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Icebreaker Anatomica Boxers Review

The Anatomica is a comfortable lightweight pair of boxer briefs, but it seems designed a bit more for looks than features.
Icebreaker Anatomica Boxer Briefs
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Price:  $43 List | $27.82 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Good fit, soft fabric, breathable
Cons:  Piping is annoying, lots of seams at crotch, not incredibly durable
Manufacturer:   Icebreaker
By Ethan Newman ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 10, 2019
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 7
  • Comfort - 35% 6
  • Breathability - 20% 8
  • Odor Control - 20% 8
  • Durability - 15% 6
  • Drying Time - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The Icebreaker Anatomica Boxers do some things really well, and we wanted to like them more, but they seemed a bit more designed for looks than function. The fabric, construction, waistband, and fit we liked, but the placement of the seams and the piping on the sides and front were annoying to some testers. If we were going to an underwear party this might be the pair we'd grab first, but maybe not our favorite for sitting on a plane. They do breathe exceptionally well and resist holding odors, though, making them pretty suited to traveling in warm conditions, internationally and into the backcountry.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Good fit, soft fabric, breathableDurable, soft, good odor controlBreathable for synthetic, soft meshSoft, excellent nonrestrictive support, less expensive than mostInexpensive, supportive, breathable
Cons Piping is annoying, lots of seams at crotch, not incredibly durableHeavy, extra thick waistbandFabric runs easily, nylon holds some smellNo fly, not great odor controlDoesn't block odor well, not durable
Bottom Line The Anatomica is a comfortable lightweight pair of boxer briefs, but it seems designed a bit more for looks than features.The Smartwool briefs are the burly standby for travel underwear, and they continue to perform well over time.An improvement on Patagonia's previous synthetic underwear, this pair is light and breathable, but not as durable as we'd like.The Vibe is an innovative pair of underwear with comfortable features.The Give-N-Go is a relatively inexpensive pair of performance underwear that will get the job done.
Rating Categories Icebreaker Anatomica Boxers Merino 150 Boxer Brief Patagonia Sender Saxx Vibe Boxer Brief Give-N-Go Boxer Brief
Comfort (35%)
10
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6
10
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7
10
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8
10
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8
10
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7
Breathability (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
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6
10
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5
Odor Control (20%)
10
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8
10
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8
10
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5
10
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5
10
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5
Durability (15%)
10
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6
10
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9
10
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4
10
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6
10
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7
Drying Time (10%)
10
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8
10
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6
10
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9
10
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6
10
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9
Specs Icebreaker... Merino 150 Boxer... Patagonia Sender Saxx Vibe Boxer... Give-N-Go Boxer...
Material 83% Merino wool, 12% Nylon, 5% Lycra corespun 87% Merino wool, 13% Nylon core 89% recycled nylon, 11% spandex mesh 95% Viscose, 5% Spandex 94% Nylon, 6% Lycra spandex
Inseam (inches) 4.5 in 6 in 6 in 5 in 5.5 in
Measured weight (ounces) 2.9 oz 3.2 oz 2.4 oz 2.6 oz 3.2 oz
Fly? Yes Yes No No Yes
Flat-lock seams Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Air Dry Test (hours) 1.25 hrs 2 hrs 1 hrs 2 hrs 1 hrs
Dryer safe? No Yes, tumble dry low Yes, tumble dry low Yes, tumble dry low Yes, tumble dry low

Our Analysis and Test Results

Not that we pose all that much in our underwear, but if we had to, the Icebreaker Anatomica would be our first choice. Unfortunately, some of the design features that make them look handsome also take away from the otherwise high performing attributes of these boxer briefs. We think that if the seams were adjusted, they would be in contention in our winners' circle.

Performance Comparison


One of the best way to test underwear is field use in a variety of settings and situations.
One of the best way to test underwear is field use in a variety of settings and situations.

Comfort


There are some things Icebreaker does really well. The quality of their merino wool is excellent, and the wool they use is core spun, meaning the wool fibers are wrapped around nylon for increased durability. We like how light and stretchy the fabric felt, and the waistband is agreeably low profile. We also appreciated the extra room in the front, allowing the boxer briefs to feel supportive but not constricting.

The one thing we didn't like about the Anatomica is the seams. There are a lot of seams underneath the crotch, which when worn with many layers or when on a bike seat, were annoying. We also could feel the piping rub a bit when worn under thick work or winter pants, which could lead to chafing in time.

We found the piping at the seams to be annoying and unnecessary on an otherwise nice pair of boxer briefs.
We found the piping at the seams to be annoying and unnecessary on an otherwise nice pair of boxer briefs.

Breathability


The fabric of the Anatomica is nice and light, as is the waistband which allows for breathability. We also appreciate the high-quality merino wool allowing for good temperature regulation to avoid swampiness.

Odor Control


Like all merino wool boxer briefs in this underwear review, the Icebreaker pair didn't hold onto excess odor. Especially because the Anatomica is thin and stretchy, it seemed to air out even quicker than some of the other merino pairs.

The Icebreaker Anatomica packs down small for a pair of wool underwear. Here they are next to a CAMP Nano Carabiner for scale.
The Icebreaker Anatomica packs down small for a pair of wool underwear. Here they are next to a CAMP Nano Carabiner for scale.

Durability


Although the Anatomica feels pretty lightweight, held up pretty well during our testing period. The sewing is tight, and there aren't any flyaways at the seams. There are a few very minor pills, but that's to be expected with merino. One tester who has owned these underpants for a year has noted that the fabric wears thin before other travel pairs he has tested, though. This is the trade-off for lightweight, quick-drying skivvies — they just won't last as long.

The Anatomica dried surprisingly quickly for a pair of wool underwear.
The Anatomica dried surprisingly quickly for a pair of wool underwear.

Drying Time


The Icebreaker boxer briefs were one of the faster pairs of underwear in our drying tests. In the sun they only took about an hour and fifteen minutes to completely dry out on a sunny winter day in southern Utah. Between the light fabric and minimalist waistband, they're an easy pair to wash and dry for the next use.

Value


The Icebreaker pair is expensive, and since it doesn't last as long as some other models, it's tough to call it a great deal. They look great, though, and for some testers, are definitely comfortable enough. These are a great pair of underwear, but just not our favorite for the price.

Conclusion


While we generally like the Icebreaker Anatomica Boxers, a small redesign could make this a much better pair of boxer briefs. The fabric, waistband, and the fit are fantastic, but the seams seem somewhat poorly placed, and we think the piping on the sides and front could lead to chafing. They do look good, but we think there are slightly better choices out there.


Ethan Newman