Men’s Underwear Guide: Size Charts + How to Measure and Convert Sizes

This easy-to-read guide will help you determine your men’s underwear size. The size chart below will help you buy the right-fitting underwear even if the size labels and various size systems in some countries are noticeably different.

At a Glance

  • To find an underwear that fits perfectly, you need to take accurate measurements of your chest (for upper undergarments) and your waist (for bottoms). Then, you’ll need to refer to a size chart to determine your correct size.
  • In the US, underwear sizes typically vary between XS and 6XL. For European sizing, they range from 3 to 14.
  • There is no universal standard for the sizes of men’s underwear. Each brand or manufacturer can define its own parameters in terms of sizing when producing men’s underwear.

How to Determine Your Exact Size and Find a Perfect Fit

So that you find an underwear that fits perfectly and doesn’t ride up, twist, dig into the skin, and constrict your movement, you need to take accurate measurements of your chest (for upper undergarments) and your waist (for bottoms). Then, you’ll need to refer to a size chart similar to the one provided below so that you can determine your appropriate size. In the US, sizes typically vary between XS and 6XL. For European sizing, underwear sizes range from 3 to 14. It is usually up to the manufacturer which sizing system it will follow. Many online and offline shops are based on one of the two systems; however, an increasing number of retailers now also indicate both dimensions in their product descriptions.

Men Underwear Size Chart

Waistband US - SizeEU Size
InchesCentimeters
30 - 3276 - 81XS3
31.5 - 33.580 - 85S4
34 - 3686 - 91M5
36 - 3892 - 97L6
38.5 - 40.598 - 103XL7
41 - 43104 - 109XXL8
43 - 45110 - 1153XL9
45.5 - 48.5116 - 1234XL10
49 - 53124 - 1355XL12
53.5 - 58136 - 1476XL14

A perfect-fitting underwear (e.g., briefs and boxers) requires an accurate measurement of the waistband. When measuring, make sure that you wrap the measuring tape around the area of the waist where you previously worn underwear. Avoid holding your breath, contracting your abdomen, or doing an similar slimming tricks to make your waist size seem smaller than it actually is. Comfort should matter more than size labels.

Once you have taken your waist measurement, you can then refer to our men’s underwear size chart below. Both US and European sizes are available. It is best to be familiar with both a not all manufacturers and dealers use the same system. This way, you will always know which men’s underwear size to look for when shopping in stores or online.

No Standardization

There are a few small rules of thumb that you should know about men’s underwear. First and foremost, there is no universal standard for the sizes of men’s underwear. Each brand or manufacturer can define its own parameters in terms of sizing when producing men’s underwear. Additionally, there are also a few country-specific deviations. For example, French and Italian labels tend to set lower average values in their sizes. Hence, men’s underwear from France or Italy often turns out somewhat smaller than the products of German manufacturers even if they have the same size label.

Comparative market analyses have shown that underwear models vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. A classic men’s briefs of Brand A can be considerably smaller than those of Manufacturer B though they are supposed to be the same size. But despite such uncertainties, it is still important for you to try to determine your “average” size and your specific measurements as best you can. This will significantly better your chances in finding well-fitting men’s underwear the next time you shop.

Determine the Size of the Upper and Lower Body Separately

Men have different types of physique. Some are stocky; some are skinny. Some have a very muscular upper torso but slightly more slender legs. Others have narrow shoulders but are rounder in their belly area. Hence, there are sometimes striking differences between the sizes for undershirts and underpants. For example, if you are an athletic type, a T-shirt you need can be larger than the briefs or shorts that go with it. For people whose stomach area are wider than the shoulder area, their tops are slightly smaller than their bottoms.

mens-underwear-sizes

Big Men and Long Underwear

If you are a much taller man than the average, then you may have some challenges in finding undergarments that fit your longer torso and limbs. This is because despite the noticeable growth in size of people today, many manufacturers still base their size measurements for leg warmers, leggings, tights, undershirts and underpants to the approximated body dimensions of the “average guy” from decades ago.  In the case of “Made in Italy” underwear, for example, the length of their long-legged or long-sleeved undergarments differ from other European brands by several centimeters.

Shapewear for Men

Wearing form-fitting shapewear is not exclusive to women; men do it too. But because these products are made from stretchy material, it is all the more important to know what your “real size” is before buying one. Otherwise, you may not get to maximize the benefits you can reap from wearing shapewear. Once again, keep in mind that there may be differences across individual manufacturers.