For this series, I am pretty much exclusively focused on cotton and natural fiber underwear. But I received so many requests to review Patagonia underwear that I knew I had to include it in my Underwear Thesis! As a rock climber and avid hiker, having good athletic underwear is important to me. Plus, I’ve always been a fan of their sustainability efforts. So because of that (and a few more reasons I’ll get into), I made an exception. Let’s dig into the latest installment of Underwear Thesis: my Patagonia underwear review!
My Totally Unfiltered Review of Patagonia Underwear
If you’re new to my Underwear Thesis, I encourage you to read these posts before proceeding:
My Search for The Most Comfortable Underwear
This post is an excellent starting point and lists out ALL of the criteria of this project, including:
- Judging criteria
- Commonly used terms
- My size + body type details
- and a lottt more
What to Look for When Shopping for Underwear
- Fabric and trim
- Seams and stitching
- Size and fit
How to Wash Underwear So It Lasts Longer
- Delicates bag
- Cold water + gentle cycle
- Fabric softener
- And more!
Please keep in mind that these are my personal opinions of the product. If you love Patagonia, that’s great! I applaud you! But if you’re on the fence about whether to buy them or not, this is what I think you need to know in order to be an informed consumer.
Styles Tried and Price
- Patagonia Barely Bikini Underwear, size medium – $22
- Patagonia Active Briefs, size medium – $24
Fabric Quality + Details
Because my preference is for cotton underwear, my thoughts here might not be especially applicable, but we’re going to try anyways! What I found really interesting about the Patagonia underwear fabric is that there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on what the fabric content actually is. The information varies from site to site (for example if you buy them from REI or Backcountry or Patagonia directly). The breakdown also changes based on if the underwear is a stripe, solid color, or jacquard.
According to Patagonia, the fabric used for both styles is breathable, super soft, and has wicking capabilities including a treatment that adds odor-free production. They also have identified that the underwear is made with a seamless weave and HeiQ Fresh odor control.
The Barely Bikini style also meant to be lightweight with good breathability and even has a ‘new crotch construction’ that wicks faster and dries quickly. I didn’t notice anything especially noteworthy about the wicking properties of either pair — but I guess that’s the point!
As for the details of these underwear, I liked that are lightweight especially for our backpacking adventures. Also, the stitching at the leg opening is some of the softest, most comfortable that I’ve tried in this entire project! It’s a merrow stitch and seems to be done with a super soft yarn to make it even nicer.
The gusset on both pairs is woven into the fabric, meaning that there is no second layer of fabric stitched in. The material in the crotch is a different weave than the rest of the panty instead.
Both pairs of underwear feel well made and didn’t come with any weird loose threads or flaws. The stitching is uniform and neat. Plus I love that they are tagless.
Ethical Practices and Sustainability
Patagonia is definitely an industry leader in sustainability practices. Each product listing from Patagonia includes extensive details about how the product is made and where it’s made. In the case of this underwear, each pair is Fair Trade and made with recycled nylon from postindustrial waste fibers.
When it comes to ethical practices, I didn’t find a ton of documentation about how that pertains to their underwear specifically. My guess is that’s the case because they manufacture so many other items that sell at a higher volume and thus get more customer education on their website.
I chose to give them an A- because synthetic materials still contribute to the microplastics that are affecting our oceans. Every time these panties are washed, they shed tiny bits of plastic that will take an incredibly long time to breakdown. I’m personally of the opinion that a natural fiber is better because those microfibers that are shed are at least biodegradable.
Honestly, I feel like such a broken record every time I judge brand based on their size range and inclusivity. For example, the size range from Patagonia is XS through XL… and that’s it. It’s 2021. You can’t tell me that plus sized people don’t need athletic underwear with wicking properties, etc!
I also find it frustrating that there are no ‘on-body’ photos of the product when you’re shopping directly from Patagonia. How are people supposed to understand the fit if the underwear isn’t shown on a model? If you want to see it on someone’s body, the best way is to look on other retailers sites… but the size range is still very limited so you still won’t get a good picture of the fit if you’re outside of the XS to XL scale.
I’ve had both pairs of underwear for about a year now and both wash very well. I will say that the Active Briefs have washed better than the Barely Bikinis. The waist band is less wavy (probably because it is wider) and there are fewer snags. In general, the Active Briefs looks newer despite a similar number of wears and washings. Just keep in mind that the pair I have are striped, so the fabric content differs which, of course, impacts washability!
Because these panties have very high synthetic fiber counts, I do not recommend putting them in the dryer EVER. The heat from a dryer will eat away the fabric!
Fit & Comfort
Grade: B for the Active Briefs, C for the Barely Bikini
When it came time to think about the fit of these, I definitely knew that the type of fabric played a role in how they fit. Both pairs have an enormous amount of stretch to them… which is nice if you’re active and moving around a lot. But it also means that they can bunch and cause wedgies quite easily. I’ve found that both styles are so lightweight that they don’t really stay in place which is annoying and frustrating. The Barely Bikini definitely gave me a lot more wedgies than the Active Briefs.
Both also have seamless waistbands that are intended to prevent rolling or binding. I found that to be true, but because of the seamless construction found that the openings for the legs were what moved around instead. Speaking of the leg openings, I didn’t experience any chafing with either pair and I believe that is thanks the soft merrow stitching used.
I was hoping for better, but I think my expectations were impacted by the fact that these aren’t my usual cotton underwear. I just really don’t enjoy seamless style underwear and find them to be uncomfortable. I still wear the Active Briefs regularly. They aren’t the first ones I pull from the drawer after laundry day… but they aren’t the last either (hello, Allbirds).
My biggest complaint about this type of underwear in general is that they are never snug enough to actually stay put. The fabric is too loose and still moves, thus creating wedgies. I’m open to sizing down in the hopes of getting the snugness I want, but then that raises questions for me about overall fit!
Like I said, the Bikini definitely causes more wedgies, so I don’t wear those as often. I prefer a cotton blend that feels a bit more… locked in place and less likely to bunch up! And for $22-24 a pair, I’d rather put my money toward underwear I love. For now, one pair of the Active Briefs is all I need.
Ready for even more Underwear Thesis reviews?? Catch up on my previous reviews:
Allbirds Underwear Review
Welcome back to another day of Underwear Thesis! Today’s underwear review is all about Allbirds, a brand most well-known for their footwear. They’ve ventured into a few other categories as of late, including underwear. Naturally, a few people reached out to know my thoughts on them, so I picked up two different underwear styles and have a LOT of thoughts… Let’s dig into my Allbirds underwear review!
Auden From Target Underwear Review
So to kick things off this time, I’m sharing my thoughts on truly one of the most requested brands of this entire project: Auden from Target! I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been asked to review Auden. So I’m really glad to finally have this review published — you’ll have to let me know what you think!
Parade Underwear Review
Ooooh boy. I have put off publishing this underwear review as long as I could, but it’s time. I need to put on my big girl panties (pun very much intended) and share my unfiltered review of Parade underwear. You might be wondering why I’ve put off this review for so long… and it’s because I was majorly disappointed. I probably should wait until the end of the post to say that, but I just needed to address the elephant in the room! Let’s dig into all of the details about why I did not like Parade’s underwear, shall we?
Everlane Underwear Review
New year, new underwear! I wanted to start off by thanking you for your patience in the last few months. I really did want to share even more Underwear Thesis reviews, but like… moving, renovating, the holidays, a tree falling on/around our house… it’s been a LOT. So, thank you. Lets move onto the reason you’re here though: my unfiltered thoughts about Everlane underwear! It was really fun to get back into these reviews and really dig into the details of each pair. I hope you enjoy this Everlane underwear review and learn a lot!
Pact Underwear Review
Here’s the thing about reviewing different pairs of underwear: you can only get so creative with the photography! But seriously, I am running out of ways to photograph underwear. Anyways, this week’s Underwear Thesis review is all about Pact, an organic clothing company. I think they are most known for their super soft organic basics. They definitely have a loyal fanbase and I got tons of requests to try them out because I think a lot of people curious! So if you’re in that group, keep reading to get the full scoop of my Pact review.
What do you think of this Patagonia underwear review?? Leave a comment and let me know!