Fashions change and so do the garments that can be worn as underwear.
The boy who ten or twenty years ago would be wearing speedos under his shorts is now probably wearing tight boxer briefs.
Although boxer briefs offer the same level of support as speedos, the change has been brought about by a number of reasons:
White shorts go transparent and will reveal what is underneath, especially when wet. Boxer briefs under PE shorts look just like another slightly smaller pair of shorts rather than skimpy pants. They also conceal an erect penis better.
The material of boxer briefs cover more skin than speedos, which is useful in the cold, though the boxer briefs may be revealed when wearing shorts that have high side vents or scalloped sides that lift while running.
Specialised sports boxer briefs made of 92% polyamide/8% elastane are quick drying, so can be worn if an activity involves getting wet, such as a cross country river crossing, steeplechase or athletics in the rain.
The fashion has gone from conventional boxer shorts to tighter boxer briefs worn as everyday underwear. It is also the fashion to wear regular underwear under board shorts, so it is logical to do so under PE shorts too.
The demise of the “no pants” and “trunks only” rule, together with the ban on corporal punishment, mean that boys now wear what they want under their PE shorts.
Many boys now wear tight-fitting lycra shorts and boxer briefs can be worn underneath them.
With much clothing being now being imported from the Far East, keeping one’s few sets of pants dry and wearable is not such a priority. Nowadays if a boy gets his underwear soaked during PE or athletics, or swims with them under his board shorts, the chances are he will have a spare pair or two in his kit bag.