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The 10 Best Men’s Underwear for Working Out, From Calvin Klein to Lululemon

Say goodbye to chafing, bunching, and odors with these high-performing styles.

best underwear for working out

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We’ve all done it. We’ve all made the mistake of wearing the wrong underwear when working out—dressed in the same cotton undies that we wore with our work office attire, regretting it just minutes on the treadmill or the elliptical. What we think might be a comfortable, efficient undergarment can very easily go the wrong way. The chafing, the bunching, the smell—with the wrong pair of underwear, things can get unpleasant very quickly. Life gives us enough challenges that get between our daily routines and squeezing in a proper workout. Your underwear shouldn’t be one of them. 

While personal preferences may vary in terms of material, length, and fit, the general idea is to keep the goods secure and dry. That way, sweat won’t accumulate and harbor bacteria, which can lead to unpleasant odors or worse. The perfect workout underwear should feel like a second skin: close enough that it stays out of the way of what you’re trying to do but comfortable enough that it doesn’t restrict your movements. Here, we’ve pulled together some of the best underwear for working out, so you can CrossFit, run, spin, or whatever you like to do without missing a beat.

Best Boxers for Working Out

Ten Thousand A—L Boxer

Few brands understand the importance of fit and attention to the nitty-gritties quite like Ten Thousand. Built for maximum performance and maximum comfort, the brand’s A—L boxer uses a seamless build for the perfect snug—but not tight—fit. We loved this pair for the little details, which adds to the overall comfort, including the tagless construction and subtle embossed front logo, an ergonomic pouch, and the silky soft modal and spandex fabric. 

Materials: Modal and spandex. 
Inseam: 4 inches. 
Style: Boxer brief. 

Buy Now on Ten Thousand: $38

Best Underwear for Running

Tracksmith Brighton Boxer Briefs

Tracksmith knows running. The brand has made legions of fans for their popular tights and half-tights, and their new selection of underwear is a fitting offering for guys who prefer to layer underwear under their running shorts. These beautifully engineered boxer briefs make use of merino wool’s natural anti-stink and moisture-wicking properties and also feature a breathable, seamless construction that always supports and never chafes.

Materials: Wool, nylon, and elastane. 
Inseam: 5 inches.
Style: Boxer brief. 

Buy Now on Tracksmith: $48

Best Compression Shorts for Working Out

Wolaco North Moore Short

Even the most discerning connoisseurs of compression shorts can get behind Wolaco’s North Moore short. No detail here is overlooked—from the sweat-proof pockets that can stow a cell phone throughout your toughest workouts to the just-right moderate compression for both performance and comfort to the anti-pilling material that lasts through many, many washes. The six-inch inseam style is a solid option that could be worn as underwear, and the nine-inch inseam style offers that much more coverage so even the most modest could wear these as shorts all on their own.

Materials: Polyester and spandex.
Inseam: 6 to 9 inches.
Style: Compression short. 

Buy Now on Wolaco: $58

Best Pouch Underwear for Working Out

BN3TH Pro Boxer Briefs

Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it—pouch underwear is the way to go if you’re looking for impregnable support that hugs your privates. BN3TH in particular makes a proprietary pouch shape that prevents chafing. Throw in some flatlock seams, a no-roll waistband, and no-stink technology, and you’ve got a solid pair of pouch boxer briefs that will serve you well in your next workout. 

Materials: Polyester and spandex. 
Inseam: 6.5 inches.
Style: Boxer brief. 

Buy Now on BN3TH: $35

Most Breathable Underwear for Working Out

Duluth Trading Co. Armachillo Cooling Boxer Briefs

For the heaviest workouts on the hottest days, you’ll need to enlist the big guns. Enter Duluth Trading Co.’s Armachillo underwear, which incorporates microscopic jade embedded in the fabric for a cooling effect unlike anything else. These boxer briefs are lightweight, stretchy, odor-resistant, and ready to take on your sweatiest challenges. 

Materials: Nylon and spandex.
Inseam: 5 inches. 
Style: Boxer brief. 

Buy Now on Duluth Trading Co.: $28

Best Moisture-Wicking Underwear for Working Out

Saxx DropTemp Boxer Briefs

Consider these boxer briefs a feat of engineering. They come equipped with strategically placed mesh panels for increased airflow in the warmest parts of your undercarriage, as well as moisture-wicking fabric—two design features that keep even the warmest, sweatiest crotches temperate and dry. 


Materials: Recycled polyester and elastane.
Inseam: 5 inches.
Style: Boxer brief. 

Buy Now on Saxx: $38

Best Sustainable Underwear for Working Out

Bombas Active Flyless Boxer Brief

There’s a lot to love about these seamless boxer briefs from Bombas. Yes, they’re insanely comfortable, they have a secure leg opening that won’t ride up, and have all the anti-stink, moisture wicking properties we expect from underwear geared toward work outs. But the real clincher is that this pair is made from 86 percent recycled polyester, which significantly reduces their carbon footprint. 

Materials: Recycled polyester and elastane. 
Inseam: 5 inches.
Style: Boxer brief. 

Buy Now on Bombas: $34

Best Trunks for Working Out

Rhone Essentials Active Boxer Trunk

Do you find boxer briefs too covered-up and prone to bunching, and briefs too skimpy? Consider the trunk, a truncated version of a boxer brief that offers the best of both worlds. The fabric is soft and high-performing, but it’s really the no-roll, breathable jacquard mesh waistband that won high marks with us; it’ll keep, ahem, everything in place throughout whatever workout you throw their way. 

Materials: Polyamide, polyester, and elastane. 
Inseam: 4 inches. 
Style: Trunk.

Buy Now on Rhone: $38

Best Briefs for Working Out

Lululemon Always In Motion Brief

High-cut briefs offer an increased range of motion and basically makes bunching a thing of the past. If you’re looking for a brief for workouts, however, skip the old-school cotton ones and try something like this style from Lululemon. They’re made from a super soft modal fabric that dries in an instant.

Materials: Modal and elastane. 
Inseam: None.
Style: Brief. 

Buy Now on Lululemon: $24

Best Jockstrap for Working Out

Calvin Klein Athletic Active Jockstrap

Find a well-fitting jockstrap and you may discover that they won’t only keep you secure during your workouts but comfortable enough for all-day wear, as well. Keep things classic and stick to something from Calvin Klein. This one blends the softness of cotton with the stretch and fit of elastane and is finished with miDori moisture-wicking finish to keep everything dry.

Materials: Cotton and elastane with a miDori bio-wicking finish.
Inseam: None.
Style: Jockstrap.

Buy Now on Nordstrom: $30

What to Consider Before Buying the Best Underwear for Working Out: 

There are enough questions out there surrounding workouts—which ones to try, how hard to go, and for how long—that selecting the right underwear should not be on your list of concerns. And while personal preferences may vary, and different activities may require slight variations, there are a few overarching themes to consider. Here, we’re breaking down the most important factors when it comes to the best underwear for working out. 

Material: On warm summer days when you’re getting dressed for the company luncheon, natural fibers such as cotton and linen are your friend. But when it comes to pumping iron and clocking miles, natural fibers can be your enemy (for the most part). Our ancestors would totally think there’s some serious witchcraft going on with 21st-century underwear: Technical materials such as modal and polyester can wick moisture away from the skin and prevent the buildup of stinky bacteria, and even the way certain fabrics are woven—such as adding a little elastane to merino wool—can alter the structure and durability of natural fibers. Word to the wise for when it comes to the best undies for workouts: Avoid pieces that say they’re made of 100 percent of any natural fiber such as cotton, unless you want droopy, sweaty, swampy under layers. 

Length: This pretty much comes down to individual preference—for the most part. Some people prefer the mobility and freedom of a brief or even a jockstrap, but others prefer the coverage and support of a longer boxer brief. Our best advice? Build up a stock of underwear so you’re ready for whatever life throws your way.

Fit: Again, considerations of fit have a lot to do with what you’re doing and how hard you like to work out. That said, most underwear for working out tends to skew toward the compression side of things. There is tons of evidence that compression-fit underwear can support performance, circulation, and recovery—but if you’re a guy who prefers to let things swing and breathe a little more naturally, you may want to choose something on the looser end of the spectrum.

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