When I learned that SAXX had redesigned its Kinetic Boxer Briefs (my long-term review), I was frankly nervous. Over the past two backpacking seasons I’d worn them for over 100 days in Alaska, the High Sierra, Colorado Rockies, and Appalachians, and I’d yet to identify a flaw. So a redesign struck me as risky, with little to gain but a lot to lose.
Review: SAXX Kinetic HD
The redesigned second-generation Kinetic, renamed the Kinetic HD, will be available from all retailers starting February 1, 2020. Inventory of the original Kinetic will be closed out. I was sent production samples by SAXX for review.
The HD will be available in two lengths:
- Kinetic HD Boxer Briefs ($38), with 5-inch inseam; and,
- Kinetic HD Long Leg ($40), with 8-inch inseam.
Differences between the original Kinetic and Kinetic HD are noticeable, both when comparing them visually and when wearing them. In short, the HD has a new paneling design and a more stabilizing hold. They are better for high-output activity, but they’re less comfortable for low-output use and everyday wear.
The Kinetic HD panels were entirely redesigned. The color-blocking — which SAXX felt was “old-fashioned looking” — has been eliminated, and the new panels follow more natural lines.
These changes are largely aesthetic. Like the original, the HD contours the body nicely and has a generally snug fit (“semi-compression,” in SAXX parlance). I have noticed only one difference: the HD are marginally tighter around the thigh, which was possibly done to reduce ride-up.
The main mesh fabric is unchanged: a 88/12 nylon-spandex 4-way stretch micro mesh, with a double-layer over the jewels to reduce fabric sheer and increase support. I’ve found that this fabric has good air permeability, wicks moisture well, and dries quickly.
The waist band is still a wide 1-3/4 inches, but it’s less thick and boardy. This band will still retain more moisture and dry more slowly than the mesh fabric, but it’s an improvement on both fronts.
The defining feature of all SAXX underwear is the BallPark Pouch, a hammock-like cup with mesh side panels that keeps the anatomical parts nicely organized.
The Kinetic HD uses a new BallPark Pouch design. Compared to the BallPark Pouch in the original Kinetic:
- The side panels are closer at the lower attachment point, instead of spaced apart;
- The top attachment points were moved downward; and
- More shape was added to the front of the pouch.
Overall, these changes cause the Kinetic HD to have a more stabilizing hold. So the HD is better for high-output activities like running, but less comfortable for lower-output activities like hiking or everyday wear. By bringing the side panels together at the bottom attachment point, the scrotum feels slightly lifted, and is kept further away from the thighs; and by moving down the upper attachment point, it creates less area for the genitalia to float around.
Personally, I thought the original Kinetic was ideal for hiking, but a little light on support for running. The Kinetic HD is just the opposite: they’ve been comfortable on runs up to 12 miles, but intentionally I no longer wear them for, say, Nordic skiing or office work.
For lower intensity sports, I’d recommend the Quest or Volt over the Kinetic HD.
Extension of the new BallPark Pouch
The new BallPark Pouch design will be used in two other products:
- Kinetic HyperDrive ($50), a new compression boxer brief; and,
- Kinetic 2N1 Shorts series, which have an integrated Kinetic boxer brief, starting in spring 2021.
Other styles will retain the original iteration of the BallPark Pouch. For hiking and backpacking, I’d now recommend the SAXX Quest, not the Kinetic HD.
Questions about the Kinetic HD or have an experience with them? Leave a comment.
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