A Brief History of Men’s Underwear

A Brief History of Men’s Underwear

1. A Brief History of Men's Underwear

Since Adam met Eve, protecting his modesty with a strategically placed leaf, men have since invented a variety of ways to house their crown jewels: loincloths, kilts, codpieces and flannel drawers to name but a few.

We've come a long way since leather waistbands

Boxers first came about in 1925 when Jacob Golomb, founder of boxing equipment company Everlast, realised leather belted trunks weren’t the ideal choice and so replaced the leather with more flexible elastic waistbands. Boxers weren’t an immediate success however, lacking in support, in many ways!  

Boxing series

But did you know that modern men's underwear as we know it didn't come into existence until the mid-1930’s? That's right, those brave lads who fought in World War One were fighting with one weapon left very much unholstered.

Chicagoan Arthur Kneibler invented modern underwear in 1934 when he spotted a postcard from the fashionable French Riviera which sparked a moment of genius: he realised the swimming trunks of southern France could be re-formulated in soft cotton and so the "jockey shorts," aka briefs, were born, an instant winner selling 30,000 within three months and then selling out again and again thereafter.


1930s French Riviera Bathing suit

Tatty drawers, Tatty economy

12percent down

It was said the state of economy showed in the state of men’s underwear drawers, with greying and fraying underwear a sure sign that things were on a downward slide.  Sure enough, when the economy tailed off in 2008, underwear sales for men dropped by 12 per cent as men tightened their belts and made do with old pants they hoped no one would see. It’s name the Men’s Underwear Index and it’s a (fascinating) thing. 

Turning heads: Lady looking over shoulder at 2 good looking guys

Maybe men need to have the same approach as the ladies; a drawer full of good undies makes you feel good no matter what’s happening in the world. Life’s too short for bad pants.

So, in all honesty, there haven’t been many ball-busting underwear breakthroughs for men since the 1930’s, except the pocket pouch and now the Crossfly of course…

Models wearing Crossfly underwear in London

2. Boxers vs Briefs

The following ninety years offers a little more choice for us guys.

The loose, free comfort of the boxer style first designed for boxers, appeals to many while others demand the structure, support and briefness of briefs. It's an endless debate, and look, we're not here to end it. We can all agree both boxers and briefs have their advantages and disadvantages, right?

Boxers vs briefs

Free Willy:

Some men prefer boxers for sleeping or lounging around at home, but some love to feel that free-swinging freedom all the way to the bank (or, you know, the grocery store). If however, your thighs rub together, boxers might be an uncomfortable option.

Be Brief:

Best for the larger thighed and well endowed. They are form-fitting, secure and snug. With a proper fit, you won't have to think about readjusting your nuts and bolts all day long, and what a relief that is. And maybe they frame everything just right when a moment of intimacy brightens your days and nights. They’re also good for the vertically-challenged, giving the illusion of longer legs. Have a big butt? You may find briefs don’t provide enough coverage. Cheeky but true.

Pack your trunk: Trunks are a shorter boxer style pant and have become a popular choice for men over the last five years. Not as revealing as a brief but still offering the support of a boxer they suit most body shapes, though the larger thighed that walk among us may find they ride up when they walk.

The point is, these choices are highly personal and psychological. Maybe you want different styles for different occasions, different kinds of pant for different days. This is the splendor of the underwear golden-age we're living in where you and your groin can be king.


3. Is your underwear a health hazard?

True or False:

Tight underwear affects your sperm count? False.

Non-breathable underwear can affect your sperm count and fertility.  True. Yup.

Luckily today’s fabrics offer a plethora of skin friendly choices. Cool cotton is classic, organic cotton might be even better for the sustainable, planet-conscious fella. But technical fabrics however, promise enhanced moisture-wicking, odour-repellancy, and stretch.

We get sweaty, we get dirty, but hot and rashy or infections and chafing are all signs you’re wearing the wrong pant fabrics.

And no, turning going commando isn't going to solve these problems. Your crown jewels need a soft, quality barrier between you and your trousers/shorts so the credentials are paramount. Luckily, soft and perfectly supportive, breathable, moisture-wicking and antimicrobial technologies come as standard in all of Crossfly's garments. Just saying.

Drop Your Pants Here!

Lean closer. OK that’s close enough.

22 percent of men change their underwear daily


And that married men are more likely to wash their underwear more frequently? It goes without saying that underwear needs to be clean, dry, and well-fitting. Nick Kamen got the memo for a certain famous Levi ad in the 1985. 

We’re a judge-free zone here but guys. Change your underwear every day, hey? We don't care if all you did was play Fifa, or if you closed three deals from your desk, every groin (and partner) deserves a clean pair of undies, daily. And it's important for your precious skin too. And no, turning them inside out won’t cut it either.

But after how many washes will your underwear need to be replaced? There's no one answer, and it'll depend on the quality of the underwear you're rocking.

A classic, economical pair of cotton boxer briefs might reach the end of its life after a year or so. A more robust, thoughtfully designed pair, like, say, a pair of Crossfly IKON X trunks, might last you much longer with proper care.


4. Why Crossfly? X is Why.

X is Why

At Crossfly, we’ve taken men’s underwear and made it great. About time, right? There’s been little new innovation from the big brands for 8-9 decades. Maybe you think you don’t care but we know you do. At least, let us care for you.

We've been actively testing boxer briefs in the pursuit of the best underwear for you guys. We're pretty excited about the result. It's everyday underwear, it's everyone underwear and even some for the sporty guys too.

Here are the Crossfly credentials that reach the parts other don’t…


A precise pocket for what matters most, the Coccoon eliminates friction and chaffing, and frankly makes these the most comfortable underwear we've ever worn.


That Y-shaped flap at the front? It hasn't changed since good ol' Arthur, and it was about time. Now, it’s all about the X. The X-fly. A simple slide of the thumb lowers the flap vertically, making it much easier to access and release your parts. X marks the spot.


A dual layer of fabric wicks moisture expertly without sacrificing breathability.

ZeroFold 360 Waistband

Hugs you all day long, no folds, no snags or frantic tugging.

Stay Fresh

Anti-microbial fabric keeps whiffs away and your groin fresh no matter how much you sweat.


Mesh paneling gives you airflow where you need it most. You and your sperm count.


In brief:

Every ‘body’ deserves great underwear. The journey to the perfect pair is a personal one and not necessarily simple but we hope we’ve shown you how our X to the why concept is the nuts.

Whether you hop into briefs, trunks boxers, or a leather loincloth, be the very best you in the very best underwear. You deserve it.


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