Stance Poly Blend Review
Cons: Seams aren't super durable, doesn't breathe well, holds odor
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Poly Blend boxer brief is a polyester and elastane pair of underwear from a company that mostly makes synthetic and lyocell/modal fabric socks that we thought might be an interesting take on travel underwear. Unfortunately, it's not particularly well suited for traveling.
There are a few things that go into comfort; fabric feel, fit, and how well the boxers move with your body. We generally liked the fit, as these were a pretty flattering cut on all sides, although for those with longer torsos and shorter legs, the seven-inch inseam might seem a bit long. The fabric is soft and doesn't have that weird synthetic feel that some polyester clothing does, although it's not overly breathable. We liked the waistband, as it was thick enough to feel durable without feeling like an elastic belt. The fly was also big enough to use without being loose and laid flat enough not to be noticeable.
Unfortunately, despite the light feeling fabric, the Stance boxer briefs breathe like a two-pack-a-day smoker walking uphill in a Mississippi summer. The untextured polyester fabric clung to our tester's skin to the point of swampiness. This was the only pair we tested that we actively noticed the lack of breathability without prompting.
The Stance boxer briefs are made of polyester, not nylon. Although they feel similar, the former is a poor choice for odor control. Nylon and polyester are both petroleum products, and made similarly, but have a different chemical makeup and structure that makes them act differently. Nylon fabrics absorb a slight amount of water, up to about 3-4%, whereas polyester is completely hydrophobic and does not absorb water, which makes it dry a bit faster. This is why they are good wicking fabrics because the capillary action of the fabric draws water away from the skin, but the material doesn't absorb the water.
However, polyester, unlike nylon, is oleophilic and will hold on to skin oils, where some body odor comes from. This is why polyester clothing can retain the stink of your last trip even after repeated washings. This is also why the Stance scored lowest on the odor control category, as it now is fully imbued with our tester's body odor forevermore.
Again, these boxer briefs seem better suited for looking good than they do working hard. The seams began to wear quickly and fuzz out, and we could see the ragged edges of the fabric through the seams get more ragged as we wore them. The waistband did seem to hold up, though, and the rest of the fabric hasn't pilled up yet.
Due to the hydrophobic quality of polyester, the Stance boxer briefs dried out faster than almost any other pair. They are easy to wash and do dry quickly (especially with the towel roll trick).
The Poly Blend from Stance is the least expensive option in the review, but if you're looking for a high quality pair of underwear to travel, we think your money is better spent elsewhere.
We had hoped that the Stance Poly Blend boxer briefs would be one snazzy pair of underwear to wear around the world, but we just can't really recommend them due to the breathability and odor factors. For high-quality underwear, we'd rather something made of a better synthetic mesh or wool.
— Ethan Newman