For 21 weeks I have been conducting a sporting underwear review. I tested underpants by 14 different brands, assessing 31 pairs, across eight different criteria. Although I have tested all types of underpants, this article is a detailed review of the best briefs for active men.
Sporting underwear review: Briefs
To comprehensively test all the underpants I wore each pair for at least five days and they went through the washing machine five times. I went running in every pair for around 8 km, and also went for at least one walk of about 2 km or more. I also tested them doing squats, star jumps and lunges.
To decide the best briefs for active men, all underwear was scored out of five for initial comfort, all day comfort and active comfort. They were also scored for sweatiness, ruckage and bunching, support, restriction and at the end of the test for signs of wear.
In addition to this I awarded up to five bonus points for factors I felt made particular underpants stand out in this sporting underwear review. These included the use natural fibres, having eco-friendly policies and innovating.
Overall every pair of underpants got a score out of 45 in this sporting underwear review. The higher the score the better they were. By dividing the score by the price I calculated ‘Points per £ spent’, which meant I could also rank by value for money.
If you’d like to see a table of all the results rather than just the best briefs for active men, and to read more about how I tested every pair, then check out the full active underwear review. All scores across the eight criteria and bonus points are included for all 31 pairs, in order of best first.
Best briefs for active men
Although not my first choice undies, I have always had a few pairs of briefs in my underpant drawer. Partly because there is less of an issue with ruckage and bunching and partly because they offer good support, but mainly because I like to vary the style of underpants I wear.
The downside of briefs is they can feel too tight around the crown duels, or if the the legs are too tight or too loose they can be very uncomfortable. I think overall a good fitting pair of briefs can be the best underwear you own, but there is less leeway for error, so bad fitting ones can be dreadful.
During the sporting underpants review I tested seven pairs of briefs. The top briefs were only two points behind the leading boxers, so they performed very well. They also included the best value underwear from the entire test.
Review of Runderwear Mens Brief
Total Score: 38 Price: £16 Points per £ spent: 2.4
Materials: 92% Polyamine, 8% Elastane
Official info about Runderwear Mens Brief
The Men’s Runderwear Support Briefs are designed to give you maximum support with the highest level of comfort that you need from your briefs. Get support where you need it most with using Runderwear’s seamless technology. The fabric is engineered to wick moisture from the skin, helping reduce any irritation. Chafe-free, guaranteed.
- 360 degree seamless technology construction
- Moisture wicking transport system
- Ergonomically designed, moving with your body
- Improved core temperature control
- Runderwear™ fabric is lightweight and durable.
My review of Runderwear Mens Brief
These were the the top scoring briefs in this sporting underwear review, only amassing two less than the top ranking underpants. The first thing I noticed about these Runderwear briefs is the lovely material, it is soft, stretchy and compared to many of the sports underpants feels slightly warm to touch.
They are great at wicking away sweat and keeping you dry and comfy as you exercise. There is lots of support for your package, but the Runderwear briefs never restrict your movement. The only downside is that when I first put them on I could feel where grip the outside of my thighs, but I did not notice it after a while.
These were surprisingly comfortable worn as everyday undies, but where they really excel it in running – after all it is what they were designed for. In this sporting underwear review these were the best briefs for running.
Review of Jockey Sport Brief Microfibre Active
Total Score: 37 Price: £9 Points per £ spent: 4.1
Materials: 92% Polyamide 8% Elastane
Official info about Jockey Sport Brief Microfibre Active
A sporty, masculine range of underwear, suitable for everyday activities and sports. The innovative combination of materials provides perfect wearing comfort.
My review of Jockey Sport Brief Microfibre Active
Just a point behind the top scoring briefs in this sporting underwear review, these were the best value underpants out of all 31 pairs I tested. Making the Jockey Sport Brief the best underwear if you buy purely based on value for money.
They are very comfortable underpant with great support, although as with many briefs they did feel slightly tight around my gear. The material is cooling and soft, with excellent wicking properties, meaning they are perfect for exercise.
If you like to wear briefs then these are the perfect underpants for both everyday wear and for sport. At £9 per pair they are easily one of the best briefs for active men.
Review of Paramo Mens Cambia Hydrotech Briefs
Total Score: 37 Price: £23 Points per £ spent: 1.6
Materials: 100% Polyester
Official info about Paramo Mens Cambia Hydrotech Briefs
Cambia Briefs are for active outdoor people who do energetic activities. If you participate in high energy activities such as cycling, running, climbing or mountain walking, you need to manage the sweat you produce to stay dry and comfortable. Damp underwear, especially cotton, is clingy and restrictive, and will make you feel cold when you stop moving.
The fast-wicking, directional Parameta T+ fabric rapidly transports moisture away from the body to keep you dry and comfortable. The briefs’ design and construction makes them easy to move in without restriction.
Parameta® T+’s fast wicking gives it exceptional comfort for underwear. It’s a rapid-drying, directional fabric that spreads moisture laterally to speed up evaporation of perspiration. The textured, open face fabric surface is worn next to your skin, directing water away so you feel dry, but still evaporating excess water effectively.
- Freedom of movement provided by a contoured, yet stretchy design.
- Flat seams prevent rubbing and irritation during exercise.
My review of Paramo Mens Cambia Hydrotech Briefs
At first these Cambia Hydrotech undies felt a little tight in the leg and baggy above the genitals – meaning they felt strange. However, they proved to be much more comfortable then I expected, offering support while not being tight, and I liked them a lot. Despite the shape and fit feeling strange they are one of the best briefs for active men.
The huge advantage of these pants is they are reversible – and not in the ‘I haven’t got time to do the laundry’ way. Worn one way they are cooling and quick wicking, so perfect for warm weather and sweaty activities. The other way they are warming and wick sweat more slowly to avoid loss of heat, so great for cold days and less intense activities.
As an added bonus, I also found that when I went to a spa in the Pyrenees that required speedos, the Cambia Hydrotech Briefs did a great job in the water. So these are the most versatile briefs in this sporting underwear review and would be perfect for travelling.
Review of Sloggi Basic Midi Soft Brief
Total Score: 32 Price: £11 Points per £ spent: 2.9
Materials: 91% Modal, 9% Elastane
Official info about Sloggi Basic Midi Soft Brief
A timeless, classic and masculine look is guaranteed with this midi brief from the Basic Soft series by sloggi. So light you will forget you’re wearing it!
- Classic midi fit with comfy wider side parts
- Stable elastic band
- With LYCRA® FREEF!T® X-MOVE, the leading brand for perfect fit and smoothness thanks to a high proportion of stretch
- Flat seams reduce visible panty line
- Available in all basic colours
- Made of Micro Modal, a super soft and absorbing fibre with a slight sheen, which keeps its shape and feel even after many washes
My review of Sloggi Basic Midi Soft Brief
Out of all 31 underpants in this sporting underwear review these were the softest in the initial test. I would go as far as saying the material was the softest I have ever worn in any garment. Unfortunately this epic softness disappeared with the first wash, after that they are still soft but no longer soft as kittens.
It is not just softness where they excel but these are very comfortable in every way. They feel light, not too tight, and you hardly notice that you are wearing them. Where they drop points is they do not wick sweat away very well so are not ideal for exercising.
Really these are top quality underpants rather than the best briefs for active men. They are great underpants for everyday wear but I would not wear them for sport or adventure.
Review of EDZ Merino 150g Briefs
Total Score: 31 Price: £20 Points per £ spent: 1.6
Materials: 100% superfine merino
Official info about EDZ Merino 150g Briefs
EDZ merino wool base layers are made from 100% superfine merino wool that is soft next to the skin and comfortable to wear. Boxer style waistband. 150gsm 100% Merino wool.
My review of EDZ Merino 150g Briefs
The EDZ pants are very comfortable and are the only merino briefs in this sporting underwear review. However they dropped a point on initial comfort as I could feel the waist band, which just isn’t as good quality as the rest of the briefs.
When exercising they provide good support and the merino wicks sweat away well. Unfortunately there was very slight bunching between the legs as the gusset felt slightly too wide, although this did not cause any chafing when running in them.
The merino is warm to touch and lovely to wear in cooler weather. It does not hold odour so you could wear these for a few days without getting stinky pants. These are best briefs for active men who are looking for a natural fibre and are likely to adventuring in cooler weather or need pants for multi-day wear.
Review of Bjorn Borg Iconic Brief
Total Score: 26 Price: £19 Points per £ spent: 1.4
Materials: 95% cotton, 5% elastane
Official info about Bjorn Borg Iconic Brief
We’ll keep this, ahem, brief: You need these underwear. Our Seasonal Solids Briefs are a total classic, updated for spring in a bright turquoise color. Soft cotton stretch and a mid-rise cut make this your go-to pair for any occasion.
My review of Bjorn Borg Iconic Brief
These undies have a very soft material and you can’t feel any seems. At first I found them a bit tight across the crown jewels, but this was not a problem when worn all day. These are another pair of good normal briefs rather than sporting underwear.
Unfortunately there was some bunching as the gusset is a little too wide. During exercise the cotton does not wick sweat away very well, and in combination with the bunching made them uncomfortable when running. These are not the best briefs for active men but would do a fine job as normal tighty whities.
Review of Sloggi Basic Mini Brief
Total Score: 23 Price: £11 Points per £ spent: 2.1
Materials: 94% Cotton, 6% Elastane
Official info about Sloggi Basic Mini Brief
FREEFIT X-MOVE makes this mini slip of the sloggi basic series a classic, which combines first class processing with an excellent fit.
- Classic mini fit
- Elastic waistband with sloggi-signature and a pleasantly soft inside
- Flat seams and double cuffs at the leg cutouts for extra comfort
- Excellent, durable quality, guaranteed to keep its fit even after many washings
- 3D cotton stretch with Lycra FREEFIT X-MOVE for more elasticity
My review of Sloggi Basic Mini Brief
Unfortunately I did not get on with these undies during this sporting underwear review. Initially the label, leg elastic and the waist band were uncomfortable and were very noticeable during all day wear.
During running, and even walking, the leg elastic rubbed my inner thigh causing dreaded chafing. So these were a long way from the best briefs for active men, and I wouldn’t recommend them for general wear either. Buy the Sloggi soft briefs as they are much better but cost the same.
Sport underwear review: Conclusion
Despite only having two pairs of underwear in the top 10, briefs scored the best for value for money. As a fan of briefs I was pleased that the top boxers only scored a couple of points more than the top briefs. It is another good example that most sporting underwear is better than standard undies.
As with the other styles of underpant, no one pair of briefs blew the opposition away. Five pairs of briefs out of the seven tested scored in their thirties, but all had different strengths making them the best briefs for different activities. So choose your tighty whities based on your intended use.
If you found this sporting underwear review useful, but none of the best briefs for active men suit you, then check out our reviews about boxer shorts or long boxers. If you want to know more about how I ran this comprehensive test, check out the best underpants for sport and adventure.