It's incredible what a new pair of underwear will do to your self confidence. Undies have moved from being a basic societal "decency" etiquette to being crucial for the comfort and protection of your junk. And while they're mostly for-your-eyes-only (unless you're David Beckham), men's underwear now come in an astonishing array of designs, fabric combinations and blends - so you can literally go from bleh to novelty, and still keep your man bits accentuated and where they belong.
The thing with guys though is that underwear won't typically make their list of fun stuffs to buy, so they almost always end up wearing whatever's available (usually whatever they had from high school) after subjecting it to a sniff test.
That, or just go commando - which when done wrong, can leave some pretty scarring visual impact of your commando profile (if your trouser is linen or a similar fabric) on unsuspecting bystanders, lead to some serious jock itch, or worse zip pinching (ouch!).
Point is, men should only bare it all if they're going for a sexy occasion with a predictable outcome (hello date night!).
For everyday underwear, there's a reason both genders opt for cotton. The best cotton underwear for men offer just the right amount of support, with enough moisture wicking abilities to give your boys the type of home they deserve.
There's a lot more to learn when choosing your underwear, so you'll see that first before we delve into everyone's favorite pieces.
What To Look For When Choosing The Best Cotton Underwear For Men
The fact that you're specifically searching for cotton underwear is a good sign - it means you've been paying attention to some of the cotton underwear lessons society has drummed into you.
As a refresher course, cotton is considered the go-to fabric for underwear because it contains natural antimicrobial properties which eliminate odor, wicks moisture from the skin, doesn't trap heat like synthetic fabrics, and generally favors sensitive skins, like the one around your most delicate anatomy.
Note that cotton comes in grades. Some underwear mix cotton with other fabrics like spandex, to give it some elasticity, while other cotton underwear are made entirely from organic cotton - so you can be sure there's absolutely no chemical within close proximity to your junk.
A word of caution with regards to purchasing cotton underwear. Because your skivvies will bear the brunt of your sweat, you may not want to use the cotton ones you get for intense physical activities. The reason is that, while great for everyday use, cotton underwear won't endure sweat sessions well.
Having seen the benefits of cotton fabric, lets see what else you need to bear in mind when buying underwear.
Unless you're super committed to one style of underwear, it's always good to have other cuts - so you can switch things up once in a while. Briefs, or tighty whities, with the "Y" shaped front pouch used to be popular amongst high school kids way back. They offer a lot of support thanks to their non-creeping tendencies and no-nonsense waistband. Even though there isn't anything particularly wrong with briefs, you may not want to fill your entire underwear drawer with them if you're worried about procreating later on.
If you want your boys to roam (reasonably) freely, then stock up on some loose boxers. Their looseness means you can't wear them under certain trouser fabrics and fittings, as they'll ride up, but they're great for couch potato days.
Boxer briefs combine the snug supportive fit of briefs and the coverage of traditional boxers to give you the best of both worlds. They've more or less become the gold standard for men's underwear, thanks to their incredible fit. They'll protect your crown jewels from chafing, so stock up on them.
While these are the main underwear cuts, there's a wide range of styles out there, from trunks, jockstraps to mankinis. If you can think it, chances are someone's already made it, so don't limit your options to just these three cuts.
Seams & Waistband
Do yourself a favor, don't even think about subjecting your boys to those department-store-multipack deals. They're usually poorly stitched, and will last only as long as it takes their waistbands to develop visible holes (about three or four wears). When shopping for the best cotton underwear for men, look for those with double or triple reinforced stitching at the waistband - they might cost slightly more, but you won't have to discard them every so often.
Also be on the look out for underwear with flatlock seams, they're gentle on the skin, so won't provoke chafing. If you can't find underwear with flatlock seams, go for those with barely any seams.
Sizing may differ because underwear are not always made in the US, so keep an eye out for the sizing chart. That said, once you know your size, resist the temptation to go one size smaller - to boost your ego. No one really cares about your underwear size, so avoid the too tight world of hurt you'll inflict on yourself if you downsize.
Now that you've seen what to look out for before shopping, let's move on to some of the most popular cotton underwear pieces out there.
Top 9 Best Cotton Underwear For Men
1. Emporio Armani Men's Cotton Stretch Trunk
Pro: Wide reinforced waistband.
Con: Sizes run small.
Men's Equivalent of a "Push-up Bra": There's a very good reason why men love trunks over other cuts of skivvies. Because unlike briefs which tend to ride up the back (turning you into guy-who-picks-wedgies at work), and boxer briefs which tend to take up way too much real estate, this Emporio Armani trunk does the same job as the boxer brief, but without moving about every time you do. They stay put - thanks to the aforementioned waistband and medium length inseam.
Sizes run a bit small on this trunk, so maybe order one size up. What really sets this Emporio Armani apart from other trunks is the contoured pouch, which basically walls off your crown jewels from your legs - thank you science!
2. Fruit of The Loom Men's Basic Cotton Brief
Pro: Has a super soft non binding waistband.
Con: Might shrink after wash.
Great Bargain: This fruit of the loom comes as a pack of seven and they're your typical 100% cotton "y front pouch" briefs, so they're an ideal grab if you're looking for a bargain. The waistband's soft but snug enough that it won't ride up during the day. It has a fruit of the loom icon printed on the waistband and is tagless, so you'll probably forget you have underpants on because of how comfy and non binding it feels.
A couple of users say it shrinks after being machine washed, so you might want to try other washing options - maybe hand wash and air dry.
3. BSHETR Men's Underwear Briefs, 5 Pack Multi Color Soft Cotton Underpants
Pro: Comes in a wide range of colors.
Con: No access slot.
Double Lined, Flatlock Seam Crotch: Don't let the weird, unfamiliar name dissuade you from buying this. Made from 95% cotton and 5% spandex, a convex double layered crotch for extra support, this brief fits snugly without being too constricting to allow free movement - thanks to the spandex fabric.
One of the biggest selling points of this is that it comes in a wide array of colors - which is awesome because while the typical white underwear being modeled in well lit studios may look great on models with six packs, they won't look quite as pristine on you after six months of use. So stick with multi colors - preferably of the dark variety because they have a longer shelf life.
4. Munsingwear Full-rise Pouch Brief
Pro: Innovative "kangaroo" pouch.
Con: Fabric's a bit thin
Easy Access: These are also typical 100% cotton tighty whities. However instead of the "y" front pouch, munsingwear has a patented double panel kangaroo pouch that opens horizontally from the top, instead of from the side which might pinch and cause leaks during bathroom breaks. Cotton is ringspun, so it feels as soft as a baby's backside. In comes in black/grey, so you don't have to stick with white. It has a jacquard waistband with their logo printed on it - no tags. The material feels sort of thin, so it might not last as long as you'd like. Handle it with gentle care (hand wash) for longer durability.
5. Hanes Men's 9 Pack Brief
Con: Not very durable.
Bang for Your Buck: If you're on the hunt for a good deal, it probably won't get better than this 9 pack Hanes brief. It's made from 100% preshrunk cotton, so it retains its shape wash after wash. It doesn't come with a tag, which is awesome. It has a flex, stretchable waistband designed to follow the contours of your body's movement. There are some complains about the fabric quality being too thin, but that's to be expected at this price. Calvin Klein offers better quality fabric, but they also charge a premium, so choose your poison.
6. Kronis Low rise Trunks
Pro: Sophisticated and seamless.
Con: Thick revealing bands around thighs.
Premium Microfiber Waistband: This is a luxurious option from Italy. Even though they're not as popular as other brands, they more than make up for this in the quality of their underwear. If you're worried about Hanes' thin fabric, but can't afford to splurge on a CK, then this kronis is a great compromise - price wise. Note that the bands around the legs are quite thick, so might show under really light fabrics on tight trousers. This 2 pack, low rise trunk is made of 95% cotton and 5% elastane, with a double-ply pouch for extra junk support.
7. Hugo Boss Stretch Regular Fit Trunks
Pro: Great support for your man parts.
Con: No front fly for pee breaks.
Special Occasion Man Panties: These bad boys keep everything in place when you move (even while jumping), but they probably weren't intended as everyday wears, since there's no easy access fly for bathroom breaks. You'd have to go all the way from the top if you decide to wear to this work. They're quite flattering though, so maybe save this for date nights.
8. Tommy Hilfiger Modern Essentials Knit Boxers
Pro: Feels like going commando.
Con: Sort of pricey.
Slim Fit Design: Made from premium cotton, with a slim fit design, these knit boxers are a far cry from granny boxers. With the Tommy Hilfiger logo printed on the waistband, these boxers are made for showing off your goods. They're a bit pricier than your typical boxers, but more than compensate for this by craftily constructing an underwear that won't pile or loose elasticity at the waistband. It comes as a pack of two, so it's ideal if you're due for a splurge.
9. Fruit of the Loom Men's Assorted Fashion Briefs
Pro: Plush backed waistband.
Con: Adds chemicals as "dual defense" against stink and moisture retention.
Comes in Assorted Colors: First things first, fruit of the loom brags about using a dual defense technology to cut down odor and improve moisture wicking. Which is ordinarily cool. However they probably should've said that this tech is in chemical form, since not everyone's comfortable with chemicals being within such proximity to their crown jewels.
One of the great things about cotton is that the best cotton underwear for men naturally repel odor, they don't typically need help. If you're overly concerned about added chemicals, you may want to skip this (as well as other underwear made with synthetic fabrics), if you aren't bothered, then know that this underwear should handle sweat a lot better than other cotton underwear.
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