The same way we use different shoes, socks, or even shirts for playing sports, the same principle applies to underwear. Men especially need protection when playing such a vigorous sport, since sweat and chafing in the nether regions can make an uncomfortable day on the court.
Regular underwear is sufficient for an occasional game, but it's better to have underwear that increases blood circulation and holds tight to your body, reducing chafing and sweat buildup.
We'll walk you through our top picks for the best basketball underwear to help make a fun, safe, and healthy day on the court.
Best Basketball Underwear 2021
One of the more colorful picks on this list, the Holure Men's compression shorts have all the trappings of excellent basketball underwear, starting with fun camo colors. The compression is strong in this one, so we recommend ordering a size up for regular fit. On the other hand, you should order your normal size if you want extreme or extra compression.
The polyester-spandex material has anti-itch and anti-odor technology to keep you fresh and comfortable during your workout. The fabric even dries quickly and keeps you cool. An ergonomic design promotes muscle recovery and faster blood circulation, along with flatlock stitching for less irritation.
One note: make sure you hang the shorts out to dry, so they don't shrink. Drying them on high heat may shrink them. If you prefer not to have sweat stains, you might have to look elsewhere. The inner white lining on these shorts might let people know just how hard you've been working.
- Comfortable for larger thighs and nether regions
- Camo colors are a lot of fun
- Waistband stays up when you bend over
- Good comfort and support in the crotch area
- Long length prevents riding up
- The inner white lining shows sweat stains easily
- Lightweight material
- Inner seams don't have a lot of elasticity
Combining comfortable polyester and spandex, the Neleus Men's Compression short should help keep you comfortable and sweat-free during any basketball game. The short stretches four ways to match the shape of your thighs perfectly. Moisture-wicking technology keeps sweat or rain from sticking to your body and dries out quickly.
Most importantly, the short's compression design helps with muscle power so you can recover faster after a workout. The short's scrotal ability is pretty good too, keeping everything in place no matter the game. You don't even have to wear these shorts exclusively for sports. They're comfortable enough for everyday and work wear. Whenever you choose to wear them, they won't chafe or rub harshly on your skin.
Keep in mind that shorts with compression design are supposed to be a little tight. If it's too uncomfortable, consider going a size up. However, you can at least rest assured that the shorts will not shrink after several washings.
- Keep everything in place with good scrotal support
- Moisture-wicking technology keeps you dry
- Don't ride up easily
- The elastic waistband does not dig in
- Excellent quality for the price
- Material is a little thin
- Not a lot of reinforced stitching on seams
- Some seams start to fray after a few washes
A tried and true brand in the underwear industry, Under Armour's Men's HeatGear Armour provides all the best features for basketball underwear. These shorts' unique design keeps the seams off high abrasion areas, like the inner thighs and crotch area, for better comfort and durability.
The HeatGear Armour uses stretch-mesh gusset and inseam panels, so you get adequately ventilated in all the right places. The usual polyester-elastic fabric blend has four-way stretch construction, so the shorts move with you, reducing chafing and irritation. With zero cotton in the fabric, the shorts dry fast and reduce sweat buildup, feeling like a second skin.
On top of that, the fabric does not quickly build up odor, no matter how long you play your game. Although there is no inner cup with these shorts, they still fit snugly and give excellent support. Some of the available colors might be slightly translucent, so choose carefully.
- Wash nicely without shrinking
- No inseam stitching reduces friction and abrasions
- Excellent support reduces post-workout recovery time
- Keeps everything firmly in place
- Breathable and roomy without getting too snug
- Material is a little translucent in some colors
- Extra seams in the scrotal area might be uncomfortable
- Too thin to be entirely durable
Isnowood's main priorities with their basketball underwear is comfort and support. Their shorts use a polyester-spandex blend to provide compression, but still be soft and gentle on your skin. Such compression supports your thigh muscles but also reduces muscle trauma during a workout.
As usual, moisture-wicking fabric allows your skin to breathe properly and keeps sweat and water from building. A wide, non-slip elastic waistband keeps the shorts up on your body. It also makes the shorts comfortable for sports or even everyday use. Plus, no seams on high-abrasion areas increases comfort and reduces chafing.
As a bonus, the isnowood shorts use high-density sunscreen fabric to protect your skin during outdoor sports. Four-needle, six-thread stitching reinforces each seam for better durability. However, the waistband might start to roll on itself after a few washings. It should still hold up, but the elastic might warp a little.
- Generous support for those with some loose skin
- Excellent fit for taller people
- Don't shrink after several washes
- Riding up isn't an issue
- Wide elastic waistband holds well during a workout
- Waistband rolls up after a few washes
- Material is a little flimsy
- Sizes run a little small
Built for use in all sports, the Runhit Compression shorts promise all the usual things for quality basketball underwear. The compression design supports the quads, hamstrings, and glutes and supposedly promotes better bone alignment. Such support allows you to work out or play longer and harder than usual, reducing muscle spasms and post-workout tension.
Besides the usual elastic waistband, these shorts have elastic along the thighs to stick closer to your legs. For a longer-lasting product, 4-needle 6-line stitching reinforces the seams and helps prevent chafing. The anti-itch, anti-moisture 88%-polyester 12%-spandex material helps keep you dry, even during your most intense workouts or basketball games, to release heat and increase breathability.
The Runhit shorts also boast of four-season use, so you can stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. For the most part, they don't ride up. Plus, the shorts come with side pockets so you can secure your cell phone or key rings without them bouncing or falling out.
- Color and material hold well after several washings
- An excellent alternative to everyday underwear
- Dries out sweat fast
- Includes side pockets for extra storage
- Material is thick and durable
- Runs on the small side
- Don't quite compress as promised
- Elastic rolls after a few uses
Basketball underwear needs to strike a delicate balance between compression and gentleness. The Champion Men's Compression shorts use an 84%-polyester 16%-spandex fabric to keep everything in place without crushing anything. Champion's quick-drying and moisture management technology helps keep the shorts, and your skin, dry throughout the workout or game.
The typical flatlock (4-needle, 6-line) seams keep the shorts together and protect you from chafing. The fabric also stretches in all directions so you can bend and stretch and run as need be. However, there is only a single layer of material instead of the usual double-layer for extra protection. Despite that, it should still get the job done well, protecting you from thigh-burn and friction.
The Champion compression shorts also run a little small. However, they do what they're supposed to do and keep you cool in summer and warm in winter. If your body runs on the larger side, they're still comfortable and stay up to snuff for long periods.
- Snug enough to compartmentalize things
- Fit well enough that you forget you're wearing them
- Wash easily
- The single layer of material still provides support and comfort
- Show no signs of wear after several uses
- Runs a little small
- Don't compress as well as protect from thigh-burn
- Small holes appear sometimes
While a little on the cheaper side, the Hanes Sport Compression Short should still hold up to the challenge. Its compression fit has a contrast elastic waistband and chafe-resistant flatlock (4-needle, 6-line) seams.
The polyester-spandex fabric uses DRI interlock material to dry fast, and Cool Comfort technology successfully resists moisture and sweat, reducing runner's itch. The 9" inseam allows taller people to wear the shorts comfortably without them riding up in the rear. There's even a hidden pocket inside the shorts for any personal effects.
The waistband is a little thin (like the rest of the shorts), so it might roll a bit more easily. It might not work the greatest for people who don't have flat bellies. The sizing is pretty small, with a size XXL fitting smaller bodies.
- Holds up in hot or cold weather
- Snug enough to compress crotch area
- Shorts stay in place when playing sports
- Flat seams make shorts comfortable to wear
- Hold up well after several washings
- Thin waistband rolls up easily on pudgier bellies
- Runs small
- Stitching is not that great
CompressionZ's compression shorts use a nylon-spandex fabric blend with four-way stretch for best mobility. The fabric breathes well no matter how much you sweat, while still providing adequate support to glutes, hamstrings, and quads so you can perform your best. The compression also boosts blood flow to keep your muscles from tiring out too quickly, while keeping everything snugly in place.
You can wear the CompressionZ shorts to reduce chafing or runner's itch at any time of the year. The fabric also helps to wick away sweat to prevent moisture buildup. The 10" inseam length enables taller athletes to work out in comfort without the material riding up in the rear.
As a bonus, the nylon-spandex fabric is equipped with anti-odor technology to stave off smelling like sweat. The shorts don't run large or small, but we recommend getting a size up if you want slightly less compression. However, the material is a little thin, so you might need extra coverage if you're going to stay warm.
- Excellent compression with a nylon-spandex blend
- No chafing or irritation after extended wear
- Makes a noticeable difference in muscle recovery after worn
- Doesn't build up static cling
- Works great even for thicker thighs
- The waistband is a little thin and rolls up
- Material is slightly too breathable
- Might be too tight, even at a few sizes larger
Roadbox prides itself on making shorts that provide comfort with little weight to the fabric. The polyester-spandex four-way-stretch fabric dries quickly and stretches as needed. The flatlock stitching helps support the inner thighs during a workout, keeping the material smooth against your skin so you can focus on your performance.
The secure elastic waistband also fits snugly, and the fabric supports muscles during running, walking, basketball, and a variety of sports. The inseam also runs long for extra comfort. The crotch area does not have a lot of compression, though. It might work for some, but not all.
On the plus side, the fabric provides a nice cooling effect when your skin heats up, soaking up moisture as you work. It's also a little thicker than other brands so it might be fine for wearing on its own.
- Low-profile stitching does not chafe or dig into the skin
- Provides excellent compression for legs and belly
- Smooth and comfortable to wear for most sports
- Material is slightly thicker than other brands
- Nice cooling effect when worn in warm weather
- Not a lot of compression in the crotch area
- Stretch is not that great
- Some seams split more quickly than others
Best Basketball Underwear: Buying Guide
So far, we've looked at some pretty excellent pairs of basketball underwear. However, it'd be good to go over what makes a truly good pair before you set out buying some.
The whole point of basketball underwear is so you don't chafe or irritate your skin as you move around. You might prefer to just leave things at that, which is perfectly fine.
However, if you can find basketball underwear with tight compression, you're also doing your muscles and your heart a favor.
Compression helps keep everything in the crotch area tight (almost like a sports bra keeps breasts from moving too much during exercise). It also keeps the muscles intact while you move.
With nowhere else to go, the blood in the compressed muscles will move back toward the heart. This process oxygenates your blood faster and prevents the buildup of lactic acid and sore muscles.
While there isn't much scientific evidence that compression prevents injuries, it does slightly improve endurance. When you don't have to work as hard to get oxygen to your muscles, you'll get tired less quickly and work out longer.
You might also like: Why do Basketball Players Wear Tights Under Their Shorts?
Basketball underwear is available in one of two fabric blends: polyester-spandex or nylon-spandex.
Both blends are strong, but most brands sell the polyester-spandex blend, mainly because it is the more practical blend and tends to be slightly cheaper.
Nylon is a tad stronger than polyester, with greater stretchability. It's also a lot softer and feels nice on the skin for a longer period.
On the other hand, polyester looks nicer longer because it doesn't pill (when fabric fibers unravel and then ball up on the fabric's surface).
If you're going to do a lot of bending or have a larger build, nylon might be the better option. Polyester is cheaper, but it still won't wear out on you in a hurry.
Water and Moisture Wicking
Nylon also absorbs more water than polyester, which keeps water at the surface level of the fabric.
If you anticipate sweating a lot during exercise, polyester might be the choice fabric for basketball underwear.
Nylon might look nicer and have more significant stretch, but if you don't want moisture buildup, you're probably better off with polyester.
Consider your workout environment, because nylon and polyester work differently depending on temperature.
Polyester is slightly more durable, so it'll work better in colder environments. Nylon is slightly thinner, so it'll do better for warmer places.
Conclusion: On the Best Basketball Underwear
The basketball underwear market presents a vast array of fabric combinations and compression intensities. In the end, you must consider your workout environment and what will suit your needs best.
Most brands are budget-friendly and will at least protect your skin from chafing, but see what you need before you hit the purchase button.
Related: Best Basketball Compression Pants