Men’s Underwear Style Guide 

Men’s Underwear Style Guide?? We know it’s hard to believe that we need one, but here’s why we think we do. It really wasn’t that long ago when we had only a few underwear choices – Briefs and Boxers. We all knew what that meant, which made buying new underwear simple, but we were always stuck with the same stuff. Not so today.

Now there is a wider range of men’s underwear styles, and options, than ever before. Of course we still have Briefs and Boxers, but now we also have Trunks and Boxer Briefs. Then there are different cuts to consider, Low Rise or Mid Rise or even High Rise. And let’s not forget Fly vs. No Fly. Finally, as if that’s not enough, you can have Short Leg or Long Leg Boxer Briefs, and Relaxed or Trim Fit Boxers.

Wow! Choice is Great, But It Can Be Confusing

All this choice is great, but we know it can be confusing. That’s why we are bringing you this Men’s Underwear Style Guide to help you understand what all of this means. With just a quick review you’ll be better equipped to find a product that’s right for you.

So, don’t get stuck wearing the same old thing you did in elementary school because all of this seems too daunting. Use this Men’s Underwear Style Guide to update your underwear drawer.

Basic Styles The 3 most common styles in the US are:

men's underwear styles

There are 2 main differences between the styles. The the Side Leg Length, and the Inside Leg Length or Inseam.

Men's Underwear Style Differentiators

Breathable Men's Brief

Briefs – Shortest Lengths, Least Amount of Coverage

Briefs have the shortest side leg measurement, typically half way between the crotch and the waist, thus Briefs give the least amount of coverage. In terms of fit, you can find a Cozy fit Brief, which fits is like a sock, and a Relaxed fit, which fits like a T-Shirt. Briefs are great for under shorts, but they aren’t the most flattering style for all body types. No matter, if you love Briefs, and you are comfortable in them, don’t fix what ain’t broke.


Men's Boxer Brief/Trunk Boxer Briefs – Medium to Longer Lengths. Good Coverage

Boxer Briefs have a range of lengths and the most common are shown below. The options with the shortest inseams within this style are called Trunks, and inseams for Trunks range from 0 to 3″. Boxer Briefs give great coverage, and some expert opinions we’ve seen think that this is the most flattering style for most body types, even if that body is not in tip-top shape. Another great thing about Boxer Briefs is that there is lots of choice in how much coverage your can get. Here are common Inseam Lengths for Boxer Briefs:

Trunks/Short Leg Boxer Briefs Inseam 0 to 3″

Mid Rise Men's Boxer Brief

 Regular Length Boxer Briefs Inseam 3-4”

Men's Boxer Brief

 Long Leg Boxer Briefs Inseam 4 +”

Men's Milk Silk Long Leg Boxer Brief

men's underwear stylesBoxers – Classic Boxers Have Loosest Fit, But No Support

Boxers, also called Boxer Shorts, have the longest side leg measurement going below the crotch. Inseam is typically 4-5”. Classic Boxers usually have a very loose fit, like a dress shirt, with little or no support, but a new breed of Boxers is emerging that give both freedom and support.


Men's Boxer ShortsNew Boxer Designs – Freedom and Support

New Boxer designs incorporate a pouch for support, yet they maintain the other features of Boxers, and there is even choice there.  This new breed of Boxers are available in a Relaxed or Trim fit. Relaxed fit is similar to the Classic Boxer, very loose, while the Trim fit is more tailored, especially in the legs. Both options have the pouch , so either one gives support and freedom.


Men's Briefs

The Rise – What is it?

There are 3 main types of Rise – Low, Mid, and High — and this relates to where the waistband sits on your torso. Actually, the technical definition of Rise is the length between the waistband and the crotch. So in terms of fit, Rise impacts where the waistband sits, which then also impacts how much coverage you get. In addition to Low, Mid and High or Full Rise, you may also see bikini or sports underwear, and these are simply marketing terms that some companies use to talk about Rise. Deciding which Rise to choose is purely a matter of personal preference, and here’s what you need to know to decide.

Low Rise

Waistband Sits Below the Belt Line

Mid Rise

Waistband near Belt Level

High, Full, Traditional Rise

Waistband Higher on Waist

As you would think, Low Rise, also called Bikini or Sports, is the shortest of all, giving the least amount of coverage. The waistband on Low Rise underwear will be above your privates and below the belt line of your pants.

Why wear low rise? One advantage we’ve heard of for everyday wear is easier access when it’s time to hit the men’s room. Low Rise can be good options for sports, too, but the main disadvantage of Low Rise is its lower coverage, which can leave your behind less clothed than you’d like.

Mid Rise are relatively new to the marketplace and attempts to provide a middle ground between low and high rise.

The waistband on Mid Rise underwear sits near the belt level which gives good coverage for most body types. Mid Rise underwear are designed for individuals with a more slender buttocks.

High Rise underwear has the longest length and the waistband should sit just below the belly button, This traditional rise gives the most coverage. Additionally, the extra length holds the underwear in place without it being tight. If you need extra coverage in the rear, High Rise is the option for you.

What Happened to The Fly?

The Fly Evolved

The fly, the folding/sliding door material, is provided for easy access. This works great on traditional Boxers but is seldom well engineered on Trunks/Briefs and Boxer Briefs. On these styles the overlap is either too large or too small, so access is either difficult or things don’t stay where they should. Because of this, many Briefs and Boxer Briefs are now Flyless, i.e. no Folding Material Doors, and the Fly has been replaced by a pouch for better support.

The Pouch

The pouch is a contoured area of the garment designed to hold things in place. Depending on the style, material and purpose of the product, the pouch design can be a small contour or even a built in jock strap. In everyday wear products Pouches are designed to provide comfortable all day support, as opposed to firmer support for sports. Some Pouches are made out of soft micro-mesh, which has the extra advantage of better air flow and ventilation.

Finally, now that you know all of this, we hope you’ll find shopping for new undies easier. Shop:

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Boxer Briefs