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Athletic Underwear Guide: Which Underwear is Best for Athletes?

If you’re an athlete or a hyper-active guy, choosing a pair of underwear that can support your lifestyle isn’t as simple as slipping into the same boxers or briefs you’d wear to the grocery store.

Whether you’re lifting weights at the gym, going for long-distance cycling excursions, or training for a marathon, men’s sport briefs are designed to help you surmount each athletic milestone—while preventing the odor, sweat, and discomfort that can hamstring you along the way.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything genuinely athletic underwear should bring to the table so that a mid-workout wedgie is the last thing you’ll run up against when your eyes are locked on the prize.

What Type of Underwear Should Male Athletes Wear?

However fond you are of your go-to tighty-whities, the truth is that they’re probably not ideal for keeping up with an athletic guy’s lifestyle. 

One of the most important design elements to look for in athletic styles of underwear is fabric, which can influence everything from how your underwear fits to how they (and you) perform. Ideally, your sports-ready workout underwear will excel in two key areas:

Moisture management – When you’re engaged in activities that elevate your heart rate, you’re bound to work up a sweat. And if you don’t want to have to peel off a pair of soggy briefs when you’re finished working out, your underwear needs to be moisture-wicking. Moisture-wicking refers to fabric that absorbs excess moisture from your body and disperses it to the outer layers of the fabric, where it has a better chance of evaporating. 

Breathability – Athletic underwear should promote air circulation because when sweat collects and is trapped by too-tight fabric, you’ll be able to feel it and smell it (chances are, the guy doing reps next to you will be able to as well). Lightweight, breathable fabric allows the hot air you work up to move out and away from your body so you don’t overheat. Additionally, this light-and-breezy feeling can help minimize excess sweating. 


So, which materials make for the best athletic underwear? When you’re shopping for a pair, look for the following fabrics:

Polyester – Arguably the best fabric for athletic wear that you can find, polyester is lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking. 
Spandex – Athletes love spandex for its flexibility. One of the stretchiest fabrics around, it’s ideal for promoting movement, motion, and agility. 
Nylon – A popular material for everything from sports bras to guitar strings, nylon is naturally moisture-wicking. It’s also a resilient but stretchy material that holds its shape without inhibiting movement. 

    Tommy John 360 Stretch Fabric is made from a blend of polyester and spandex, meaning every pair is guaranteed to keep you dry and moving. 

    Tips for Choosing Underwear That Helps Prevent Odor and Sweat

    Men’s athletic underwear needs to be more than just breathable and moisture-wicking. Yes, you want to stay cool and dry while you’re being active. But you also want a pair of underwear that’s going to do its part to keep you hygienic and smelling fresh by fighting bacteria. 

    Look for an Antimicrobial Fabric

    Because your underwear region is kept under wraps for most of the day, heat buildup and moisture can create a hot zone (not that kind of hot zone, sorry). A hot zone for microbes like bacteria. 

    It’s essential to choose a style of underwear that can take these pesky organisms to the task—especially if you’re the kind of guy who’s constantly keeping in motion. That’s why the best athletic underwear are antimicrobial, which means they offer protection against bacteria and other microorganisms like fungi, viruses, and parasites. They can help prevent conditions caused by bacteria, such as:

    • Skin rashes
    • Chafing
    • Jock itch
    • Infections

      Antimicrobial fabric is essentially fabric treated with a chemical agent. The chemical agent makes the fabric inhospitable to microbes. Almost any fabric can be made antimicrobial, but for athletes, you’ll tend to see polyester, spandex, and even vinyl fabrics getting the antimicrobial treatment. 

      Check the label of any underwear you’re thinking of purchasing and look for antimicrobial labels to help keep unwanted microbes out.

      Your Athletic Underwear Should Be Anti-Odor 

      If you’re an athletic guy, you know as well as anyone how musty you can get when you’re active. It’s an inevitable outcome of pushing your body as hard as you do. Fortunately, the best athletic underwear anticipates this, providing anti-odor control so your drawers don’t reek when you get done with your workout.

      To make sure you always smell your best, look for athletic underwear that’s…

      • Been specially treated to fight odors
      • Is made with moisture-wicking fabrics like polyester or spandex


        Spoiler alert: Tommy John’s 360 Stretch Fabric is formulated to fend off foul odors so your clothes can stay as fresh as your moves on the court, the field, or wherever you play.

        Your Athletic Underwear Should Be Easy to Wash

        The simplest way to ensure your gym underwear stays clean and fresh? 

        Regular encounters with good old-fashioned soap and water. 

        However, if that little tag on the back of your favorite pair of briefs has washing instructions longer than the Constitution, chances are, it’ll be too high maintenance for activewear. Check for simple instructions that are easy to toss in the wash with your other go-to clothes, or how to wash and care for your underwear

        For The Best Athletic Underwear, Choose Tommy John’s 360 Sports Briefs 

        When it comes to the contest to find the best athletic underwear, Tommy John’s 360 Sports Briefs are the odds-on favorite. Our sports briefs are designed with performance in mind, so you can rest assured you’re getting a pair of underwear that’s ready for all of your physical activities.

        Our sports briefs are made with our special 360 Stretch Fabric, a lightweight, breathable material that promotes mobility and moisture management. Plus, they feature our special Stay-Put Waistband, so your briefs will go where you go without bunching, rolling, or pinching. 

        At Tommy John, we believe that the clothes you wear have the power to change your life. Let us show you how. Shop today. 

 Polyester, Nylon, Wool, and More: The Fabrics to Look For In Your Workout Clothes.

        National Library of Health. Bacterial skin and soft tissue infections in adults: A review of their epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, treatment and site of care.