Best Underwear For Running: What To Look For?
As a runner who lives in a tropical place, I’m always on the hunt for the best underwear for running. I’d finally figured out my favorite running bra—the racerback bralette—but I still couldn’t lock down the best running underwear.
I found good workout underwear for my hot yoga sessions and hikes, but none for my afternoon runs. Every time, I’d return with a wedgie the size of Texas and a cramp from having to remove it every five seconds—not exactly the endorphin rush I wanted.
After dealing with chafing and a sweaty vagina (delightful!) one too many times, I have narrowed down what to look for to find the best underwear for running. Keep reading to see what you should look for and specific recommendations for both men running underwear and women’s running underwear.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: THE BEST UNDERWEAR FOR RUNNING
When searching for that perfect pair of running underwear, there’s a lot you want to keep in mind. You want breathable, light fabric that’s also durable enough to last. You want underwear that helps prevent chafing without drowning you in fabric. It’s a lot to balance.
I even tried going commando because apparently it's all the rage. Runner’s World State of the American Runner Survey reported 61% of runners ditched their skivvies. But I just couldn’t get into that much freedom down there. I mean, why do we wear underwear just to sit on the couch if we wouldn’t wear it when exercising?
Let’s break down what exactly you want when looking for the best running underwear.
Chub rub, chafing, “omg that f—ing hurts”—whatever you want to call it, it's the worst. I used to always run in leggings even when it felt like 1000˚ out to avoid the painful rash between my thighs only for it to develop along the seam of my underwear. Can we ever win?
Most of my fellow thick-thigh beauties know the pain of thigh chafing, but running can cause chafing in other places too. Along the bikini line, underwear seam, or waistband, continuous movement from running can cause uncomfortable chafing anywhere.
So, you want to make sure your running undies also double as anti chafing underwear. It should be properly fitted and made of breathable and moisture wicking materials (we’ll get there in a second) to avoid a damp setting that breeds chafing.
If thigh chafing is your biggest issue, something like the mens boxer briefs or boy shorts underwear are your best bet. They both put soft, moisture wicking hemp fabric in between your thighs as you channel your inner Usain Bolt, preventing chub rub.
Wedgies can feel like an inevitable part of running, but they don’t have to be! I wondered why do I keep getting wedgies for years until I decided to finally do something about it.
That something was finding underwear that didn’t spend all day trying to get to know me very intimately. When looking for non-wedgie inducing underwear, you’re going to want to focus on fit, cut, and fabric.
Underwear that fits you just right and isn’t too loose or tight won’t slide up on ya, but instead stay where it’s meant to.
If you find yourself more prone to a wedgie than a nerd in an 80s movie, avoid wearing cuts like a thong or bikini. Instead, wearing more full coverage sets is your best bet.
Also, choose underwear made of strong, durable fabrics to avoid sag that tends to gather in your behind.
BREATHABLE AND MOISTURE WICKING UNDERWEAR
Wearing underwear made of breathable and moisture wicking materials helps prevent crotch sweat that looks like you peed yourself, painful chafing, and a funky post-run smell.
Breathable underwear made of materials like hemp mean you can have the breezy feeling of commando without the less-than-hygienic reality.
Another one of the hemp clothing benefits is that it’s highly absorbent, so all of that lovely crotch sweat won’t make a swamp down yonder. Once your hemp underwear absorbs sweat, it evaporates really quickly because of how porous hemp is AKA no wet butt or underwear for you! Rejoice!
UNDERWEAR MADE OF THE RIGHT NATURAL FABRICS
Wearing natural fabrics increases breathability, so you won’t be running around with a swampy downstairs. Some great natural fabrics to look for are organic cotton, hemp, or bamboo!
When it comes to hemp vs cotton, there’s a pretty clear winner (and hint hint, it’s not cotton). Besides being soooo much more sustainable than cotton, hemp is also antibacterial, anti-odor, and organic.
Antibacterial underwear is super important, especially for the best running underwear, because it prevents any nasty bacterial infections from starting—a worthy cause if I do say so myself.
Synthetic materials that make those flimsy seamless panties are horrible for sweat and preventing infections, so whatever you do, steer clear of them! They might feel super soft at first, but they’ll cause a lot of not-so-fun issues.
Underwear made of sustainable fabrics like hemp, organic cotton, and TENCEL™ Lyocell also help prevent pesky butt acne, which is always a plus in my book.
Running is a high-impact exercise not just for your joints, but also for your clothes, so durability is essential for the best underwear for running. The worst way to start a run is by getting dressed only to discover your go-to pair of knickers has gotten a hole right where it counts.
Prevent that from happening by choosing men’s and women’s running underwear that is made of durable, long lasting fabrics. If you can believe it, fabric like hemp is not only everything I’ve already told you and more, it’s also extremely durable.
In fact, according to some pretty smart people (aka actual material engineers), hemp fabric is extremely durable and can be used for important life-saving technology like wearable health monitoring electronics. If it’s good enough for that, surely it’s good enough for your morning jog.
Okay! Now we know what to look for in our running underwear—anti-chafing and wedgie, breathable, moisture wicking, natural, and durable fabrics. Keep reading for the best underwear for running for men and women.
BEST MEN'S RUNNING UNDERWEAR
Fellas, let’s get down to business! I’ve written my list (of qualities you want in running underwear) and checked it twice—just call me the Santa Claus of the running underwear. Your present is this list of recommended men’s running underwear (I’m really good at giving gifts, right?).
IF YOU WANT TO PREVENT CHAFING
Mens boxer briefs are perfect for my chafed kings out there. They’re long enough to prevent chub rub, and they have no seams right where your crotch meets your leg. Add in a super soft waistband and you’ve got yourself a no-chafing-happening- anywhere run!
IF YOU WANT TO KEEP THE BOYS IN LINE
To prevent your boys from completing an aerial gymnastics routine, try mens briefs to hold it together. As a person with breasts that bounce around as I run, I can’t imagine having that sensation happening in between my legs. I feel for you fellas, I really do.
Men’s briefs support your package completely wedgie-free. And if you choose some made of breathable hemp fabric, so you won’t feel restricted, just supported. Isn’t that all anyone ever wants to feel?
IF YOU WANT THE PERFECT IN-BETWEEN
If you’re the Goldilocks of your friend group, i.e., you need things to be just so, trunks underwear could be for you! They do the double duty of helping to prevent chafing while also providing extra security for your package while you move.
They’re a bit shorter than the briefs, but still have enough length and lack of seams around the groin to avoid a nasty chafe.
They also have a built-in bulge holder (that’s the technical term) to hold your boys and keep them stable. They’ll thank you for it.
BEST WOMEN'S RUNNING UNDERWEAR
Alright, ladies, now it’s our time to shine! As a feminine person who runs, I know how much extra we have to go through just to get out of the door. I mean, if you've ever gone on a run while on your period, you know what I’m talking about. Let’s get rid of one barrier of entry to running by wearing comfy, breezy underwear like these styles!
IF YOU WANT TO PREVENT CHAFING
For some extra chafing protection, the boy shorts underwear are fan favorites. With some extra length, you can avoid the dreaded chub rub between your thighs.
Plus, with no seams along the bikini line and a super soft waistband, your chafing days will be left in the dust. Three cheers for never having to lube up your thighs pre-run ever again!
I especially love wearing boy shorts on days when my running shorts have built in underwear. I don’t know about you, but that stuff always makes me chafe right along the bikini line.
IF YOU WANT EXTRA SUPPORT
If you like a little more hold for your belly as you run, I’m about to change your life with these high waisted underwear. That’s right, I said high. waisted. underwear.
It’s great for running because the light compression supports all your lovely jiggly parts from causing discomfort while running—IYKYK. Added bonus—they also help prevent chafing along your stomach!
They’re made of super soft hemp, so you won’t have to worry about roughing up your sensitive tummy skin.
IF YOU WANT TO AVOID PANTY LINES
Sometimes the only thing that motivates me to run is a cute new running outfit, but my motivation can be sucked dry when I turn around to discover panty lines across my derrière, so I grab my favorite thong underwear and go on my way.
Now, normally who gives a rats a— about panty lines? Yeah, okay, so you see my underwear? Just be glad I’m wearing underwear, okay? But when my motivation is hanging on by a thread, you better believe I’m petty enough to throw away a run because of some panty lines.
I love the thong underwear on those days because it erases my panty lines. I know you might be thinking that running in a thong is akin to modern torture. Thankfully, with thongs made of über soft hemp, it’s super comfy.
It’s also great because hemp is antibacterial and anti-odor, which is important for anything coming into such close contact with your ~basement~ shall we say?
CONCLUSION: WHAT'S THE BEST UNDERWEAR FOR RUNNING?
When you’re running, the last thing you should be thinking about is your underwear, am I right? I’ve been on the hunt for years for the best running underwear styles and I can confidently say that I’ve found it, and now you can say the same thing!
It depends on the day and how I’m feeling, but I always reach for a pair of boy shorts, high waisted, or thong underwear. The hemp is breathable enough for my tropical life and tropical crotch, which is key for me.
I need to be super comfy when I go running, so hemp underwear is a no-brainer for me. I can throw it on under my beat up high school cross country shorts or my newest pair of leggings and I know I’ll be ready to run.
When you go running, are you more of a baggy t-shirt and shorts person? Or coordinated, high-tech running outfit person?