Boxers vs briefs: what’s the difference?
Boxers are loose-fitting and provide less support than briefs. Boxers provide more coverage of your leg (up to half of your thigh), but, due to their loose fit, are more breathable than all other men’s undergarments. They keep your bits well aired and are, allegedly, better than most underwear styles for your sperm count.
Briefs are almost the polar opposite of a boxer. They are tight-fitting and sit at the very top of the thighs, but can come in different sizes from a classic Y-front brief to something... quite miniscule, with only the bare minimum of fabric covering the body and supporting the package. They may also be referred to as ‘slips’ or ‘tighty whities’.
So, what are boxer briefs?
The hybrid. They’re neither baggy, nor miniscule. They mimic the snug fit of a brief, but extend the fit down the thigh. The term refers today to any deep-sided brief, fitting closely to the body.
The key point to remember is that only boxers are baggy in any way.
Should you choose boxers or briefs?
Now we get to the nitty-gritty. The level of comfort provided by your pants is, of course, paramount. They may be the single most important items in your wardrobe after all. BUT, given that we are all very different in terms of body shapes, style, and so on, it’s only natural that the right choice comes down to personal preference.
Boxers are certainly comfortable. They’ve been a popular choice in mens’ underwear for almost a century - and for good reason.
The looser fit is perfect for those of us who want total freedom of movement - if you want to hang loose and free, then boxers are certainly for you. Indeed, if you’re lounging around the house, boxers are long enough that they almost pass for a pair of shorts - only softer and more comfortable.
Boxers are, however, susceptible to bunching or slipping under tight or skinny trousers due to their loose fit. They also provide no support whatsoever to the three amigos, so consider this carefully.
Briefs, on the other hand, provide tons of support. They fit close to the skin, so there’ll be no bunching or slipping. The right size of brief should fit snugly, but not tightly, and provide ample support to your package. It is crucial, however, that you pick the right size as the wrong size will be very uncomfortable to wear.
Boxer briefs tend to offer the best of both worlds - close-fitting support, with a good length down the thigh if the Mr. Universe look isn’t for you. They come in a variety of lengths and styles though, so make sure you consult the description to find the best fit for your needs. Some brands even cater for those with larger thighs or who need a bigger front pouch. Very kind of them, wouldn’t you agree?
If worn solo or with other loose clothing, boxers won’t chafe at all. They will chafe if you wear them with tight clothes, however. The fabric will bunch and begin to rub. And we don’t want that.
Briefs or boxer briefs that fit well will never chafe due to their close-fitting design. They will snugly hug your leg, ass, and trio, with no bunching. You will need the proper fit though, as we’ve said. If you get the wrong fit… then they will chafe. Especially boxer briefs against the inner thigh - if you have larger legs.
Now, this is personal preference entirely. If you want the classic ‘tighty whitie’ look, then briefs will be your best friend. If you want something for casual lounging, you may look to boxers. Many men look to the boxer brief hybrid these days for a style that combines both.
Which came first: boxers or briefs?
Looking back into the murky past of mens’ underwear, boxers came first - first sold by Everlast in 1925. They marketed them based on a new elastic waistband and loose leg fit to enable better footwork while boxing. Hence the name.
What we know as briefs appeared in 1935, sold by Coopers and marketed as the new ‘Jockey’, offering a similar level of support as a classic jockstrap.
Boxer briefs, however, are rather late on the scene. Look to the 90s for these, gents. Pioneered by John Varvatos during his stint at Calvin Klein, these have become arguably the most popular underwear today.
Are boxers or briefs more popular?
Well, as we just said, it’s arguably the hybrid style of the boxer brief that is the most popular in the modern day. They provide the best of both worlds, after all.
That’s not to say the other two don’t have their place though!
Whilst the loose-fitting boxer short is not as popular as it once was, it still has its place in a man’s drawer.
As for briefs, they declined in popularity after the release of the boxer brief, but are definitely making a fashion comeback. They’re more of a statement look than either boxers or boxer briefs, but if that’s what you want to make, then you go ahead and you make that statement.
Why choose boxers?
Boxers are supremely comfortable for wearing under loose-fitting clothing, for sleeping, or for simply lounging about the house. They’re soft, free, and easy. Perfect for those of you who want total freedom of movement or feel the strain in hot weather.
We wouldn’t recommend these for more athletic types or for playing sport in - they are likely to bunch, slip, and chafe. But for chilling, they can’t be beat.
Why choose briefs?
Briefs are supportive and close-fitting. If you’re after that snug hug, then go for briefs. They are also best if you have well developed thighs. Briefs are also a bit of a statement piece in terms of style, so if you have the confidence to strut your stuff and show off what you’ve got, their minimal coverage is right for you. They’re good for sportsmen as they won’t flap around. But do make sure you consult sizing guides closely, as the wrong fitting brief will certainly ruin your day.