The Different Types of Boxer Shorts Explained

The boxer short is an absolute classic style of men’s underwear. First made available in 1925 after Jacob Golomb (founder of the famous Everlast brand) designed elastic waisted trunks to replace older leather styles worn by boxers, boxer shorts as we now know them soared in popularity and remain one of the most popular styles of men’s underwear to this day. 

Boxer shorts are designed to be light, loose-fitting, and provide you with plenty of air circulation. They are not intended to grip your legs or provide support for your package like other underwear styles. These are the perfect underwear choice for men who want to hang loose and free, whilst keeping a modest amount of material covering their legs. 

You can wear them as regular underwear, you can wear them for lounging at home or even for sleeping in. They’re a versatile underwear choice - hence their continuing popularity. Research even suggests that by allowing your balls to hang free, boxer shorts may even help improve your sperm count. 

There are a few different types of boxer shorts to get your head around, however, with the most significant differences occurring around the fly region. It is important to pick the type that is right for you to provide you with the best fit for your body or style preferences and, ultimately, make you feel as confident and comfortable as you can in your undies. 

What are the different types of boxer shorts?

Open fly

This is perhaps the most common type of boxer short that you’ll encounter. This is a nice, simple design that doesn’t incorporate buttons to close the fly - hence the term ‘open’. The fabric at the front of the shorts is cut in such a way to allow the excess material to overlap at the front, providing an opening that is fully covered, yet easily accessible. 

As expected with the vast majority of modern boxer shorts, the waistband is elasticated, but has no extra buttons up on the band for adjustment. It is what it is. 

An excellent example of this style in our Pants & Socks store is the Polo Ralph Lauren Open Boxer. You won’t find any buttons or snaps; just pure and simple overlapping fabric for a comfortable soft cotton fit. 

Gripper front

This boxer style incorporates snap fastenings and/or buttons, unlike the open fly. You’ll most often find 2 or 3 buttons or snaps on the fly of these boxers, meaning no overlapping excess material in front. 

In addition to the standard elasticated waistband, the gripper style frequently includes a snap fastening at the waist. You may also find a combination of fastenings utilised (such as a snap on the waist and a button on the fly). This allows the boxers to open completely at the front from the waist down for a bit more versatility than an open fly, but a little less easy access. Perhaps a great option after a particularly large Sunday lunch and you need to loosen the waistband a little... 

We currently have no true gripper front boxers in our range, but these Tommy Hilfiger Woven boxers come pretty close with their classic button fly. 

Yoke front

Yoke fronts are pretty similar to gripper fronts in that they incorporate a fastening at the waistband so that the shorts can open up completely. Unlike the gripper, however, the fastenings on the yoke style may only be found on or just beneath the waistband, with the fly remaining open beneath.

If you’re curious about this style and want some boxers with an adjustable waistband and open fly that lets you open the shorts up completely, check out any of our boxers by Derek Rose. They’re the most premium boxer shorts that we stock at Pants & Socks, and we can’t recommend them highly enough in terms of luxurious comfort. 

What type of boxers should you wear?

As usual, we’re not here to tell you which boxer short type you should be wearing - that’s something you’ll have to figure out for yourself!

However, far and away the most common type that you’ll encounter will be the (now classic) open fly design. Big name brands like Polo Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein offer plenty of boxer shorts in this open style, so if recognisable branding is your bag, you’ll probably want to stick with the open fly design. 

If you want something more akin to the gripper or yoke front styles, then we would suggest taking a look at all of the boxer shorts offered by Derek Rose. They’re premium quality boxer shorts with fastenings at the waistband that can be released for maximum opening capability. The waistband can also be adjusted on these, making them versatile as well as comfortable. 

Choose the right boxer shorts for you

As with the choosing of any pants, ensuring that you choose the perfect boxer shorts for you can seem like a tall order at times - or something that you may not have even thought about until we just mentioned it. Trust us, you can go wrong…

But to make sure that you definitely DON’T go wrong, we’d recommend checking out this handy article and chart on how to choose the right size of pants for you. Moreover, if your heart is well and truly set on adding some boxer shorts to your pants drawer, then as a follow up to this article, we’d really recommend checking out our roundup of the very best men’s boxer shorts in 2021.  

Just for fun, it may also be a good idea to assess boxer shorts against other types of underwear to see if they really are the style of underwear that’s perfect for you. We’d recommend starting off with our piece on boxers vs briefs. Who do you think should come out on top?

Or, if you simply wish that this blog would now end so that you can get down to some serious browsing, then go ahead and move over to our main site and check out all of our men’s underwear that we have to offer!

Keep your eyes peeled for our next valuable pants-related post on our Below the Belt Blog, and, until next time, happy hunting!