): Prices are in the $68 range for the Original Shorts and $140 for the joggers.
Shorts and pants with built-in underwear are a new trend and one that I see quickly growing. There are several benefits to having built-in underwear, including reducing riding up and perfectly pairing underwear material with your activities for the day. On the other hand, shorts with built-in liners aren’t a utopia and will cost you more than buying regular underwear or shorts without the ability to mix and match your underwear and shorts. Plus, you’ll need to do laundry more often as the underwear will get dirtier quicker than the shorts.
Nonetheless, if you want high-quality shorts and prefer the convenience of having built-in underwear, I believe the options above are perfect for adding to your wardrobe. Here are my recommendations:
- Pants – not shorts – with built-in underwear: Birddogs for regular pants or joggers, Brutal Buddha for joggers, and Saxx for pajamas.
- Stylish shorts for everyday wear: Saxx and Birddogs.
- Swim Trunks: Saxx, Shinesty, and Bermies.
- Value Buy: Bermies, as they are the cheapest of the five brands above.
- Flamboyant patterns: Shinesty by far, followed by Saxx.
Let me know in the comments below whether you would or have tried shorts with built-in underwear and, if so, your favorite picks!
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