Balance Boxer Shorts


In the running as the priciest underwear on the outdoors market, Ibex Outdoor Clothing touts its Balance Boxer Shorts as a body-mapped “second skin.” They cost $45 and are made of an itch-free wool that in my test did indeed take on characteristics of the epidermis.

The shorts are nearly seamless, stretchy, breathable, and tight. The company employs a merino wool said to measure about 17.5 microns thick. That’s much thinner than a human hair and as soft as synthetics like nylon and polypro.

Ibex Balance Boxer Shorts.jpg

Ibex Balance Boxer Shorts

Made for travel and outdoors pursuits including backpacking or trail running, the pricey underpants have features more often found in technical base-layer apparel. To be sure, the Balance Boxer Shorts are essentially high-quality long underwear with the legs chopped off.

They fit tight and comfortable around the hips and waist. Because they hug the legs, the inseam feels long for boxer shorts, traveling five inches or more down your thigh.

The company’s proprietary “Seventeen.5” fabric makes the shorts special. In addition to wool, Ibex ( adds some nylon and Spandex for durability and stretch.

Italian knitting machines create the seamless legs of the garment, which is made in the USA. A women’s version, the Balance Boy Short, costs $29 and uses the same fabric as the men’s undies. They have a higher leg and a two-inch inseam.

ibex womens boy shorts.jpg

Ibex women’s Balance Boy Short

I have worn the Balance Boxers for a few months, including for running, biking, and on long trips in the outdoors. They are my go-to underwear for most pursuits, as the wool fabric is breathable when you sweat and comfortable for long stretches outside. Wool can help with temperature regulation, hot or cold, as well.

In southern Chile this winter on a wilderness trip, I wore the boxers for almost a week straight. This was extreme, but the shorts are made to be wearable for days between washings and usually will not stink.

Beyond use as underwear, some people run or hike in these boxer shorts alone. They are thick enough to pull it off and are ultimately breathable in this scenario. But if you’re at all shy, the Balance Boxers alone may be an extreme move.

Though pricey, Ibex has a solid underpants offering with the Balance Boxer Shorts. Run, hike, bike, and camp in the wool shorts the whole weekend long — it’s the only pair you’ll need for the time away.

—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of

Posted by willy - 05/27/2010 08:40 PM

Any idea how long they take to dry after hand washing?

Posted by GJ - 05/28/2010 05:05 PM

Hang dry? Not sure, maybe two or three hours. Less if in direct sunlight.

Posted by Cameron L. Martindell - 01/05/2011 05:32 PM

Not sure how these differ from the Ibex Nut Roasters that I have. I’ve had mine for a few years now and they are always on me for any cold weather adventure. They even make it on warmer trips to the Australian Outback and the like. I have two pair and have found when I need to hand wash them on the trail the other pair easily dries during the day on the top of my pack, usually in the sun. Check out the various adventures they have been on at – Great review!

Posted by Alex - 01/18/2011 07:07 AM

They’re quality boxershorts.. value for many.. Alex

Posted by The History of Boxer Shorts and Buying Tips - 03/10/2011 04:36 AM

Boxer shorts are a popular cut of men’s undergarments allowing for a particularly loose fit. Within the world of tailoring, boxer shorts have often been part of the

repertoire of shirt tailors, since the shirt making process leaves a number of smaller scrap materials ideal for making boxer shorts. Boxer shorts are sometimes

confused with boxer briefs, which are a spinoff of the original design; however, boxers provide a significantly different experience for the wearer.

Ladies, try to remember that when you are buying boxers as a gift for your man, you should choose comfort over looks. Silky synthetics might seem like a good

idea at first glance but are rarely comfortable.

Boxer Short Shape Specifications
Boxer shorts are shaped to fit snugly around the waist, draping at least two thirds of the way down to the knee and should be baggy enough to allow the user a full

range of comfortable leg movement. Small boxers should have a waist size of 32 inches, with medium at 34 to 36 inches and large at 38 to 40 inches. Boxer shorts

can either have a full waste strap or unbutton at the front.

Boxer Short Material Specifications
Materials for boxer shorts have a profound impact on the wearer’s experience. Modern boxer shorts use soft breathable cotton weave, which looks nice and feels

great. While traditional versions are made from the same materials as dress shirts, making for a more durable if somewhat abrasive fabric, the rough material isn’t

likely the best choice for extended wearing.

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