12 Best Underwear for Working Out in Comfort

Lululemon's Always in Motion Boxer is breathable and keeps sweat at bay

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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,” Shayra Brown, NASM-CPT, a personal trainer at Blink Fitness, says.

Reviewed & Approved

Made of moisture-wicking fabrics, our best men's overall choice is Lululemon's Always in Motion Boxer which keeps sweat at bay and provides full coverage. We also recommend Lululemon's InvisiWear Mid Rise Thong Underwear as our best women's overall choice because it is soft, breathable, and maintains its shape over time.

When buying, “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.

We researched dozens of underwear for working out and evaluated them for material, breathability, comfort, and cost.

Based on our research, here are the best underwear for working out on the market.

Best Men's Overall: Lululemon Always in Motion Boxer

4.8
Lululemon Always In Motion Boxer

Courtesy of Lululemon

Pros
  • Ergonomic fit with front pouch

  • Soft, stretchy material

  • Moisture-wicking fabric

Cons
  • No fly opening

We chose Lululemon’s Always in Motion Boxers as our top overall pick because they are soft, breathable, and flexible thanks to the combination of Lycra for stretch and Modal, a form of Rayon that’s soft and durable. The boxers are smooth and lightweight for a "barely there" feeling.

Designed with an ergonomic silhouette, the boxers hug your body comfortably and feature a spacious front pouch, although there is no built-in fly opening. Plus, it's available in six sizes and two lengths, so you can get the perfect fit no matter your body shape.

Material: Modal, Lycra Elastane | Gusset Material: Modal, Lycra Elastane | Colors: Eight | Sizes: XS-XXL, in 5-inch and 7-inch lengths | Price at time of publication: $28

Best Women's Overall: Lululemon InvisiWear Mid Rise Thong Underwear

Lululemon InvisiWear

Courtesy: Lululemon

Pros
  • Maintains shape over time

  • Soft, breathable cotton gusset

  • Moisture-wicking material

Cons
  • 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 we like that it's available in ten colors, so you shouldn't have trouble finding an option worth adding to your wardrobe.

Material: Nylon, Lycra | Gusset Material: Cotton | Colors: Ten | Sizes: XS-XXL | Price at time of publication: $18

Best Men's Budget: Adidas Sport Performance Boxer Briefs

Adidas Sport Performance Boxer Brief

Courtesy: Dick's Sporting Goods

Pros
  • Moisture-wicking material

  • Tag-free waistband

  • Double-lined pouch

Cons
  • May loosen over time

  • No fly opening

The Adidas Sport Performance Boxer Briefs come in a budget-friendly two-pack, designed for working out and everyday use. They're crafted with a blend of Polyester and Spandex, so they are both stretchy and smooth.

Known for their sweat-wicking capabilities, these Adidas boxer briefs dry quickly to stand up to your most intense workouts. We like the tagless waistband that cuts down on chafing, and while they don't feature a fly opening, they have a snug fit and no-ride-up leg construction that keeps them in place.

Material: Polyester, Spandex | Gusset Material: Polyester, Spandex | Colors: Fourteen | Sizes: S-XXL | Price at time of publication: $40

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

Under Armour Pure Stretch Hipster

Courtesy of Zappos

Pros
  • Seamless, tagless design

  • Breathable cotton gusset

  • Anti-odor technology

Cons
  • Limited size range

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 move. We also like that they feature a breathable cotton gusset to keep you cool. The size range is a bit limited but their stretchy construction makes for a comfortable fit.

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

Material: Nylon, Elastane | Gusset Material: Cotton | Colors: Three | Sizes: XS-XL | Price at time of publication: $25

Best Unisex: Urbody Boxer Brief

Urbody Boxer Brief

Courtesy: Urbody

Pros
  • Snug, stretchy fit

  • Breathable and quick-drying

  • Wide range of sizes

Cons
  • Only one color option

  • May be bulky

Designed with a gender-neutral silhouette, Urbody's Boxer Briefs come in two variations—the original briefs and packing briefs. We like that 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, we noticed that these briefs may be bulkier than other workout underwear on the market. However, they still promise breathability and stretchiness. These boxer briefs also offer a wider waistband for a secure fit around your hips.

Material: Polyester, Spandex | Gusset Material: Polyester, Spandex | Colors: One | Sizes: XS-XXL | Price at time of publication: $35

Best Plus-Size: Girlfriend Collective Sport Brief

Girlfriend Collective Sport Brief

Courtesy: Girlfriend Collective

Pros
  • Eco-friendly

  • Seamless waistband and leg openings

  • Moisture-wicking material

Cons
  • Size range varies by color

  • Edges may roll

Stretchy, soft, and comfortable, Girlfriend Collective’s Sport Briefs are an exercise must-have. They're crafted with 80 percent RPET—a textile made from recycled plastic bottles—and they're designed with comfort in mind. The other 20 percent is Spandex for durability and stretch.

A seamless waistband and seamless leg openings add to overall comfort, and they boast a fabric-lined gusset that keeps you comfortable by wicking away sweat. We like the wide size and color availability, which means you'll find a pair that meets your needs.

Material: RPET (recycled plastic bottles), Spandex | Gusset Material: Polyester | Colors: Twelve | Sizes: XXS-6XL | Price at time of publication: $18

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

Kindred Bravely Under the Bump Maternity Underwear

Courtesy: Amazon

Pros
  • Comfortable crossover waistband

  • Flexible fit over time

  • Soft, breathable cotton gusset

Cons
  • Designed with seams

  • May sit too low for some

We know that 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 come 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 that prevents rolling and added pressure typical of a higher waistband. We also like that they're 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: S-XXL | Price at time of publication: $35

Best Period Panties: Thinx Sport

Thinx Sport

Courtesy: Thinx

Pros
  • Medium absorbency

  • Cut allows for flexible movement

  • Wide range of sizes

Cons
  • Limited color options

  • Thicker than other athletic underwear

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. We like that they feature a breathable cotton and Elastane gusset to keep you cool and comfortable throughout the day and the cut at the hip allows for more leg movement during workouts.

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 may be able to forgo pads during workouts—without increasing your risk of a leak, making your workouts more comfortable.

Material: Nylon, Elastane | Gusset Material: Cotton, Elastane | Colors: Four | Sizes: XS-4XL | Price at time of publication: $35

Best Briefs: Patagonia Women's Active Briefs

patagonia-womens-active-briefs

Patagonia

Pros
  • 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, they will still 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. We love that the leg openings are designed to stay securely in place—minimizing the chance that they'll ride up, chafe, or bunch. And we like that they're made with odor control technology to cut down on bacteria and post-workout stench.

Material: Polyester, Nylon, Spandex | Gusset Material: Polyester, Nylon, Spandex | Colors: One | Sizes: XS-XL | Price at time of publication: $26

Best Thong: ThirdLove Comfort Stretch Thong

ThirdLove Comfort Stretch Thong

ThirdLove

Pros
  • Comfortable stitch-free design

  • Breathable cotton gusset

  • Wide variety of colors

Cons
  • Gusset may be too narrow for some

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 moves with you as you exercise. And thanks to its breathable cotton gusset, it promises to feel pretty cool, too.

We love that this style boasts a stitch-free design, which means less chance of itching and chafing and the silky smooth fabric means 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: XS-3XL | Price at time of publication: $16

Best No-Show: Nude Barre Seamless Bikini Panty

Nude Barre Seamless Bikini Underwear

Macy's

Pros
  • Comfortable seamless design

  • Breathable cotton gusset

  • Available in 13 shades

Cons
  • Size range varies by color

  • Only available in nude colors

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. We love that Nude Barre’s Seamless Bikini Panties come in 13 shades to help solve this issue.

They're crafted with a blend of Polyamide and Elastane and 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: 13 | Sizes: XS-XL | Price at time of publication: $26

Best Seamless: Sweaty Betty Mindful Seamless Hipster Briefs

Sweaty Betty Mindful Seamless Hipster Briefs

Courtesy: Sweaty Betty

Pros
  • Comfortable 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 Modal yarn, a form of Rayon, we love that the briefs 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: Modal, Polyamide, Elastane | Gusset Material: Modal, Polyamide, Elastane | Colors: Three | Sizes: XS-XXL | Price at time of publication: $20

Final Verdict

Comfortable, breathable, and flexible, Lululemon's Always in Motion Boxers are our top overall pick for working out. They're made from stretchy fabric that stays in place while you're moving, but they're also cozy enough to wear for daily use.
We also recommend Lululemon's InvisiWear Mid-Rise Thong, which is crafted with Nylon and Elastane to provide a smooth feel. Flexible enough to allow for a full range of motion, they're also snug and will stay in place when you exercise.

How We Selected the Best Underwear for Working Out

First, we spoke with Shayra Brown, NASM, a personal trainer, and Annette Dale-Kramek, an activewear designer, to get their expert opinion on what features to look for when shopping for underwear to work out in. Then, we researched dozens of options from the most trusted and popular retailers by reading product details and customer reviews to decide which pairs stood out from the rest.

We considered the overall cut and style of each pair, the material, including gusset material, and price. We also looked at features like anti-odor technology, whether they had any seams or tags, the color range offered, and the size range.

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.

2 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 KM, Chau KH, Kan CW, Fan JT. Assessing the accumulated stickiness magnitude from fabric-skin friction: effect of wetness level of various fabrics. R Soc Open Sci. 2018 Aug 22;5(8):180860. doi: 10.1098/rsos.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 heat. Appl Ergon. 2014 Nov;45(6):1447-53. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2014.04.006