In many sporting activities, there are few pieces of protective equipment quite as important as an athletic supporter. Athletic supporters are designed to support and protect genitalia whilst allowing for free movement during exercise. While commonly used for impact protection in contact and bat-and-ball sports like football, baseball, cricket, lacrosse, hockey, paintball, and martial arts, they also provide necessary, comfort-enhancing support in non-contact sports like tennis, cycling, and even running. To help you find the best of them for your activity type, in this article we’ll introduce you to the 25 top athletic supporters currently on the market.
We reviewed dozens of athletic supporters to identify the best of the best. We examined a range of factors, including type, comfort, materials, support, protection, cost, and average customer reviews. All of these athletic supporters are available on Amazon.com.
Having considered a wide range of options, we chose the Mcdavid Athletic Supporter Jockstrap as our top pick. This jock-strap-style athletic support scores highly in every important metric, boasting robust protection courtesy of a thick mesh pouch, a comfortable waist band, breathable polyester materials with ample spandex content to permit a full range of movement, and a classic, minimalist design that reduces the risk of chafing.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Athletic Supporters
|Best Athletic Supporter Overall||Mcdavid Athletic Supporter Jockstrap||4.3|
|Best Athletic Supporter with Cup||Shock Doctor Jock Strap Supporter with BioFlex Cup||4.4|
|Best Budget Athletic Supporter||GOLBERG G Athletic Supporter||4.4|
|Best Compression Short Athletic Supporter||Shock Doctor Compression Shorts||4.4|
|Best Athletic Supporter for Females||Shock Doctor Core Compression Hockey Shorts||4.5|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Best Athletic Supporter Overall: Mcdavid Athletic Supporter Jockstrap
After considering a wide variety of athletic supporters, the one that wins our vote as the best out there in 2020 is the Mcdavid Athletic Supporter Jockstrap.
This athletic supporter does everything most users will need their athletic supporter to do—and does so, moreover, to a very high standard. It’s made with a superbly comfortable blend of 75% polyester and 25% spandex, making it both breathable enough to wick excess sweat and prevent things getting sticky while you exercise, and providing more than enough stretch to permit a full range of movement without any chafing or digging into your skin.
The wide, woven waistband on this jockstrap makes it comfortable to wear even for hours on end, while the quick-drying, stretch-mesh pouch provides plenty of support and enough protection for all but the most aggressive contact sports.
Finally, because this athletic support is sold as a two-pack, it also offers simply outstanding value for money.
Mcdavid Athletic Supporter Jockstrap Key Features:
- Made with 75% polyester and 25% spandex
- Wide, woven waistband for optimal comfort
- Classic, minimalist design
- Quick-drying mesh pouch
Best Athletic Supporter with Cup: Shock Doctor Jock Strap Supporter with BioFlex Cup
For those who take part in sports with a higher risk of aggressive contact, there are few options out there that come even close to matching the Shock Doctor Jock Strap Supporter with BioFlex Cup.
This jock-strap style protector is, simply put, more of a fortress than simple fabric shield against shocks and impacts. It’s made with a wonderfully comfortable, breathable, four-way stretch mesh fabric with a “Core Supporter” waistband that is wide enough to prevent chafing and isn’t prone to digging into your skin. For highly aerobic sports in which you’re likely to be working up a sweat, the vented Bio-Flex cup has you covered, proving plenty of airflow through a duo of ventilation panels while simultaneously shielding your genitals from impacts of up to 100 miles per hour and allowing unrestricted movement. As an added bonus, when the game’s over and it’s time to do the laundry, the cup can be easily removed from the pouch for machine washing.
While this athletic support is likely to be overkill for less aggressive sports, for baseball, hockey, football, lacrosse, wrestling, or martial arts, it’s absolutely ideal, offering optimal protection whilst simultaneously allowing for a full range of movement and providing all-day comfort.
Shock Doctor Jock Strap Supporter with BioFlex Cup Key Features:
- Made with breathable 4-way-stretch mesh
- Cup pocket allows for easy cup removal for machine washing
- Vented bio-shape cup
- Gel perimeter pad for improved comfort
- Shields and transfers shocks and impacts of up to 100 mph
Best Budget Athletic Supporter: GOLBERG G Athletic Supporter
The GOLBERG G Athletic Supporter might lack some of the frills and fancier touches found in the pricier models in our review, but it’s a great choice for occasional users or those who simply don’t want to break the bank but still want a product that offers solid performance and protection.
This jock-strap-style athletic supporter is made with 88% polyester and 12% natural latex, a combination that brings you ample flexibility and stretch as well as ensuring that the material won’t lose its shape over time. The soft, breathable knit pouch is just about as comfortable as they come, while the one-inch Gol-fit leg bands are specifically designed to resist twisting and binding (two of the main causes of chafing and discomfort in other models) and the three-inch waistband is contoured so as to conform to the shape of your body and prevent pinching or digging into your skin.
While this athletic supporter might not provide enough protection for some ball sports and high-contact sports, for running, rugby, cycling, basketball, or any other sport in which forceful impacts are not expected, it’s a winner!
GOLBERG G Athletic Supporter Key Features:
- Made with 88% polyester and 12% natural latex
- Soft, breathable knit pouch
- 3″ contoured waistband for added comfort and core support
- Shrink-resistant material
- 1-inch Gol-fit leg bands resist twisting and binding
Best Compression Short Athletic Supporter: Shock Doctor Compression Shorts
The Shock Doctor Compression Shorts may be a little on the pricey side, but they also happen to be the most versatile athletic supporter in our review and offer outstanding levels of both comfort and protection for all types of sporting activity, whether you’re a footballer, baseball player, runner, cyclist, wrestler, tennis player, or goalkeeper in soccer.
These knee-length shorts are made with moisture-wicking, four-way stretch fabric that moves with your body while eliminating sweat and use a dual mesh cup, flatlock seams and comfort-fit waistband to maximize both ventilation and comfort, all of which makes them ideal for both aerobic sports and slower moving contact sports in which there’s a risk of impact to your anatomy’s more sensitive areas.
The removable Bio-Flex cup used in these shorts has a vented bio-shaped design to shield areas where protection is most needed and can provide protection against shock or impacts of up to 100 miles per hour. Because the cup is removable, these shorts are suitable for a wide range of activities, allowing you to keep the cup in for a day of football or baseball and slip it out when using the shorts for running, tennis, or any other non-contact activity.
Shock Doctor Compression Shorts Key Features:
- Can be used with or without cup
- Bio-Flex Cup shields and transfers shock and impacts of up to 100 mph away from the body
- Core flex pocket design and integrated cup lock keeps cup in a more natural position for secure protection
- Highly breathable fabric
- Wide, comfort-fit waistband
- Flatlock seams protect against chafing
Best Athletic Supporter for Females: Shock Doctor Core Compression Hockey Shorts
The Shock Doctor Core Compression Hockey Shorts are the female version of the male compression shorts featured above and bring to the table the same outstanding versatility, support, and comfort.
As with the male version, these compression shorts are made with exceptionally supportive, four-way stretch, moisture-wicking fabrics that are non only breathable enough to avoid saturating with sweat in highly aerobic sports but also feel soft against the skin and comfortable even after hours of use. They also come with a thermal-formed, foam pelvic protector “cup” that provides solid protection in contact and ball sports but can be easily removed to allow you machine wash the shorts or when participating in low- or no-contact sports when extra protection isn’t necessary.
Other endearing features included in these shorts are a low-rise cut, flatlock seams, and a wide waistband, all of which contribute to making them just about the most comfortable athletic protector compression shorts out there.
Shock Doctor Core Compression Hockey Shorts Key Features:
- Four-way stretch, moisture-wicking fabric
- Anatomical design
- Integrated thermal-formed contour foam
- Molded, high-impact shield
- Low-rise cut
- Ventilated pelvic protector pocket
Who Should Buy an Athletic Supporter
Athletic supporters are recommended for use in a wide variety of sports, ranging from low-contact sports like running or tennis to high-contact sports like football and lacrosse. In the case of the former category, an athletic supporter can simply provide additional comfort—and, as the name suggests, support—while you exercise. With high-contact sports, however, athletic supporters bring to the table the protection needed to avoid a potentially serious injury courtesy of optional “athletic cups” (plastic or metallic shields) that protect the groin area from blunt trauma injuries caused by balls, bats, sticks, helmets, or contact with opponents. Some of the injuries athletic cups are designed to prevent include severe bruising, internal bleeding, and testicular fracture or rupture.
Important Features to Consider
An athletic supporter should have a few important features. Here’s what to consider when selecting an athletic supporter for your sporting activity:
- Size. The sizing in athletic supporters pertains only to the waistband size. If unsure which size will provide the best fit for you, use a tailor’s measuring tape to take a precise waist measurement, holding the tape at the tip of your hipbone and encircling your waist at the level of your navel.
- Protection. Different sports require different levels of protection. Athletic supports without a plastic “cup” will provide added support but less in the way of impact protection, making them ideally suited to non-contact sports like running, cycling, basketball, and tennis. Those that use a plastic, metallic, or foam-based shield are a better bet for sports in which there is a greater chance of aggressive contact from opponents or ball sports such as football, baseball, ice hockey, and lacrosse.
- Material. Most athletic supporters are made with an elasticated waistband and a cotton pouch that supports the genitalia. That said, many jockstrap-style models now use more breathable, synthetic materials that are a better option if you envision working up a sweat while taking part in your sporting activity. Compression short supporters, likewise, are almost always made with a combo of breathable polyester and spandex that also provides a greater range of movement, increase comfort, and holds more snugly to your body.
- Comfort. As a general rule, the most comfortable athletic supporters are compression shorts but jockstraps can perform just as well in the comfort stakes as long as they are sized well and include a few important features pertaining to comfort. If you opt for a jockstrap, it’s wise to ensure they use wide straps and a two- or three-inch, elasticated waistband, both of which will reduce the risk of them digging into the skin in your crotch, buttocks, and waist, and of chafing. Because jockstraps can be uncomfortable when worn for long periods of time, if you anticipate needing support for longer durations, we recommend choosing a pair of compression-short-style athletic supporters.
- Type. The four main types of athletic supporter are jockstraps, compression shorts, hockey jocks, and the Jill. Jockstraps are by far the most popular style of athletic supporter. They use an elastic waistband with two loops that feed between your legs and a fabric pouch to support your genitalia. Jockstraps are usually made with either cotton or another soft, synthetic material (most commonly polyester-spandex blends) and may also come with a domed plastic ‘cup’ for additional protection in contact sports. Compression shorts have gained in popularity in recent years in a wide range of sports. Made with stretchy, synthetic fabric, this type of athletic support boasts a tight fit that provides extra support while also allowing you a free range of movement. Hockey jocks are similar to standard jockstraps but include clips or velcro patches that hold up the long socks typically worn by hockey players. In most cases, they are also equipped with a protective cup. The Jill is an athletic protector specifically designed for use by females. Also known as “pelvic protectors”, Jills have a similar design to jockstraps but have smaller and flatter genitalia protectors.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does an athletic supporter do?
Athletic supporters (also known as a “jockstraps”, “cups”, or simply “supporters”) are undergarments used to protect and support the genitalia during a sporting activity, particularly those with a higher risk of impact in the genital area.
Why do men wear athletic supporters?
Men wear athletic supporters to protect their genitals from any harm that can be caused by impacts while playing sports like rugby, football, baseball, hockey, and other contact or ball sports. The protective cup or pouch used in athletic supporters safeguards the genitalia from bats, balls, helmets, and collisions with other players and also provides additional support in non-contact sports.
How do you size an athletic supporter?
The sizing of athletic supporters can vary greatly from one brand to another. In order to ensure you get the correct size, it’s always a good idea to measure your waist (by wrapping a tailor’s tape measure around your waist at the top of the hipbone, close to the level of your belly button) and look out for the supporters’ exact measurements in the product description instead of relying on the brand’s adjectival sizing (“small,” “medium,” “large,” etc.).
How do you clean an athletic supporter?
Many athletic supporters use a detachable cup, allowing you to machine wash the fabric part of the supporter and wash the plastic, foam, or metallic cup separately. To wash the cup, we recommend filling a sink with enough hot water to cover the cup, adding laundry detergent or antibacterial soap, leaving the cup to soak until the water cools, and then rinsing off before drying.
Other Athletic Supporters We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other athletic supporters. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best athletic supporters list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your sporting activities. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.
Budget Athletic Protectors
This low-profile jockstrap-style supporter is made with 100% skin-friendly cotton and uses a roomy, contoured pouch in combination with two ventilated mesh straps to provide the perfect blend of comfort and breathability.
- 100% cotton
- Mesh panels for superior breathability
- Elasticated waistband
At just over $7 per pair, these jockstraps offer excellent value for money. While low in protection, they offer more than enough support for low- or no-contact sports.
- Elasticated waistband
- 100% cotton
This simple, frill-free, jockstrap-style supporter does everything most users will need their supporter to do, boasting a comfortable three-inch waistband, a highly supportive pouch, and soft, latex-free material for added comfort and durability.
- Three-inch waistband
- Designed for taller users
These 95% cotton and 5% spandex supporters boast a more discreet profile and are a great option either for everyday use or for added support during athletic activity.
- Made with 95% cotton and 5% spandex
- Minimalist design
- Stretchy and cushioned waistband
These superbly comfortable, classically styled supporters are made with stretchy, breathable, and soft materials to optimize comfort and provide plenty of support for non-contact sports.
- Pouch made of 55% nylon, 25% rubber and 20% cotton fabric
- Waistband and leg straps made of 70% polyester and 30% rubber fabric
- Classic fit
This very well-made jockstrap boasts a super-comfortable three-inch waistband and very supportive and breathable knit pouch. Ideal for workouts and non-contact sports.
- Made with 96% polyester and 4% spandex
- 3-inch waistband
- Breathable knit pouch
- Classic two-strap design
This multipack contains 4 jockstrap-style athletic supporters that are made with 85% nylon and 15% to bring you all-day comfort, above-average support, and more durability than supporters made with a higher cotton content.
- 85% nylon and 15% spandex
- Classic fit
This jockstrap may be a little short on protection for rougher, high-contact activities, but it provides more than ample support for gym sessions and non-contact sports.
- Elasticated, 2-inch waistband
- Cotton pouch
- Classic, low-profile design
This very nicely priced jockstrap and cup combo uses highly breathable, high-wicking fabrics and a lightweight but robust, ventilated, and rubber-edged cup for superior comfort and protection.
- Ventilated, removable cup
- High-wicking fabric
- Wide, comfortable waistband
Compression Short Athletic Protectors
These knee-length shorts use high elastane content for a more supportive fit and come with a flexible plastic cup that uses strategically placed holes aid ventilation while maintaining maximum protection. The cup is also coated with a thick, soft gel surround to ensure comfort and prevent chafing.
- Ventilated cup
- Gel padding on cup for added comfort
- Knee-length fit
These highly versatile compression shorts use a polyurethane cup that’s 24% lighter than traditional molded cups, making them ideal for users who need added protection but are unwilling to sacrifice performance.
- Made with 80% polyester and 20% spandex
- Highly breathable fabric
- Cup fitted with soft edge for added comfort
These shorts come with a removable, ventilated protective cup and use highly breathable stretch fabric with hydravent moisture management technology to keep you cool and dry even in high temps and during the hardest workouts.
- Made with 90% polyester and 10% spandex
- Made in the USA
- Removable ventilated cup
- Extremely lightweight cup
These thigh-length boxer compression shorts use high-wicking fabric that sheds sweat very quickly and features an integrated cup pocket that allows you to add extra protection when need be.
- Optional cup pocket (cup not included)
- Made with 88% polyester and 12% spandex
- 9-inch inseam
- Flat-lock stitching for added comfort
Designed with the needs of varying types of athlete in mind, the system used in these compression-style shorts provides a more comfortable fit for a broad range of athletic activities. These shorts also boast high-wicking, fantastically breathable materials and come with a high-impact cup with soft, flexible, and padded edges for increased comfort.
- Made with polyester-spandex blend
- High-impact cup with padded edges
- Built-in cup pocket
They might be pricey, but these three-in-one combo shorts include everything needed to maximize protection, support and comfort for serious athletes, including high-wicking, compression-style body fabric, a built-in jockstrap, and a protective cup made with rigid but flexible polycarbonate (the same material used in bulletproof glass!).
Designed by award-winning designers and Stanford University engineers, the system has been approved by doctors and urologists as the best groin protection on the market.
- Made from military-grade elastics and premium spandex
- High-impact polycarbonate cup
- Built-in jockstraps
These boxer-length style shorts offer a secure compression fit and use an “Ultra Cup Retention System” that offers maximum comfort, range of motion, and keeps the multi-layered cup in place whatever sport you happen to be doing.
- Premium 4-way stretch moisture wicking fabric
- Ultra Cup Retention System for superior cup positioning and comfort
- Comfortable, micro-knit waistband
Athletic Protectors for Females
These low-profile shorts offer exceptional comfort and come with a removable protective shield, giving you the option of choosing the level of protection required for different sporting activities.
- Removable protective shield
- Moisture-wicking fabric
- Pelvis protector is made with thermal-formed contour foam combined with a molded high-impact shield
Made by athletes for athletes, this ultra-minimalist, effective, and comfortable pelvic protector is ideal for just about any sport. Its plastic protective shield absorbs force from impact and boasts a soft, removable silicone rim that feels comfortable against the skin even after hours of use.
- Adjustable waistband
- Padded silicone rim on protective cup
- Low-profile design
These shorts are ideal for sportswomen who prefer a looser fit and boast far superior breathability than most other compression-style shorts in our review owing to their use of ventilated mesh fabric.
- Made with supportive four-way stretch, moisture-wicking fabric
- Loose fit
- Ventilated mesh fabric
- Comes with removable, high-impact shield
These lightweight, highly breathable shorts use integrated, low-profile hook-and-loop attachments for hockey socks but are perfectly suitable for use in a variety of other contact sports.
- Compression fit
- High-wicking fabric
- Low-profile hook/loop attachment for hockey socks