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.
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.
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.
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).
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.”
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.
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