About the author: Dave I. has been a Dappered reader for several years. His interest in fashion started with shoes and expanded to encompass watches, suits, and general men’s style. When not thinking about his next purchase he can be found enjoying a pint of locally brewed craft beer. The darker, the better.
Underwear. One of those items of clothing everyone wears but very few people talk about. And if no one talks about underwear, how are people going to find out there are other options besides cotton briefs and boxers? Luckily, that’s where sites like Dappered come in. Bringing discussions about underwear right out in to the open. After wearing cotton underwear for pretty much my whole life, I decided it was time to up my underwear game. To that end I looked at three different brands of underwear made from non-cotton fabric. The contenders are listed below with final rankings and thoughts at the end. Apologies, there are no “fit” shots. Joe wouldn’t pay me that much. And I have standards.
- Fabric: 88% Poly / 12% Spandex (or some variation of that depending on the color you pick)
- Noticeable Feature: Lightweight. Very lightweight.
- Drawbacks? Legs seem to ride up on the non low-rise version.
Sold by Uniqlo, AIRism boxers are, accounting for slight variations in the colour of the fabric, made of 88% Polyester and 12% Spandex. The material feels light to the touch and it’s so lightweight that I hardly noticed they were even on. Lightweight AIRism indeed. The boxer briefs come in two styles, regular and low rise. The difference between the two doesn’t seem to be where the waist rides, but instead the length of the leg on the low rise is shorter than the leg length on the regular version. I wore the boxers in a variety of outfits, from suits to jeans to shorts. At no point in time did ‘the boys’ feel out of place or unduly sweaty. At the end of the day, all was well. Uniqlo’s washing instructions recommend machine washing cold and make no mention of putting the underwear in a dryer. This isn’t an issue for me, as I line dry my clothes, but the inability to put the underwear in a dryer may be a deal breaker for some. My only complaint? The legs of the regular boxers would ride up. Not enough to make wearing the underwear uncomfortable, just something I noticed getting undressed at the end of the day.
- Fabric: 94% Nylon, 6% Lycra Spandex
- Noticeable Feature: Great support. Extremely comfortable.
- Drawbacks? Price.
Billed as “breathable, lightweight, and odor resistant” by ExOfficio, these boxer briefs are made of a slightly textured material (perhaps for air flow?) comprised of of 94% Nylon and 6% Lycra Spandex. Putting the Give-n-Go Boxers on for the first time, I immediately noticed support for ‘the boys’. The snugness of the material around my legs, combined with the not uncomfortable support in the groin compartment, gives the ExOfficio underwear a feeling of holding everything in place. At first I was taken aback at how far down the leg the underwear went, but less than five minutes later and I was none the wiser at the length of the leg. They also make other styles if the boxer brief isn’t your thing. I have to say that these might be the most comfortable underwear I’d ever worn. It didn’t matter what I wore over them. Jeans, shorts, suits, they still felt great. At the end of the day ‘the boys’ felt as fresh and clean as they had when I started the day. I cannot say the same for the cotton boxers I’ve wore in the past. ExOfficio recommends washing the underwear in cold water and then hanging to dry. Again, this isn’t an issue for me as I line dry my clothes but may be an issue for others. (Editor’s Note: I machine wash and tumble dry my Ex-Officio. YMMV of course.) Complaints for the ExOfficio? Price. One pair of ExOfficio Give-n-Go Boxer Briefs sells for $26 on Amazon.
- Fabric: 95% viscose, 5% Spandex
- Noticeable Feature: “Ballpark Pouch”
- Drawbacks? Price. Also, perhaps too many options/models to pick from.
SAXX underwear’s claim to fame is patented technology designed to “reduce friction and provide functional comfort.” Colour me skeptical, but I figured what the heck. Made of a 95% Viscose fabric and 5% Spandex, I decided to give them a try. What sets SAXX underwear apart is their patented ballpark pouch (seen below) that physically isolates ‘the boys’ from the movement of your leg and the rest of the underwear. In essence, ‘the boys’ have a physical home.
I was uncertain about this physical separation though, as I worried the material used to keep ‘the boys’ separate would start to get uncomfortable as the day progressed. I need not have worried. After putting the underwear on, and making sure ‘the boys’ were in their home, I forgot all about the separation from the rest of the environment. Comfort wise, the Vibe underwear performed admirably. I did not experience any of the comfort issues I had in the past with cotton boxers and at the end of the day everyone was happy. Care instructions for the Vibe boxer brief is to machine wash cold and tumble dry low. Complaints about the Vibe boxer brief? None. Complaints about SAXX? There are many many models to chose from, complicating what should be a simply decision. I stood in front of the display for easily five to 10 minutes trying to figure out what I was going to buy.
As with everything style related, fit and comfort is a personal thing. That said, switching from cotton underwear to a technical fabric was a big improvement in comfort. Cotton holds onto moisture. Technical fabrics shouldn’t do that, and they should breathe and stretch too. I found that to be true here.
The ExOfficio Give-n-Go Boxer Brief is, for me, the best underwear of the three. The support, the quality of the materials, and the comfort put the ExOfficio on top. Yes they are pricier than the AIRism, but I feel you get what you pay for. In second place are the AIRism Boxer Briefs. The reason I put the AIRism in second place is because I liked the fit and support of the ExOfficio better, and felt that UNIQLO’s material just wasn’t as high of quality. Rounding out the three are the SAXX Vibe. While the SAXX underwear were comfortable, I was bothered that ‘my boys’ had to be at home. I know the ballpark pouch is what sets SAXX apart from the crowd, but honestly, I just found it to be marketing hype. Besides, no one but I can tell ‘my boys’ what to do!