Reviews You Can Rely On

Marmot Performance Boxer Brief Review

One of the more unique pairs we've ever tested, our testers weren't convinced this pair offers the future of active undies
marmot performance boxer brief travel underwear review
Credit: Marmot
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $34 List
Manufacturer:   Marmot
By Ethan Newman ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 16, 2020
  • Comfort - 35% 5.0
  • Breathability - 20% 6.0
  • Odor Control - 20% 5.0
  • Durability - 15% 7.0
  • Drying Time - 10% 9.0

Our Verdict

The Marmot Performance Boxer Brief is an odd mix of quality construction and decent materials with a few unnecessary design features. While we appreciate Marmot trying new things in the underwear department, we thought that the horizontal fly was a change for change's sake, and the Jewel Harness is ineffective at best, uncomfortable at worst. Otherwise, this could have been a decent pair of synthetic skivvies. We think that either reverting to a more standard shape or more fully committing to changes would greatly improve this underwear.
Doesn't bunch on the legs
Durable seams
Low profile waistband
"Jewel Harness" lacks comfort and is ineffective
Poor odor control

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Marmot briefs are synthetic underwear with a horizontal fly. The fit is nice, not too tight or baggy, and the polyester fabric felt soft. Inside the boxers, however, is the "Jewel Harness," an extra piece of fabric that we found both perplexing and uncomfortable. We also found the horizontal fly annoying, especially in "urgent" situations. Our lead tester felt that what could have been a nice pair of synthetic boxers was held back by questionable design.

Performance Comparison

marmot performance boxer brief travel underwear review - the marmot pair is comfy enough as long as you completely ignored...
The Marmot pair is comfy enough as long as you completely ignored the Jewel Harness and remember you have a horizontal fly.
Credit: Ethan Newman


As far as comfort goes, there are a few things we like about the Performance Boxer Brief. The waistband felt sturdy yet low profile, and fit nicely under multiple layers. We also like the soft fabric, as some synthetics can feel sort of "catchy." The hem at the bottom of the legs wasn't tight but did prevent rolling up.

However, we need to talk about the fly situation. There are two main design features that at first glance seem potentially innovative, but after using them we feel they are ineffective and uncomfortable. Firstly, the horizontal "Flip Out" fly could be a small step to equality in this world where the right-handed rule. Marmot lists this feature on their website as a feature for "easy access". However, in our tester's decades of experience wearing underwear that has flys that always open the same way, the muscle memory is hard to overcome and becomes problematic during urgent situations. Trying to open our boxers is not what we wanted to deal with when we really had to pee.

marmot performance boxer brief travel underwear review - the marmot boxer brief, with the outside of the perplexing...
The Marmot Boxer Brief, with the outside of the perplexing horizontal fly.
Credit: Ethan Newman

Secondly, and just behind the fly is the "Jewel Harness," which is supposed to prevent chafing during high output activities. After trying it out, we still aren't completely sure how to use the Jewel Harness. Without getting into detail, we didn't feel fully contained by this design, and sometimes felt the seams rub against skin in this sensitive area. Completely ignoring the harness is the most comfortable way we've found to use the boxer briefs, in which case there's an extra piece of fabric in the front of the underwear.

marmot performance boxer brief travel underwear review - the inside of the odd fly situation, including the "jewel harness."...
The inside of the odd fly situation, including the "Jewel Harness." After wearing this pair for several weeks, we aren't convinced. This pair of underwear essentially has a learning curve.
Credit: Ethan Newman


As with any synthetic fabric, one has to have the right construction. Polyester fibers don't absorb water at all, so with the right weave, they can be exceptionally breathable and wicking, otherwise they can feel plasticky and hot. Fortunately, we found the Marmot skivvies decently breathable, although slightly less so right in the crotch where there's an additional piece of fabric from the "Jewel Harness." The waistband is thin enough that we didn't feel sweaty underneath it.

Odor Control

Synthetic fabrics come with a trade-off. They're generally less expensive and more forgiving with washing techniques, but they can't really compete with the natural odor-fighting capabilities of wool. The Performance Boxer Briefs are no exception. The Polygiene treatment potentially helps, but with repeated wearing, they do get about as funky as any of the synthetic underwear we tested.

marmot performance boxer brief travel underwear review - dry on the line, just outside zion national park.
Dry on the line, just outside Zion National Park.
Credit: Ethan Newman


As per usual, Marmot's factories make good quality softgoods. After repeated machine washing/drying cycles and extended wearing, we didn't see a ton of wear over the initial six week testing period. The waistband held up, and there wasn't a ton of pilling on the fabric. We did find a run a seam along the waistband after six weeks of use, though. These will likely hold up as good as any of the other synthetic underwear pairs we tested.

marmot performance boxer brief travel underwear review - small run in the stitching of the marmot model.
Small run in the stitching of the Marmot model.
Credit: Ethan Newman

Drying Time

This is where polyester shines. It's the most hydrophobic synthetic material clothing is typically made of, and the fiber itself absorbs no water, so these dried out quite quickly. They dried out on our lead tester's body after swimming, and dried quickly on the line as well.

marmot performance boxer brief travel underwear review - this pair from marmot dried well, similar to most of the synthetic...
This pair from Marmot dried well, similar to most of the synthetic underwear.
Credit: Ethan Newman


Although these are one of the less expensive options we've tested, we do think there are better options out there. These skivvies try to be somewhere in between high output specific underwear and daily use, but the design leaves them somewhere in the middle and falls short on both in our opinion. For the price, and due to the features, we think there are better pairs of underwear for either purpose.


In trying to fill two niches at once, the design of the Marmot Performance Boxer Brief leaves both the high output users and the daily wear users high and dry. We liked the overall construction and materials, but the fly seemed ineffective, perplexing, and overly complicated. We think a redesign of the crotch and fly would greatly benefit this underwear.

marmot performance boxer brief travel underwear review - harnesses make it complicated enough to pee, the marmot performance...
Harnesses make it complicated enough to pee, the Marmot Performance pair changes the motion of access, only to make it more alarming in an urgent situation.
Credit: Ethan Newman

Ethan Newman
You Might Also Like

Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.

GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.

Learn More