Ok, so this may be a crass attempt to titileze my readers and increase the readership numbers, but this being the case I’ve got some thoughts on this very important topic.
As I got dressed for my early morning skimo ski out my backdoor (as of Mar. 1 it’s still either fantastically good or fantastically bad back there), I lazily kept my cotton underpants on instead of donning the hi tech synthetic material ones. It’s only been a couple of years though that I switched, mostly because they weren’t available. Funny when you think about it...we switched away from cotton undershirts and long johns way back in the late 70's & early 80's.
Now, those first generation "Lifa’s" were nothing to write home about. They were scratchy (far more than any crude weave of wool could be), stinky, shrunk easily and developed holes way too fast. Yet the comfort over sweat storing cotton was immeasurable. Before Lifa came along with the blue or red with white marks on the sleeves (those of you old enough know what I’m talking about) the only alternative was either wool, which no one wore, or fishnet underwear. I first saw the fishnet on skiing legend Bjorn Lasserud. No, he didn’t steal it from his wife’s lingerie drawer, it looked actually like a fish net. It couldn’t have been that warm, but perhaps allowed some parts of the body to escape sweat smothering cotton.
As the years progressed so did base layer technology. Smoother fabrics, odour suppression (which still doesn’t work that great) and other upgrades have made our outdoor winter training lives more comfortable. But why did it take almost 30 years for underwear technology to catch up ? You’d be wearing these wonderful tech base layers in various arrays of thickness and wick ability, but your boys down there were wet, cold and clamy....yuck!
I started seeing non-cotton underwear in non else than Walmart. They’ve got some good choices. The ones I prefer are the mostly lycra black long shorts that look like bike shorts. They’re cheap, wick great, hide skid marks, work well to prevent chafing on my inner thighs while running and give comfort where comfort is of the utmost importance on my body!