The 10 Best Underwear for Running of 2021, According to an Expert

Stay dry, cool, and chafe-free with these comfortable undies

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks
"These offer exceptional moisture-control, comfort, durability, and support without any visible panty lines."
"With a glove-like fit, these underwear are snug and provide exceptional mobility and comfort."
"Made of lightweight, soft, and stretchy performance fabric, they’re easy to run in and don’t lose their shape over time."
"Breathable and able to wick away sweat, these can keep you feeling dry and fresh on the run."
"They’re extremely quick-drying and treated with anti-odor technology to fight the stink from sweat."
Best for Long Distance Runs:
Under Armour Pure Stretch Hipster at Zappos
"Stylish and comfortable, these durable underwear are perfect for runners who want to stay dry and chafe-free."
"The seamless technology and flatlock edging provide further protection from chafing and irritation, so you can run comfortably."
"With super-soft laser-cut edges, they offer a smooth, virtually invisible fit under everything."
"Dry and ready to wear within hours after washing, they make a great companion for active vacations."
"These durable briefs stay put under shorts or tights and won’t fade or lose their shape, even with repeated washings."

While some runners choose to go commando, others prefer to run with an extra layer underneath their shorts, pants, or capris. Depending on activity level, underwear choice can dramatically affect performance and comfort while running. The best options are made with technical fabrics that are breathable—wicking away sweat and keeping sensitive areas dry and comfortable. They also fight painful chafing and irritation.

If you're looking for a pair for your next run, we found some top choices based on material, seams, style, and fit.

With options for both men and women at any budget, here is the best underwear for running, according to a certified running coach.

Best Overall for Women: Balanced Tech Women's Classic Seamless Hipster Brief Bikini Panties

Pros
  • Comfortable and durable

  • Exceptional moisture-wicking

  • Seamless and tagless

  • No panty lines

Cons
  • Not available in plus sizes

  • Only come in packs of three or six

With exceptional moisture control, comfort, and durability, these bikini briefs from Balanced Tech are ideal for running, even when you’re slogging out some serious, sweaty mileage. Made with a soft, lightweight nylon and elastane fabric, the four-way stretch hugs and conforms to your body, providing excellent support. With a mid-rise waistband, they provide modest coverage without any visible panty lines.

The seamless style minimizes chafing, while the anti-odor and moisture-wicking technologies keep you dry, fresh, and comfortable. They also manage to keep you wedgie-free and don’t slide down as you’re running.

Available in sizes 0 through 18 in multiple colors, these quality briefs are a stellar value.

Materials: Nylon and elastane | Underwear Style: Bikini briefs | Care: Machine wash and air dry

Best Overall for Men: Under Armour Men's The Original 6'' Boxerjock

running underwear
Pros
  • Allows for good range of motion

  • Excellent moisture-wicking

  • Odor-resistant

  • Comfortable fit

Cons
  • Pricier than some other options

  • May not be long enough for big and tall men

For exceptional mobility and comfort, it’s tough to beat these men’s Boxerjock boxer briefs from Under Armour. They’re made with a stretchy fabric that quickly pulls moisture away from the skin, so chafing during your long training runs isn’t an issue. Plus, UA’s anti-odor technology helps prevent the growth of odor-causing bacteria.

With a glove-like fit, these underwear are snug, but not too tight that they dig into your skin. Lightweight and tagless, they almost feel like you’re not wearing anything under your shorts.

Choose from multiple colors and sizes small to 5XL to find the perfect option for your next run.

Materials: Polyester and elastane | Underwear Style: Boxer briefs | Care: Machine washable and tumble dry low

Best Budget for Women: Reebok Women's Seamless Hipster Panties 5-Pack

running underwear
Pros
  • Affordable

  • Seamless design

  • Comfortable and soft

  • Don’t bunch or ride up

Cons
  • Don’t come in very small sizes

  • Only available in a five-pack

While this running underwear is pricier than other budget buys, thanks to optimal fit and technical, quick-dry fabric, it's still a good deal for a high-quality item. Made with lightweight, stretchy performance fabric, these seamless hipster panties from Reebok don't lose their shape over time. They also stay put, so there's no need to adjust on the run or worry about them slipping down.

The seamless design fights chafing and panty lines and they're available at a reasonable price. Available in a package of five, they come in a variety of colors in sizes 4 to 18.

Materials: Nylon and spandex | Underwear Style: Hipster | Care: Machine wash and line dry

Best Budget for Men: New Balance Men's 6" Boxer Brief Fly Front with Pouch

Pros
  • Affordable

  • Exceptional moisture-wicking

  • Comfortable

  • Don’t bunch or rub

Cons
  • Not seamless

  • Only come in a three-pack

Men can stock up on these affordable boxer briefs from the trusted running brand New Balance, so they don’t have to worry about finding their favorite pair in the hamper. Made of a lightweight polyester-spandex fabric, they’re breathable and wick away sweat, keeping you feeling dry and fresh on the run.

These comfortable boxer briefs are also known for their soft and cool feel against your skin. The four-way stretch fabric supports you every step of your run, while the no-ride inseam saves you from irritating bunching and chafing.

Fade-resistant and crafted with quality in mind, they come in sizes small to XXL and they're available in a wide variety of colors.

Materials: Polyester and spandex | Underwear Style: Boxer briefs | Care: Machine wash and tumble dry low

Best Anti-Odor: REI Co-op Active Hipster Underwear

REI Co-op Active Hipster Underwear
Pros
  • Anti-odor

  • Quick-drying

  • Comfortable and soft

  • Moisture-wicking

Cons
  • Pricier than some other options

  • Limited color options

If you frequently run outdoors in warm weather, these hipster briefs from REI would be a perfect addition to your running attire. Made from anti-odor technology and polyester mesh fabric, they wick away moisture to keep you cool and dry. The stretchy material also helps them to fit like a glove, staying in place as you run.

Available in sizes 00 to 16, they’re extremely quick-drying, making them a good choice for road trips or other times when you need to do a quick wash of undergarments in the sink.

Materials: Polyester and spandex mesh | Underwear Style: Briefs | Care: Machine wash and air dry

Best for Long Distance Runs: Under Armour Women's Pure Stretch Hipster

Under Armour Pure Stretch Hipster
Pros
  • Don’t ride up or slide down

  • Quick-drying and moisture-wicking

  • Comfortable

  • Durable

Cons
  • Only available in a three-pack

  • Limited color options

Distance runners need underwear that won’t ride up, bunch, or chafe, and these briefs from Under Armour check all those boxes. Made from a super-soft stretch fabric, they provide a snug but comfy fit and exceptional moisture-wicking capabilities.

The high hipster cut and snug fit provide modest coverage, and they're tag-free to avoid rubbing or skin irritation. Stylish and comfortable, this durable option is perfect for female runners who want to stay dry and chafe-free.

Additionally, they come in sizes extra-small to extra-large, and they feature Under Armour’s anti-odor technology to keep you feeling fresh.

Materials: Elastane and nylon | Underwear Style: Briefs | Care: Machine wash and air dry

Best for Chafing: Runderwear Running Briefs

Pros
  • Don’t ride up and slide down

  • Quick-drying and moisture-wicking

  • Comfortable fit

  • Durable

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Limited color options

With a snug fit and moisture-wicking capabilities, Runderwear briefs keep you dry and comfortable, no matter how many miles you’re logging. The seamless technology and flatlock edging provide protection from chafing and irritation, and the technical fabric helps with temperature control, so you’ll stay cool when it’s hot, and warm when running in the cold.

Lightweight and durable, Runderwear briefs are available in sizes 4 to 18. While they certainly aren’t cheap, fans swear by the quality and performance and say they’re well worth the price.

Materials: Polyamide and elastane | Underwear Style: Briefs | Care: Machine wash and line dry

Best Thong: Under Armour Pure Stretch Thong

Under Armour Women's Pure Stretch Thong
Pros
  • Quick-drying

  • Comfortable fit

  • Don’t ride up and slide down

  • Tagless and seamless

Cons
  • Limited color options

  • Not available in plus sizes

For women who love comfort and optimal performance, thongs may be the underwear of choice. This pair from Under Armour is lightweight yet durable—featuring a four-way stretch fabric that's breathable and quick-drying. The super-soft edges offer a smooth, virtually invisible fit and the laser-cut design offers a wide range of movement.

The tagless, seamless design also helps to eliminate chafing, and the anti-odor technology features outstanding wicking capability, so you don't have to worry about them bunching up or digging in. If you like to wear underwear when running but don't want to feel like you're wearing them at all, these are a great pick.

Materials: Nylon and elastane | Underwear Style: Thong | Care: Machine wash and air dry

Best Quick-Drying: ExOfficio Women's Give-N-Go Bikini Briefs

ExOfficio Women's Give-N-Go Bikini Brief
Pros
  • Quick-drying

  • Odor-resistant

  • Comfortable fit

  • Breathable

Cons
  • Pricier than some other options

  • Limited colors

Featuring exceptional quick-drying and moisture-wicking capabilities, ExOfficio underwear are ideal for preventing irritation and chafing on the run. They’re dry and ready to wear within hours after washing, making them a great companion for active vacations. They also have just the right amount of elasticity, so they’re snug enough to stay in place and don’t bunch or ride up.

These bikini briefs are odor-resistant and antibacterial, so you can keep the funky smells under control.

Available in sizes 0 to 18, ExOfficio briefs are an ideal choice to keep you dry, cool, and comfortable.

Materials: Nylon and spandex |  Underwear Style: Briefs | Care: Machine wash and air dry

Best Seamless: New Balance Women's Ultra Comfort Performance Seamless Bikini

Pros
  • Seamless and tagless

  • Anti-odor

  • Very breathable

  • No visible panty lines

Cons
  • Not available in plus sizes

  • Only available in a three-pack

If you equally hate chafing and visible panty lines, these bikini briefs from New Balance may be the right ones for you. The seamless and tagless design helps you avoid painful irritation and creates a smooth appearance under clothing. Plus, the nylon and spandex blend offers a lightweight feel that wicks away moisture and eliminates odor, keeping you fresh, cool, comfortable, and dry.

These durable briefs won’t fade or lose their shape, even with repeated washings. Available in sizes 4 to 16, they come in a variety of colors.

Materials: Nylon and spandex | Underwear Style: Bikini briefs | Care: Machine wash and tumble dry low

Final Verdict

For comfortable, high-performance underwear that won’t rub, chafe, or bunch, Balanced Tech’s Bikini Briefs (view at Amazon) are an excellent pick for female runners. They’re lightweight and breathable, but they help wick away moisture, protect against odor, and provide excellent coverage.

Men can get a quality pair featuring similar wicking and performance features with the Under Armour Boxerjock Boxer Briefs (view at Amazon). If you’re looking to stock up on durable, dependable underwear for running, the Reebok Women’s Seamless Hipster Panties (view at Amazon) and New Balance Men's Boxer Brief (view at Amazon) are excellent budget-conscious choices.

What to Look for in Underwear for Running

Materials

Avoid cotton underwear for running, since it absorbs moisture and holds onto sweat. Opt for smooth and stretchy fabrics that are quick-drying and will wick away sweat, such as polyester or nylon, to keep you dry and comfortable.

Seams

Thick, bulky seams with raised edges can feel irritating or rub uncomfortably to cause chafing. Look for seamless underwear or ones with minimal or flatlock seams, which means the raw edges were sewn together so there’s no extra fabric.

Style and Fit

Whether you prefer bikini briefs, boxer briefs, boyshorts, hip huggers, or thongs, you can find running underwear in all types of styles. Choose a style and fit of underwear that you feel comfortable and confident in for everyday wear.

FAQs

Is it necessary to wear underwear while running?

Some running shorts have built-in underwear so it’s not necessary to wear underwear underneath them. Runners may also choose to go commando under a pair of compression shorts or tights. However, some runners do like to wear underwear when running because of the extra support and compression they provide. A high-quality pair of underwear that fits properly can also give runners some more protection against chafing.

Why Trust Verywell Fit?

As an avid runner, running coach, certified personal trainer, and fitness writer, Christine Luff has researched and tested lots of running gear and attire. She knows that the right undergarments can make the difference between a mediocre run and a fantastic one.

Was this page helpful?