In all seriousness, if you’re going to wear performance apparel, you should include performance underwear. It should be treated with the same care as choosing a baselayer. The reasoning is simple – performance underwear is better suited to tackling comfort, moisture and hygiene during outdoor activities. In many cases, it’s due to the special fibre and fabric combinations being used, with enhanced moisture wicking, anti-microbial and anti-chaffing properties.
There are now quite a few Outdoor Industry companies making men’s briefs and boxers and women’s underwear and sports bras aimed at the active lifestyle. We’ve tested a range of different options and list our Top 3 here.
Icebreaker Anatomica Boxers
Made from New Zealand Merino Wool, Icebreaker’s Anatomica Boxers and Briefs are second to none for warmth. The addition of 4% Elastane around the waist also helps ensure a good fit. Playfully called The Beast, the boxers are my go-to performance underwear for Winter. While I choose Icebreaker Boxers for skiing primarily, they’re all-season underwear. The wool being used is 150 g/m2, which puts it in the lightweight category, and Icebreaker generally uses wool fibres between 17.5-18.5 micron in diameter, which eliminates itching. And because of its ability to wick moisture and regulate temperature, you’ll stay dry and thus cool, even in Summer.
tasc Performance Apparel
tasc Performance has built a brand around the use of Bamboo Technology. Bamboo fibre is created by harvesting the soft raw pulp on the inside of Bamboo cane, processing it for the cellulose, then regenerating it into Viscose. Viscose from Bamboo has a number of beneficial properties for apparel, including a surprising softness. It’s lightweight and has anti-microbial properties. It’s also hydroscopic, meaning it absorbs moisture, helping wick away sweat from your body. Designed in New Orleans and manufactured in India, tasc’s underwear combines 55% Organic Cotton with 40% Viscose from Bamboo, as well as 5% Elastane for better fit. tasc Performance underwear tops the list for comfort.
SAXX Underwear Co. are Men’s underwear specialists. That’s all they do, and have built a brand based on ergonomic fit, particularly around the front pouch. The idea is to allow a man’s ‘package’ to rest naturally, offering non-restrictive support. SAXX has also added some clever design features, such as mesh panels at the sides of the pouch to alleviate chaffing. The Kinetic Boxer we tested, made from 87% Nylon, 8% Spandex and 5% Polyester, also has a mesh structure throughout, which promotes airflow and the transfer of moisture and sweat away from the skin.
In Australia and New Zealand, Icebreaker is, of course, readily available at numerous retail outlets. The Men’s Anatomica Boxer’s sell for A$ 49.95 on the Icebreaker website, but occasionally can be found on clearance at stores such a Paddy Pallin’s for as low as A$ 35. SAXX and tasc Performance are harder to come by, but can be found online overseas through sites such as Amazon.
Featured Photos: Icebreaker, tasc Performance, SAXX Media Images