Long-term review: Saxx Kinetic Boxer Briefs || Pricey perfection

The Saxx Kinetic Boxer Briefs, which have become my go-to underwear for hiking and backpacking.

After my first trip last spring, I cut out the boxer brief liner of my favorite hiking shorts, which were designed for running and which I’d scored at Marshalls for $15(!) a few years earlier. The elasticized liner had lost its rebound, resulting in an imperfect fit and insufficient support.

The shell was still in good shape, however, so I thought I would try pairing it with performance underwear before I shopped for a full replacement. This gave me an opportunity to thoroughly test the Saxx Kinetic Boxer Brief, which I’d purchased from Massdrop a few months earlier.

Long-term review: Saxx Kinetic Boxer Briefs

Last summer I hiked in the Saxx Kinetic Boxer Briefs for about 50 days, including two-week blocks in both the Rockies and High Sierra. At $37 MSRP, I probably should “save” them for important days and outings, but I reach for them whenever they’re clean, so casual everyday use has at least doubled my time in them.

For hiking and backpacking, I have found the Kinetic to be just about perfect, and I have no suggestions for improvement (besides working on the steep price tag):

  • The fabrics are breathable and dry quickly.
  • They fit me very well, comfortably snug all around; the legs do not ride up.
  • The Ballpark Pouch provides support and organization, without being constrictive. And,
  • After extensive wear, they show few signs of use.


Kinetic collection

Saxx divides its underwear into seven collections. The Kinetic is the most suitable for athletic endeavors, due to its moisture management and semi-compression fit. A distant second is the Quest, which remind me of the ExOfficio Give-n-Go Sport Mesh — they’re better for travel than for serious hiking or running.

The Kinetic is available as a boxer brief (5-inch inseam) and in a long leg version (8-inch inseam). Saxx has also integrated the boxer brief into athletic shorts, such as the Saxx 2N1 Kinetic Run 5-inch, which may also make for good hiking shorts.

Support

Saxx launched its brand with the BallPark Pouch, a hammock-like cup that keeps the male anatomy nicely organized and supported. It reminds me of wheels on suitcases — other brands had built dimension into their patterns, but it should not have taken until 2006 for someone to develop underwear that keeps the penis and balls separated from the legs.

The BallPark Pouch is not hype. I wish all my underwear had it.

This photo may make everyone uncomfortable, but it’s the only way to really show the BallPark Pouch. The penis and balls go in the pouch, separating them from the legs.

Fabrics

The Kinetic is made of a four-way stretch mesh nylon/spandex blend (90/10). The BallPark Pouch is double-layered, for modesty and additional support.

This fabric dries quickly and is highly breathable. Heat and moisture will collect during high exertion, but it performs at least as well as any other underwear I own.

Despite the nylon having an anti-odor treatment, the Kinetic will get ripe, as underwear does. When backpacking, I wash and wear-dry them every day or every other day. Saxx also makes odor-resistant merino underwear, the Blacksheep, which I’ve owned for three years. But I’d recommend them for casual use only — they do not breathe or dry as well, and with only 5% spandex they don’t fit snugly enough for prolonged athletic activity.

The Kinetic waistband is quite wide, at 1.75 inches (4.5 cm). This helps them to stay put and to distribute pressure. Saxx also describes it as “anti-roll,” but I can’t attest to that.

Fit & sizing

The Kinetic fit me like a glove, like they were tailored for me. They’re snug all around, without ever pulling or being constrictive. The legs do not ride up.

YMMV. Other brands may use fit models that more closely resemble your build.

Pay attention to the sizing chart. It feels odd to be considered a XS/S with a 30-inch waist (or 29 when I’m at my fighting weight).

Durability

After 100+ uses, my Kinetics are still in excellent shape. The spandex in the main fabric, waistband, and BallPark Pouch have lost some rebound, but not yet enough to affect fit or performance. The seams are entirely intact.

I’ve noticed some odd “spotting” in the mesh, where the fabric is thinning. I don’t know the explanation, but I suspect that it’s either a quality issue, or that it was exposed to stove fuel or chlorine water purification, or was abraded against something like Velcro.

Per Saxx PR, which followed up with me after this review, “I did talk to the product team and they think those holes have to be from some kind of outside source, they’ve never seen that happen before.”

Spotting in the nylon/spandex, which I can’t explain. I’m unsure if it’s a quality issue, or if I managed to spill something on them.

Budget option: Jockey Sport Cooling Mesh

If you are on a stricter budget and/or balk at $37 underwear, as a more economical option I’d recommend the Jockey Sport Cooling Mesh Performance Trunk, which retail for $18.

I’ve worn these for years, and would consider them a reasonable runner-up. The fabrics, fit, and durability is as good as the Kinetic. For all-day use they’re not as comfortable, however — they support well, but without the BallPark Pouch the anatomy does not stay reliably in place.

Buy now: Saxx Kinetic Boxer Briefs


Disclosure. I strive to offer field-tested information, insights, and advice, and I have a long-term incentive to be a trustworthy source. I do not publish sponsored content or native advertising, and I do not accept payments in exchange for reviews. I have no financial affiliations with or interests in any brands or products.

This website is supported by affiliate marketing, whereby in exchange for referral traffic I receive a small commission from select vendors like REI or Amazon, at no cost to the reader. This post contains affiliate links.

Posted in , on April 17, 2019
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17 Comments

  1. Bruce Lemieux on April 17, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    I’ve tried several brands, and these have worked for me the best over the last couple of years. I cut out the liners of my running shorts and use these. No chafing. For me it would only be improved by having a fabric that’s a little lighter.

    • Andrew Skurka on April 17, 2019 at 2:32 pm

      A thinner fabric would reduce retention of moisture and heat, but it would support less effectively.

      Probably a better solution would be use of multiple fabrics, to give support where it’s needed most but to minimize heat/moisture where it’s not.

      • Bruce Lemieux on April 18, 2019 at 8:50 am

        Yeah, you’re probably right. I doubt there’s a material thin/airy enough to make running in the swampy DC-area summer pleasant.

        • Andrew Skurka on April 18, 2019 at 9:02 am

          Ha, as a native East Coaster (and MA HS runner and NC collegiate runner), I can tell you definitively that there are not. In this case, “nothing is better than nothing.” You can run shirtless just fine, but I don’t think you want to chance that for lower-body coverage. In the semi-arid West, we have it better.

          In humid environments, you’re mostly just trying to control/avoid chafing. Assume that your clothes will become saturated with perspiration and will not dry, there’s nothing you can really do about it. The best solution I’ve found is the two-piece system of thin briefs combined with short tights. The briefs provide support and keep the anatomy front and centered, while the short tights protect my thighs from rubbing against each other or my sack/briefs. The short tights are hotter than split shorts, but they’re more reliable long-term.

  2. TimRules on April 17, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    Having logged about a half-dozen runs in the 2N1 shorts, I can report that they are everything I could have hoped they’d be (for the price tag – yikes!) … a couple of those were in the ~2hr range, so I gave them a good shot. They are already my go-to, and I will be buying more of them.

    Another company http://www.bn3th.com has similar products and I am happy with them, too.

  3. Dax B on April 17, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    I also like the Saxx. I think they could make the logo a bit less bulky. That would be my only complaint. The BN3TH looks interesting too. Thanks for the link.

  4. Enotty on April 20, 2019 at 8:27 am

    The only thing that has prevented me from trying these is the lack of a fly.

    • Andrew Skurka on April 20, 2019 at 8:38 am

      If a fly is that important to you, you might look at the Quest 2.0, which has a slightly more relaxed fit (enough to take it outside contention for running, but still fine for hiking), a slightly less wide waist band, and yes a fly.

  5. Steve Sims on April 20, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    Almost as entertaining as the famous pee rag article. Awesome Andy.

  6. Bob S on April 21, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    Those look nice and IMO clothing is part of my gear so it’s not worth skimping on the cost.

    I’m a cyclist and go commando under my bike shorts because underwear is counter-productive and it leaves embarrassing panty lines. When you run more than a half-marathon do you prefer a one layer or two layer approach below the waist?

    Does a superhero wear those on the outside their tights?

    • Andrew Skurka on April 22, 2019 at 1:30 pm

      For longer and harder runs (i.e. those on which there will be a lot of cumulative rubbing, or perspiration, or both), I go to a double-layer: briefs beneath short tights. The former keeps everything tight, the latter separates the thighs from each other and from my sack.

      For shorter runs, I like the ventilation and lightness of lined split shorts.

  7. Gordon on April 22, 2019 at 5:44 am

    I was going to say that these boxers really knock the ball out of the park, but that doesn’t seem right.

  8. Kevin M. on April 27, 2019 at 2:45 pm

    Can you link to your suggestion for the two part combo (brief under and compression outer? (Also, you should add an affiliate link for the long leg version.)

  9. Eric B. on May 4, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    For a large selection of styles and synthetic fabric blends take a look at DULUTH TRADING’s various briefs, both long and short.

    All my clothing from Duluth Trading has been excellent and their prices are very reasonable.

  10. Scott on July 22, 2019 at 12:02 pm

    Thanks for the post, Andrew. Do the Kinetics or Quests make you hot? How does the temp compare to the ExOficio Give-n-Go?

    I run pretty warm – and I think I’ve read you do too – so I always look for light weight underwear. I frequently go with the Patagonia Capilene boxers (not briefs) and love them for day-to-day wear. I’ve tried the ExOficio Give-n-Go – and I like them – they’re just a little hot for summer weather under shorts.

    • Andrew Skurka on July 29, 2019 at 8:52 am

      Fabric weight, which is the primary driver of its warmth/insulation, is similar between the Give-N-Go and the Quests, with maybe a slight edge for the Quest. The Kinetics are a little bit warmer than both, because they use double layers in a few spots to increase support.

  11. Dano on July 31, 2019 at 1:42 am

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for the review. You mentioned that you wash & wear-dry your underpants every/other day. Was wondering how do you wash them? With/without detergent and if so which? I’ve seen people use bags that they pour water & detergent in and shake it along. Do you have a particular method that works best for you?

    Thanks again, Dano

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