What’s the Difference Between Boxer Briefs and Trunks?
Key differences and side-by-side examples.
There’s no shortage of variety out there for men when it comes to underwear.
For a clothing garment that was once very bland and limited in choice, it has certainly made quite the evolution in terms of design, style, fit, fabric, and more in recent years.
One such example is the boxer brief, which has become the standard go-to choice for everyday wear.
And while boxer briefs currently remain the most popular underwear choice among men, a variation of boxer briefs known as trunks is continuing to grow in popularity.
But you may be wondering, what exactly is the difference between boxer briefs and trunks?
The main difference between boxer briefs and trunks is that trunks have a shorter leg length that results in a more square-like cut.
Boxer briefs, on the other hand, are a hybrid of boxers and briefs that borrow their longer leg length from boxers and their snug fit from briefs.
Read on for more about the design of trunks and check out some examples from a few of the leading brands in men’s underwear.
Trunks Have a Shorter Leg
Compared to the design of boxer briefs, trunks have a noticeably shorter leg length.
Where boxer briefs have several inches of fabric extending down the leg (and longer designs sometimes covering the entire thigh), trunks typically extend no further than an inch or two down the thigh.
The most noticeable benefit of this design is that you wont have to worry about the legs bunching or rolling up as they often do with boxers or boxer briefs.
By eliminating that extra fabric on the legs, you’ll notice that your underwear requires much less adjustment.
Shop Obviously PrimeMan Boxer Briefs and Trunks.
Trunks Have a Square Cut
The shorter leg length of trunks compared to boxer briefs is what gives trunks their signature square cut.
Shortening the length of fabric that is used in the leg creates a more symmetrical appearance at the top and bottom of the underwear, resulting in their rectangular or square-like design.
While trunks have a shorter leg length than boxer briefs, they remain slightly longer than the standard cut of briefs.
In many ways, trunks are probably more similar to briefs than to boxer briefs, as they have a snug fit around the hips and glutes and free up the thigh from any fabric.
However, trunks have a more notably modern look compared to the classic briefs.
In particular, trunks often have a more pronounced pouch for your anatomy, which tends to offer a more comfortable version of support.
Shop Calvin Klein Micro Boxer Briefs and Trunks.
Trunks Are Low-Rise
Unlike boxer briefs, which are commonly designed to sit at the hips, trunks typically have a low-rise fit that sits just below the waist.
You’ll notice that this more modern cut of trunks tends to fit better under tailored and skinnier fits than most boxer briefs do.
The slimmer cut also offers more mobility and breathability under your garments.
When hearing the name trunks, you may associate it more with swimwear than with underwear.
This is no mistake, as the underwear design of the trunks originated with the swimwear version of trunks.
Its slimmer cut and less clinging fabric is what makes the trunk design great for both swimwear and underwear, offering more freedom in a stylish modern look.
Shop 2(X)IST Camo Tech No Show Boxer Briefs and Trunks.
What to Look for When Purchasing Trunks
If you’re looking for a high-quality pair of trunk underwear, there are a few characteristics you’ll want to keep an eye out for when browsing.
As we covered above, trunks will have a comparatively shorter leg length, signature square-like cut, and a low-rise fit.
Of course, different underwear brands will go about this in different ways.
But the brands that give extra focus to essential characteristics like fabric type, seam detailing, and waistband fit tend to be brands that you’ll come back to time and again.
Look for premium fabrics that prioritize softness, breathability, and moisture-wicking.
These qualities will ensure a comfortable and distraction-free fit that works great for all-day wear.
Also, remember that there’s nothing quite as important as the waistband when it comes to making or breaking a pair of underwear.
Look for trunks that emphasize a comfortable and secure waistband that stays put without pinching.
We recommend the Tommy John Apollo Trunks and the Mack Weldon 18-Hour Jersey Trunks.
Shop at Tommy John: Tommy John Apollo Trunks
The Tommy John Apollo Trunks feature a soft and durable construction with stretch and recovery, as well as drirelease technology that wicks moisture and is extra breathable.
These trunks also have a stay-put waistband that sits comfortably, a contour pouch that softly supports, and a signature quick draw horizontal fly.
Shop at Mack Weldon: Mack Weldon 18-Hour Jersey Trunks
The Mack Weldon 18-Hour Jersey Trunks feature a signature 18-hour jersey fabric that’s incredibly soft and utilizes mesh cool zones for breathability.
These trunks also have a comfortable and tagless no-roll waistband, as well as a stay-put leg design to reduce bunching and shifting.
For more great trunk underwear options, check out our picks for the Most Comfortable Trunks.
What to Look for When Purchasing Boxer Briefs
If you’re shopping for boxer briefs these days, you’ve likely noticed that there’s no shortage of options available to you.
In fact, there’s a wide variety of fabric choices, garment features, specialty designs, and more.
So, if you’re a bit overwhelmed by all the options and not sure where to start, here are a few characteristics that high-quality underwear brands tend to focus on.
A great pair of boxer briefs will pay special attention to design and construction.
Look for boxer briefs that mention flatlock stitching or chafe-free seams for an extra comfortable fit, as well as a stay-put waistband that won’t roll or pinch.
Also, don’t forget about finding a roomy fit in the front for your anatomy.
Look for mention of a contour pouch that provides comfortable support.
These features tend to make for a great blend of comfort and durability that’s perfect for all-day wear and last for a long time.
We recommend the Tommy John Second Skin Boxer Briefs and the David Archy Micro Modal Boxer Briefs.
Shop at Tommy John: Tommy John Second Skin Boxer Briefs
The Tommy John Second Skin Boxer Briefs feature an extra soft micro modal spandex fabric blend with a non-pilling design and a stay-put waistband.
These boxer briefs also have a seamless back construction, comfortable contour pouch in the front, and a signature horizontal fly.
Shop at David Archy: David Archy Micro Modal Boxer Briefs
The David Archy Micro Modal Boxer Briefs feature a silky soft micro modal fabric with a 3D contour pouch for the perfect blend of room and support.
These boxer briefs also have durable seam construction, a comfortable stay-put waistband, and a no-ride up leg design.
For more great boxer brief underwear options, check out our picks for the Most Comfortable Boxer Briefs.
Looking to add a new style to your rotation? Discover the different underwear types that are available to men.