Full disclosure and TMI: I wore the same pair of underwear for 72 hours. In the name of science. I put them on at my home in Ashland, Oregon, and wore them for a day of computer and yard work. Then I wore them on a road trip to California. Finally, I wore them while pulling a 24-hour shift on a swift-water rescue boat.
If I were wearing cheap cotton boxers, I would have been miserable. They would have ridden up, then started to chafe. My junk, meanwhile, would have been a tangled mess. Thankfully, that was not the case. I knew I could pull this off, because I was wearing my favorite underwear of all time: the Saxx Vibe.
It sounds ridiculous, but Saxx has revolutionized underwear the same way Gore-Tex revolutionized jackets. Yes, really. For too long, men’s underwear was full of compromises. We wore it to keep our private parts from rubbing against our jeans or from bouncing around, but that was about all it did. Now, underwear has become a technical piece of apparel. And every time I put some on, I wonder why we suffered for so long.
The first big upgrade is in the materials. The Vibe is made with Viscose, a natural fiber extracted from wood-pulp cellulose. In my experience, Viscose wicks moisture just as well as a traditional synthetic while still maintaining a cotton-like next-to-skin feel. I like the everyday comfort, but the moisture management is huge, because wet boxers or briefs, like those cotton ones you’re used to, will chafe everything they touch.
There’s also some spandex mixed into the fabric for stretch. The two materials are then formed into nine distinct panels that give the boxers a huge range of motion, plus the perfect butt- and thigh-hugging fit. The tailoring keeps them in place but also prevents them from feeling like a vice. In terms of movement, Saxx is flexible enough for morning yoga or an afternoon run.
Then there’s the pouch sewn into the front of every pair. The founder got the idea from a catcher’s mitt, where strong ribbing on either side, plus a soft leather inner, creates the perfect shape to, uh, cup the ball. Here the shape serves two purposes. First, it creates some support, just like your favorite briefs. It also prevents chafing. Now, Saxx isn't the only company with a pouch—MyPakage has a similar design—but I prefer the Vibe’s fit and materials.
Like all good gear, Saxx underwear is expensive—expect to pay more than $30 for each pair. But over 18 months of testing, mine still look like new, which I can’t say about the cotton boxers I used to shred in a couple of months. If you get seven pairs, you won’t have to buy new underwear for several years.
The other downside: Viscose does not fight odor as well as wool or synthetics doused with a treatment like Polygiene, so my underwear stunk at the end of my 72-hour trial run. But I don’t intend to wear them for that long again. If you do, Saxx sells a merino version, and its Quest 2.0 can be hand-washed and dried in minutes.