In Part I of Deadgoodundies' analysis of breathable men's underwear design we look at the king of yarns, cotton, and the new pretender, modal. Part II will take the theme a step further into alternatives for men who like their boxers and briefs to breathe every moment they're worn.
Gents looking for breathable underwear for men might leap straight to the conclusion that only 100% cotton will do. But Deadgoodundies.com can offer alternatives as well as cotton underpants for absolute purists.
DGU prides itself on stocking some of the world's best cotton men's underwear, but also hundreds more breathable options in cotton mix and other fabrics.
Some level of breathability is essential in any pair of undies a man might choose. The male anatomy can get uncomfortably sweaty, sticky and even chafed in the wrong underpants or shorts. From sitting for hours at a desk or the wheel of a car to strenuous activity such as working outdoors, cycling or running, a masculine body puts special demands on a man's underwear.
WHAT % COTTON WORKS FOR YOU?
Cotton is historically men's favourite underwear of choice, now rivaled by other natural yarns like modal and manmade inventions.
Pure cotton boxer shorts are still made, but in a fraction of the numbers sold 20 or 30 years ago. Classic looser fit undershorts in 100% cotton have been overtaken by stretch cotton boxer briefs, which fit much closer but are still breathable.
Cotton's advantages are numerous – it breathes well, feels good, helps avoid overheating, wicks sweat away from the skin, washes easily, the right quality maintains its shape and when it comes to colours, cotton dyes beautifully.
Mixed with a few percent of another yarn, as in 95% cotton 5% elastane, all but pure cotton boxers, trunks, briefs, shorts and strings can be shaped for a closer fit that hugs but won't restrict or crush. And allows the body to breathe.
Cotton fabrics in designer underwear collections for gents chosen by DGU can be quite substantial to ultra-fine mercerised cotton.
MODAL – THE NEW COTTON
Modal yarn is, believe it or not, made from trees – beech trees. They're grown in sustainable plantations and processing the yarn is said to use less water than cotton manufacturing.
Today modal rivals cotton in men's underwear design, offering a modern solution for men who want a finer, even more luxurious feel from their underpants. Modal, especially micromodal men's underwear, does feel extremely silky and soft, and even better after each wash. Modal yarn absorbs more moisture from the skin and won't trap odours or perspiration. It drapes beautifully creating a fit with a very light touch, and colours don't fade.
Even so, men who have always worn cotton might not like the feel of pure modal, preferring still to enjoy their favourite cotton with the advantages of modal thrown in. A mix of 45% cotton, 45% modal, 10% elastane is the answer – combining the best of both worlds.
SIZE DOES MATTER
For men's cotton underwear to be as breathable as possible, it is crucial to consider how it will be worn. Even the very best cotton male undies might 'fail' if they are too tight, crowded by too many layers on top or worn for too long in sweaty circumstances!
One mistake guys often make when buying male underwear, cotton or otherwise, is to opt for the same waist size as their jeans. A man who wears 34" jeans might easily be a 32 or 36 waist in cotton male briefs or boxers. It might seem a bit of a fuss but getting an accurate figure with a tape measure of your waist circumference will pay off – that and checking size guides. Some brands size their designs small, medium, large etcetera and these sizes are made 'to fit' specific waist measurements, e.g. 34-36. Others size by the inch so a 34 waist will fit differently from a size 36.
The next consideration when looking for the best cotton underwear for men is the waistband. The alternatives are a simple elastic waistband, usually branded, attached to the jersey or woven cotton body fabric, or a 'covered' waistband with the stretchy elastic hidden inside the main material. As you would expect, a waistband that's too tight will pinch or roll, too big and it will sag or bunch up.
Absolutely vital is a man's selection up front – pouch or no pouch, Y-front with access or a completely smooth finish? A low profile pouch or one that adds some oomph… and how much?
POUCH OR NO POUCH?
Most men's cotton briefs, thongs, trunk shorts and boxer briefs have a pouch lined in the same fabric for support and comfort.
Men's cotton underwear ranges from traditional Jockey shorts and side-access underpants to simple micro and mini slips via boxer briefs. Most have a lined pouch with access for calls of nature - more often these days 'top access', like HOM's patented HO1 horizontal opening pouch. Rarer, but always available on Deadgoodundies, are men's cotton briefs with a plain, flat frontage that guarantees the smoothest finish and definitely less bulk.
Some specialist men's underwear collections offer ergonomic, shaping and boosting pouch options in their cotton undies. These can be especially helpful for men who want genital control for sport, extra support for daily life or perhaps after a hernia operation, and these designs can create a brilliant 'lift and separate' effect for men who suffer from the proverbial sweaty bollocks.
Finding the best men's breathable underwear and the right cotton underpants for gents could not be simpler. Deadgoodundies has one of the biggest selections of male undergarments anywhere in the world. Far more than any high street store and even some of the biggest online retailers.
From traditional cotton Y-fronts to contemporary cotton slips and shorts, DGU is ready with more styles, weights, colours, waistbands and pouches – store open 24/7 and delivers to your door.
DOREANSE offer seven colours in their hugely popular Doreanse 1511 men's underwear (£11.00) 100% Cotton Loose Boxer Short with a proper button fly. This gets top marks with consistent 5-star reviews from DGU customers – many men choose them to sleep in, too, because they are so comfortable.
JOCKEY offer an extensive selection of fashion underwear for men these days, but they've not forgotten their roots. The Jockey Classic 2100 Y-Front Brief comes in black, white, grey, navy or a chic pale blue for waist 32-44 (£7.50 a pair) and in black, white or grey for waist sizes 46-60 (£10.00 a pair). There is also a 3-pack (£18.00) of the Classic Y-Front Brief in three colour combinations, a longer leg Midway Trunk (navy or white £11.00) and a vest (single £9.00, 3-pack £20.00, white only) in this Jockey favourite.
HOM, another brand famous for high fashion designer men's underwear, also offers luxury underpants for gents who know their cotton and want the very best. The HOM Premium Cotton Comfort Mini Brief (£22.00) uses mercerised cotton in black, white, navy or grey. This is a very lightweight option with a lined pouch from a range also including a Boxer Brief and Micro Brief.