Underwear & Activewear for Men   
All About Men's Underwear Tomima Says
Proper Men's Underwear Fitting

“In an effort to make you a more informed shopper, we've compiled a list of terms. If you can't find a term, please let us know and we will be happy to add it to our list."

•Meet Tomima

Men's Underwear & Sock Glossary

Also see our:
Men's Underwear Fabric Glossary,
Men's Underwear Features Glossary,
Men's Underwear Style Glossary (Bottoms),
Men's Underwear Style Glossary (Tops)


A T-shirt without sleeves and cut-away armholes. Stands for athletic shirt.

Balloon Seat

Also called a 3-panel back. A design for men's boxers in which the pattern calls for additional fabric to be provided in the rear panels while at the same time having no center back seam. The added fabric creates a "balloon" effect over the seat, providing ease of movement and less strain on fabric.

Bar Tracking

Reinforcing the bottom of a fly or the side leg slits with short stitching rows perpendicular to the seam.

Creep down

Term to describe the falling down of a sock off the calf.

Crew Length

A sock that extends beyond ankle length, but not beyond the largest part of the calf. Typically 9" to 12" in length.

Elasticized Rib, Leg, Top, or Arch Panel

A portion of a sock that has an elastic yarn running through it, giving it the ability to fit snugly and to recover its original shape and size immediately after removing.

Fitted Heel and Toe

A sock that has a knit-in, or true heel pocket and a reciprocated (knit-in) toe pocket.

Flat lock stitching

A style of stitching common on men's briefs. Rather than a seam, the two pieces of fabric are sewn together with a 3-thread zigzag stitch. This keeps the seam flat while providing reinforcement.

Functional fly

The front fly on the garment actually works and provides an opening.


The name given to a triangular or diamond-shaped piece of fabric that is constructed into a garment to allow for more space and greater movement. Gussets typically appear under the arms of sleeves, along the inseam of underwear, and the sides of men's shirttails.

High Heel Splice

An area of knit reinforcement that falls above the heel pocket, and typically rises above the top of the shoe.


The seam in a trouser or short that runs from the crotch to the hem. Leg length is measured based on the inseam.


That part of the sock lying over the top of your foot.

Lin-Toe Closure

A method of closing the toe of a sock by aligning the knit loops at the edge of each piece of knit fabric and using a single thread to join the knit fabric edges loop-for-loop. This type of closure leaves no ridge on the toe seam inside or outside of the sock.

Long Johns

A type of long underwear bottoms usually ankle length. These drawers were first worn in public by John L. Sullivan as a boxing outfit.


A short length sock that falls below the anklebone. Usually 3" to 4" in length.


Very fine nylon or polyester filaments that, when woven, produce light soft and breathable fabrics ensuring comfort and durability.


A short crew sock with a typical length of between 5" and 7".

Mock fly

The front fly of the garment has the appearance of a functioning fly, but in fact has been sewn shut. This is done primarily for modesty.

Mock Rib Leg or Ankle

The appearance of a true rib, achieved in Jersey fabric by using elastic.

Needle Hem Stitching

A stitch where two needles approximately 3/8" apart sews two rows of stitching simultaneously.

Over-The-Calf Length

A sock that extends above the largest part of the calf. Typically 15" or longer.

Overlapping Fly

Name given to the traditional brief front fly where two layers of fabric are sewn on top of one another.


A set of top and pants, designed for sleeping. From the Persian words pai for "leg" and jaman for "garment," pajamas were originally introduced in the 1800s for Indian men to wear as an alternative to the nightgown. Today, pajamas--or pjs--are classic sleepwear for both men and women.


Usually, a short length sock that falls below the anklebone.

Placket Fly

Name given to the traditional boxer fly. Design is similar to the front placket on a shirt. Can also have a button closure.

Quarter Length

A short crew sock, similar in length to a mid-crew sock. Typically 6" to 9" in length.

Reinforced (Ankle, Heel or Toe)

To strengthen a high-stress area of the sock (usually the heel, toe or ankle) with a durable yarn such as nylon or polypropylene.

Reverse toe closure

A method of closing the toe of a sock that is identical to the smooth looped toe seam, except that the seam lies on the outside of the sock leaving an extra-smooth "seamless" surface on the inside of the sock next to the foot.

Rubber reinforced

Inside a leg hem, elastic with rubber reinforcement can be used. This gives elastic longevity to the garment.

Shin Panel

That part of the sock lying at the front of the leg that protects the shin.

Smooth Looped Toe Seam

A type of toe closure that links the fabric ends together in a single layer. This eliminates the fabric ridge created by conventional toe seaming.

Stretch Sock

A sock knit, in part, with yarns that have the ability to stretch and recover. This enables the sock to fit a range of shoe sizes. They will be sized as 2S, XS, SM, MS, MD, LG, XL or XXL.


The edge of the garment is finished with a folded and sewn-on piece of fabric.

Terry Cushioning, or Full Terry Cushioning

Knitting all (Full) or part of a sock with a secondary (Terry) loop to create extra cushioning in the areas where the extra yarn loops are present.

Thermal Cushioning

Terry stitching done specifically to enhance the insulating properties of a sock.


Any point where the knit pattern of the sock changes construction. Typically, where the leg meets the foot.

True Heel and Toe Pockets

See Fitted Heel and Toe.

True Rib Leg, Cuff, Top or Instep (1x1, 2x2, etc.)

A vertical pattern of alternating ridges in the leg, cuff, top or instep of a sock. The numerals represent the number of stitches in the raised part of the rib, by the number of stitches in the recessed part of the rib.

Tube Sock

A sock that is knit in the shape of a tube, having no knit-in heel pocket

Turned Cuff

The top of the sock that is designed to be folded down when worn, usually just above the ankle.

Welt Top or Rolled Welt Top

A double thickness of Jersey fabric at the top of the leg to promote strength, increase its ability to stay up and to give a cleaner finished look.

Y Heel Pocket

A method of knitting an extended heel pocket to create an anatomically correct fit.