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Ethika Men's Underwear Review | Why I've Worn My Ethika Trunks for Three Years
Ethika positions itself as "a leading lifestyle brand" rather than just an underwear company.
Scrolling through their Instagram account for a few seconds will show you what they mean. Just as often as they show pictures of their undies and other products, they're showcasing athletes, championships, skaters, bands, punks, performers, music, and even the occasional pug.
Rather than featuring chiseled underwear models with seductive gazes, their Instagram looks more like the cool kids and rebels hanging out after school.
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To be honest, at first, I was a bit incredulous about their underwear. They didn't seem to be emphasizing the comfort and quality of their products, and I got the impression that the core of their marketing campaign was "look, we're edgy and we hire edgy artists to make the designs for our underwear." It had bro culture vibes.
Okay. Go ahead and remind me to not judge a book by its cover.
The more I've followed along with their brand, the more impressed I've been with both their culture and their products. What I once interpreted as overly bro-focused I now understand as being more along the lines of "no f*cks to give."
Ethika has been making a splash in the underwear industry, and for good reason. Their underwear is amazing, they feature diverse bodies in their advertising, and they're not trying to sell their underwear on raw sexual energy.
Instead, they're making waves by focusing on the people who are also making waves within their communities, no matter how big or small those communities may be, and who just happen to be wearing their underwear.
Underwear Style- How Does Ethika Men's Underwear Look?
I'll start by discussing their style since, in my opinion, it's a bit of a mixed bag.
Style Strength: Innovative Prints
For starters, Ethika's biggest style strength is their abundance of designs. They work with a variety of brands and artists to come up with some really cool graphic prints. Their designs are unique, and you're unlikely to find similar designs elsewhere.
Plus, their underwear can introduce you to some really cool artists to follow, which is always a plus.
Style Weakness: Limited Options in Cut, Few Options for Toned-Down Prints
That said, when I find an underwear brand I particularly like, I want to be able to get a few different pairs and styles of underwear so that I can wear them for different occasions.
The emphasis on graphic print is great for casual daily wear, workouts, and lounging at home. It's not always great for date night or other instances where you want underwear that's sexy and sophisticated.
On top of that, they don't carry brief cuts or shorter trunks. They have their "Mid" line, which is the length of a conventional trunk, but they're still fairly long and modest. It makes it easier for the awesome prints to be shown off, but if you want something shorter to wear under tighter pants or shorter gym shorts, you may be lacking in options.
Ethika's lack of brief options is a detractor for me, but their trademark slim waistband that sits flat against the skin and their minimalist-yet-eye-catching stitching are both fantastic accents and give their underwear a clean, sporty look.
Underwear Quality and Comfort- How Does Ethika's Underwear Feel?
Let's shift from what I like least about Ethika's underwear to what I like most: their quality and comfort.
When you first grab a pair of their underwear, they feel like athleticwear. They're primarily made of sleek, thin fabric and have a narrow waistband that fits flush against the skin.
The first pair that I bought was the Modal- Navy Gold Lurex. Modal is one of those fabrics that you need in your underwear drawer. It feels very silky and smooth to the touch. When blended with elastane, like in Ethika's underwear, it fits snugly against the skin, holding everything in place and maintaining its shape really well.
This Underwear Is Very Comfortable and Doesn't Get Bunched Up Under Jeans
The result is silky underwear that holds its shape well and doesn't get bunched up throughout the day. From the time you put them on to the time you take them off, they're going to remain flush with your skin and aren't going to be a problem under your pants, whether you're in gym shorts or a three-piece suit.
I'd know. I've worn mine under both.
Price- How Much Does Ethika's Underwear Cost?
When it comes to price, Ethika is kind of middle-of-the-road. They're not as expensive as a luxury brand like Atelier Traditionnel, but they're also expensive enough that you're not going to want to buy more than a pair or two at a time unless you're really in to splurging on underwear.
For example, the modal trunks that I bought retail for $26. Luckily, I bought them during a promotional sale, so I only paid $18 for them, but when I went to buy more to add to my collection (a sign of how I feel about their quality), I was disappointed to see how much it would cost to add multiple pairs to my underwear drawer.
So, if you find Ethika on sale or go to their website during a promotional period, don't be afraid to stock up and get several pairs. You'll be glad you did, especially once they go back up to normal price.
Update: June 2022– How Well Does Ethika's Underwear Hold Up?
It has been over three years since I initially wrote this review.
Three years is a long time for a pair of underwear to last. And yet... I'm still wearing my Ethika trunks.
For the sake of full transparency, they aren't in perfect shape. The legs and butt are a little stretched out, and the fabric is getting thin and frayed in the crotch. There are a few places along the waistband that are showing broken threads too.
While they're a bit beat up now, it's incredibly impressive that they're still wearable and don't look completely ratty this far along. Since the pair that I purchased was pretty monochromatic, I can't speak to how colorfast the graphic prints are on other pairs, but if they're comparable to these, they should last a while when you follow care instructions.
Having originally written this review in 2019, I wanted to amend the original score that I gave my Ethika trunks so long ago.
In my first review, I said that these were a 3.5 out of 5, and my main gripes were that they had limited cut options (I'd still love to see briefs one day) and that the modal-cotton blend wasn't as luxurious as higher-end options.
In retrospect, I think I'd give Ethika closer to a 4.5 out of 5. The fact that they've lasted so well and held their shape for three years is worth bragging about. Plus, I now recognize that the modal-cotton blend is great because you still get a comfortable pair of underwear, but it's more durable than pure modal and it's able to be sold at a more affordable price.
All-in-all, I definitely think this is the kind of underwear you can't go wrong with purchasing.