Guys, when it comes to choosing the best running underwear for men, there are several things to consider. Choose the wrong type, and you could be dealing with unpleasant chafing and painful skin irritations in an area where you really don’t want to experience those issues.
Luckily, many options for underwear can keep you and your family jewels comfortable. Our team researched and tested an array of underwear options, focusing on those made with breathable fabrics that can wick away moisture effectively to protect sensitive areas from chafing and irritation. While many options are available, we focused on boxer briefs and briefs for this guide. We’ve selected the top-of-the-line performers for our list of best men’s underwear for running, with options specific to hot and cold weather and those that are simply great value.
Best Running Underwear for Men
- Best Overall Running Underwear for Men: Patagonia Men’s Sender Boxer Briefs – 6″
- Best Overall Running Underwear for Men Runner-Up: ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go 2.0 Sport Mesh 6″ Boxer Brief
- Best Budget Running Underwear for Men: T8 Men’s Commandos Running Underwear
- Best for Hot Weather Running Underwear for Men: Saxx Underwear DropTemp Cooling Mesh Boxer Brief
- Best for Cold Weather Running Underwear for Men: Smartwool Men’s Merino Sport Boxer Brief
Best Overall Running Underwear for Men: Patagonia Men’s Sender Boxer Briefs – 6″ ($35)
- Incredibly comfortable
- Patagonia’s reputation for quality
- Pretty basic colors and design
- No fly
The Patagonia Men’s Sender Boxer Briefs – 6″ are extremely lightweight, allow plenty of movement, and feel good whether relaxing, running, or biking. Their comfort and versatility have landed them at the top of our list of the best men’s underwear for running. We wore these underwear in a wide range of temperatures, including on hot runs, and we had zero issues with chafing. In fact, these briefs set the standard for performance in essentially all the categories we used to evaluate different pairs of underwear. For us, these were the ones to beat, and no other brand could match them.
The fit is true to size, and the only downside we found to this underwear is that they don’t have a fly, which may take them out of the running for some.
Read our Patagonia Men’s Sender Boxer Briefs – 6″ review to learn more.
Material: Recycled nylon (89%) and spandex mesh (11%) | Style: Boxer brief | Inseam: 6 inches | Sustainability: Fair Trade Certified sewing, bluesign-certified and recycled materialsShop the Patagonia Men's Sender Boxer Briefs - 6 Inch
Best Overall Running Underwear for Men Runner-Up: ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go 2.0 Sport Mesh 6″ Boxer Brief ($32)
- Very soft
- It keeps you dry and chafe-free
- Potential sizing issues
- Larger than normal waistband may not appeal to some runners
The ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go 2.0 Sport Mesh 6″ Boxer Brief is not specifically made for running, but its comfort and breathability make it a go-to for running, hiking, and other adventures. It’s also incredibly lightweight. Since it comes with a fly, it may appeal to a broader audience than other options that don’t have one.
There is a lot to like about this boxer brief. The comfortable mesh fabric works hard to keep you cool, and a wide waistband maintains its shape and keeps the briefs in place. All in all, this is a quality product that will provide comfort, breathability, and freedom of movement, whether running trails, hiking mountain passes, or cycling around town.
Material: Nylon (90%) and elastane (10%) | Style: Boxer brief | Inseam: 6 inches | Sustainability: NoneShop the ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go 2.0 Sport Mesh 6” Boxer Brief
Best Budget Running Underwear for Men: T8 Men’s Commandos Running Underwear ($21)
- Inexpensive with comparable quality to top options
- Trail runner and ultrarunner designed
- Super lightweight
- In the United States, you would need to buy three or four pairs for free shipping
- No fly
The T8 Men’s Commandos Running Underwear, priced at just $21, provides an outstanding value for the cost. As the name implies, they are light enough at 40 grams to be barely noticeable but offer just enough support. There’s no inner thigh seam to prevent chafing, and all of the seams are incredibly smooth. These underwear are the lightest of all the options we tested. Based out of Hong Kong, the company uses Asian sizing for its products, so you should consider sizing up by half a size for optimal fit.
Do note that the Hong Kong-based company has various rates for shipping based on where you live and the exchange rate. For example, a consumer would have to buy three or four pairs in the United States to receive free shipping. A chart on the T8 website is straightforward to follow to determine what, if any, shipping charges will be incurred.
Material: Polyamide (90%) and elastane (10%) | Style: Boxer brief | Inseam: 6 inches | Sustainability: NoneShop the T8 Men’s Commandos Running Underwear
Best for Hot Weather Running Underwear for Men: Saxx Underwear DropTemp Cooling Mesh Boxer Brief ($38)
- Sweet colorful designs
- Hot weather is no problem for its cooling technology
- Saxx website is easy to navigate and offers lots of useful information
- The undies can ride up on the backside from time to time
- It can be tight-fitting for some
As the name implies, the Saxx Underwear DropTemp Cooling Mesh Boxer Brief is designed to keep things cool. With a five-inch inseam and specific cooling and drying technology, they will keep you cool and comfortable during hot summer training runs and hikes.
Saxx Underwear uses proprietary fabric technology to wick sweat away faster, allowing your body to cool down quicker. In our testing, we found their wicking claims to be true. We experienced no chafing from these undies on our summer runs in the heat.
But that’s not the only unique technology in these boxer briefs. Sax appeals (yeah, we went there) to us because of its BallPark Pouch. Two mesh panels separate your balls and thighs, so you need not worry about rubbing, chafing, or similar issues.
Since these boxer briefs tend to fit tight, the brand recommends sizing up if you are between sizes.
Material: Recycled polyester (85%) and elastane (15%) | Style: Boxer brief | Inseam: 5 inches | Sustainability: Recycled materialsShop the Saxx Underwear DropTemp Cooling Mesh Boxer Brief
Best for Cold Weather Running Underwear for Men: Smartwool Men’s Merino Sport Boxer Brief ($48)
- Comfortable in any temperature
- Quick drying
- Wide waistband
- Slim fit
- No fly
Thanks to its merino wool-polyester blend, the Smartwool Men’s Merino Sport Boxer Brief is an excellent option in any kind of climate. With a four-inch inseam, the briefs help keep you cool when it’s hot and provide insulation when temperatures dip. A double-front panel provides extra support but lacks a fly. In our testing, we found they perform just as well in the summer as other boxer briefs designed to excel in the heat, but we definitely grab these for our colder morning runs. You can trust the merino wool-polyester blend to keep you dry and odor-free. The wide waistband keeps these undies in place, and the flatlock seams kept up chafe-free.
Material: Merino wool (56%) and polyester (44%) | Style: Boxer brief | Inseam: 4.75 inches | Sustainability: NoneShop the Smartwool Men's Merino Sport Boxer Brief
How to Choose: A Buyer’s Guide for the Best Running Underwear for Men
Briefs, Boxer Briefs, Thongs, or Commando
The first consideration for guys when selecting the best running underwear for men is the style: briefs, boxer briefs, thong, or commando. Going without undies is becoming more popular now, as makers of running shorts frequently include quality liners in their shorts.
For those seeking an extra layer of protection and support, briefs and boxer briefs are great options, with boxer briefs generally being a tad longer than regular briefs. Don’t think of running boxer briefs as like regular boxers; they fit snugly instead of airy and roomy. They are very similar to standard briefs, and it’s more of a personal preference for fit, length, comfort, and style.
A more important decision for some is whether they prefer their running underwear to have a fly or not. Our top pick, the Patagonia Men’s Sender Boxer Briefs – 6″, doesn’t have a fly, which may be a deal-breaker for some people. Our runner-up for the best running underwear for men is the ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go 2.0 Sport Mesh 6″ Boxer Brief, which does have a fly. It’s an entirely personal choice based on how easy you want access to be when nature calls. We’ve included both types in our list of recommendations.
Whether you are choosing boxer briefs, briefs, or thongs, read on for some things to consider as you make this all-important selection.
Comfort, Support, and Fit
Once you have a style in mind, it’s time to explore some options to determine which underwear will provide the best comfort, support, and fit. You don’t want the undies to sag, so selecting ones with a solid waistband is important. Underwear with a wide waistband, like the Smartwool Men’s Merino Sport Boxer Brief, are more likely to stay in place during a long run.
You also want to make sure you’re getting the right size. The fit should be snug but not restrictive in the legs so that they don’t ride up when you bust out the miles on the roads or trails. Check out the retailer’s website and online reviews — they may offer hints about whether the fit is generally on point or if it is recommended to size up or down.
Underwear made with synthetic material will stay in place better than many other options and wick away sweat, keeping you dry no matter the distance you are running.
A quality pair of undies will also provide an extra layer of protection against chafing — which we can all embrace.
When choosing the best men’s underwear for running, avoid any option made of cotton. Since cotton absorbs moisture and holds onto sweat, it is prone to causing chafing. Instead, look for options that feature polyester or nylon, fabrics that stretch, wick away sweat, dry quickly, and work to keep you dry and chafe-free. Underwear with flatlock seams can help you avoid chafing, and the lack of inner-thigh seams on the T8 Men’s Commandos Running Underwear provides additional comfort in high-friction areas.
Keeping Warm in Winter
Running in the cold presents a tough challenge. Choosing the right fabrics to place next to your skin is important as you pile on the layers. For warmth, look for underwear made with merino wool, which will keep you warm and comfortable without being scratchy. Our pick for the top underwear for cold weather running is the Smartwool Men’s Merino Sport Boxer Brief. Its merino wool-polyester blend will keep you warm, dry, and odor-free.
Designing with Flair
While it has nothing to do with performance, don’t overlook the appearance of underwear. Some brands stick with a basic design and color scheme, like black or gray, while others produce undies with vibrant colors and eye-catching designs to raise your stoke level.
Among our selections, the Saxx Underwear DropTemp Cooling Mesh Boxer Brief offers the most colorful and creative options.
Why You Should Trust Us
The iRunFar team includes road runners, trail runners, and ultrarunners with a collective 150-plus years of running experience. We began researching the best running underwear for men with extensive dive into this rapidly changing line of clothing before selecting a range of brands and styles for testing.
Our primary tester hails from the U.S. Midwest, so his late spring and summer testing occurred in all sorts of conditions: cool mornings, hot and humid days, and everything in between. And trust us, when it comes to underwear, he knows his stuff: he’s never once gone commando.
Please note that in the athletic apparel world product models are routinely discontinued, while new ones frequently come to market. At the same time, we here at iRunFar often keep using our top picks in our daily running… they’re our top picks, after all! Sometimes that continued use results in uncovering product failures. With all this – product discontinuations, product introductions, and product failures – in mind, we routinely update our buyer’s guides based on past and ongoing testing and research by our authors and editorial team. While these updates can appear to be us pushing the newest product, it’s anything but that. When we update any buyer’s guide, most products will likely remain the same. That matches our goal: to get you in the best gear you’ll be using for a long time.
Frequently Asked Questions About Running Underwear for Men
What are the top factors to consider when choosing underwear for running?
Choosing the best running underwear for men isn’t as simple as grabbing the cheapest package off the store shelf or virtual cart. Whatever you choose needs to be able to protect you from chafing in the most sensitive of areas.
First, look for options made with merino wool, polyester, or nylon. These will wick moisture away instead of trapping it as cotton does. The nylon and elastane mix of the ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go 2.0 Sport Mesh 6″ Boxer Brief fabric did a great job wicking sweat from the skin. Another major factor to consider is whether you want undies with a fly or without. There are lots of good options in both varieties, but you may have a strong personal preference for one style or another. Running in thong-style undies has become increasingly popular in hot and humid climates where you want to reduce the layers of clothing on your body. Or you can go commando and rely on the built-in liner that most running shorts come with.
Once you narrow down those particulars, consider whether you would like a colorful design to add some flare.
Which type of underwear is best for running?
The best type of underwear for running is the one in which you are most comfortable. For most men, that means underwear that is not too tight, wicks away moisture, and provides support. It also has to keep you cool in hot weather and provide insulation when temperatures plummet.
As far as materials go, we support merino wool for running in a variety of temperatures. The fabric works exceptionally well for the runner, whether working through a furnace-like canyon, battling bitter cold temps at high altitudes, or pushing through a rainy training run on hometown trails.
Our selection for the best overall pair of underwear is the Patagonia Men’s Sender Boxer Briefs – 6″. The six-inch boxer briefs are incredibly lightweight, allow for plenty of movement and protect against chafing. For those who prefer having a fly, the ExOfficio Give-N-Go 2.0 Sport Mesh 6″ Boxer Brief is a great alternative. A lightweight boxer brief, this underwear also stands out due to its comfortable and cooling mesh fabric.
How do I prevent chafing from my running shorts?
No one wants to chafe, especially down there. Remember that a combination of heat, moisture, friction, and fabric causes chafing. The best way to protect yourself is to seek quality underwear made with technical fabrics such as merino wool, polyester, or nylon. These materials work to combat friction by being breathable and wicking, and they can reduce irritation and chafing. If you’re worried about chafing on the inner thighs, consider the T8 Men’s Commandos Running Underwear, as they don’t have a seam there.
How do I ensure I will get a good comfortable fit?
Of course, the best option is to try on a pair at your local retailer. But we get it, online shopping is easier, and your preferred pair of underwear may not be readily available where you live.
Without actually trying them on, the next best option is to turn to online research. Visit the brand’s website and look for their sizing information. These charts are usually quite helpful in deciding between similar sizes — small or medium? Or large or extra large? Most brands run true to size, but the T8 Men’s Commandos Running Underwear are listed under Asian sizing, so you’ll want to be careful when choosing a size for these underwear.
We also would highly suggest visiting the brand’s website and reading through their recommendations and those of online reviewers. Most companies will state whether their garments are true to fit or should be sized one way or another.
What should I consider when selecting underwear for hot weather?
High-quality fabrics will help keep you as cool as possible in hot weather conditions and help protect against chafing. You want underwear made with material that wicks away sweat and other moisture. When skin is hot and damp, the chance of irritation and chafing grows. The best underwear we found for running in hot weather is the Saxx Underwear DropTemp Cooling Mesh Boxer Brief. These mostly feature polyester and offer a unique cooling system with mesh panels on the sides that increase airflow in high-heat areas.
What should I consider when selecting underwear for cold weather?
During the cold weather season, runners should wear multiple layers to protect themselves from cold-related ailments. In addition to freezing temperatures, it’s also important to consider wind chill.
Some models of underwear claim to resist the wind, but the trick is to dive deeper and see what materials are used to manufacture the underwear. Seek options like merino wool, polyester, and others designed to wick away sweat and provide warmth. The Smartwool Men’s Merino Sport Boxer Brief have a double front panel to provide extra protection from the elements and are an excellent option for cold-weather runs.
And you really do not want to experiment with cotton underwear. The material fails to wick away sweat, which can create issues for the runner ranging from minor irritation to a crisis.
You should also consider whether you will wear tights on these cold days. If so, you don’t want bulky underwear that could bunch up and create discomfort.
Do I need different underwear for hot- and cold-weather runs?
Underwear has different jobs during hot- and cold-weather runs. In the heat, underwear needs to wick moisture to keep you dry and chafe-free. In the cold, underwear provides extra protection from the elements and much-needed warmth during very cold runs. All the underwear we included in this guide feature materials designed to wick sweat and perform well on hot-weather runs. When running in the cold, the Smartwool Men’s Merino Sport Boxer Brief stood out as our top pick.
Call for Comments
- Hey guys, do you prefer briefs, boxers, or commando style? Tell us why.
- Do you select different pairs of underwear for running in different climates? What’s your go-to during hot weather, and what do you prefer in the colder months?
- What is most important to you when selecting running underwear?