The 12 Best Pairs of Underwear for Working Out of 2021

Find a pair to accompany your next activity

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
They feature exceptionally smooth fabric that stays in place no matter how your body’s moving.
Made from a blend of nylon and lycra elastane, they're smooth, stretchy, lightweight, and able to maintain their shape over time.
Part of the Adidas Climalite line, these boxer briefs wick sweat and dry quickly.
Along with a stretchy nylon blend, these UA briefs feature laser-cut edges and a tag-free waistband, perfect for any studio outfit.
These gender-neutral undergarments with quick-drying and breathable material will suit your every need.
Stretchy, soft, and comfortable, this sports brief is perfect for exercise and offered in nine sizes to suit almost any body type.
Designed with a crossover waistband to sit under the bump, these underwear work at any stage of pregnancy.
Best Period Panties:
Thinx Sport at Nordstrom
This moderately absorbent option will support your workouts during your cycle without being bulky.
These active briefs are made with moisture-wicking and odor-controlling material to handle any workout.
This barely-there thong eliminates panty lines and doesn't bunch or move around during your workout.

Once you've stocked up on shorts, leggings, and fitness tops, you'll want to buy some great workout underwear to complete your outfit. “Comfort is a key factor to having a feel-good experience while working out,” says Shayra Brown, NASM, personal trainer at Blink Fitness. If your underwear is bunching, riding up, or moving around while you work out, it's hard to feel comfortable.

Underwear worn during exercise needs to be tight enough to not slip around, but not overly constricting. You also want to consider your underwear material. “Look for fabric that wicks moisture away from your body, so moisture does not accumulate in your crotch area,” Annette Dale-Kramek, activewear designer and founder of Ancient Language 97, says. She recommends stretchy fabrics that are lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking. She also explains that cotton should be avoided because it retains moisture.

Here are the best pairs of underwear for working out on the market.

Best Overall for Men: Lululemon Always in Motion Boxer

Lululemon Always In Motion Boxer
Pros
  • Ergonomic fit with front pouch

  • Soft, stretchy material

  • Moisture-wicking fabric

Cons
  • May ride up

  • No fly opening

Lululemon’s Always in Motion Boxers are crafted from Modal—a form of rayon that’s flexible and durable. The lycra elastane helps with stretch, and combined, they make these boxers soft, breathable, and flexible.

Designed with an ergonomic silhouette, the boxers hug your body comfortably and feature a spacious front pouch. They're available in five sizes and two lengths, meaning you can get the perfect fit no matter your body shape.

Material: Modal, lycra elastane | Gusset Material: Modal, lycra elastane | Colors: Eight | Sizes: Small to extra-extra-large, in 5-inch and 7-inch lengths

Best Overall for Women: Lululemon InvisiWear Mid Rise Thong Underwear

Lululemon InvisiWear
Pros
  • Snug, but not too tight

  • Maintains shape over time

  • Soft, breathable cotton gusset

  • Moisture-wicking material

Cons
  • Limited size range

  • No seamless design

Lululemon’s InvisiWear Mid-Rise Thong is a fan favorite thanks to the smooth feel of the nylon- and lycra-blend material. Lightweight and stretchy, they're still durable enough to maintain shape over time and they offer both moisture-wicking and quick-drying capabilities.

The thong boasts a soft, breathable gusset—a detail that will keep you comfortable as you're moving around and working up a sweat. And since it's available in five colors, you shouldn't have trouble finding an option worth adding to your wardrobe.

Material: Nylon, lycra elastane | Gusset Material: Cotton | Colors: Five | Sizes: Extra-small to extra-extra-large

Best Budget for Men: Adidas Sport Performance Boxer Briefs

Adidas Sport Performance Boxer Brief
Pros
  • Moisture-wicking material

  • Tag-free waistband

  • Double-lined pouch

  • Shouldn’t bunch or ride up

Cons
  • May loosen over time

  • No fly opening

The Adidas Sport Performance Boxer Briefs come with two budget-friendly pairs designed for working out and everyday use. They're crafted with a blend of polyester and spandex, meaning they should be both stretchy and smooth.

Known for their sweat-wicking capabilities, they dry quickly to stand up to your most intense workouts. They also have a tagless waistband to cut down on discomfort, and they feature a snug fit that will keep them in place.

Material: Polyester, spandex | Gusset Material: Polyester, spandex | Colors: Seven | Sizes: Small to extra-extra-large

Best Budget for Women: Under Armour Women's Pure Stretch Hipster

Under Armour Pure Stretch Hipster
Pros
  • Stretchy, comfortable fit

  • Breathable cotton gusset

  • Anti-odor technology

Cons
  • Limited size range

  • Thicker than most

  • May lose stretch over time

Get three pairs of underwear for the price of one with Under Armour’s UA Pure Stretch Hipster. They're crafted with a super-stretchy blend of nylon and elastane, providing the flexibility you need to comfortably move around. They also feature a breathable cotton gusset to keep you cool.

The hipsters are designed with laser-cut edges and tagless waistbands, so you don’t have to worry about itchy details digging into your skin. And since they come equipped with anti-odor technology, you shouldn’t have to worry about the post-workout stench, either.

Material: Nylon, elastane | Gusset Material: Cotton | Colors: Three | Sizes: Extra-small to extra-large

Best Unisex: Urbody Boxer Brief

Urbody Boxer Brief
Pros
  • Gender-neutral

  • Snug, stretchy fit

  • Breathable and quick-drying

  • Wide range of sizes

Cons
  • Limited color options

  • May be bulky

Designed with a gender-neutral silhouette, Urbody's Boxer Briefs come in two variations—the original briefs and packing briefs. Both versions are crafted with a flexible blend of polyester and spandex that help the underwear maintain shape over time. They're also quick-drying to keep you comfortable as you work up a sweat.

Despite the compressive fit, these briefs may be bulkier than other workout underwear on the market. However, they still promise comfort and flexibility.

Material: Polyester, spandex | Gusset Material: Polyester, spandex | Colors: One | Sizes: Extra-small to extra-extra-large

Best Plus-Size: Girlfriend Collective Sport Brief

Girlfriend Collective Sport Brief
Pros
  • Eco-friendly

  • Seamless waistband and leg openings

  • Moisture-wicking material

Cons
  • Size range varies by color

  • Edges may roll

  • May slip out of place

Stretchy, soft, and comfortable, Girlfriend Collective’s Sport Briefs are an exercise must-have. They're crafted with RPET—a textile made from recycled plastic bottles—and they're designed with comfort in mind. They also contain a fair amount of spandex for durability and stretch.

A seamless waistband and seamless leg openings add to overall comfort, and they boast a Coolmax-fabric-lined gusset—keeping you comfortable by wicking away sweat. They are offered in a wide size range, which means you'll likely find a pair that meets your needs.

Material: RPET (recycled plastic bottles), spandex | Gusset Material: Polyester | Colors: Four | Sizes: Small to 6XL

Best Maternity: Kindred Bravely Under the Bump Full Coverage Maternity Briefs

Kindred Bravely Under the Bump Maternity Underwear
Pros
  • Comfortable crossover waistband

  • Flexible fit over time

  • Soft, breathable cotton gusset

Cons
  • Limited size range

  • Designed with seams

  • May sit too low for some

It's hard enough to find good workout underwear and even harder to find good maternity workout underwear. Thankfully, Kindred Bravely's Under The Bump Maternity Briefs comes with five pairs to help you stock up during pregnancy.

Stretchy and comfortable, they feature a crossover waistband designed to sit under your baby bump. They're also crafted with a flexible blend of rayon and spandex that forms to your body as it changes during pregnancy.

Material: Rayon, spandex | Gusset Material: Cotton | Colors: Five | Sizes: Small to extra-extra-large

Best Period Panties: Thinx Sport

Thinx Sport
Pros
  • Low-profile

  • Medium absorbency

  • Soft, breathable cotton and elastane gusset

  • Wide range of sizes

Cons
  • Limited color options

  • Seams may show through clothes

Thinx blends comfort and protection in a low-profile pair of sport period panties. Crafted with a blend of nylon and elastane, they're designed to stay in place while you work out. They also feature a breathable cotton and elastane gusset to keep you cool and comfortable throughout the day.

Since they fall under the category of period panties, they'll feel thicker than most athletic underwear. However, this helps them absorb liquid at a moderate level. Though the period products you use are ultimately up to you, this kind of absorption means you might be able to forgo pads during workouts—without increasing your risk of a leak.

Material: Nylon, elastane | Gusset Material: Cotton, elastane | Colors: Four | Sizes: Extra-small to 4XL

Best Briefs: Patagonia Women's Active Briefs

Patagonia Active Briefs
Pros
  • Fuller coverage

  • Seamless, tag-free waistband

  • Leg openings prevent chafing and bunching

  • Odor-controlling fabric

Cons
  • Limited color options

  • May run small

Patagonia's Active Briefs will give you more support than you’d find from a skimpier pair of workout undies. But since they’re crafted from a blend of recycled polyester, nylon, and spandex, you can still expect them to feel lightweight, breathable, and stretchy.

Since the briefs boast a seamless, tag-free waistband, they cut down on itch and discomfort as you work out. The leg openings are also designed to stay securely in place—minimizing the chance that they'll ride up, chafe, or bunch. To top things off, they're made with Polygiene odor control technology to cut down on bacteria and post-workout stench.

Material: Polyester, nylon, spandex | Gusset Material: Polyester, nylon, spandex | Colors: One | Sizes: Extra-small to large

Best Thong: Third Love Comfort Stretch Thong

Third Love Comfort Stretch Thong
Pros
  • Comfortable stitch-free design

  • Breathable cotton gusset

  • Wide variety of colors

Cons
  • May ride up

  • Gusset may be too narrow for some

  • May loosen with use

ThirdLove’s Comfort Stretch Thong is comfortable, stretchy, and available in a wide range of sizes and colors. The thong is crafted from a stretchy blend of nylon and spandex, so it should flexibly move with you as you exercise. And thanks to its breathable cotton gusset, it promises to feel pretty cool, too.

This style boasts a stitch-free design, which means less discomfort and fewer panty lines. It also comes in an inclusive size range and 11 colors, so you shouldn't have trouble finding an option that works for you.

Material: Nylon, spandex | Gusset Material: Cotton | Colors: 11 | Sizes: Small to extra-extra-extra-large

Best No-Show: Nude Barre Seamless Bikini Panty

Nude Barre Seamless Bikini Panty
Pros
  • Comfortable seamless design

  • Breathable cotton gusset

  • Available in 13 shades

Cons
  • Size range varies by color

  • Only available in nude colors

  • Rise may be a little high in the back

Even if you buy "no-show" panties, they might be visible if they don't come close to matching your skin tone. Unfortunately, many seamless panties are only offered in a couple of nude tones. Nude Barre’s Seamless Bikini Panties come in 13 shades to help solve this issue.

They're crafted with a blend of nylon and elastane and they feature a breathable cotton gusset to keep you comfortable during your workout. The seamless design ensures they won't dig into your skin, and they're snug enough to stay in place as you move.

Material: Polyamide, elastane | Gusset Material: Cotton | Colors: 18 | Sizes: Extra-small to extra-large

Best Seamless: Sweaty Betty Mindful Seamless Hipster Briefs

Sweaty Betty Mindful Seamless Hipster Briefs
Pros
  • Comfortable seamless design

  • Thicker than most no-shows

  • Lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking

Cons
  • May give you pantylines

Visible panty lines aren't the only reason you might want to avoid seams. Some prefer seamless underwear to avoid digging and irritation from stitches on the material. Sweaty Betty’s Mindful Seamless Hipster Briefs are perfect for the person who wants a seamless panty, but who also craves more support than no-show panties tend to provide.

Crafted from Lenzing yarn, the briefs should feel soft to the touch, and thicker than your average pair of no-show panties. But thanks to their ribbed design, you can also expect them to feel lightweight, breathable, and flexible enough to work out in. True to form, the seamless undies offer the full, supportive coverage you’d expect from a pair of briefs, and their cozy design makes them a great pick for both exercise and everyday wear.

Material: Lenzing yarn, polyamide, elastane | Gusset Material: Lenzing yarn, polyamide, elastane | Colors: Four | Sizes: Extra-small to extra-extra-large

Final Verdict

Comfortable, breathable, and flexible, Lululemon's Always in Motion Boxers (view at Lululemon) are great for working out. They have a stretchy composition that stays in place while you're moving, but they're also cozy enough to wear for daily use. You can find them in five sizes, eight colors, and two lengths—meaning you'll have plenty of options to consider.

Another great choice is Lululemon's InvisiWear Mid-Rise Thong (view at Lululemon) which is crafted with nylon and elastane to provide a smooth and stretchy feel. Flexible enough to allow for a full range of motion, they're also snug and will stay in place when you exercise. The fabric also wicks away moisture keeping you cool and comfortable.

What to Look for in Underwear for Working Out

Material

How a pair of underwear feels counts for a lot. That's why you'll want to pay attention to the list of materials in a pair of workout underwear to ensure that it will feel comfortable during your practice. You want something that's lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking—keeping you comfortable and cool when you work out. You also want a pair that will provide a snug but flexible fit. Opting for nylon or spandex is a good choice.

According to Dale-Kramek, while cotton is a popular choice, it may actually hold onto moisture. So if you’re in the market for something moisture-wicking, you may be better off with a synthetic textile—like polyester or nylon. 

Gusset Material

When shopping for workout underwear, you may notice that the word gusset comes up again and again. Simply put, the gusset is the piece of fabric lining the crotch of the underwear. And since it’s designed to brush up against some of the most sensitive skin on your body, it’s often crafted from a different material than the rest of the underwear. (The underwear may be made of stretchy synthetic fabric, whereas the gusset may be made of cotton.)

Cut

Workout underwear is available in a range of different cuts—including thongs, hipsters, briefs, and more. Skimpier options, like thongs, may cut down on visible panty lines. But according to Dale-Kramek, they may also irritate your skin. Fuller coverage options, like briefs, can be great if you’re looking for more support. But since they feature more fabric, they may bunch up, add bulk to your workout bottoms, or cause panty lines.  

Seams and Tags

A lot of workout underwear is designed without seams or waistband tags to make them more comfortable and less visible. “Seamless may be more comfortable across the board,” Dale-Kramek says. (That said, she notes that seamless underwear may not be as necessary as we make it out to be.) She also recommends finding something “simple, lightweight, and airy” above all else.”

Colors

Workout underwear comes in all kinds of different colors—some nude, some neutral, and some vibrant. Though color is ultimately a matter of personal preference, you may want to consider the opacity of your workout bottoms when shopping for underwear. (A pair of vibrant underwear is likely to show through a translucent pair of leggings.)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Should you wear underwear when you work out?

    If you want to stay comfortable and reduce your risk of infection, it may be a good idea to wear underwear while working out. Why? Sweating is a normal part of working out. But if that sweat pools in your crotch area, it may make you uncomfortable—and it may also increase your risk of infection.

    For this reason, it’s important to make sure you’re wearing something that will wick moisture away from your crotch as you exercise. If your workout bottoms are adequately moisture-wicking, they may take care of this for you. But if they aren’t, you may need a pair of underwear to make sure sweat isn’t pooling anywhere it shouldn’t.

  • Is it bad to wear thongs while working out?

    Thongs are a popular choice in the workout underwear space. After all, they’re unlikely to cause visible panty lines—and since they’re so low-profile, they’re also unlikely to add bulk to your workout bottoms. But Dale-Kramek advises against wearing thongs while working out because they can ride up and irritate your tush.

Why Trust Verywell Fit?

Verywell Fit writer Lindsey Lanquist has years of experience in both the health and fitness space and the fashion space. So you can trust her when she says she knows what a difference the right pair of workout underwear can make.

For this shopping guide, she prioritized underwear that was made from lightweight, comfortable, and breathable materials. And she favored moisture-wicking and anti-odor options wherever she found them. To increase your chances of finding a pair of workout underwear you love, she made sure to include a range of different styles. She also included options that come in many sizes and colors.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Tang K-PM, Chau K-H, Kan C-W, Fan J. Assessing the accumulated stickiness magnitude from fabric–skin friction: effect of wetness level of various fabrics. R Soc open sci. 2018;5(8):180860.

  2. De Sousa J, Cheatham C, Wittbrodt M. The effects of a moisture-wicking fabric shirt on the physiological and perceptual responses during acute exercise in the heatAppl Ergon. 2014;45(6):1447-1453. doi:10.1016/j.apergo.2014.04.006