If you are looking for the best Merino wool underwear for men, well, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite men’s underwear crafted from Merino, along with a complete buying guide. Enjoy!
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Quick Merino Wool Underwear Buying Guide
Before we dive into each of our favorite Merino wool underwear pairs, let’s take a quick look at some brief buying considerations and tips. Remember that quality underwear should feel like you are wearing no underwear. Always understand your preferences and make sure to consult with the individual company sizing charts before buying.
Overall, your underwear should be snug and supportive but not too restrictive. You’ll want minimal seams to reduce irritation, a waistband that moves with you, and a contoured ball pouch. Also, choose an inseam length that works best for you (longer inseams for athletes and taller folks).
Your underwear should keep you dry and prevent the dreaded swamp ass. Merino’s structure and chemical composition not only wick water away from your skin but also capture water vapor before it turns into liquid. For heavy sweaters, look for thinner fabrics (<150 GSM), as they breathe easier.
Merino wool has excellent antimicrobial properties that help fight against foul orders as bacteria do not like to live on the fabric’s surface. These properties lessen with each laundry cycle, so wash with care.
Unfortunately, Merino wool is not as durable as some other synthetic underwear materials on the market. Look for materials that are corespun with nylon to help improve durability and fabric life.
Best Overall Merino Wool Underwear
83% Merino / 12% Nylon / 5% Elastane | 150 GSM | Slim-to-true fit | Flat-lock seams | 4.5″ Inseam | Price: $$$$
|Great “ball pouch” contour|
Supportive, but not restrictive
|Runs a bit small|
May bunch for taller people
Design style not for everyone
Our best overall pair of boxers is the Icebreaker Anatomica Boxers (with fly). These underwear are the most breathable pair on our list as they are crafted from lightweight, 150 GSM fabric. The next-to-skin comfort of this thin fabric, combined with the natural odor-fighting powers of Merino wool, is excellent for any purpose. Icebreaker underwear is perfect for trekking through the wilderness, traveling across the country, or simply commuting to work.
When it comes to comfort, we personally feel like their construction is top of the list. The contoured ‘ball pouch’ provides a supportive, snug environment and allows for plenty of mobility. The waistband is not only comfortable but crafted from high-quality elastane, which so far has lasted us over a year without deforming. The shorter 4.5” inseam also prevents any bunching up of fabric, no matter how tight or relaxed your pants are.
While our experience has been nothing but fantastic, some other users feel that the seam design can be irritating. They have said that there is a front seam in the crotch area that can be annoying at times, and the overall design causing them to readjust every so often. Again, this is not our experience, but you need to understand the entire picture. We believe this is due to the sizing running a bit small and slim.
Since the New Zealand-based Icebreaker specializes in Merino wool, you know their underwear is going to be one of the best on the market. They use CoreSpun nylon to give a little extra strength to the thin Merino fabric. Unfortunately, the longevity of these boxers has come under fire by many users, with some saying that they form holes after only a year or two of use. We have not had that same experience, so we cannot confirm or deny it, but it is something to look out for.
83% Merino / 12% Nylon / 5% Spandex | 170 GSM | 18.5 Microns | Fit: true-to-large | 6″ Inseam | Price: $$
|Excellent price-to-quality ratio|
Reduced bunching and ride-up
|Long inseam not great for shorter people |
Need to handle with care
May run a bit large
Ridge Merino is a small company making a big impression within the world of Merino wool apparel. These boxers have a unique design featuring soft, 18.5-micron fibers that will keep you comfortable in almost any situation.
Like many other underwear on this list, the Ridge Merino boxers use a nylon core technology to increase long-term durability. In this specific case, their technology is a proprietary fabric technique known as (m)Force™. While there isn’t too much documentation about this fiber blend, it’s clear that the wool base reinforced with synthetics will improve these boxers’ life span.
These boxers didn’t take the top spot because although the construction is sound, we find the longer 6″ inseam unsuitable for everyday use. It’s comfortable, but can sometimes be a bit much when you have to wear business casual clothes. The thicker 170 GSM fabric is breathable but not as breathable as some other Merino wool underwear. Plus, other users have commented that they tend to run a bit big, so consult the size charts carefully.
We do, however, think that the Ridge Merino boxers are an excellent choice for almost any situation, especially if you are a bit on the taller side. They’ll keep you snug, comfy, and odor-free throughout your active day.
Best Merino Wool Boxers for Travel
87% Merino Wool / 13% Nylon Core | 150 GSM | Slim fit | Flatlock seams | 6.5″ inseam (Medium) | Price: $$$$
Lightweight, breathable fabric
Trusted Merino Wool brand
Sizing runs a bit small
It can be a bit expensive
The Smartwool Merino 150 Boxer Brief is one of the best pairs of boxers for active travelers. They are breathable, odor-resistant, possess a similar nylon core, fabric weight, 6.5″ inseam, fly, and so much more. On top of that, they are super quick-drying, so if you have to hand wash your clothes in the sink of a hostel, they’ll be ready to wear the next day. They are definitely in the top three pairs of Merino underwear. The only real issue we have is the waistband design and overall comfort levels.
Smartwool created a super thick (1.5″) waistband for their Merino boxers, which can be a little snug for our liking and cuts a bit into our stomachs when we bend at the waist. The inside is lined with Merino wool, which feels smooth, but gets sweaty pretty quickly due to the spandex combination. Still, this thicker band may be best for travelers who need an extra bit of protection if they are wearing a hip belt.
Some users have complained of holes forming after a few years, but we have not experienced that issue. Most likely, this is due to improper care, so make sure to follow the washing instructions for Smartwool men’s underwear.
Overall, these Smartwool Boxer Briefs genuinely live up to the company’s outstanding reputation.
Best Merino Underwear for Hiking
100% Merino Wool | 170 GSM | 17.5 Microns | Compression fit | Flatlock seams | 8″ inseam | Price: $$$
|Smooth 17.5-micron fibers|
No leg ride-up
Several colors available
|Reported durability issues|
Sewn-in waistband not for everyone
Leg openings may be too snug
If you want to hit the trail for a few days, you’ll only need one pair of underwear if you pack the Acadian Boxers from Minus 33. They have a long, 8″ inseam, which is best to wear under loose-fitting clothing. The super-snug construction and thin, covered waistband also prevents any ride up. Also, the soft, 17.5-micron fibers provide excellent comfort and help avoid unnecessary chafing. Combine all that with a UPF rating of 25, and you’ve got a great pair of hiking underwear.
The two issues we’ve consistently seen with the Acadian boxers are the overall durability and lack of versatility. Unlike many of the other underwear on this list, these boxers are constructed of 100% Merino wool, which, unfortunately, isn’t as durable as products that use corespun nylon. There have been instances where holes form quickly, but much of that has to do with proper care. The second issue is that the 8″ inseam and tight construction are great for the outdoors but not the best for everyday use. They can feel awkward worn underneath tight clothing.
Overall, suppose you are highly active and constantly on-the-go. In that case, we highly suggest the Acadian boxers. Still, if you live more of a sedentary lifestyle, you may want to choose another pair.
Best Budget Merino Wool Underwear
100% Merino Wool | 160 GSM |17.5 Microns | Standard Fit | Price: $$
|Great price-to-quality ratio|
Excellent odor control
Known bunching issues
Tag in an uncomfortable location
Merino wool underwear can be expensive. It may seem like paying $30+ for a pair of boxers, but some budget options are available, like the Meriwool men’s boxer brief. They have excellent odor resistance, and the 160 GSM fabric provides better-than-average breathability. Still, the comfort and durability have some questions.
First, many users have reported that the sizing is a bit too big, which can cause bunching. For us, we feel like they just don’t get the overall contours correctly: some parts are a bit snug, while others can be too loose. However, our tester was a bit on the shorter size, so their comfort and construction may be a good fit for taller individuals.
Additionally, when it comes to durability, the Meriwool boxers leave a lot to be desired. We have not seen any issues on our end, but other users have reported some holes forming within six months of wear. Still, we feel like they have an excellent price-to-quality ratio. Many of these issues stem from the way users care for their underwear, so to avoid this issue, make sure to read the Merino wool care guide.
Overall, if you’re looking for odor-proof, breathable boxers – but don’t want to break the bank – then the Meriwool Men’s boxer briefs are a great choice.
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Complete Merino Wool Underwear Buying Guide
When it comes to buying Merino wool boxers, or any underwear for that matter, it’s essential to know what to expect. You should base your purchases not always on your initial feelings but through a thorough analysis. It’s your hard-earned money, and the underwear you buy should be the best fit for you.
You’ll want to consider four buying considerations: overall comfort, odor resistance, moisture management, and durability. Let’s break down each one individually.
When it comes to comfortable underwear, the top rule is that you should not even realize you are wearing any. There should be no skin irritations, ride-ups, wedgies, constriction, flopping, or anything. You should feel like you are going commando.
That being said, there are a few factors that directly affect your underwear’s comfort level. The top aspect is material, but since we are strictly focusing on Merino wool, all of these underwear are crafted with fineness and smoothness in mind.
The other factors that differentiate this underwear’s comfort from each other are the overall construction and features. Let’s take a look at some.
The Thigh Spot
For some inexplicable reason, there’s always a small window on your upper legs where your boxer briefs fit exactly right. Too low, and your underwear shifts down. Too high, and you’re left with a bunched-up mess of fabric and chaffing. The sweet spot where everything fits like Goldilocks is called your thigh spot: once you discover it, you’ll never shop for underwear the same again.
To find your thigh spot, you’ll need to understand the distance between the crotch and the leghole, known as the inseam. Taller people should search for a longer inseam (6-9″), while shorter people should opt for a shorter inseam (3-6″). If you’ve been hitting the squat rack lately, you may want to opt for a shorter inseam (or no inseam at all) since the leg holes may be too constricting for your massive quads.
In the end, it’s all about personal taste, but if you’re unsure where to start, opt for a 6” inseam to find your thigh spot.
The Ball Pouch
Life already has you by the balls, so don’t let your underwear do the same. The “ball pouch” should be nicely contoured to provide support and comfort to your boys. They mustn’t be too curved, though, because your boys don’t want to be flopping around all day.
Ease of Access
Sometimes, you just need to get in and out quickly, which is why many underwear come equipped with a full-access fly. Sometimes though, the fly stitching may get worn out and begin to irritate you. If having a second escape route is necessary, try to look for a functional fly design without too many frills.
Boxers, Briefs, tighty-whiteys? Everyone has their personal preference when it comes to underwear style. Still, when it comes to comfort, whichever type you choose should provide comfort without being too constrictive.
The spandex band that snaps to your hips is often overlooked but is one of the main factors affecting comfort. If the degree of elasticity is too high, then it may feel like your underwear is strangling your midsection. Too low, and you’ll constantly be readjusting to avoid the dreaded plumber’s crack. When looking for underwear, take a look at the sizing charts and type of fit. You may have to go up or down a size, depending on the product.
Even the softest fabric can be ruined by a poorly placed seam. It’s crucial, especially for next-to-skin garments like underwear, to have flat seams that basically feel non-existent. Some companies may use piping seems to improve aesthetics, but sometimes it may compromise comfort. Be sure to look at the use of a gusset (diamond-shaped extra piece of fabric), which improves fit and increases seam irritation.
Your nether region is a petri dish for bacteria. The warm, moist microclimate gives these tiny microorganisms a luxurious five-star resort to snack on the fats and proteins that you secrete. As they break down these secretions, they release foul-smelling, acidic byproducts. So, to control the odor, we must minimize the bacteria.
Luckily, Merino wool is naturally antimicrobial as a portion of lanolin – the waxy substance in wool – remains trapped in the fibers even after the Merino scouring process. That’s not to say you should rock your Merino wool underwear for weeks at a time, but it does help.
Compared with synthetics and cotton, you’re getting much better odor control with Merino wool. Although, not all of these underwear are processed the same. Some companies use 100% pure merino wool, while others use corespun Merino wool around nylon. Others even add in antimicrobial technology to increase Merino’s natural defense mechanism. Look for tried and tested odor reviews on Youtube or here at Merino Wool Gear to better test each underwear’s stench defense.
Let’s face it: one of the worst feelings in the world is the dreaded “swamp butt.” It’s something taboo, but we all have dealt with it at some point in our lives. Luckily, Merino wool underwear provides unique breathability and moisture control so that your nether regions stay dry all day long.
When it comes to breathability for Merino wool boxers, you want to look into the fabric’s thickness, usually specified in GSM. For example, a standard pair of MW underwear is about 150 GSM, which is about two sheets of paper thick. Anything below that number will provide excellent breathability but come with a weaker durability rating. Anything thicker will be more durable and offer better thermal regulation but may cause a more humid microclimate.
Unfortunately, Merino wool is not as durable as some of the other underwear materials on the market. Polyester and Nylon have a higher strength-to-weight ratio than Merino but often have breathability and odor problems. To get the best of both worlds, shop for Merino apparel that is corespun with a small percentage of synthetic (5-25%) to help improve durability and fabric life.
If you want to increase the durability of your Merino wool clothing, you should try the following:
- Wash them less
- When washing, pair with denim or other rough fabrics to reduce pilling
- Do not dry unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer
- Keep away from sharp, puncturing material
Check out our Ultimate Merino Wool Care Guide for more information.
Wow, what a guide, right? We really outdid ourselves this time. You now know the immense benefits that Merino has when it comes to next-to-skin fabrics like underwear. You’ve gone on a brief journey through some of the top products. Heck, you may have even learned a thing or two.
Now, it’s up to you!
Whichever pair of Merino wool boxers you purchase, you should always research all your potential options. Don’t get your panties in a bunch, though, as we clearly did the leg work for you. Puns aside, here’s your chance to purchase the best pair of Merino underwear that is right for you!
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