So what is the correct protective equipment? It can depend on the sport!
For common, general athletic activity, just an Athletic Supporter may be enough. Also called a Jock, Jockstrap, Jockeystrap and Supporter, this can be worn for ANY activity! Years ago, they were even recommended for Bowling and Mowing the Lawn!
In reality, they should be at least worn for PE (Physical Education or Gym), Aerobics, Swimming, Cross-country, Track, Basketball, Working out, Weight Lifting, Running, Cycling, Hiking, Gymnastics, etc... They should be the Base layer, the first item put on, but can be worn underneath Compression Shorts, Boxers, Briefs, Boxer-Briefs, or just by itself. (By itself will be the coolest as less moisture will be held against the skin).
* Boxers by themselves offer NO support or protection... everything just hangs and bounces around.
* Boxer-Briefs and Briefs offer somewhat more protection as they hold things closer to the body. But they seldom support the testicles.
* Athletic/Sports briefs are designed to hold things somewhat tighter, but again seldom support the testicles.
Activities involving Moving Objects
* This includes activities such as Mountain Biking, Dirt Biking and Motorcross (ever hit the bar on your bicycle)?
* This includes the obvious Baseball, Hockey, Football, Lacrosse, Softball and Cricket, but also many that are often overlooked, such as Soccer, Paintball and Wrestling! Bats, Balls, Feet, Elbows, Fists, Knees, Heads and Helmets can all come into contact with "The Boys".
A Protective Cup, (Athletic Cup, Baseball Cup, Hockey Cup, Abdo Guard, Abdominal Guard...), provides the protection from these flying objects, when worn correctly! There was a boy on a baseball team I helped with last year who understood that a cup was required to be catcher. He wore shorts to practice, as did others, and when he squatted down to catch, his cup kept falling to the ground at the feet of the batter! He was wearing boxers and just sliding the cup over his junk, and it would slide right out the leg of his boxers!!
Some boys and young men have been coddled into being embarrassed at changing clothes in front of other boys, and do not want to wear a jockstrap, for sure. Manufacturers have responded by introducing briefs and compression shorts to hold protective cups; however, please note that compression shorts and sliding shorts have been found to not offer sufficient protection in holding a protective cup as they tend to slide around.
An athletic supporter should be used to hold the cup, and compression/sliding shorts or even boxers can be worn over the supporter and cup, if preferred. Again, the supporter and cup can be worn by itself under the shorts or pants.
What to Pick
Many different kinds of Protective Cups are available... "They aren't your Father's Cups" anymore! While the old, classic stype cup is still available, Newer contour cups, Banana-style cups, Hockey cups, Metal cups, and foam or soft cups are available designed to meet the various wants and needs out there.
* Soft cups can be worn for low-impact sports, such as Wrestling, where they offer some protection, but limited.
* Hockey cups are designed for Hockey, although they can be worn for anything. They are generally larger, and many are designed to be worn OVER a regular cup as double protection.
* Banana-style cups are more triangle-shape, longer and narrower than the Classic, they are designed to protect and fit between one's moving thighs. These are the most popular.
* Contour cups are a stream-lined version of the Classic cup, and are considered by many to be somewhat uncomfortable.
* Classic Cups are rather uncomfortable to wear.
Cups should be worn with a supporter designed to hold a cup, with a pocket in the pouch that snaps or otherwise holds the cup in place. Briefs and compression/sliding shorts with cup pockets are also available, but should be avoided. The only exception would be the Hockey Jock Shorts that are available. They are mesh shorts that resemble boxers, but have a jockstrap with a pouch that is sewn inside. So the player can wear a jock, but be modest at the same time!
The new "Nutty Buddy" cup is designed by a Baseball player and form-fits the individual. It seems to offer great support. It requires that the athlete wear compression shorts (without a cup pocket) as the base layer, then a jockstrap on top of that, inserting the Nutty Buddy between the two.
Many brands are available: Bike (the original jockstrap), McDavid, Meuller, Duke, Franklin, Tru-Fit, Shock Doctor, Under Armour, All-Star, Nutty Buddy, SAW, XO, etc... Look around. There are various price-points, various materials they are made out of, and some will just fit better. For classic supporters, Bike, Duke and Franklin offer great products. Under Armour and Shock Doctor are also great, but will cost a little more. For cups, a Banana-style cup by Bike, Franklin, XO, Duke or Tru-Fit are good recommendations. And if you want to spend the money, the Nutty Buddy may be a good fit.