Hands and feet are vital to keep warm, especially with Raynaud’s syndrome. So is your core, because if it stays warm then the blood won’t rush from your extremities to heat-up that region. But there’s a certain area that’s often forgotten and can sap your energy if it gets cold outdoors: your legs. I recently tested the Saxx Blacksheep men’s long underwear to see if it could mitigate the “neutral zone” chills, and the long johns were largely up to the task.
Saxx bills itself as a fashionable underwear company, which to me is about the silliest thing ever. If only one or two people see it, and if the long johns are designed more for function than form anyway, why bother? I’ve been accused in the past of being overly practical, and I fully admit that the accusations are true. But, in this case the fashion’s on the inside rather than the outside. And fashionable or not, Saxx’s secret sauce makes a ton of difference in terms of comfort.
Like the company’s boxer briefs, the Saxx Blacksheep men’s long underwear have a unique front pouch set apart by two vertical flaps of mesh material (shown above on the left). These flaps act sort of like a fabric dam that holds your valuables in place no matter the amount or type of activity. Guys, if you’ve been on any rigorous hike or just walked a long distance, you’ve surely experienced chafing in your nether-regions. There’s a reason several companies exist solely to provide anti-chafing creams. I would never have thought that two little flaps of mesh could do the trick, but there’s something about the way the pouch cradles your junk that keeps the friction at bay.
Amazingly, the pouch in the Saxx Blacksheep men’s long underwear protects against chafing all day long. I’ve worn spandex biker shorts in the past just to minimize rubbing, but these mesh panels perform better than anything I’ve tried before. The pouch has no exposed stitching or seams either, which eliminates the chance for accidental scratching. And let’s face it, the fact that the Blacksheep long johns are largely made of merino wool is nice both for softness and for odor-mitigating reasons that don’t need to be explained any further.
But are they warm? In my tests, yes, though they’re better suited for spring and fall than they are winter. The Saxx Blacksheep are made almost entirely of merino wool, which gives them impressive temperature-regulation and wicking qualities. Those are great in any season, but the long johns are still thin compared to heavier-weight thermal underwear. Remember that bit about Saxx being focused on fashion? Nobody ever said bulky man panties were fashionable, so the thinner material was certainly a deliberate decision. Saxx does make a Subzero Long Leg pair of underwear that seem thicker, but they’re more biker-short length than long-john length, so they wouldn’t offer the same all-around warmth.
In my book, that all-around warmth is important. If you’ve done a good job choosing wool socks, insulated footwear, a warm jacket and nice gloves, the shin and thigh areas are the lone outliers when it comes to coverage, so long underwear can make a huge difference. In the scenario I just mentioned, biker shorts would still leave about one-half of your legs un-insulated, putting you at risk for energy-sapping cold.
That said, I wore the Saxx Blacksheep men’s long underwear beneath a pair of jeans and rain pants for a three-hour snowshoeing trip, and my legs didn’t freeze. I think this was as much due to the water- and wind-blocking properties of the rain pants than it was the long underwear specifically, but there’s no question the Blacksheep long johns helped. My legs got chilly in a few non-snow tests without the rain pants, but I definitely experienced more warmth when I wore the long underwear than when I didn’t.
Since they’re largely made of merino wool, the Blacksheep long underwear did sag over the course of each gear-testing trip. It took three hours before I started to notice it, but each time the deformation was apparent in the thigh, ankle and crotch areas. Remarkably, and thankfully, the mesh panels never lost their junk-stabilizing effect.
So, can the Saxx long underwear help keep you warm? No question. And better yet, their comfort extends beyond warmth to that seemingly innocuous pouch that makes chafing a thing of the past. If you’re going out for an extended adventure in the snow, I wouldn’t recommend relying solely on these long johns and a pair of pants. You’re simply going to need one more water- and wind-resistant layer above and beyond that. But for outdoor adventures in the shoulder seasons, and for winter excursions with a pair of snow pants or rain pants, the Blacksheep long johns have earned a place in my wardrobe.
The Saxx Blacksheep men’s long underwear were provided for review. All opinions and words are my own and honest, and the article contains no affiliate links.
Saxx Blacksheep Men's Long Underwear
- Unique pouch eliminates chafing
- Merino wool makes them super soft
- Odor-eliminating benefits are good on extended adventures
- Good option for spring and fall
- Wool starts to sag after a few hours
- Not as warm as thicker winter thermals
- Comparable to high-end pricing, higher than standard