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Boxer Briefs vs Trunks: What’s the Difference and Which Is Best for You?

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Joe Niehaus Writer & Photographer   Updated: 
Boxer Briefs vs Trunks Top Down of All Citizens Boxer Briefs

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

Boxer briefs fit longer down the leg while trunks cover less of the upper thigh. In addition to the difference in length, trunks tend to be made of thinner material than boxer briefs and cause more bunching up than briefs.

We men have come a long way from using animal skins to keep our twigs and berries protected, but our modern solutions have their own strengths and weaknesses.

Whether it’s the Roman statues with their single leaves or Borat and his iconic neon green singlet, it’s clear that men have many coverage options. While there may be a lot to choose from, two silhouettes have won the favor of guys all over the world: boxer briefs and trunks. 

Now the question becomes which is the true champion? Let’s weigh the pros and cons of each. By the end of this article, you’ll know which is right for you.

Boxer Briefs vs Trunks: Key Differences Breakdown

Boxer Briefs vs Trunks Infographic

Boxer Briefs:

  • Good for taller, slimmer builds
  • Reduce friction during exercises such as running 
  • Might become bunched up during certain movements 
  • Can alleviate chafing caused by skin-to-skin contact or rubbing against other surfaces

Trunks:

  • Well suited for stockier frames or larger legs
  • Avoid bunching during flexible forms of exercise like yoga or rock climbing
  • Worn slightly higher on the waist 
  • Can permit chafing due to less inner thigh coverage

To the untrained eye, boxer briefs and trunks might appear like the same exact thing. Little differences can mean big changes when they’re up close and personal with your family jewels.

Below, I’ll break down the main things to look at when choosing between boxer briefs and trunks:

  • Fit: Briefs extend closer to the knees than trunks
  • Body Type: Trunks are best for skinnier guys, briefs are best for guys with thicker thighs
  • Frequent Activities: While both are versatile, briefs are better for exercise

Using this criteria, let’s first put boxer briefs under the microscope and see if they’re the right groin guardian for you.

Boxer Briefs: Key Things to Consider

Fit

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Side by side, the most obvious difference between boxer briefs and trunks is that boxer briefs are longer. This is great if you’re someone who prefers more support throughout the leg and less of a squeeze closer to the hip.

Due to their form-fitting design, trunks can be a bit cumbersome under snug-fitting bottoms. If you like skinny jeans or wear athletic thermals for sports such as skiing or snowboarding, the added tightness might be uncomfortable.

Body Type

The longer length of boxer briefs makes them well suited for taller, more slender body types. Since they provide less room than boxers, those with thick legs might feel more squeezing from boxer briefs than the supportive hug they’re intended to provide.

The added stress that larger legs put around the elastic means that they’ll also be more likely to ride up. If you’re someone with a stockier frame, the added length of boxer briefs can be a nuisance.

Frequent Activities

Boxer briefs are comfortable during most daily activities, which is part of why they have such widespread appeal. While they really excel in most athletic purposes, activities like walking around town or commuting to the office also benefit from their support.

We’re all aware of the dreaded chafe that sneaks up during a high-intensity workout. Boxer briefs ease the issue by covering more of the leg, thus reducing contact during activities like running.

If you stay fit by running, hiking, or other sports that keep your legs moving, boxer briefs are a solid choice for minimizing skin-to-skin friction.

Our Favorite Boxer Brief

All Citizens Elite II Boxer Brief

The Elite Boxer II Brief from All Citizens is the most comfortable men’s brief because of its hyper-designed ventilation which provides both comfort and moisture-wicking benefits. Packed full of other features such as the horizontal fly, hang loop, and Paradise Pocket compartment, All Citizens shows that ordinary underwear can be improved upon in many ways, making these briefs up for any challenge.

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While the qualities we discussed might sound like they can ease your troubles, not all boxer briefs are created equally. Attributes such as material, breathability, ball pouch & no ride up legs can make them even more enjoyable.

The All Citizens Elite II Boxer Brief has earned the top spot of our favorite and most comfortable boxer briefs by innovating on every possible aspect of the underwear to solve the fundamental issues consumers are facing today. 

The average pair of briefs can be tight in all the wrong places. Tension around the crotch can spell a day of misery, especially when you’re in a place where readjusting your drawers is a big no-no.

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All Citizens clearly had this in mind when designing the Elite II Boxer Briefs’ Paradise Pocket II. The patented design keeps your balls separated from your thighs, so no more unwanted thigh-stickage. 

We’ve established that the longer the length of boxer briefs, the more they’ll ride up the legs. But the Elite II Boxer Briefs offer something they call the ‘Power Grip’  (silicone-lined leg grippers) that keep the 6.5” inseam in place no matter what you’re doing whether it’s running, squatting or just going about your day.  

Even repeated sitting and standing can bunch up a pair of boxer briefs, creating a traffic jam downstairs. The addition of this feature is life changing and really makes a difference.

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Breathability is another huge factor at play with boxer briefs.  The Elite II Boxer Brief combats this with mesh breathe zones below the rear of the waistband and between the legs. It’s obvious that during intense workouts, this is a game-changer, but even during casual outings under the sun you’ll appreciate the breeziness.

All Citizens elevates their boxer briefs even further with Re:Luxe performance microfiber that is really soft and breathable, a no-roll waistband, and a horizontal fly.

The Re:Luxe fabric is a fabric made from recycled bottles—great if sustainability is important to you. It offers extra breathability and 360-degree stretch, perfect for any level of movement.

The no-roll waistband comes in handy during bursts of action as well. Nothing is worse than a flimsy, abrasive waistband that turns your love handles red. The extra width will keep things supported and in place all day long.

Commonly used fold-over and buttoned underwear are such a hassle that most guys just pull their underwear down. The functional horizontal fly is a unique solution to a familiar issue, and it’d be awesome to see this design become more common.

All Citizens Elite II Boxer Brief

The Elite Boxer II Brief from All Citizens is the most comfortable men’s brief because of its hyper-designed ventilation which provides both comfort and moisture-wicking benefits. Packed full of other features such as the horizontal fly, hang loop, and Paradise Pocket compartment, All Citizens shows that ordinary underwear can be improved upon in many ways, making these briefs up for any challenge.

Check Price

Trunks: Key Things to Consider

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Fit

Trunks find a happy medium between the shortest cut of underwear, the regular brief, and boxer briefs. The shorter inseam is the main distinction between trunks and boxer briefs, but what does that mean for you?

The narrower profile of trunks means they’re worn higher on the waist. This can be convenient if you’re wearing them under tailored, formal clothing as the higher fit compresses the natural curves of a man’s midsection. 

We’re all guilty of overeating at the function sometimes. If your food baby makes it harder to tuck in your dress shirt, the raised cut can keep it nice and compact. Plus, nobody will see what kind of underpants you’re wearing once you remove your blazer on the dance floor.

Body Type

Heftier gentlemen might find the shorter length of briefs more comfortable as there’s less material to slide up the leg. The elastic nature of trunks can shift upwards due to the contour of the leg unless there are any details to compensate.

Even if you like the shorter length for looks alone, you still gain the comfort and support that differentiates boxer briefs and trunks from regular boxers.

Frequent Activities

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One of the main benefits of a shorter inseam is there’s less fabric to ride up. Wearing underwear with more fabric down the leg can become bunched during activities such as rock climbing or yoga where the legs are flexing beyond their typical range of motion.

If you’ve ever experienced a pair of boxer briefs bunching up, you probably noticed that they do so right where a pair of trunks fall. With only a bit more length below the crotch, the leg openings will stay right where they are, eliminating any congestion near your sensitive bits.

There is a tradeoff, though. The shorter inseam will allow more skin-to-skin contact with the inner high, so be careful when opting for briefs during cardio such as jogging or cycling where the thighs touch other surfaces.

Our Favorite Trunk

All Citizens Elite II Trunk

Our favorite trunk---the Elite II Trunk packs all the bells and whistles that their boxer briefs provide with a slimmer 3.5” inseam if you’ve come to the conclusion that you side with team trunk.

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If the Elite II Boxer Brief sounded like what you’re looking for but you prefer the trunk silhouette, All Citizens still has some great options.

The Elite II Trunk packs all the bells and whistles that their boxer briefs provide with a slimmer 3.5” inseam if you’ve come to the conclusion that you side with team trunk.

Remember how trunks have less material to ride up? Well, the woes of bunching don’t stand a chance against the Elite II Trunks because these also bear the ‘Power Grip’ (silicone-lined leg openings) that make their boxer briefs so secure.

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If raised, textured stitching has bothered you with other pairs of trunks, the Elite II Trunks are put together with flat lock seams that are so smooth you don’t even know they’re there.

The Elite II Trunks also have the patented Paradise Pocket II design that keeps your balls separated from your thighs, so no more unwanted thigh-stickage. In trunks this can be absolutely fantastic as things tend to get squished if there isn’t enough room down there. 

If you can’t already tell, these trunks aren’t your average underwear, so they shouldn’t be treated as such. They have a hang loop so you don’t have to keep them at the bottom of the locker while you’re showering at the gym.

Since trunks are better suited for certain types of movement, they should be built to withstand whatever abuse they endure.

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All Citizens applies reinforced stress points in key areas such as seams on both sides of the crotch so you’re not left with a gaping hole after a few workouts.

The All Citizens Elite II Trunk is a comprehensive solution to many annoyances men encounter with underwear without ignoring the desires of trunk fanatics.

All Citizens Elite II Trunk

Our favorite trunk---the Elite II Trunk packs all the bells and whistles that their boxer briefs provide with a slimmer 3.5” inseam if you’ve come to the conclusion that you side with team trunk.

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Which Is Best for You?

Opt for boxer briefs if you:

  • Are taller or have a slender build
  • Partake in activities such as running that creates friction between the legs
  • Don’t experience frequent ride-up from underwear
  • Often suffer from chafing

Choose trunks if you:

  • Have a stockier build or have thick thighs
  • Do flexible forms of exercise like yoga or rock climbing
  • Wear formal attire or tucked-in shirts often
  • Don’t experience frequent chafing

FAQs

Why do so many guys wear boxer briefs?

Boxer briefs have won the favor of modern men because of their aesthetics and versatility.

Unlike their roomier counterpart, boxer briefs provide the same amount of coverage with the added support of a closer fit. The ability to wear them during active situations without sacrificing comfort makes them a one-size-fits-all solution. No need to own multiple undergarments for different purposes!

Despite underwear being covered by our trousers 99% of the time, the audience’s POV plays a role in men’s preferences as well. The skin-tight fit of boxer briefs packages your manhood nicely, unlike the roomier fit of traditional boxers with a more discreet presentation.

Do men prefer briefs or trunks?

The general consensus is that boxer briefs are more popular.

Humans are creatures of habit. If boxer briefs were your first pair of big-boy underwear, chances are they’re still your underwear of choice today.

The extra length on briefs is also to thank. Support from the added fabric makes them a versatile solution that is both comfortable and secure for most situations.

Trunks provide most of the qualities that make boxer briefs so widely used, just with a shorter inseam. If you’re looking for underwear with a more slender profile that is worn higher on the waist, we think you’ll find trunks just as nice.

Do boxer briefs or trunks last longer?

In most cases, the longevity of both options from the same brand would be about the same.

The friction between the longer legs of boxer briefs means the fabric could wear down quicker than trunks, but in most cases, this shouldn’t be an issue.

Boxer Briefs or Trunks made from a company that delivers high-quality undergarments means you’ll be enjoying your pair for a long time. The same can’t be said about the 12-pack of value briefs from your local superstore.

Are boxer briefs more comfortable than trunks?

There are many factors at play that contribute to the comfort of men’s underwear. The type of activity you’re doing while wearing boxer briefs or trunks is also something to consider.

In terms of the garment itself, fit, material, and the type of waistband used are primary factors that will determine comfort.

The main difference between trunks and briefs is the amount of leg coverage. During activities that create friction between the legs like running, the interior leg coverage boxer briefs provide is going to keep that area from getting irritated.

For sports like rock climbing where the legs are frequently bending in ways that go beyond their type range of motion, the absence of fabric below the upper thigh prevents any bunching that could occur.

Do women prefer boxer briefs or trunks on a man?

Judging by common female opinion, trunks would win by KO.

Both trunks and boxer briefs make guys look good in the same ways. The stretchiness of the fabric means that it’ll show off your assets in a way that normal boxers just can’t.

If you’re someone with muscular legs, the shorter inseam of trunks means you can put more of your hard work on display.

Either way, your girl will have googly eyes whether you’re dressed in boxer briefs or trunks.