Front, side and back view of a jockstrap

A jockstrap (also known as a jock, jock strap, strap, supporter, or athletic supporter) is an undergarment designed for supporting the male genitalia during sports or other vigorous physical activity. A jockstrap consists of a waistband (usually elastic) with a support pouch for the genitalia and two elastic straps affixed to the base of the pouch and to the left and right sides of the waistband at the hip. The pouch, in some varieties, may be fitted with a pocket to hold an impact resistant cup to protect the testicles and/or the penis from injury.



The word jockstrap has purportedly been in use at least since 1888, a likely contraction of 'jockey strap', as the garment was first designed for bicycle riders, or 'bike jockeys'. The Bike Jockey Strap was the first jockstrap manufactured in America in 1874.[1][2]

Jockey meaning 'rider', primarily a race horse rider, has been in use since 1670.[3] Jockey itself is the diminutive form of the Scots nickname Jock (for John) as Jackie is for the English nickname Jack. The nicknames Jack and Jackie, Jock and Jockey have been used generically for 'man, fellow, boy, common man'. From the period c.1650-c.1850, 'jock' was used as slang for penis.[4]

The more recent slang term 'jock', meaning an athlete, is traced to 1959 and is itself derived from 'jockstrap'.[4]


Bike jockstrap and packaging, circa 1950

The jockstrap was invented in 1874 by C. F. Bennett of a Chicago sporting goods company, Sharp & Smith, to provide comfort and support for bicycle jockeys riding the cobblestone streets of Boston. In 1897 Bennett's newly-formed Bike Web Company patented and began mass-producing the Bike Jockey Strap. The Bike Web Company later became known as the Bike Company. Today, Bike is still the market leader in jockstrap sales.

The jockstrap was also influential in early 1900s medicine with the invention of the Heidelberg Electric Belt, a low-voltage electric powered jockstrap that claimed to cure kidney disorders, insomnia, erectile disfunction, and other ailments. Today, jockstraps are still being used for medical purposes, such as the suspensory and for the rest from injury or surgery such as hematocele, hydrocele or spermatocele.

During the 1980s and 1990s, jockstraps slowly faded away to compression shorts and generally were not required by high schools and colleges. However, in recent years more and more athletes are turning back to the jockstrap for use in sports and athletic activities.[citation needed] This is reflected in the fact that new brands and companies are beginning to introduce their own line of jockstraps, such as Calvin Klein and Under Armour.

There is also an increase in the number of fashion jockstraps as an alternative to regular underwear. Jockstraps provide support to keep the wearer comfortable while efficiently keeping the genitals covered. They are also cooler to wear as they allow sweat to evaporate more freely.

Due to the cooling benefits of the jockstrap, there are also links now[when?] being identified between male fertility and the use of a jockstrap[citation needed]. As the jockstrap is designed to lift the male genitalia away from the body, the temperature within the testicles is reduced enabling a more effective production and maintenance of sperm within the male[citation needed], thus reducing the risk of infertility.


Banana-style Cup
Traditional Cup

Jockstraps are fairly consistent in design with variations appearing in details like width of waistband and fabrics. Some jockstraps are designed for specific sports. Swim jocks, for example, have a narrow waistband and hockey jocks have adjustable elastic straps and garter clips that hold hockey socks in place while the bulky goalie protector has genital and abdominal foam padding. Windproof jockstraps have a special layer of fabric to protect the wearer from wind and cold in winter sports. Fashion jocks are manufactured in stylish designs with colorful fabrics. Others are made from exotic materials such as leather or chain mail for consumers of adult fantasy apparel.[5]

Alternatives to jockstraps include the jock brief, or support briefs, which have the wide waistband of a jockstrap combined with a full seat and are made of an elastic supportive material. A thong style strap, sometimes called a dance belt, has one narrow elastic strap attached to the bottom of the pouch, passing between the legs and attaching to the waistband at the middle of the back. A strapless garment, called a jock sock or sometimes a slingshot,[6] has only an elastic waist band with an elastic pouch that holds the genitals from the front. The suspensory is typically used after genital surgery and features a pouch which supports only the testicles to aid in post-operative healing.

Protective cup

Optional cups offer additional protection for contact sports and are made of hard plastic or steel, perforated for ventilation.[7] A more flexible and comfortable soft cup is also offered for low contact sports. A flex cup variation features a hard exterior melded with a soft lining.

A cup is usually inserted into the pouch of a jockstrap or Compression shorts designed to hold a cup. Cups for combat sports (i.e. Mixed Martial Arts, Kick Boxing) have a waistband and straps attached directly to the cup designed to be worn over a regular jockstrap or briefs. An oversized cup and jock combined into a single item which has layered foam padding that protects the groin, kidneys and abdomen is used in boxing and Muay Thai.

A similar piece of protective equipment in the sport of cricket is known as a box.


See also


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Jockstrap — Jock Cup …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • jockstrap — jock strap (j[o^]k str[a^]p), n. 1. A supporting undergarment for the external genitals worn by men engaging in vigorous athletic sports or strenuous exercise; called also {athletic supporter} and {jock}. Syn: athletic supporter. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • jockstrap — (n.) also jock strap, supporter of the male genital organs, used in sports, 1897, with STRAP (Cf. strap) (n.) + jock slang for penis c.1650 c.1850, probably from Jock, the nickname for John, which was used generically for common man from c.1500 …   Etymology dictionary

  • jockstrap — ► NOUN ▪ a support or protection for the male genitals, worn especially by sportsmen. ORIGIN from slang jock «genitals» …   English terms dictionary

  • jockstrap — ☆ jockstrap [jäk′strap΄ ] n. [slang jock, penis + STRAP] an elastic belt with a groin pouch for supporting the genitals, worn by men while engaging in athletics …   English World dictionary

  • jockstrap — UK [ˈdʒɒkˌstræp] / US [ˈdʒɑkˌstræp] noun [countable] Word forms jockstrap : singular jockstrap plural jockstraps informal a tight piece of underwear that a man wears to support his sex organs when he is playing sport …   English dictionary

  • Jockstrap — Suspensoir Un suspensoir est un sous vêtement destiné au sportif. Sommaire 1 Description 2 Utilisation 3 Marques 4 En France …   Wikipédia en Français

  • jockstrap — [[t]ʤɒ̱kstræp[/t]] jockstraps N COUNT A jockstrap is a piece of underwear worn by sportsmen to support their genitals …   English dictionary

  • jockstrap — noun Etymology: English slang jock penis + English strap Date: 1886 athletic supporter …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • jockstrap — /jok strap /, n. an elasticized belt, a men s undergarment, with a pouch for supporting and protecting the genitals, worn esp. while participating in athletics. Also called athletic supporter. [1895 1900; jock male organ (var. of JACK1 male; see… …   Universalium

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