Filed under:Clothing, Gear reviews, Underwear & Socks, Saxx Kinetic Boxer Brief
It’s one of the weird anomalies of outdoor gear that people will spend months agonising over the best waterproof shell fabric, or quibble over the relative wicking properties of various softshell trousers, but underneath it all, you’ll find a pair of soggy, bog-standard, cotton boxer shorts.
Outdoor underpants – the final frontier. It’s not that there aren’t options out there, more that they’re rarely mentioned. They’ve also been uniquely problematic. Somehow the necessary combination of fast wicking and drying, comfortable fabric, supportive, erm, support where it matters and anti-chafing construction seem hard to find. And then there’s odour. There’s no nice way of putting this, your nether regions have a unique propensity to create a honking, reeking micro-atmosphere.
We’ve come close to solving various bits of the riddle – merino blend boxers, for example, cope well with odour and polyester wicks and dries well – but until now, the full house has properly eluded us. Enter US men’s underwear specialist brand Saxx and the Kinetic Boxer Brief, it’s premium active use boxer short designed for running, hiking and pretty much any other active pursuit.
I’ve been using a pair for around two years now and they’re probably the best outdoor underwear I’ve tried. For starters, the 90% Nylon/10% elastane mix gives a close, supportive, ‘semi-compression fit’. The seams are reversed so the flat side is against your skin. There’s a wide, comfortable waistband and the legs are cut long enough that they don’t ride up and find their way into unwelcome places. Finally, the artfully-crafted – and named – Ballpack Pouch gives excellent support where it’s needed. There’s a joke somewhere along the lines of ‘only the balls should bounce’, but in this case they don’t whether running or walking.
I’ve used them for extensive trail runs worn under softshell shorts, for hiking and mountaineering, winter and summer and for gym stuff too. They just do the job in a fantastic unobtrusive, almost invisible way. And last but not least, despite being made from Nylon, the anti-odour treatment works brilliantly and they simply refuse to smell bad in circumstances where other baselayer pants have caved in hours. I’ve used them several days running and it’s never been a problem. The only thing arguably better is merino, but then merino doesn’t wick and dry anywhere like as quickly (Saxx do offer a selection of merino pants too, actually, and T&M’s Editor reliably informs me that they are a slightly looser fit than the synthetic ones on test here, and are supremely comfortable).
Downsides? The shiny plastic lettering on the waistband is a matter of personal taste, but is being replaced with the printed logo used on the rest of the Saxx range from spring 2020, but you soon forget that it’s there. And the sizing is US orientated, so ‘medium’ is actually 34” rather than a more usual 32”, just check before buying.
Overall though, these are excellent active use boxers that do everything we’ve asked of them. At £30 they’re not cheap, but they wear well and reek of quality rather than body odour. If you’re still soldiering on with soggy cotton boxers, do yourself a favour and invest in a pair of these.
VERDICT: Probably the best outdoor/sports-specific men’s underwear we’ve tried thanks to a combination of brilliant semi-compression support where it matters, fast wicking and drying, no chaffing and, crucially, outstanding odour resistance.
Weight: 76g (size small)
Features: 90% Nylon / 10% Elastane four-way stretch mesh fabric / 3D hammock-shaped Ballpark pouch / no fly / Flat Out seams / wicking waistband / permanent anti-odour treatment / 5″ inseam, 1 3/4″ waistband
More info: www.saxxunderwear.com