What’s more important than wearing clean underwear? Wearing the right underwear. After a few weeks of rigorous testing, here is the best underwear we could find:
Icebreaker Sprite Hot Pant ($40)
Fit: The boy-short cut generally stayed in place and always looked flattering.
Form: With 96 per cent merino wool and just a dash of Lycra, they boast all the performance benefits of wool without any itch.
Function: The most expensive and delicate of the undies on this page—no dryer for these—they make up for it in anti-stink, wicking and softness. I would sleep in these.
Lululemon Light As Air Hipster ($18)
Fit: Four-way stretch and a body conforming hipster cut holds them snug, no need for a waistband.
Form: Cotton around the lady parts helps prevent overheating where it counts, while moisture-wicking fabric everywhere else pulls sweat and disperses it.
Function: Laser cut construction and attention to seams eliminates panty lines, making them great for wearing under anything tight. Buy them a little snug. (They loosened up with wear.)
Ibex Balance Brief ($35)
Fit: Not at all sexy, but after putting them on I don’t think about them again. Sizing runs small.
Form: A mix of wool, Spandex and nylon feels soft next to skin and stays put.
Function: When the humidity hiked—hot yoga, running, cross-country skiing—these stood up to the sweat, wicked moisture, dried fast, didn’t chafe and held shape.
Patagonia Active Mesh Boy Shorts ($35)
Fit: The low-rise shorts hug just right and are super cute.
Form: The special recipe is a mix of mostly recycled polyester with bits of nylon and Spandex for stretch and hold. It’s all treated with a moisture-wicking finish.
Function: Versatile enough to wear with a dress or for a run. The fit is flattering, the seams thin and chaffe-free, the fabric wicks and dries quickly and they breathe well, too. Definitely the most comfortable underwear in the test.
* Women's reviews by Restless Josie.
Saxx Kinetic ($37)
Fit: The wide, flat and wicking waistband holds them steady without pinching, even under a backpack. Construction from nine pieces of wicking fabric creates an almost tailored fit.
Form: The mix of nylon and spandex creates just enough pressure to add some compression.
Function: What sets Saxx apart is two flaps on either side of the cup that keeps the frank and beans in a pouch, separated from legs. “It feels different, in a good way, and nothing like a reverse wedgie,” said a tester.
Ibex Woolies 1 Boxer Brief ($55)
Fit: Just supportive enough for running, without hugging too tightly.
Form: They lack the sexiness of some of the others on this page, and 100 per cent wool may sound dangerous next to sensitive bits, but the super-fine fibres are super-soft.
Function: We’re not saying we do, but if we had to wear the same pair of skivvies for a couple of days in a row these are the ones we’d want. Light, versatile warmth and no stink, day after day… so we hear.
Lululemon Lock’Em Down Boxer ($38)
Fit: Much more snug than we’re used to, but we like it.
Form: A blend of Lulu’s own fast-drying and four-way-stretch fabric and a generous dollop of Lycra sewn together with smooth, chafe-free seams.
Function: Too constricting for all-day wear, but when it comes to keeping everything, well, locked down and secure, they are the best in test. They handled heavy sweat without feeling like a bathing suit and dried fast.
Outdoor Research Sequence Boxer Briefs ($40)
Fit: Like a good pair of jeans—relaxed, but not baggy.
Form: A little merino wool (12 per cent) in the mostly polyester boxer adds stink-free performance to the wicking, durability and fast drying of the synthetic fibres.
Function: Dry and comfortable after an easy run or a hike, but when a tester cranked it up he was, “flip-flopping more than a politician.” The good news: fly access was best in test.