What are the Different Types of Underwear for Men?

Different Types of Underwear for Men
This post may contain affiliate links. At no cost to you we may earn a commission. See our full disclosure for more info.

Fashion is constantly evolving, and so do the types of underwear for men. It’s gone a long way from the basic tighty whities and the loose checkered boxer shorts.

Having said that, how many types of men’s underwear are there now? 

In total, there are about 9 types of underwear, namely:

  • Briefs;
  • Boxer shorts;
  • Boxer briefs;
  • Trunks;
  • Midway briefs and long johns;
  • Jockstraps;
  • Tangas;
  • Bikinis and mankinis; and
  • The thongs and the strings, specifically, the g-string and c-string.

For easier readability, we will further classify these types into the classics and the niches. They are only classified that way since the first four are the more popular types. The latter five, however, usually serve niche markets.

The Classics


Ranking high in terms of popularity and accessibility, almost everybody has a pair of briefs. Chances are that you first wore briefs before exploring the other different types of underwear for men. 

It has a distinctive Y-shape front, with leg holes designed to curve upwards to your waist. This design ensures that no amount of fabric will roll up from your thighs.

The briefs are the most secure among the classics while sacrificing the breathability aspect. This is because briefs tend to ball up all your man parts in a pouch, keeping everything in one place. And since everything is balled up in one place, briefs tend to accentuate your erm…, package. 

This is perfect to be worn at all times, really. The briefs’ design and nature make them suitable to be worn under all kinds of bottoms, from the tight ones to the shorter ones. 

Boxer shorts

The boxer shorts take their inspiration from the shorts worn by boxers, hence the name. 

Boxer shorts are easily identified as shorts that go to the mid-thigh, more or less. It’s also loose on the thighs and has a part secured by a button or two that acts as a zipper, called the fly. 

Among the classic types, this is the direct opposite of the briefs. Where the briefs are secured, restricted, and suffocating even, the boxers are loose and free. 

Breathability is the boxer shorts’ specialty, just next to going commando. The loose nature of the boxer shorts allows your man parts to just hang in there. This comes at a price though, and that is security. 

The lean-back and relaxed vibe of the boxer shorts make this perfect for when you’re just chilling at home. 

You can still wear this as underwear when you’re outside, although it’s not recommended to be worn under tight or short bottoms, since the extra fabric tends to bunch and ride up and might make your down there uncomfortable.

Boxer briefs

The middle ground of the two extremes, boxer briefs offer just enough of the good things from the briefs and the boxer shorts. 

In reality, the boxer briefs are just iterations of the boxer shorts. Released by Armani in the 1980s, this type of underwear maintains the general length of the boxer shorts while being tighter and more body-hugging. 

Boxer briefs offer enough support for the crotch area but not too much to the point where everything is just compressed in one place. They still give your balls some room to move, so breathability is not an issue for this type of underwear.

They are usually built to have a mid to high rise too, perfect for guys who are blessed in the height department. That also means another thing – no more crack slips! 


Finally, we have the trunks – aka the shorter cousins of boxer briefs.

Invented in the same time frame as the boxer briefs, the trunks don’t have a lot of differences with boxer briefs except the length and the rise. It usually covers the thigh area from the waist down to the crotch level, and is usually low-rise, as opposed to the boxer briefs usual mid to high-rise.

And those make all the difference. The shorter length of the trunks means that it has less tendency to roll up. 

The low-rise aspect of this type of underwear means that the elastic lies on the waist, making this more suitable for slimmer guys. It’s more recommended for bigger guys to wear boxer briefs instead of trunks because of this.

Similar to boxer briefs, you can wear this under anything. Just have to make sure that you don’t bend down too much – else a coin slot in your back will appear out of nowhere!

The Niches

Long johns

First on the list are the long johns, which stemmed from the union suits, underwear worn by women in the 19th century. 

The only difference is that union suits are one-piece, whereas long johns come in two pieces – a long-sleeved shirt and a pair of leggings. For this article’s purposes though, we will only talk about the leggings part of the garment.

Some long johns have a flap in the rear for easier access when you’re going to the toilet. Other than that, long johns are basically leggings made of cotton-polyester-blend fabric with a waffle weave texture. 

This gives it insulating properties all while making it skin-tight.

Now, long johns are often worn in cold countries since it serves as another layer of clothing especially in the winter. This makes sense given the context, but it would be odd to wear this when it’s hot.

There have been innovations lately which made long johns appealing to be worn as loungewear or nightwear, and it’s… honestly not a bad idea! Think pajamas, but more skin-tight.


Think of jockstraps as briefs without any fabric on the rear. The pouch part of the jockstraps is secured however by elastics that go between the legs and around the butt. 

In addition to the pouch securing your privates, there is also an optional plastic cup that can be inserted in this pouch for further protection. 

Because of the security even higher than those of the briefs, jockstraps are often worn during rigorous activities, say sports, martial arts, and the like. 

Some people even wear jockstraps for aesthetic purposes, too. It’s considered now as a fashion statement – there are now fashion jockstraps that enhance your family jewels more. 

And with the jockstraps’ nature of baring everything bar the man parts, it’s not hard to see why.


Tangas are just sexier briefs with no fabric on the sides. 

And that’s that! It also usually has a thinner elastic compared to the briefs. The fabric on the back and the rear are connected only by the waistband since there are usually no fabrics on the side. 

This lack of fabric makes the tangas slightly more breathable than the briefs.

The tanga is the middle ground between briefs and jockstraps, and between briefs and bikinis. 

Having said that, this is usually worn at the beach for sunbathing and aesthetic purposes, and during workouts, too.

If you’re too modest to wear jockstraps or bikinis, then this one’s for you.

Bikinis and mankinis

The preferred uniform of bodybuilders, bikinis are just a more modest option to the strings or thongs.

Most bikinis don’t have a waistband or a fly. It has a side fabric although it’s usually really thin. It sits at the hips as well, which is quite low.

These qualities make the bikinis perfect for sunbathing, so you can have the least tan lines just next to wearing strings and going fully bare. 

This is also the best thing, just second to the strings, in showing off your body at the beach or modeling.

The mankinis, however, are quite a big jump from the bikinis. It’s just a pouch for the front and a sling that stretches all the way to the neck. The butt area is not covered at all when wearing mankinis.

Like the bikinis, mankinis are meant to be worn at spas, on the beach, or for aesthetic purposes.

Thongs and strings

Finally, we have the thongs and the strings, specifically, the g-string and c-string. These types of underwear have the least coverage out of all the kinds listed here. 

The thongs and g-strings consist of a pouch for your man parts and very minimal rear, just connected by strings. It has no elastics most of the time, so these are worn by tying these strings on your side.

The rear part differentiates the thongs and the g-strings. For the thongs, there is usually a V-shaped fabric that covers some part of the butt. G-strings don’t have this – they just have a string that runs along your butt crack. 

It has less coverage than bikinis, so yes, this is more perfect to wear when sunbathing or showing off your body, whether you’re on the beach or in the bedroom. 

For the c-string, however… let’s just say it’s the weirdest of the types here. The way I’d explain it is this: think of a headband with a pouch for your crotch at one of its ends.

And that’s it. With no elastics or strings on the side, the c-string is supported only by a wire that goes under your balls and up to your butt crack. 

Because of this, c-strings don’t serve a lot of purposes except those erm, more intimate and kinkier purposes. But if wearing this on the regular makes your boat float, then I say don’t listen to the haters!

Which One’s the Best, Though?

Everything boils down to personal preferences at the end of the day.

However, you can’t deny that there will always be a type of underwear for men that we can consider the best.

In our article, Which Type of Underwear is Best for Males?, we compare the four classic types of underwear for men with each other and determine what’s the winning garment. Check the article out for a more detailed discussion on these types of underwear!

Scroll to Top