Best Running Underwear
While underwear may not be something one would typically consider when it comes to running, the impact they have can be notable. The right choice will provide you with a long list of benefits: comfort when exercising, protection in cold weather, breathability to wick away sweat, innovatively designed seams to protect against chafing, and a proper fit.
For vanity purposes, all of us want running underwear which looks flattering and stylish. After all, even if they aren’t visible to the public, they’re visible to you and that’s what’s important. This is why we compiled the list of top ten so feel free to read through it and choose the one for you!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 14 hrs of research
Top 10 Picks
1. New Balance Dry Fresh Boxers
Need to wash these before wearing them
Can itch if you don’t wash them enough
New Balance’s Dry Fresh Boxer Briefs are made with thin material that helps the underwear ventilate well, and also makes them very comfortable. Plus, they feature a fly opening, which is a nice bonus.Read more
Comprised of 87% polyester and 13% spandex, these boxer briefs are made not to chafe, since they are designed with a thin material that doesn’t feature many seams. These boxer briefs also have some excellent mesh panels that help them regulate temperature as you sweat.
These boxer briefs are made to fit you snugly and are flexible enough so that they always feel great each time you wear them. They also have an excellent waistband which helps make them fit quite well.
Designed to be long-lasting, this underwear won’t stretch out too quickly or wear out too quickly. So, you will get some use out of them.
New Balance’s Dry Fresh Boxer Briefs are cozy in the average price range, so they aren’t cheap or overly expensive. For the price, you’ll get a good pair of underwear to work out in.
2. Tesla Shorts
Work as either underwear or shorts
Flatten your rear
No fly pouch
Can be difficult to get on and off
Hand wash only
Tesla Men’s Compression Shorts were designed to double as either underwear or shorts, and also help to flatten your rear area. Designed with flexibility in mind, you’ll love how great you feel each time you wear these shorts.Read more
Designed from polyester and spandex, you’ll get a lot of flexibility and freedom to move easily when you wear these shorts. Also, the fabric has a UPF 50+ protection designed into it, helping to block out the sun.
For compression shorts, these are a bit loose. If you do want compression, you might need to size down. The waistband on these shorts are excellent and help offer a fantastic fit.
Since Tesla Men’s Compression Shorts are made to be affordable, they aren’t as durable as some of the other options we’ve provided on our list. However, they are cheap and easy to replace and still bring you a great product.
Tesla Men’s Compression Shorts are very affordable, and one of the best performing shorts on our list for the price. While they don’t last as long as some other options, they also cost much less.
3. ExOfficio Give-n-Go Bikini Brief
Great color and design options
Can show panty lines
The Give-n-Go bikini brief is a feminine addition that is comfortable, breathable, and durable. They are a great option for travel, exercise, or everyday use. They are marketed as a bikini cut but provide a bit more coverage and come up slightly higher.Read more
This comfortable pair of feminine running underwear is made from 94% Nylon and 6% Lycra Spandex. The materials are comfortable and soft on the skin. Additionally, these bikini briefs are finished with an antimicrobial treatment that prevents bacteria build-up and odors. They are highly breathable and quick drying.
Women have raved about the comfort of this underwear. The stretch diamond weave mesh fabric provides great mobility, and the underwear stays in place. The elastic waistband measures ⅝” and isn’t too tight. They are listed as a bikini brief but have more coverage and a higher rise than a traditional bikini. One downside to this style is that it shows panty lines with tight pants or shorts.
For the most part, these are very durable. The fabric of the underwear feels delicate, but with proper care and washing, this underwear will be your go-to for many years. One reviewer claimed that after a few years, the waistband started to stretch out.
Here comes the real downside, the price. This is an expensive pair of underwear, but as you can see, they are comfortable, quick-drying, breathable and long-lasting. Considering that you could replace your entire underwear drawer with just a few pairs of these makes them a great investment.
4. Reebok Breathable 3 Briefs
Keep their shape
Can run small
No front fly
If you want a high-performing pair of comfortable boxer briefs, then you’ll probably want to consider what Reebok Men’s Performance Boxer Briefs have to offer. Designed to be breathable and comfortable, these shorts are excellent for runners.Read more
The fabric on Reebok’s boxer briefs is manufactured from 90% polyester and 10% spandex, making them soft and also flexible. The spandex makes sure your freedom of movement isn’t restricted, and these boxer briefs also do a great job of ventilating.
Reebok’s boxer briefs fit pretty accurately, so you should be okay ordering the size you are most familiar with. You get a relaxed fit with these, but they also are very comfortable.
Reebok’s boxer briefs are durable and do last for some time. So, you’ll get more bang for your buck if you purchase these comfortable boxer briefs.
These boxer briefs come in packs of three and are very affordable as a result. For the comfort you’ll get when you wear them, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy the value you get when you buy them.
5. Under Armour Power in Pink
No panty lines
Stay in place
Durability could be improved
If you are tired of panty lines or looking forward to feeling like you're not even wearing underwear, this thong is a great option. It features four-way stretch and great breathability. There is no tag and the seams are laser cut, drastically reducing your chances of chafing.Read more
This thong-style underwear is made from 75.8% Nylon and 24.2% Elastane. As you can tell from the high content of elastane, they have great stretch. The edges of the underwear are laser cut, providing a smooth finish and no hems. Additionally, they are treated with anti-odor technology to keep you feeling fresh throughout your entire workout.
Almost every reviewer agrees that these underwear run true to size. They have four-way stretch and are well structured. They stay in place no matter the activity and offer excellent breathability. Additionally, there is no tag or hems to cause chafing. Many women say that it feels like they are wearing nothing at all.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a strong point for the Under Armour thong. The material is thin, as you would expect, making it slightly less durable than we would hope for. Reviewers say that it is best to hand wash them or use the delicate cycle on your machine and leave them to air dry.
While the price of this small piece of fabric is quite high, they have many great features. One of which is that Under Armour is donating ten million dollars of its Power in Pink sales to the John Hopkins Cancer Center for breast health and education.
6. Saxx Men's Kinetic
Lots of support
Can run small
No fly opening
Saxx’s Kinetic boxers are made to give you everything you’ll want and need each time you hit the trails and run. Made to be comfortable and flexible, they also provide plenty of ventilation to keep you going strong all day long.Read more
Comprised of 85% nylon and 15% spandex, you get both the comfort against your skin and the level of stretchy flexibility you want with these boxer briefs. Also, you get plenty of ventilation with these boxer briefs, which will keep you very comfortable on your runs.
Saxx’s Kinetic Boxers are designed to offer some compression, and also dry out quickly. They provide a lot of support and do a great job of not chafing.
Saxx’s Kinetic Boxers are very durable and come with long-lasting materials that prevent them from wearing out. You’ll get a lot of use out of these boxers.
Saxx’s Kinetic Boxers are very durable and high in quality, but they do run on the expensive side of things as far as cost is concerned. So, you will get a long-lasting pair of underwear, but you might have to spend a bit of money on them.
7. ExOfficio Give-n-Go Boxer Brief
Can feel tight
ExOfficio’s Give-N-Go Boxer Briefs are designed to boost your performance when you run, made with lightweight materials and an excellent ventilation system. The bring you the level of comfort and flexibility you’ll really want each time you hit the trails.Read more
Comprised of a combination of nylon and Lycra spandex, you get a pair of boxers that feels smooth and is also very comfortable. These materials also prevent the boxers from chafing or riding up whenever you are running and on the go.
You get a relaxed fit with these boxers, which means they do feel comfortable but might not have as much support as some of the other options on our list. However, they do offer a lightweight, effective fit for those that don’t mind the room.
ExOfficio’s Boxer Briefs are made to be durable, and you’ll be able to get quite a bit of use out of them. So, you won’t have to worry about them wearing out too quickly or easily while you work out.
The price of these boxer briefs can really fluctuate depending on where you purchase them from, so keep an eye on that. However, other than that, they are fairly average in their price range.
8. Adidas Climalite
Works well for heavy sweaters
Climalite technology helps temperature
Can stretch out
Could be more durable
Adidas’s Men’s Sport Performance Climalite Boxer Brief Underwear is made to bring you a comfortable pair of underwear that can easily adapt to changes in body temperature, keeping you happy. Comprised of 91% polyester and 9% spandex, this pair of underwear will bring you a lot of versatility.Read more
The fabric designed into this underwear is both lightweight and very soft, so you’ll stay cool and dry as you run or workout. Designed with Climalite technology, this underwear breathes well and offers effective temperature regulation.
The fit of these boxer briefs is very comfortable, and they are made to be soft. Plus, they feature a lot of flexibility with the elastic designed into the underwear so that they won’t restrict your movement.
While the Adidas Men’s Sport Performance Climalite Boxer Brief Underwear offers a bevy of nice features, they do have some durability issues. The fabric is known to stretch out after some use.
These boxer briefs do run on the more expensive end when compared to basic boxers, but they are pretty average in price as far as sports underwear is concerned. So, the price isn’t too bad on these boxer briefs.
9. Under Armour HeatGear Sonic Shorts
Thin material—not durable
Under Armour’s HeatGear Sonic Compression shorts give you an extra boost in length when you run, and do a great job of boosting your performance when you run. These shorts are made to be flexible while offering plenty of compression and support.Read more
Made from 84% polyester and 16% elastane, these compression shorts are made to prevent both riding up and chafing issues. You also get technology that cuts back on odor and an excellent ventilation system.
Designed with a 4-way stretch system, these compression shorts are made to fit well and offer the right amount of support when you run. Plus, they also come with flatlock seams, which makes them very comfortable to wear.
Made with high-quality materials, Under Armour’s HeatGear Sonic Compression shorts are durable and long-lasting. You’ll be able to get a lot of use out of them.
These compression shorts run in the average price range, so they are a good investment for the price. You’ll love how comfortable they feel and all of the other features they offer.
10. Adidas Climacool Cheekster
Comfortable four-way stretch fabric
Run a little small
With the majority of this list being either boxers or briefs, the Adidas Climacool Cheekster is a more than welcome addition with a stylish and feminine fit. Flat seams ensure that panty lines are virtually invisible under leggings or even yoga pants, while the stretch polyester fabric ensures a comfortable fit that moves with you.Read more
Made of a polyester and spandex blend, the Adidas Climacool Cheekster are made with breathability and comfort in mind. The fabric stretches for a comfortable fit, while the micro-mesh fabric allows for airflow to keep you comfortable all day long, even in warmer weather. These come in five color options: black, grey, teal, purple, and a pink floral design that's quite eye-catching.
This best underwear for running comes in four size options: XS/S, M, L, XL. The 4-way stretch spandex allows for a comfortable fit, though some users do report that these can run small. The semi-cheeky fit is feminine and comfortable, flat seams make panty lines virtually nonexistent, and a tag-free design allows for a smooth and non-itchy fit.
Made with a high-quality stretch fabric, the Adidas Climacool Cheekster is designed to last you a long time. The polyester design means that these are not likely to shrink or fade in the laundry, either, which is good since they run a tad small.
While these are slightly more expensive than the average pair of underwear, the comfortable fit and exceptional breathability make these a worthy investment.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Underwear for running is typically made of different fabrics than standard underwear. Regular underwear usually has cotton, nylon, or natural and synthetic fibers in it. These sort of materials don’t wick moisture very well and can get wet quickly each time you work out or run. Underwear designed explicitly for running use fabrics that can wick moisture and dry quickly, along with being flexible and lightweight.
This will serve to keep you cool so that you don’t overheat when you run. Running underwear need to be breathable, and it also needs to prevent chafing and riding up as well, since both of these things can be very uncomfortable while you are on the go. Many of these types of underwear are also made to be compressible and provide plenty of support but are also very flexible so that they don’t restrict your movements. Depending on the style of best underwear for running and the manufacturer, the materials you’ll find can vary widely.
Fabrics do usually tell us how well the underwear will perform while you are on the trails, and also how durable the underwear will be. However, regardless of how long-lasting you want your underwear to be, the primary thing you’ll want to consider when evaluating material is a comfort. As long as the material feels soft and comfortable for you, then you’ll probably enjoy wearing the pair of underwear each time you run.
Some materials you will find in these types of underwear include the following:
A lot of underwear designed for runners are made with synthetic fibers, including nylon, polyester, spandex, or some combination of those materials. All of these materials are long-lasting and strong, and also ventilate well and dry quickly, making them popular choices for runners.
Cotton is a very comfortable material that doesn’t chafe when you wear it, which makes it feel great each time you put it on. However, sweat can build-up on the inside of cotton underwear, making you feel very wet the more active you are.
Coolmax fabric is a polyester blend that ventilates well, dries out well, and is very durable.
Egyptian cotton is very soft and comfortable and designed to feel great against the skin. However, just like combed cotton, it doesn’t ventilate well, and you could wind up with a lot of moisture build-up if you aren’t careful.
You get a four-way stretch feature with this fabric, which is very flexible and moves as you move. Also, this type of nylon features antimicrobial agents which help keep odor from building up and prevents other health problems.
Made as a combination of Egyptian and American cotton, this cotton is very soft and comfortable when worn. However, just like the other cotton fabrics on our list, Pima cotton does not ventilate well or dry quickly.
Spandex: Spandex makes the underwear stretchy, supportive, and comfortable. Due to this often used in the compression socks. Also, spandex can ventilate well and won’t cause moisture build-up problems.
The fit is a significant factor to consider when you are shopping for running underwear. Fit contributes to the overall comfort and feel of the underwear, and you want to make sure you purchase underwear that gives you the support, flexibility, and comfort you need as you run. You don’t want underwear that fits too tightly since some of this underwear can compress, and then you wind up losing blood flow and cutting off circulation, which can cause discomfort and impact how well you run.
If you get underwear that is too big, it can chafe and offer inadequate support. While these types of lingerie do tend to fit more loosely around the hips than regular underwear, you should feel a lot of compression in both your thigh and leg areas (check our guide on the best compression sleeves). Also, you want to make sure your underwear feature good elastic bands that keep the underwear in place and don’t rub on your skin.
To make sure you get a pair of underwear that will fit you correctly, remember that the measurements for fit will depend on the size of your waist. So, to get underwear that will fit you the best, make sure you measure the size of your waist before making your purchase. Well-fitting underwear is essential for running, just like the running tights, so make sure you also check out the sizing chart provided by the manufacturers, so you know you are purchasing the correct size.
How durable your underwear is will depend a lot on the thickness of the design, and the materials that make up the underwear. First, the thickness is something that can increase durability in this type of underwear, but because many runners want lightweight products, a lot of underwear is made to be thin and lightweight, and won’t always be as durable as you might want it to be. However, this problem isn’t exact of all brands, but it does tend to hold for many of the more lightweight, thin offerings you’ll find in these types of underwear.
Also, materials can affect the durability of your underwear. If the underwear is designed with high-quality materials, then it will be most likely built to last much longer. One way to check out the durability of the products you are interested in is to read up on some reviews and see how the underwear fared for other people.
Also remember that while durability is essential, it’s not going to be as important as comfort or fit when buying this type of underwear. You need to focus more on what will help you boost your performance, since most of the time, underwear isn’t too expensive to replace.
The price of the underwear on our list can vary, but there are various options that run from expensive to average to affordable. While some pairs of underwear do cost more, they also tend to be more durable and offer more high-quality materials. So, that’s something you’ll want to consider along with a price.
Also, we’ve noted value where we saw fit on our product list, but that’s also something you may want to take a closer look at. Typically, running underwear will cost you more than normal underwear, but it still is decently cost-effective, especially considering what you’ll get in performance.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
It is important to check the materials of the underwear before purchasing them. You will want to avoid clothing and undergarments that are made from 100% cotton. Cotton material holds onto sweat and moisture and takes a long time to dry.
Many people think that the material of shorts or underwear alone will prevent chafing, but another way to combat chafing is by drinking enough liquids. You stop sweating when your body runs out of moisture. In turn, when you are well hydrated, your body continues to sweat and prevents your skin from dryly rubbing together.
Other Factors to Consider
Some underwear made for runners factors in cold-weather use as well, so it can feature some added insulation to help keep you warm when the temperature drops. Underwear that comes with insulation usually notes the extra insulation, made to keep you going strong even during the winter weather. If interested in running during this period check our guide on the best running gear for winter.
These types of underwear are made to be very breathable, and the fabric designed into it will be moisture-wicking and also help with ventilation. Also, this type of underwear usually has vents included in it, allowing the build-up of sweat on the inside to be pushed to the outside, so you won’t have to feel wet where it isn’t comfortable.
Since running requires a lot of impacts and jostling as you move, you need underwear that is made to help support you and keep you comfortable while you run. You don’t want to feel any extra strain on other body parts when you’re working out at high-impact levels.
Since chafing is always a concern for runners, there are a few things you’ll want to consider to help you reduce the potential you’ll experience chafing. First, getting quality materials in your underwear, like Lycra, spandex, or polyester, will help provide you with extra ventilation and less chafing. Cotton, on the other hand, doesn’t ventilate and you can wind up with some uncomfortable skin irritation if you opt for cotton.
Don’t forget to deodorize to help you reduce chafing, and make sure you deodorize on your legs. It might sound odd, but if you use regular deodorant (not spray on since this can irritate your skin) you can cut back on the chafing you might otherwise experience. Just remember, however, deodorant doesn’t last very long when you often sweat so you might need to re-apply if you are going for a long run.
Using Vaseline is another trick many runners use to cut back on chafing since rubbing Vaseline into your thigh areas can reduce friction. This trick does sometimes take some getting used to, and it can feel odd when you first do it, but many runners love the results. Another thing that many runners use is a baby powder or talcum powder on their inner thighs. This can also help cut back on friction on long-distance runs since these powders help absorb sweat easily.
Some runners use diaper cream when their skin becomes raw from chafing, and again as strange as this sounds, many runners report it helps them when they have raw skin. So if your skin is already feeling irritated, diaper cream can help protect your skin while you go out on another run.
Make sure you also drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated. Making sure your body is hydrated helps to keep your skin moisturized, and also helps your body keep sweating so that you don’t wind up with salt build up on your skin. If your body stops sweating, you wind up with dry salt on your skin that can create more rubbing and be chaffing as you move.
Keep in mind that you also want to wear the right type of clothes each time you run. So, you want clothes that are designed for running and can help push moisture away from your skin, and ventilate well. Also, most clothing designed for runners is already designed to be comfortable, flexible, and prevent any type of chafing and rubbing.
Another thing to remember, and this can sound like it’s simple but many people still forget, is that you want to make sure you remove all the tags on your clothes before you hit the trails. If you forget about a tag, it can create skin irritation problems by rubbing up against your skin. Also, make sure the seams on the clothing you use are flat and don’t create excess chafing, rubbing, or skin irritation.
Also, don’t forget to use plenty of moisturizers whenever you run, and apply lotion to help keep your skin moisturized. The more hydrated your skin is the less rubbing and chaffing you are likely to experience. You want to make sure you are using some type of body lotion on your skin a couple of times a day, at the very least.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What do I need to know about my running shorts and my underwear?
Depending on the running shorts you purchase and use, you may or may not need to wear underwear. Some brands have made running shorts that are loose-fitting but also offer some mesh lining on the interior area of the shorts, which hugs the skin and prevents rubbing and irritation.
Certain types of running leggings are also meant to be worn close to the skin and don’t require underwear to use. Running shorts and running leggings are made to prevent chafing and rubbing, and some of them also fit tightly because they are meant to be worn without underwear.
If you own running shorts that have their built-in underwear, you won’t need a pair of best runners underwear with them. If you do wear this type of underwear with them, it can make your running apparel feel too tight, and you can get very uncomfortable. On the other hand, most shorts made for running don’t offer a built-in mesh layer that works like underwear. So if you have an essential pair of shorts, then a pair of this type of underwear will come in handy each time you hit the trails.
q: Do I need to worry about the type of underwear I plan to wear when I run?
Yes, you do. For example, if you tend to wear cotton underwear on your runs, then you’re going to need to think about changing the type of underwear you like to boost your performance. Cotton doesn’t push moisture out and tends to allow sweat to build upon the inside. So you’ll not only feel very wet as you run, but your skin can also rub and chafe easily.
Certain pairs of running shorts are designed to be worn without underwear, but many running shorts do not. Also, instead of just buying athletic underwear, you do want underwear that is made specifically for running so that you have plenty of flexibility, support, and comfort as you run, and you won’t need to worry about chafing. Also, these types of underwear are made to ventilate well, so you’ll never feel awkward with the sweat building up between your legs.
q: How do I avoid chafing?
We provided some suggestions above designed to help cover some other tips so you can prevent chafing as you run. Underwear that is specifically made for running helps add the support you want, and can also bring down chafing. It’s nice to have the extra comfort and support of the right kind of underwear to help prevent the amount of chafing you’re likely to experience.
This type of underwear is designed to help cut back on chafing as you move, and will give you the support and comfort you want when you hit the trails.
Even if you aren’t the type of person that actively competes when you run and you only run for fun and exercise, chafing can still cause a severe problem and make you very miserable when you run. So, purchasing a good pair of underwear is certainly one way to prevent chafing.
q: How should I wash the underwear?
Of course, every pair is different, and you should read the tag for specific washing instructions, but here's a general description that works well for most running clothes. Don't just throw it in the hamper to sit and fester in your sweat. When your smelly running clothes sit together in the dark for days on end, even the anti-odor pieces get bad odors stuck to them.
If you are not going to wash the clothes right away, hang the clothes up to dry, and then put them in the hamper. Unless otherwise specified, a safe way to wash your running clothes is with cold water and on the gentle cycle. One of the most critical steps to skip is the dryer. All running gear, especially underwear, should be hanged to dry. Many high-performance materials can not withstand high heat, and these temperatures will alter the composition of the fabric.
q: What do I need to know about fit?
You want to make sure you select a pair of athletic underwear that fits your shape well and feels comfortable. If your underwear is too loose, it can rub and cause chafing and other skin irritations you’ll want to avoid. On the other hand, if it is too tight, it can feel uncomfortable and cut off your blood circulation.
So, make sure you purchase a pair that gives you just the right fit. Most manufacturers have a size chart on their page, but you should always double-check with the reviewers to see what they say about the fit. As with many clothing items, some brands seem to off by a size or two.
q: Do I need to consider the weather and time of year when I run?
Yes, the time of year can be a factor when you run. However, most pairs of athletic underwear are built to last several seasons, although some that are made for winter also offer insulation. No matter which season you run in, breathability is always at the forefront of importance.
If it is summer, you'll want excellent breathability to avoid sweat from building up between your legs. In the winter, while warmth is welcomed wherever you can find it, you'll also want breathability to prevent creating a moist and muggy environment between your legs. What you’ll want to think about is the level of insulation you’ll want or need when the weather gets freezing.