Best Men's Underwear Brands Under $30 – Calvin Klein, MeUndies, Mack Weldon & More

Welcome back to the Gentleman’s Gazette! Today’s video is about the best underwear for men, $30 or less. Over the last 10- 15 years, the underwear market has changed dramatically. While it used to be something that was just stuffed to the dark corners of a department store with big brands like Calvin Klein and Hanes, now, you have a lot of specialist brands just focusing on underwear, oftentimes, they sell directly to the consumer. And also the materials, while they used to be just cotton or cotton with a little bit of spandex, now you can find all sorts of nylon, modal, micromodal, you name it! So in today’s video, we’ll find out what’s worth your money, what isn’t, no matter if you are on a super low budget or if you can afford something closer to $30.00. So first, let’s talk about materials because apart from the cut, it’s a very important component of your underwear. Let’s start with the most traditional, cotton. It is a great fabric, it’s a well-known staple for most men that wear underwear. It’s a natural material and if you want to learn more about it, please check out our cotton guide, here. It’s really in-depth! Overall, it is a great natural material except for one reason, it is very absorbent and for underwear, you don’t want moisture to be stuck next to your skin, you want it to be moved away from it. Personally, I like cotton with a bit spandex if you are not very active and you don’t sweat a lot because it still does the job, it’s somewhat breathable, and it’s very affordable. Of course, you can also get very luxurious cotton that costs over a hundred dollars a pair but to learn more about the different quality ranges, again, check out the cotton guide. What about longevity? While shorter cotton fibers twisted in a yarn are less expensive but they’re all more prone to pilling which just looks old and you have to throw them away Another important material in underwear today is Modal. It is made by the Austrian company, Lenzing. Just like viscose, it is a semi synthetic fiber, meaning everything starts out with cellulose derived from trees or bamboo or other sources Modal is stronger and softer than viscose It’s also not as absorbent as cotton, you can dry it in the dryer without any damage, and it doesn’t pill like cotton does, for example, or nylon. A variation of modal is Micromodal. It means that the fiber is even finer, meaning it can be woven more tightly that it’s also softer but it still has those same characteristics as the regular modal. The result of it is often that the touch is almost like silk but because the fiber is a little finer, it may not last quite as long as a regular modal. For underwear, Micromodal is considered to be the cashmere of synthetic or semi synthetic fibers Lenzing manufactures micromodal only in Europe so even if the underwear is made overseas or in Asia, the material was still produced in Europe. It has only been around since the 90s but Lenzing did some good marketing and they have a really good product. It’s softer than cotton, its moisture wicking, and it’s shrinking resistant. Again, you can put it in a dryer without any damage. It’s also breathable and there’s a low heat retention making it the ideal fabric for an undergarment. On top of that, it has a very high stretchability and again, it’s not prone to pilling. So in my mind, micromodal is the best material you can have in a pair of underwear That being said, regular modal is still a good material. So what about spandex, elastane, or lycra? They’re all made from polyurethane which means they’re derived from oil. It’s basically all the same stuff. In the US, it’s known as spandex and Europe, it’s known as Elastane. Lycra, again, is a brand name for Elastane so don’t get yourself confused, it’s all about the same stuff. You will never find a pair of underwear made out of a hundred percent of elastane or spandex or lycra, they’re usually blended with other fibers such as cotton, polyester, or nylon The threads are nearly invisible so it’s very easy to weave it into other fabrics The fiber’s characteristics are that it’s very elastic, it’s very stretchy, it’s very durable and it has a low heat retention. On top of that, it’s lightweight so it’s a good fiber to be blended into underwear. So what about polyamide? Well, that’s a category that contains a number of different products including nylon and Kevlar. Yes, that’s the material they use for bulletproof vests. Polyamide is a product derived from crude oil. When blended with other fabrics, it adds an element of elasticity and a silky smooth finish but sometimes also a little bit cool Unfortunately, it has a low breathability but it’s very prone to pilling. It also has a moderate heat retention and just a moderate ability to be moisture wicking

Because that, in my book, nylon or polymide is not the best material you can have for your underwear. So what about Jersey? Well, Jersey itself is the category of a knit type of fabric. It can be made by many brands and made of different materials so it’s difficult to give a blanket statement about Jersey. In the past, it was often made from cotton or cotton synthetic, it usually was very stretchy because it was a knit and it was a popular material for underwear. It’s usually very soft, has a high elasticity, but also a high heat retention and with other materials like modal or micromodaI, think Jersey has become less and less popular Now, one of the most popular materials found in less-expensive underwear other than cotton is polyester. It is made from a synthetic polymer that’s essentially a kind of plastic. So what does that mean for underwear? Well, polyester has a high stain resistibility. It’s also wrinkle resistant but unfortunately, it has a very high heat retention which means you’re more likely to sweat which is not advantageous for underwear. It’s also not very breathable, it is lower moisture wicking and very prone to static build-up. So again, not a good material for underwear Why, you ask, is it used then? Well, it’s damn cheap and that’s why companies still use it these days So what are the characteristics you want in a good underwear fabric? First of all, you want it to be soft. You want it to be breathable, want it to be elastic, want it to be resistant to pilling, you want it to be moisture wicking, quick-drying, it’s supposed to have a low heat retention, and you just want to be able to just throw it in a dryer and be done with it So that means modal and micromodal are your top choices. In theory, they check all the points and in practice, I saw those results when I tested them too Next in line for me are cotton, one with elastane or maybe cotton modal blend In last place comes in polyester and nylon because they’re just not made for underwear. Now, before we take a look at all the different brands and tell you specifically what’s good and what’s bad about them, here are a few important things about the hallmarks and characteristics of underwear and the cut. So what’s the most important thing in a piece of underwear? For me, it is definitely that there is as little skin-to-skin contact as possible. Because of that, pouch underwear is out in the market in multiple different variations No, not all special pouches are constructed equally. The brand Saxx was very early to market There’s also Sheath or Bn3th and we’ll go over all those brands later That being said, a specific pouch to prevent skin-to-skin contact it’s not always necessary if the cut, otherwise, is very ergonomic and the fit is close so skin doesn’t touch skin Other things to look at on your underwear is the rise. Even though longer rises are more popular, I found that a shorter rise of about two to three inches is ideal because it makes for a better fit and less skin-to-skin contact. While in the past, seams were a big deal, all the brands we tested had the same kind of flat comfortable seams and I couldn’t even tell that my underwear had any seams so it’s really a non-issue these days. When it comes to the waistband, bigger isn’t always better We found that you want something that is soft but has a certain structure that doesn’t give you a muffin top. Now for this video, we tested 10 different brands of underwear and sometimes, the same company also sells underwear that is a lot more expensive but we did not get those simply because we wanted to be fair in the under $30 segment. By the way, this video is not sponsored, no one is paying us to say anything, this is 100% my unbiased, honest opinion. First, let’s start with the classic Calvin Klein Ever since the 90s or even the 80s, it has become somewhat of an underwear staple, especially in the US. They are not exactly innovative but they’re a pre innovation classic. How do I know? Well, I’ve personally worn Calvin Klein underwear for over 10 years. I first bought it in 2006 when I first came to the US because there was a deal at Macy’s and in Europe, Calvin Klein underwear was a lot more expensive so I bought a bunch of them. I still have some of these old pairs of underwear in my drawer even though I’ve to admit, I don’t wear them as often as I used to since I had better underwear these days. In the past, I’ve had cotton versions and polyester versions; over time, I really came to prefer the cotton ones because they make me sweat less. Just to see where things are at today, we ordered a three pack of Calvin Kleins in a cotton and elastane mix with 95% cotton. They have a flyless pouch and the cut has improved compared to their old cotton underwear, Ithink. Overall, for $8.32 a pair, I think they do a pretty good job. The waistband on the Calvin Klein is noticeably tougher than on

other pairs we tested. Otherwise, the seams and the cut on the Calvin Kleins are very similar to many other brands out there. The Calvin Kleins were made in Kenya which is unusual and it’s the only pair of underwear in our lineup that was made there. Looking at the workmanship and stitch quality, it’s all top-notch and there’s no reason to complain. There is some skin-to-skin contact because there is no pouch but overall, I think a good value pick. My rating would be 3 out of 5 stars Brand number two is Saxx. I’ve personally owned Saxx since 2012 and they were probably one of the first companies that introduced a pouch style underwear that reduced skin-to-skin contact and therefore, sweating, thus increasing the comfort. Back then, pretty much all of their underwears are under $30. These days, it’s different. There are few that are above $30 like the Volt and the Vibe and there is a few that are under $30. Now, all Saxx underwear is made in China The only pair under $30 are the Undercover, the Daytripper, and the Sport Mesh. The undercover costs $28 and are made out of a blend of cotton, modal, and spandex. I find the fabric to be really comfortable and I think, for $28, it’s a fair price. If you want a slightly shorter inseam, go with what they call trunks, the boxer briefs are a little longer. The Daytripper boxer briefs cost $25 just like the Sport Mesh. Both are made of a blend of polyester and spandex and I would suggest you stay clear of both of them because I don’t like the way they insulate everything down there and make you sweat and uncomfortable. Now, the main feature of Saxx underwear is what they call the ballpark pouch Basically, they use mesh panels on the left and right side, as you can see here, that are supposed to keep everything away from your thigh skin. Overall, I’ve always found that the Saxx construction was an improvement towards having nothing there at all. At the same time, I always felt that the mesh was too thin to really provide a good separation Personally, I would prefer if they use the actual same material they use for the underwear. Overall, I would say my comfort was increased and it was an upgrade from a Calvin Klein pair. If you look at the market materials, they tout about their flat seams which, again, everyone in the industry has and their 9 panel construction which, in theory, sounds like a good idea to yield a better three-dimensional fit, however, in practice, I found that when I was wearing Saxx underwear, it didn’t feel any different than most of the other brands that had a good cut. In terms of colors and patterns, they come in solids and a few patterns. That being said, one of the most underrated things in men’s underwear is the color. In an ideal world, I would only wear skintone underwear for regular fabrics especially some that are thin such as white pants and if there’s a white pants lining, I would even go with a white pair of underwear so you wouldn’t see that contrasty line between the pants’ lining and your underwear Otherwise, if you have a striped pair of underwear that you wear underneath a pair of seersuckers, you can see it through and it doesn’t look very good The same is true if you have maybe pineapples or a bold color like red Overall, the Saxx have good material composition and I would give them a rating of 4 out of 5 stars Why not five? Well, I think the pouch is a way in the right direction but it’s not perfect yet. The next brand is Meundies They retail for $24 but they also have a monthly subscription plan where you just pay $16 for a pair. They’re made in Sri Lanka which is a big textile sewing center in the world. The material composition is 92% micromodal and 8% elastane which is a very good blend, very good base fabric that checks all the boxes as discussed before. I also like their inseam of about two and a half to three inches. Meundies are flyless but on the inside, they don’t have any extra fabric layers that prevents skin-to-skin contact However, for me, I found they were anatomically very well cut. They had a rounded pouch than just straight flat seams and so there was a very minimal skin-to-skin contact without a separate pouch. So while Meundies doesn’t make any claims beyond the basics, I found their pouch to be rather three-dimensional and large so maybe that comes in handy for you. They offer quite a wide range of colors, you can get seven classic colors, at the same time, they don’t have a single skin tone. They also have a brighter color lineup as well as very adventurous patterns with dinosaurs and pizza which I think no self-respecting gentleman should ever wear. Of course, I tested all of them including the bold patterned ones but the material is all the same, the weave is all the same, so there’s no difference in the different colors and patterns. In my

mind, Meundies provide a great value, especially if you buy them as part of the membership deal but even if you don’t, $24 is less than other underwear brands charge you for a micromodal with a very good cut. I would also give them a 4 out of 5 stars because there is still a minimal amount of skin contact and that could be improved by a more inside design pouch The fourth underwear brand we reviewed was Bn3th. Look at the name, it’s a little weird and before, they were branded as My Package which was likewise weird, so I guess they can’t really wrap their head around a proper brand name Their classic boxer brief costs $30, you can buy them in packs for 55 bucks and they also have sales. The material composition is 95% tensile modal and 5% spandex. Overall, very soft, very breathable, excellent choice for underwear. It’s made in China and has an inseam of 3 and a half inches, I think maybe half an inch or an inch less would even be better. That being said, in this case, it’s ultimately not that important because it has a special pouch. Unlike the Saxx that just has mesh strips on the side, the Bn3th has the same fabric that is sewn in a u-shape all around It’s a little more noticeable than the Saxx underwear but it does a much better job at preventing skin-to-skin contact Overall, I prefer the My Package pouch of Bn3th to the ballpark pouch from Saxx Overall, the Bn3th material is very good, the cut is, in general, good. Their pouch is functional, I think it could be slightly improved to make it even more comfortable and at the same time, their color choices are very bold and I don’t want a pink orange purpley desert inspired pair of underwear That being said, it is comfortable, you can get it in more muted colors, not in skin tones, of course, because why would anyone do that? Nevertheless, four and a half stars from me. The next brand is Ex Officio Give-n-Go. It cost $26 a pair, you can also get them in two packs which brings the price down to 23.50. They are made in China from a 94 percent nylon and 6% spandex blend. It has a very interesting weave that’s really light and airy, has a cool silky smooth touch but overall, it’s a fabric that will eventually pill and it retains heat more than micromodal and will make you uncomfortable. Now, what I really don’t like about this pair of underwear is it’s very roomy and airy so for me, this underwear is a no-go If you like this style of underwear, go for it. Otherwise, I will just give it one star out of five The next brand is called T-Bo. They don’t just have an unusual name but they are also different in a sense that they use a viscose 95% with spandex. They heavily advertise that their viscose is derived from bamboo and for any type of viscose, you need to start with cellulose but whether it comes from bamboo or a tree or other sources, it doesn’t matter in regard to the end product and the quality of it. It’s made in China, has a two inch inseam which is a bit shorter but that allows for a tighter fit that means there’s less skin to skin contact. At first, I thought their label was quite rough and I realized it’s a tear-off label which is actually a smart idea. It costs $24.95 and has a waistband made out of the same fabric that’s reinforced on the inside, which I find quite comfortable Overall, they felt good in day to day wear, they had very little skin-to-skin contact, no extra special pouch on the inside or any bells and whistles and I am not a big believer in viscose because viscose is popular because it’s mainly cheap. So, overall, I would give it a rating of 3 out of 5 stars Next up is Tommy John. We looked at their stuff and most of it really comes in at above $30. They had one option that had a really long inseam, almost all the way down to the knee, which I’m not a fan of at all. And another option was just plain cotton but we refrained from testing them because I think their heart is really at more expensive underwear so we’ll test them at a later point in time when we talk about premium underwear. The 8th brand in our lab is Ribbed Tee which are out of the ordinary in the sense that they produce in the US but under $30. I think if you buy three pairs, they are even just 28. So for a made in the US product, it’s really affordable. They come with a six inch inseam which is a little longer but the cut is overall, good so there’s not much skin-to-skin contact The material is what they call a cool nylon and spandex. Touch and feel is silky smooth and good but again, nylon, not the best material for underwear because it pills and retains heat. The pouch is very three-dimensional and the waistband is non-existent so it’s very soft and comfortable to wear Now, I’ve tested different Ribbed Tee

products over the year. Originally, they came out with kind of a silicone strip on the side that was supposed to keep shirts coming out, I didn’t think it really worked and they probably didn’t either because they don’t do it any longer They then switched to the nylon spandex fabric and had a shorter inseam and the cut wasn’t ideal. I think the cut of their latest iteration is really the most superior one of all of them. I would just wish they would switch to a micromodal material because that would even be better and that would really elevate up their rating from a three and a half to probably a four and a half. That being said, if made in the US is important to you, they’re a really good choice and pretty much the only choice in our lineup. The ninth brand in our lineup is Mack Weldon. Most of their stuff is made in Thailand these days but they have different options in a below $30 price segment. I’ve had some of their older pairs of underwear in cotton and comparing them to the newer ones, I can definitely see an improvement. The two kinds we looked at were the 18-hour Jersey for $24 and the Airknit X for $28. The 18-hour Jersey is a blend of 47 and 1/2 percent modal, forty seven and a half percent cotton and the rest is spandex. It is super soft, it’s a very comfortable fabric, and even though it has cotton which absorbs moisture, I find it to be very comfortable if you just go to the office and live in a climate that’s not super hot. The waistband is noticeably improved from the old underwear, it’s much softer now and it’s advertised as no roll I’ve had no issues with it. It has a fly less pouch and areas with mesh that’s supposed to increase breathability but there’s no separate inside pouch the way we know it at Sheath, Saxx, or B3nth. One thing that’s weird about them is that they put material information on the outside of your underwear which makes me feel like I have a big tag on the outside that’s visible that I just don’t like The Airknit X is made of a material that is a blend of polyamide, polyester, and elastane, which they called breathable microfiber. In my mind, it’s an attempt to recreate some of the characteristics, the softness, stretchability of a modal or a micromodal but it’s simply not as good a fabric. The other thing Mack Weldon does is they put “for daily wear” on the inside of the waistband so I have accidentally worn them inside out. I think they are a decent pair of underwear but not really that much special and I think I’d rather prefer the Saxx underwear over the Mack Weldon because it has a little mesh insert. So for Mack Weldon, I’d say three and a half out of five stars. The 10th brand we tested extensively was Sheath. The one I like is the Sheath V sports performance underwear. It’s made out of 92% modal, 8% elastane. It costs $29. Now, just like Saxx or Bn3th, Sheath heavily advertises their pouch but honestly, I found their pouch is designed so poorly that it doesn’t really do its job and I have skin to skin contact all day because it doesn’t stay inside. Also, the pouch is cut so high that even if it stays inside, you can constantly feel it which I don’t think it’s beneficial. So while the material is nice, I actually have this extra layer on the inside which I can feel and it’s not ideal so I’ll just give them a two and a half out of five stars. So what about brands like Tani, Hanro, or Zimmerli? Again, just like Tommy John, they are more premium brands and we’ll discuss them at another time. Overall, my favorite in this lineup was Bn3th, just by a short margin. If Meundies had a pouch system, I think they would have been my favorite. The best made in the US is Ripped Tee and if you really want to go budget, I think you go with Calvin Klein because they’re inexpensive and they do the job. If you can afford a little more, maybe Meundies is the best bang for the buck but overall, this was our lineup. If you enjoyed this video, let us know what else you want us to test in depth because these things take a lot of time because we really have to test them so we don’t want to do stuff that you guys aren’t interested in. if you enjoyed this video make sure to check out our Is it worth it series where we review iconic products so in today’s video I wore tons of underwear I even had to get creative to stay warm in a cold studio when we shot B footage yep that’s right for you guys I do almost anything otherwise I was just wearing a dress shirt that is yellow and charcoal gray striped with gold Monkey Fist knot cuff links from Fort Belvedere they match the belt buckle and my boots are British boots from Trickers in a nice tan color with a matching belt which is a prototype from Fort Belvedere so stay tuned I hope we can soon offer them to you in the shop