The 6 Best Underwear Brands for Kids of 2024 | Reviews by Wirecutter

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After additional testing, we’ve added Reebok Performance Boxer Briefs and Seamless Hipster Briefs as picks in this guide. We’ve also added Target’s Cat & Jack boxer briefs to our list in Other good children’s underwear. Target Ladies Panties

The 6 Best Underwear Brands for Kids of 2024 | Reviews by Wirecutter

Many kids are notoriously picky about their undies, and for good reason: Irritating wedgies, itchy tags, chafing trims, and scratchy fabrics make a lot of underwear no fun to wear.

We spent four months testing 37 styles from 15 different brands. And we’re confident that the soft, durable Classic Unders from Hanna Andersson are the least likely to leave kids whining about what’s covering their behinds.

We selected soft, comfortable undies that are resistant to butt-picking. We avoided those with chafing-prone lace trims and itchy tags.

The best underwear fits kids of all sizes and at multiple life stages, from post-potty-training to the tween years.

We looked for underwear that kids would outgrow before it wore out and, ideally, that’s sturdy enough to be handed down to siblings.

We searched for brands that feature a variety of patterns and colors to suit different tastes.

Parents seeking a thinner, more flexible style of underwear should consider Reebok’s stretchy yet supportive Performance Boxer Briefs, Seamless Hipster Briefs, or Seamless Boyshorts. For kids who like to hang loose, we recommend Lucky & Me’s 100% cotton Noah Boxer Shorts. And if you’d prefer to spend less, we have budget options in the Other good children’s underwear section.

It took me half my life to find underwear that I actually enjoy wearing, and I didn’t want my children to suffer the same fate. Turns out I wasn’t alone: Many Wirecutter parents were shocked by the inordinate amount of time they spent thinking about their children’s underwear, whether out of desperation to stop their kids’ incessant public butt-picking, out of concern over chafing and red marks left on skin, or just due to general dissatisfaction with cuts and colors. We banded together to bring this guide to life so your kids can pick their favorite pairs but not have to pick wedgies. As the author of Wirecutter’s guide to period underwear, I started this research with two years of experience in methodically sussing out the quality pairs from the poorly made ones.

I started by consulting dozens of parents (in my circle of friends as well as at Wirecutter) and hundreds of customer reviews, to gain a baseline understanding of what brands kids like—and reject—most. To understand common pain points, I perused questions posed by frustrated parents in online forums such as the Official Peloton Mom Facebook group and Parenting subreddit.

After taking in all that underwear intel, I came up with a list of 37 well-liked styles from a total of 15 different brands. I then divided the testing pool into six categories of underwear: girls briefs, hipsters, and legged styles (which are often called boyshorts or shorts), and boys briefs, boxers, and boxer briefs. Note that the majority of brands, including almost all of the ones we tested, separate underwear by gender. In reality, most kids would likely be able to comfortably wear the majority of the pairs we tested, regardless of their anatomy.

Visually, most underwear for kids looks similar. But variations in construction, fabric quality, and trim options can make the experience of wearing different pairs vary dramatically. To cover all of our bases—and behinds—we assembled a panel of seven parents with a total of 11 children (a diverse group between the ages of 4 and 12 and in a variety of shapes and sizes). Many brands of kids underwear are sized by age, though going by age is often not a good way to find the right fit for a given child. We measured each tester and referred to the company’s size chart, if it had one, to choose the best size.

Our panel provided detailed feedback and evaluated each pair on a scale of 1 (“I hate you for making me wear this underwear”) to 5 (“best underwear in the world”). Panel members assessed each pair for several key criteria:

Overall comfort: When choosing what to test, we looked for pairs made of soft, breathable material. Kids let us know if there were itchy tags or trims, irritating seams, rough fabric, or other uncomfortable facets.

Anti-wedgie: Though few pairs were completely wedgie-proof, we worked to pick those that were as butt-picking-resistant as possible.

A range of sizes: We looked for brands with a wide variety of sizing so that favorite styles can be worn from preschool through at least early middle school.

Durability: The best kids underwear should hold up well enough that it can be handed down after a child outgrows it.

Style: We looked for brands whose undies are as cute as our kids, with a diverse selection of colors and patterns that might appeal to the style or interests of a range of children.

To prevent any confusion between discomfort from wearing something new versus discomfort from undies being subpar, each child tested the types of underwear they are used to wearing. For example, kids who love boxers didn’t test briefs. Children wore their test pairs many times over the course of many months. We machine-washed and -dried each pair between wears, paying attention to any shrinkage, fading, or durability concerns.

Of the 15 underwear brands we tested, Hanna Andersson’s high-quality, long-lasting, tag-free undies were deemed the most comfortable by all but one of the 11 kids on our testing panel.

Hanna Andersson’s Classic Briefs are as soft and durable as its Classic Unders. They come in fun prints and colors and include a functioning fly.

Best for: Kids looking for a full-coverage, wedgie-proof, no-fuss cotton brief that’s durable and cute.

Why they’re great: Hanna Andersson undies are made of soft, organic cotton and have an uncomplicated, full-coverage cut. They’re notably long-lasting, too.

The Classic Unders and Classic Briefs have a modest cut, which one might expect from a pair of children’s underwear. They are extremely comfortable, high-quality undies made with 100% organic cotton. They are also true to size and mostly wedgie-proof, and mercifully they have no irritating tags or trims. Unlike many pairs of boys underwear we tested, the Classic Briefs have an opening in the front fabric (known as a “functioning fly”).

In our testing, parents of kids who were across the size and age spectrum unanimously loved this brand for being both tween- and toddler-friendly. Hanna Andersson’s cute color and pattern options (including fun characters like Disney princesses and Marvel superheroes) should please most kids.

Parents report that these sturdy undies last through several years of regular wear, so they can be passed down to younger siblings or friends. They retain their shape and color, even after years of weekly wear and accidental high-heat tumble-drying (tumble-drying on low is the manufacturer’s recommendation).

All Hanna Andersson underwear is also Oeko-Tex–certified, meaning the Switzerland-based independent research organization found them to be free of “harmful substances.”

Flaws but not dealbreakers: This underwear can be extremely pricey when it’s not on sale. But it’s almost always being sold at a discount, often up to 40% off.

Though Hanna Andersson briefs generally feel inconspicuous, visibly they can look a bit bulky; this was the main complaint from the sole child tester who didn’t rank any Hanna Andersson underwear as their top choice. In particular, the Classic Unders have fuller coverage than many competitor brands marketed to girls, and they can extend above the waistband of lower-riding pants. (Hanna Andersson also offers a hipster style that sits very low on the waistline.) Panty lines can also be a problem, especially with leggings or tight pants, since Hanna Andersson undies are constructed with fabric that’s as thick as it is soft.

Sizes: XS (18 months, or 20 to 33 pounds) to XL (14-16, or 88 to 110 pounds)

Options: dozens of colors and patterns, including licensed cartoon characters

Care instructions: Wash on warm in regular laundry cycle; tumble-dry on low.

Materials: 100% organic cotton rib knit

For kids who prefer more coverage, Hanna Andersson’s Boxer Briefs are made from the same thick, durable, and super-soft cotton as the company’s more classic styles.

Best for: Kids who prefer a snug-fitting, legged style of cotton underwear with more coverage.

Why they’re great: Made from the same super-soft, Oeko-Tex–certified 100% cotton as the company’s Classic Briefs, Hanna Andersson’s Boxer Briefs are as adorable as they are comfortable. The legged style affords more coverage, and it eliminates wedgies or any “underwear line” concerns. Like the Classic Briefs, the Boxer Briefs have no bothersome tags, and the fly is functional (so it’s possible for some kids to urinate without having to pull their underwear down). These boxer briefs come in multiple sizes and patterns, are true to size, and are durable enough to be passed down for years.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Like the Hanna Andersson Classic Briefs, these are costly at full price, but they’re regularly on sale. Compared with more-streamlined and snug boxer briefs from other brands, these are made of a thicker fabric that’s very comfortable but looks slightly less “grown-up” (which, in our opinion, is a feature not a bug).

Sizes: XS (18 months, or 20 to 33 pounds) to XL (14-16, or 88 to 110 pounds)

Options: dozens of colors and patterns, including licensed characters like Star Wars

Care instructions: Wash on warm in regular laundry cycle; tumble-dry on low.

Materials: 100% organic cotton rib knit

These stretchy, tag-free boxer briefs are ideal for active kids who want a little more support in the groin area. They feel smooth and soft under clothes.

price may vary by color or style

Best for: Active kids who would appreciate a smooth, silky boxer brief with flexible groin support.

Why they’re great: Kids who play sports or bounce around a lot are likely to love Reebok’s Performance Boxer Briefs. They don’t bunch up during wear, and the thin, flexible, synthetic fabric is lightweight and extremely comfortable.

The “contour pouch” helps minimize jiggling genitals, and when things get sweaty down there, we found that these boxer briefs do indeed hold up to their promise of being “moisture wicking.” These are tag-free, and seams are carefully positioned in areas that don’t cause chafing or marks on the skin after extended wear.

Our test pairs have withstood being machine-washed more than 25 times (so far) with no snags or frays.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: These boxer briefs are made of polyester and spandex, both synthetic fabrics, which are more prone to harboring odors and bacteria than our 100% cotton picks. We haven’t yet had a problem, nor did we notice any customer complaints about this issue.

Unlike our Hanna Andersson picks, these boxer briefs do not have a functional fly, so kids will have to pull down their underwear in order to pee.

Options: assorted colors or prints in each set

Care instructions: Wash on cold in regular laundry cycle; tumble-dry on low.

These higher-cut briefs are wedgie-resistant, super-soft, tag-free, extremely stretchy, and tremendously comfortable.

price may vary by color or style

Best for: Kids looking for a simple, no-fuss, lower-profile brief.

Why they’re great: Reebok’s Seamless Hipster Briefs are incredibly stretchy, with no capacity to dig into the skin. Combined with the lack of irritating lace or superfluous fabric bows, this stretchiness helps to make them just as comfortable on kids with flat tummies and narrow hips as they are on softer, curvier children. When sized correctly, they don’t cause wedgies during wear, and in our testing the soft, synthetic fabric felt barely there on kids’ bottoms.

These briefs are tag-free and mostly seamless (there is one low-profile seam at the top of the crotch, as seen above). Our test pairs have withstood being machine-washed more than 20 times (so far) with no snags or frays.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: When these briefs are too large, they tend to bunch up, so if your child is on the slimmer side, consider ordering down a size.

They are made of nylon and spandex, both synthetic fabrics, which are more prone to harboring odors and bacteria than our 100% cotton picks. We haven’t yet had a problem, nor did we notice any customer complaints about this issue.

Options: assorted colors or prints in each set

Care instructions: Wash on cold in regular laundry cycle; tumble-dry on low.

These super-soft, tag-free boyshorts are ideal for leggings lovers because they resist wedgies and visible lines.

price may vary by color or style

Best for: Kids looking for a more-streamlined base layer to wear under leggings or tighter pants.

Why they’re great: Reebok’s silky Seamless Boyshorts are all panty and no lines. For kids who love to wear tight pants and leggings—or simply those who prefer a thinner pair of underwear—these synthetic shorts are a lovely and lightweight base layer. With a stretchy, elastic waistband, they look and feel somewhat like control-top panty hose, but they’re nowhere near as delicate or uncomfortably tight. Like our Seamless Hipster Briefs pick from the same brand, these wedgie-proof boyshorts are tag-free. And the soft fabric isn’t marred by potentially irritating lace, as many others pairs in this style are.

Our test pairs have withstood being machine-washed more than 40 times (so far) with no snags or frays. One child whose behind is notorious for attracting wedgies referred to these undies as “the best underwear in the world,” and they refuse to wear anything else.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Although these undies are marketed as being breathable, they are made mostly of nylon, a synthetic fabric, which is more prone to harboring odors and bacteria than our 100% cotton picks. We haven’t yet had a problem, nor did we notice any customer complaints about this issue.

Unlike our picks from Hanna Andersson, the Reebok Seamless Boyshorts don’t come in sizes for children younger than 5, and they don’t have as many prints or any licensed characters.

Children with narrower hips may discover that these undies bunch up, as one of our testers found. Sizing down may help.

Options: assorted colors or prints in each set

Care instructions: Wash on cold in regular laundry cycle; tumble-dry on low.

Kids who prefer a looser, more traditional boxer style will appreciate these well-made, tag-free cotton boxers.

Best for: Kids who want a looser-fitting base layer to wear under clothes or to use as sleepwear (or both).

Why they’re great: Lucky & Me’s knit Noah Boxer Shorts are a comfortable, high-quality choice for kids who like to “hang loose.” Made from 100% cotton, they are tag-free and “the softest boxers I’ve ever worn,” said one 10-year-old tester. The fabric-covered waistband is a tremendous benefit: Little ones won’t complain about chafing from scratchy elastic trims, which we found to be common on other models of this style. These undies also come in a variety of patterns and colors, and they’re great for lounging or sleeping, as well as wearing under clothes.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: These boxers could be considered a bit pricey. And though the quality is nice and the material soft, they aren’t as soft or as well constructed as underwear from Hanna Andersson (which does not sell loose boxers).

We’ve found that the Lucky & Me boxers do fade slightly after a few wears, but they still look fine and feel great. Their seam runs down the butt crack (versus across the buttocks), thus heightening the probability of a wedgie (though in our testing, there were no reports of wedgies with these).

The fly on the Lucky & Me boxers is not functional; the buttons sewn onto the fly are merely decorative. Like all loose boxers, these aren’t meant for wear under tight pants because they would bunch up conspicuously. Unlike our picks from Hanna Andersson, these boxers don’t come in sizes for children younger than 5, and there aren’t many color or pattern options.

Options: assorted colors and patterns in each set of five

Care instructions: Wash on cold in regular laundry cycle; tumble-dry on low.

If you’re interested in “training” underwear, with extra padding built into the crotch to absorb pee accidents: Consider Hanna Andersson’s Training Unders. They’re very similar to the brand’s Classic Unders but come only in smaller sizes (and with that extra padding).

If you’re looking for traditional girls underwear with an under-belly-button slimmer cut: Hanna Andersson also makes girls Hipster Unders. Like our picks from the brand, they come in a wide range of sizes from XS (18 months, or 20 to 33 pounds) to XL (14-16, or 88 to 110 pounds). Children who don’t like their underwear close to their navel may prefer the hipsters, which sit much lower on the torso than the granny panty–esque Classic Unders. However, the hipsters do seem quite skimpy, comparatively, so some may wish to split the difference between the Classic Unders and the hipsters with the moderate-coverage mid-rise hipsters.

If you want girls cotton briefs that are less expensive: Try Walmart’s Little Star Organic Briefs, which cost much less than most. There are also toddler sizes designed for potty-training (and because they’re so nicely priced, it’s not so heartbreaking to throw ’em away after an especially messy accident). However, the Little Star Organic Briefs have lace trimmings, which many of our testers found irritating. They also don’t seem constructed well enough to last for years. Our kids will continue to wear them, to provide more insight on their durability.

If you’re looking for exceedingly inexpensive girls briefs that are still comfortable: Consider Hanes 100% Cotton Girls Briefs. They were the least expensive briefs we tested. And they were much more comfortable than one might expect for that price—there’s no irritating tag, lace, or bow. Although these Hanes briefs didn’t compare in quality or softness to the Hanna Andersson underwear, they are a solid and inexpensive option.

If you’re looking for cute and comfortable cotton boxer briefs that cost less: Consider Target’s Cat & Jack Boxer Briefs or Children’s Place Boxer Briefs. These undies both have a functional fly and were well liked by the testing panel. Though when it comes to durability and softness, the Boxer Briefs from Hanna Andersson edge them out.

If your kid wants underwear that’s as wild as they are: Ethika boxer briefs have the craziest patterns and prints we’ve ever seen on kid underwear. Our kid testers found them comfortable and thought they fit similarly to our Boxer Briefs pick from Reebok, though they land farther down the leg. Like our pick, these have held up well through many washes, but they’re much more expensive and are sold only in single pairs.

If you’re looking for more-affordable “packs” of boxers: These Fruit of the Loom Tartan Plaid Boxers have proved to be durable. They’re thin to the point of being almost sheer, but for some kids that’s a positive. Their thinness doesn’t negate quality. One parent on our panel swears their child has happily worn the same dozen pairs of hand-me-downs for the past couple of years, with no fraying, fading, or loss of waistband elasticity.

Yes, it’s safe for kids to wear used underwear that has been laundered properly between wearers (and it’s also environmentally friendly and good for your budget). It’s true that underwear can theoretically transmit infections, bacteria, and viruses, since even the cleanest butts are a bit dirty (especially kid butts). But fortunately “most of the germs are killed in the dryer,” said Kelly Reynolds, an environmental microbiologist and professor of public health at the University of Arizona.

Most manufacturers suggest that you wash delicate items like underwear in cold water. But since cold-water washing won’t get rid of all pathogens or germs, Reynolds recommends washing undies in hot water—with “heavy-duty detergents that specifically say they’re stain-fighting or extra strength”—before passing them down. She also recommends using a sanitizing rinse and drying on high heat to “virtually eliminate the presence of just about any germ.” Note that you’ll want to avoid regularly drying your underwear on high heat.

The cute Boxer Briefs, Classic Briefs, and Bikinis from Primary were comfortable, but not as comfortable as similarly priced and styled pairs from Hanna Andersson, our testers found. Primary also offers fewer color and style options.

Testers disliked the “plumber butt” situation caused by the low-cut briefs from Tucker + Tate and Boden.

Boden’s Briefs and Boxers (which are more like boxer briefs) were extremely soft and well made. However, they are constructed with a very thick fabric that some testers found overwhelming, and they have an irritating back tag (which most testers had to cut out). Also, they are available in fewer pattern and color choices than the Hanna Anderssons.

Neither the Boden Shorties (currently unavailable) nor the Children’s Place Tie-Dye Shorts were wedgie-proof; we found our kindergarten through fifth-grade testers picking them out of their behinds.

We tried multiple styles from Fruit of the Loom, including its Boxer Briefs, Briefs, Breathable Micro-Mesh Briefs, Seamless Hipsters, and Classic Briefs; none of them outshone our picks in terms of softness and style.

Neither H&M’s Cotton Hipster Briefs nor its Boxer Briefs were as soft or comfortable as our picks.

Carter’s Cotton Undies and Children’s Place Day of the Week Briefs weren’t as comfortable or as wedgie-proof as our picks.

Maidenform Briefs, Boden Boxers, and Walmart’s Wonder Nation Boxer Briefs were polarizing—some kids said they loved how comfortable they were, while others despised them for causing wedgies and discomfort.

Our testers tried the Under Armour HeatGear Middy Shorts as a base layer under dresses. They deemed them to be “too much” in terms of length and fabric.

Cadidi Dinos Briefs were disliked by testers for having extremely tight leg holes.

Due to the middling customer reviews for Walmart’s Little Star Organic Briefs and the Amazon Essentials Bikinis, Hipsters, Briefs, and Boxer Briefs, we chose not to test them.

This article was edited by Kalee Thompson.

Nancy Redd is a senior staff writer at Wirecutter covering everything from Santa hats to bath bombs. She is also a GLAAD Award–nominated on-air host and a New York Times best-selling author. Her latest picture book, The Real Santa, follows a determined little Black boy's journey to discover what the jolly icon truly looks like.

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The 6 Best Underwear Brands for Kids of 2024 | Reviews by Wirecutter

Girls Underwear Size 4 Wirecutter is the product recommendation service from The New York Times. Our journalists combine independent research with (occasionally) over-the-top testing so you can make quick and confident buying decisions. Whether it’s finding great products or discovering helpful advice, we’ll help you get it right (the first time).