If you wear the wrong underwear on long runs, it can feel like your nether region is on fire. You can get painful chafing that will make you reconsider your training goals. Instead of giving up, you should look for the best underwear for running to help solve the problem.
Quick Look: Our Top Picks
Why Does It Make a Difference What Underwear I Wear?
While you and your running buddy may freely share tips about the best shorts or shirts for running, I bet you haven’t discussed underwear yet. Mentioning unmentionables is still a big deal for some runners. But the underwear you select can make a big difference, even if no one usually acknowledges it.
You wouldn’t dream of wearing a regular t-shirt and sweatpants on a long run, so why do you think it’s okay to grab any pair of underwear? Like everything else on your body during your runs, your underwear should be selected with performance in mind.
Do I Need to Wear Underwear?
Underwear isn’t a requirement for running, but many runners prefer wearing them to going commando.
Running tights are very form-fitting, which makes some runners uncomfortable at the thought of running without underwear. They can’t keep their head in the race because they’re spending their energy wondering if other runners can see through their tights.
Why Kind of Fit Should I Be Looking For?
Your running underwear should be form-fitting and comfortable. You don’t want anything too loose because you may need to keep adjusting it during your run and it will contribute to chafing.
Likewise, you don’t want anything that’s overly tight. That will feel uncomfortable and it will create an unflattering muffin-top situation, even on thin runners.
You want to find that perfect Goldilocks zone when it comes to how snug your underwear is.
What Time of the Year Are You Running?
Even if you opt to go commando in the summer, you might want to give some serious consideration to having running underwear around for winter runs.
For one thing, while many running shorts have built-in liners, that’s less common in tights and pants. And then there’s the factor of the weather itself.
When you run in the winter, every part of you can feel the nip through the breathable running clothes you wear. Even when you dress in layers for the upper body, the lower body tends to get stuck with just one layer.
On windy, cold days in particular, if you don’t wear underwear, it can be really uncomfortable because of how brisk things get. And if you’re on a long run without underwear, the thought of having frozen private parts can be enough to make you turn around and call it quits for the day.
What Kind of Fabric Should They Be Made From?
As a runner, you probably already tend to avoid cotton clothing on your runs. That’s a good rule to follow as well when it comes to your underwear selection.
Cotton drinks up the sweat and takes a long time to dry, which can lead to a colder feeling and chafing. Instead, look for a material that’s made out of wool or is synthetic.
What Are Some Features My Underwear Should Have?
While it’s weird to think of underwear as having special features, when it comes to running gear, everything is made with a purpose -- even your underwear.
Here are some of the features you’ll want to look for:
Breathability: You’ll want air to circulate down there when you run, particularly if you are a heavy sweater. There’s nothing worse than soggy-feeling underwear when you still have miles to go. You start to feel like a little kid who couldn’t make it to the bathroom in time.
Windproof panels: Male runners who plan on doing much winter running may want to consider looking for a windproof panel on the front of their underwear. That will offer protection from the harsh wind.
Seams: You’ll want to watch the seam situation on the underwear you’re considering. If it has thick seams, it will be uncomfortable for the long haul. You’ll want to keep seams and their size to a minimum for added comfort and fewer panty lines showing through form-fitting running tights.
The fit: If low-ride underwear drives you crazy, you’ll want to look for something with a bit more coverage. If you don’t enjoy the fit of your underwear, they’re not the right pair for you.
Appearance: The other runners won’t be seeing your underwear unless you have a wardrobe malfunction with see-through running tights. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun with your underwear selection. Look for a fun color or something with an inspirational message on them.
No tags: Running underwear should be tagless for added comfort.
The Five Best Underwear for Running
1. Adidas Men’s Sport Performance Climalite Boxer Brief Underwear
These nice-looking underwear come in two packs, so you’ll always have one waiting in the wings for your next run. Made out of 91% polyester and 9% spandex, they will be form-fitting without feeling tight.
- There’s a lot of different colors and patterns to choose from.
- They have stitching that feels smooth on your skin and won’t cause chafing.
- These breathable underwear will dry quickly after you work up a sweat as they have moisture-wicking technology.
- They have a tagless waistband so you won’t experience any scratching on the backside.
- This pair of underwear won’t ride up on you as you run.
- They come in a variety of lengths so you always can find the fit that makes you comfortable. These boxer briefs have a 5-inch inseam, but you can also get them in a trunk style with a 3.5-inch inseam and a midway style with a 9-inch inseam.
- They only go up to extra large in size, which won’t be big enough to cover every runner.
- The fit is a bit smaller than usual because they don’t stretch like regular underwear.
- They are a bit on the expensive side.
2. ExOfficio Women’s Give-N-Go Bikini Briefs
- You’ll feel dry on your run with this underwear, thanks to their moisture-wicking abilities.
- These come in a lot of color choices for women who want a little variety with their underwear.
- They come in a wide range of sizes, up to double extra large, which is nice for larger runners who want quality performance.
- This underwear uses a diamond-weave mesh material that lets air circulate so you’ll feel cooler on your run.
- It has been given an antimicrobial treatment that will cut down on odor.
- They are easy to clean -- you rinse them out and hang them up to dry. They’ll dry in no time.
- For women who despise panty lines, these won’t show much at all under tight running leggings.
- They are so comfortable and won’t ride up when you’re running.
- The size of these is perfect for women who don’t like granny panties, but who want a little more coverage than they’ll get with smaller underwear.
- They aren’t cheap to purchase.
- There’s no size chart to guide you on what size you’ll need.
- Don’t make the mistake of tossing these in the dryer because the elastic will shrink.
3. Under Armour Men’s Original Series 6” Boxerjock
- You’ll have several colors to choose from.
- It has a mesh fly panel which helps circulate air to keep you comfortable -- they won’t trap heat, so you’ll feel cool on your run.
- It’s lightweight so you won’t feel an extra burden when you run.
- These underwear have four-way stretch fabrication, which gives you mobility in any direction you need to move.
- They are sweat wicking and they’ll dry out quickly.
- The waistband won’t ride up or fall down.
- When you’re running, this underwear will hold everything in place -- they offer a lot of support.
- You can wash these repeatedly and you won’t get piling.
- They look good under regular clothes, whether it’s workout gear or suits.
- The sizing is off -- these run a bit small.
- These underwear are expensive.
- They aren’t comfortable for all-day wear because they have too much compression -- so you may want to change into another pair once your workout is done.
4. David Archy Men’s Ultra Fast Dry Performance Boxer Briefs
- The fabric will give you great breathability, even on the hottest days.
- Once you sweat in these, they’ll dry quickly, which will help you avoid that disgusting soggy underwear feeling.
- It has a 3D pouch design, which will give you support while still allowing movement.
- The underwear goes down onto the legs, which will help cut down on chafing on the upper thighs while you’re running.
- They are so lightweight and thin, they’ll rapidly dry after you wash them.
- These won’t feel scratchy or irritating, thanks to flat-locked stitching.
- They are durable and they’ll hold up well even after repeated washings.
- They are affordable, so you’ll have more money to spend on your other running gear.
- If the label makes you uncomfortable, it’s easy to tear off by hand -- you won’t need scissors.
- They won’t fit bigger-sized runners because they only come in small to extra large.
- Not a good choice for men who have large thighs because they’ll ride up.
5. Runderwear Running Briefs
- These are made from a lightweight fabric but are tough enough to stand up to repeated washings.
- It has a 360-degree seamless technology, which will get rid of any irritation you might feel when running while wearing underwear. Plus, it helps put a stop to chafing, especially on long runs.
- It’s designed to move with your body, and that will make your run more comfortable. It also and means your underwear won’t ride up.
- The fabric is sweat wicking, which means you’ll be dry even on tough runs.
- The underwear has micro-perforations which means they have great breathability.
- They have a snug fit with no bunching like some other brands.
- These underwear work well for people with sensitive skin.
- These won’t create underwear lines under running tights because of the seamless construction.
- They only come in two color choices.
- They won’t be big enough to fit all male runners because they only go up to size extra large.
And the Winner Is …
There are two winners in the best underwear for running contest -- one for men and one for women.
For women, only one kind of underwear made this list -- the ExOfficio Women’s Give-N-Go bikini briefs. These underwear have great stretch, breathability, fit and color choices. What more could a woman ask for from her underwear?
For men, Runderwear comes out on top. What puts them over the edge is their seamless construction, which is so important to avoiding chafing. Plus, those micro-perforations create fantastic breathability. You’ll totally forget you’re wearing any underwear when you run in these.