Whether you're just getting started with running, or you're a seasoned marathon runner, one thing is for certain—wearing the right underwear can make all the difference.
It's hard to concentrate on breathing and using proper form when you're running in low quality, uncomfortable underwear. If you've ever experienced chafing, wedgies or feel the constant need to "adjust" during your runs, then you seriously need to consider investing in real underwear for running.
By choosing the right underwear, not only can you become a better runner, but you probably won't dread the experience as much.
In this guide, we'll go over what to look for in a solid pair of underwear for running, and show you our picks for the best running underwear for men and women.
What to Look for When Buying Running Underwear
Here are just a few things to consider when you’re shopping for underwear to wear while running:
It is absolutely crucial that the underwear you choose fits well. One of the most uncomfortable feelings while running is your underwear climbing up your legs and getting stuck painfully between them.
At the same time, if your underwear is too loose, it can end up falling down as you run, causing you to constantly have to keep "readjusting".
Keep in mind that the underwear you choose will need to work well with the pants you’re wearing too. For instance, if you’ll be wearing leggings, then you need to ensure that they won’t be visible!
Another potential problem when running then is sweat. As you jog, you get hot and if your underwear isn’t breathable, it can end up collecting perspiration and making you feel damp.
This becomes cold later on and can cause the formation of rashes and even lead to infection.
So, look for underwear that will keep you warm when you’re going out running in the cold at 5am, but which will also allow some air to circulate.
Style And Comfort
Finally, consider that running isn’t something you’re always going to be in a mood to do. Sometimes it takes willpower to head out that door when it’s cold and wet outside.
And in that scenario, you need to be able to pull on a pair of underwear that will make you feel good and help to give you that motivation. That means a comfortable fit and if it looks good too? Then that’s even better.
This is especially true for those that want to jog after work without getting changed.
The Best Underwear for Running: Men
First, let's take a look at the top six best running underwear for men:
ExOfficio Give-N-Go Boxer Brief
Pro: Breathable and strong odor protection
Con: Very tight fit
A Second Skin: If you’re looking for underwear that will fit tightly like a second skin, then these briefs from ExOfficio have you covered (literally). The fabric uses an elastic and breathable mesh, so it will fit tight to the skin and will allow air to circulate. It comes in three colors, which are essentially shades of black.
The only downside is that this tight fit can be a little claustrophobic for some, and that’s going to be a matter of opinion. They also aren’t the cheapest.
Under Armour Original 6” Boxerjock Boxer Briefs
Pro: Moisture transport system
Con: Fits a little tight for some guys
Under, Under Armour: You’ve probably heard of Under Armour, as the brand is one of the biggest in the business. These briefs bring the quality that you may have come to expect and really are ‘under’ armour in this case!
The material is breathable and a moisture transport system is great for preventing the build up of sweat. However, they are also a little tight for some users and this is particularly noticeable around the waist where money-saving-cuts have resulted in a slightly harsher elastic.
Adidas Men’s Sport Performance Climalite Boxer Brief
Pro: Prevents chafing
Con: Wish they were more durable
Like a glove: This is another pair of very close-fitting briefs for running that is available in a huge range of color and styles. That's nice, as even the boxers that come in lots of colors don’t always give you a range of different patterns and styles.
Otherwise, these are very similar to the previous two options on the list with similar comfort and performance. There is less mention of breathability, though the smooth non-chafing stitch is very welcome indeed.
Jockey Men’s Underwear Microfiber Performance Midway Brief
Pro: Great stretch
Con: A bit too long
Long Legged: These boxer briefs look very similar to the others on the list apart from one key difference: they are a fair bit longer. This can actually provide more space for the genitals but it does also mean they look a little less attractive when worn without pants and they may be visible beneath shorts. It also means they are warmer, which may be a good or bad thing.
Note that these are 80/20 polyester to spandex, whereas other options on this list have been more polyester based.
New Balance Men’s Dry Fresh Boxer Brief
Pro: Huge selection of colors
Con: Sizes run a little small
The Perfect Balance: Another similar offering comes from New Balance. These boxer briefs once again offer a huge range of colors and patterns (though some are a little garish). They are comfortable and use antimicrobial materials in order to prevent infections and rashes. Sizes do come out a little smaller though so you might want to size up.
Apex Men’s Merino Wool Boxer Briefs Moisture-Wicking
Pro: High quality wool
Reaching the apex? For those that aren’t a fan of polyester, these wool briefs offer an alternative. They are nevertheless tightly fitting and come with many of the properties you expect to see in running underwear such as breathability and moisture wicking. Some will find these less restricting, though the longer length may limit appeal.
The Best Underwear for Running: Women
Here are our picks for the best running underwear for women:
Adidas Women’s Climacool Cheekster Underwear
Pro: Flat seams reduce panty lines
Con: Move around when you're really active (i.e. sprints or long distance runs)
Comfy and cute: It’s very refreshing to see underwear that not only performs well for runners, but also looks great. These come in a wide variety of different colors and styles, which include some attractive patterns and more sporty-looking block colors. The seamless construction makes these great for running in tight shorts or even under yoga pants.
Under Armour Women’s Power in Pink Pure Stretch Hipster
Pro: Great color choices
Running armor: A lot of runners love these panties and for a number of good reasons. Not only do they look good, but they are also incredibly soft while also being form fitting. They’re moisture wicking and you almost don’t notice you’re wearing them. Thin material is the only downside, as this could mean they damage easily.
Runderwear Women’s Seamless Low-Rise Hipster
Pro: Incredibly comfortable
Con: Not the most attractive
Under Where? If your main concern is with comfort, then these silky panties should be one of your main considerations. They are seamless, soft and very effective in terms of breathability and drying.
It is only a shame that the color selection is just three and that they’re all pretty bold and large.
New Balance Women’s Breathe Thong Panty
Pro: Good value
Con: A little large
Thong thong thong: Whether you prefer to run in a thong or briefs is going to come down largely to personal preference. For those that do prefer a thong, these are incredibly light and breathable. The only downside is that they run a little large – so keep that in mind when choosing your size.
ExOfficio Women’s String Bikini
Pro: Slim and attractive
Con: Not specifically made for running
Well-rounded: These panties work well as running underwear because they fit so well and thanks to breathable, antimicrobial material. However, they are also a little baggy in the rear, which is owing to the fact that they aren’t specifically for running. But they're also great for travel and will last a long time.
Puma Women’s Sports Hipster Underwear
Pro: Vibrant neon colors
Con: Visible under leggings
Not best in class: This underwear looks good, though only comes in three colors. They’re comfy but not the most practical, seeing as they can travel when running and they can be somewhat visible through leggings.
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