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Dress Like a Man: Men’s Underwear 2.0

Run_Oregon_LogoBack in November 2014, I decided to do some venturing into a testy (pun!) subject - mens underwear. In my first post on male undergarments, I said this:

As men, I feel we are often times subjected to poor quality and uncomfortable clothes/undergarments because we (typically) dislike shopping and are just fine with whatever is cheapest or whatever our significant other buys for us. This may not be as true in the running community, where we realize that it is difficult to run enjoyable and successful races in gear that is uncomfortable. About a year ago, I made a decision to forego my cotton underwear and move towards drawers that were made better, lasted longer, were more comfortable, and designed for more of an active lifestyle. Much like running socks (which I scoffed at pre-running, but now can't do without), well made underwear is something that is worth the extra money to me.
You can click above to see my first post, which included some background on 6 different companies - each with unique styles, cuts, fits, and colors. But there are still more companies to delve into, and this post will seek to highlight those!

Brand: ExOfficio
Style: Give-N-Go Sport Mesh 3″ Boxer Brief
Cost: Approximately $28
Specs: 92% Nylon / 8% Lycra Spandex, 94% Nylon / 6% Lycra Spandex
Description: “The new Sport Mesh boxer brief pairs ergonomic fit with ultralight mesh for active performance. Whether you’re cycling through Patagonia, trekking in Thailand, or trail running in your home range, the Sport Mesh will keep you cool, fresh, and comfortable.”
Impressions:

These have proved to be a really nice pair of underwear. They are SUPER light, yet seem to stay in place without riding. I have done some light workouts in them and they do a great job. Due to the lightness and design qualities, ExOfficio actually offers a card with each pack that:

  1. describes that these were put to the test by hiking 500 miles over 7 days…in one pair of Sport Mesh boxer briefs, and
  2. shows you how to care for them while out an about. It even shows that you can wear these in the shower, lay them out, and be ready the next day.

I didn’t go to that extreme (thank goodness for my wife), but I don’t doubt that these are durable enough to handle it, yet light and ventilated enough to stay relatively comfortable. They have a more active fit with a lower rise than usual, making it a comfortable addition if your job requires physical activity, or if you need something under your shorts.

ExOfficio also has a bunch of other items, both male and female, outside of underwear. Check them out online for jackets, baselayers, shirts, and many other items.

Brand: BodyAware
Style: Linen Brief
Cost: Approximately $22
Specs: 85% Polyester / 15% Cotton
Description: “Their soft knit and slubby linen look appeals to your retro side, and their brilliant, perfectly shaped inner pouch offers slight control without the pinch or bind of regular briefs. As in all BodyAware styles, laser-focused attention to details is evident in the wider waistband that offers comfort and no squeezing around your middle, the contrast linen trim around legs and pouch, and the spectacularly shaped back.”
Impressions:

BodyAware definitely has some…risque…options on their website. There is definitely some stuff which is WAY out of my league (need to get on some crunches – STAT) . However, the Linen Brief was a nice option within their catalog and more in line with what we would utilize here at Run Oregon. While I really enjoyed the feel of the brief, it was a little too small to appreciate as a true athletic option. It stayed in place relatively well when walking or doing minor activities, but when becoming more active, I found that it had more difficulty staying in place. I will be utilizing this as a comfortable pair of briefs – perhaps post-race or around the house, but am not sure about athletically. I am wondering if a boxer brief or other pair may be better. I’m not counting BodyAware out as an option, but will need some more analyzing of different styles beforehand.

BodyAware also sells swimwear and sportswear as well.

——————-

Brand: Tommy John
Style: 360 Sport Trunk and Second Skin Titanium Boxer Brief
Cost: Approximately $23 for Sport Trunk and $31 for Second Skin
Specs:
Sport Trunk = 84% Polyester, 16% Spandex;
Second Skin = 90% Non-Pilling Micro Modal, 10% Spandex
Description: “Our 360 Sport undergarments are back and ready to go. These gym-ready base layers work – and play – as hard as you do. Our customers tell us they are the most durable underwear they’ve ever worn. The 360 stretch material moves with you and never stretches out, no sagging, bagging or slipping. The moisture-wicking and anti-odor technology keeps you cool through the final rep”.

“Our Second Skin underwear is made from a patented non-pilling micro modal fabric made from Beechwood trees. True to its name, Second Skin is so silky and luxurious it will feel like you’re not wearing anything at all.”

Impressions:

Sport Trunk pocket

The Second Skin has proved to be every bit as living up to their billing. Through a few wears, the 360 degree stretch has kept it’s shape and not shrouded me with riding. And it is every bit as soft as they say and I did forget that I had them on. I will say that when I first pulled it out of the package, I went to read the information on the screened on tag. In pulling it to stretch it out a bit, I was taken aback by how thin the fabric was. They aren’t trying to hide this – Tommy John mentions that the product is made of “super-thin micro modal fabric”. There seem to be a variety of reviews around the internet about holes showing up quicker than would be expected for a $31 pair of underwear. However, I have used this 4-5 times and have not experienced any holes at this point, but only time will tell.

I really liked the Tommy John 360 Sport Trunk Sport, from the first day of wear on. On Day 1, I wore it to work and capped off its daily usage with a five-mile lunch run. Throughout the day, the thin material was hardly able to be felt, and it was super soft – feeling more like a true boxer-brief than one designed for action. It delivered during the run too, with no riding and comfort all the way around with its “targeted mesh zones”. While I wear a running belt, I appreciated the small pocket for a key or ID. I haven’t had to use it much (due to my belt), but it is nice to know it’s there. I’m not sure it would fit my iPhone 6, but it’s the perfect size for small necessities. In other “pocketed” underwear, I have experienced the distinct feeling that the pocket is “there”. I don’t want to be feeling and thinking about my underwear pocket! The Sport Trunk pocket is not noticeable when I run – a definite positive. I mentioned this above, but the thinner material – while super comfortable – has me questioning the true longevity. However, also like above, I have yet to experience any signs of problems over the first 4-5 uses. At this point, I can do nothing but say that I really like both pairs.

——

Brand: Tani
Style: SilkCut Simple Trunk
Cost: Approximately $30
Specs: 94% Micro Modal / 6% Elastane
Description: “Our SilkCut Simple Trunk is luxuriously soft and lightweight, yet extraordinarily resilient to keep up with whatever the day brings. Knit in Europe with the downright brilliant Micro Modal® Air fabric, it is actually thinner and even softer than silk. And it is a first in men’s underwear. Despite it’s remarkable soft feel, our Simple Trunk stretches and recovers as it hugs your body in a level of comfort you’ll quickly get used to.”

Impressions: The first words out of my mouth upon putting on the Tani Silkcut Simple Trunk was, “dang, these are really soft”. True statement. I was very pleased with these and appreciated the simplicity of the fit, coupled with the complexity and function of the fabric. There are no hidden pouches, pockets, or anything extemporaneous. While I definitely appreciate those things, sometimes simplicity can be seen as a lazy way out. In the case of Tani, it is clearly not. They appear to put a lot of effort into being uncomplicated, yet providing a modern underwear that is is super soft (“thinner and smoother than silk”) and has features that us active men can appreciate (“the fabric’s natural properties wick moisture away from the skin to help keep it cool and dry”).

Over the past few weeks, these have continued to serve me well. They stay really in place during wears, with no riding up, and I hardly even feel like they are on. As much as underwear can be called “luxurious”, these fit that bill.

Tani also has a bunch of other items outside of underwear. Check them out online for shirts, loungewear, and thermals. They are launching a Women’s line this spring as well, so stay tuned!

 

 

 

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About Matt Rasmussen (1252 Articles)
Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching the Olympics, sampling craft beers, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010. Matt joined the Run Oregon team in October 2011, and since then he has spearheaded the blog’s efforts to cover product reviews, news about businesses related to running, and running events in the Willamette Valley.

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