Running Underwear–Is it worth it?

Hello! I am on my way to Portland for the Hood to Coast Relay race right now! But, before I am MIA for 24 hours on the open road I thought we should discuss running underwear… I got a great question from a reader (below) on is running underwear ‘worth it’.

Firstly, I love your blog! Your humor and fun attitude about running always gives me a little extra motivation when I’m in a running slump.

Secondly, my question. Recently when I’ve been shopping for running clothes/gear/shoes I’ve noticed that running underwear has become a popular item on the racks. None of my runner friends really know much about it other than it is kinda pricey, so I was wondering if you have ever tried this out, and if it is really any different from everyday normal underwear? Sorry if that’s a TMI question, but hopefully you can answer it!


But, I have a BIG confession to make before I answer it…

Question: Do you wear underwear to workout / run? If so, what kind? Have you tried the ‘fancy’ running underwear? Thoughts?


  1. says

    Haha love the video! I don’t think it’s weird that you don’t wear underwear, I’ve run in those short with built in underwear and I agree that’s the point! I haven’t tried running underwear but I am super curious because I am always struggling in that department when I do my long runs!

    • says

      My mom JUST asked me this question a few days ago so of course I forwarded your video to watch. I don’t wear underwear when I workout, it just gets in the way. It’s also questionable while wearing yoga pants and maxi dresses :-)

  2. Tracy says

    I don’t wear underwear either when I run or cycle! Most of her people I run with don’t either. I do have underwear that is not cotton that I wear in the winter when it is -30 outside. I layer up in the winter. They are not “running” underwear. I think they are slimming underwear. They are tight and do not absorb sweat. My 2 cents.

  3. Tracy says

    I don’t wear underwear when I run either. In the winter I have underwear that I wear but it is not “running” underwear. They are not cotton, they are polly/spandex. They are actually a pair of slimming underwear. They are tight and they don’t absorb sweat they let it wick out of my running pants. I would highly suggest to anyone running not to wear cotton underwear. My 2 cents.

    • Cacet says

      Yeah…I’m pretty sure that’s what the built-in undies are for! (Unless you are my four year old daughter, who insisted on a pair of real running shorts like mommy, and was totally freaked out by the thought of not wearing underwear with hers, even though they were built-in!)

  4. says

    I totally go commando when I run. Always have. I think amongst my running group underwear vs none is split about 50/50. I do have a pair of moving comfort underwear I bought intending to wear them running but the idea of wearing them on a run just seems uncomfortable. So, I have never worn them running but will occasionally wear them to go to the grocery store on those mornings that I don’t feel like wearing real clothes. They stay in place as advertised in that situation. But definitely an expensive pair of panties to just wear to HEB.

  5. Kristin says

    I dont wear it either under my spandex. I kept getting wedgies so I said eh forget it and now I go commando. No one knows (well except now the internet knows)……. :)

  6. says

    I do wear underwear when I run. (Now I feel like the weirdo?) I never bought “fancy” running underwear until this summer. I live in AZ where it is very hot. I started getting chafe marks from my regular cotton undies so I decided to see if the specialties would make a difference. (I stalked the online running stores and found some on clearance for less than $20 because I am also cheap.) They really did make a difference. No more chafing in really uncomfortable spots. I wear them on race day or when it’s going to be above 85 degrees.

  7. says

    Sometimes I run in underware….sometimes I don’t. It really depends on what I’m wearing. I wear cotton underwear in real life so running panties are a must if I’m going to wear them. I have tried underarmour ($20) New Balance ($8 at Marshall’s) and C9 ($12ish for a two-pack). Honestly, the C9 brand are my favorites. The point of running underware is that 1) it’s wicking and 2) it’s seamless. I think as long as the underware you currently use is not giving you problems, don’t change anything but hey, if you want to try something new, go for it!

  8. Katie says

    I don’t wear underwear when I run/workout either. I have thought of buying running underwear just to wear though. I just went on a trip to Thailand and thought they would be good to just have under dresses and normal clothes to keep me cool. Never ended up getting them though!

  9. Beth says

    I prefer cotton underwear for everyday, so I buy running underwear because it’s wicking and prevents swamp butt. Plus some of them have funny sayings, and underwear that makes me laugh is always a good thing. :)

  10. says

    I wear moving comfort running underwear for half and full marathons. This is mainly because they have no elastic that would bother me and do wick a bit. But there are non cotton non elastic styles of reg underwear that I’m sure would be the same but cheaper. Most of my capris have the cotton crotch area but I like underwear just because I feel more normal but apparently that myth was just debunked as I seem to be the exception to the rule. Lol.

  11. Corrinne says

    I insist on wearing underwear when I run. I guess I feel like it helps keep my booty from jiggling too much. I used to just wear the Victoria Secret cotton undies but then I found the work out undies at Target (C9 I think?) and I love them. They are really breathable and seamless but they do seem to be more like grannie panties on me. My husband always makes fun of me for not “free balling” it but I just can’t bring myself to do it. But I will go commando when I am biking.

  12. Alison says

    I’m a big cyclist – and you should NEVER wear underwear on a bike. So i say go Monica! Say no to underwear!

  13. Megan says

    I never wear underwear to run, whether I’m wearing spandex or shorts with built in briefs. It just seems like it would be really uncomfortable, whether it’s wicking or not. Just my two cents.

  14. Jackie says

    When I am wearing shorts–commando. When I am wearing tights–thongs. Of course, when I am wearing tights it is because it is COLD and every layer is needed. I read blogs about people not wearing tights all winter but that just isn’t possible where I live, And no underwear with bike shorts either. Finally convinced my 12 y.o. that going without underwear with her running shorts was the norm but my 10 y.o. still freaks. That’s OK as she will only wear boy’s shorts that reach her knees anyway!

  15. says

    I do both. I don’t wear underwear on my long runs or on race days. It’s just an added piece of clothing that increases your chances of chafing, uncomfortableness, and moisture retainer. I’ll wear a thong on my shorter runs and if I run right after work. But let’s be honest, running with underwear is not comfortable. I get wedgies and picking it in public isn’t very…polite. I’ve tried the running underwear and to me it was a waste of money. You have to have the right butt shape for them to work. I found myself getting wedgies more often in then. Not a fan. Spend the money on cuter running clothes.

  16. says

    Wow I had no idea so many people don’t wear underwear to run! I feel like I’ve been missing out. I’m totally not going to anymore. Thanks for the info- I’m probably more excited than I should be to try this out :)

  17. says

    Depends on what I’m wearing. Some of the built-in shorts in my running skirts are super tight and/or have odd seams that would be uncomfortable if I didn’t wear undies. I wear the same undies for running as I do for ever day–a poly no-show with grippy lining so they don’t ride up. Works great for me.

  18. Shannon says

    As a former college vball player, I have strong opinions when it comes to underwear and spandex. If I have spandex on, you can assume I’m not wearing underwear. But if you do wear underwear with spandex, please wear a thong. As for running/workout shorts, I only wear underwear if there is no built in – especially if I am going to a class where people might be able to see the goods.

  19. says

    I have one pair of Saucony running underwear. The only reason I got them is I found them at TJ Maxx for $5!!! I wear them when I’m going on a long run. I like them but honestly I do not notice much of a difference between them and my normal underwear.

  20. says

    I have the fancy running underwear for when I run in tights or leggings. (I totally skip it when I’m wearing shorts with a liner.) I’m too scared I’ll get bad chafing if I go commando, and it definitely stays drier than cotton undies. I got a good deal on a 3 pack a few years ago but I’m going to be purchasing new sets as it gets cool enough to wear tights to run again.

  21. Denise says

    I go commando. I thought that was the point with the built in underwear/liners. I do notice when people “DO” wear underwear under their spandex. It’s not that I am staring at their butts but it is obvious and I think they are wearing underwear… #sorry… not sorry.

  22. says

    I wear the seamless underwear from Pink Victoria Secret. (Regular VS seamless is good too but more expensive) and it works perfect for me. They wick pretty well and don’t chafe. My bladder is weird and can’t go commando and the cotton on long runs this summer got very uncomfortable.

  23. Petra says

    On short runs I go commando as my shorts have built in liners. But on runs longer than 15 km I wear underwear since my bladder has been known to leak. Talk about TMI topic, remember ladies do your kegel exercises.

  24. Melissa S. says

    I also wear thongs. Sometimes they bother me but not on a regular basis. I tried running with out underwear once. One word- CHAFING.

  25. says

    Sometimes I don’t wear any, and sometimes I wear nylon boxer briefs. I’ve tried UA and Lululemon underwear to no avail. The L and XL are cut too small. No matter what I wear, I have to adjust it during a run. I’m not trying to be cute when I’m running, I’m trying to be comfortable so I forget I’m wearing any.

  26. Amy says

    I was actually surprised at how people DO wear underwear while running. Most running bottoms are made so you don’t have to wear underwear with them. I love running capris and I wear them tight enough that there is no chafing (I definitely have the body where chafing is a possibility – no skinny-mini here ;)). I’ve always thought of underwear as one more layer to cause problems while running so I go without.

  27. Kimberly says

    I don’t usually wear underwear either! The way I see it, that’s just one more thing that could chafe on long or sweaty runs. If the bottoms have built in liners/underwear why would you double up?

  28. says

    It is definitely NOT weird to go commando when running (or working out in general), and in fact I think everyone else in my family does it, but I just can’t go underwear-less.

    I feel like Target used to have some kind of running underwear several years ago that I liked, but I don’t think they make them anymore (and I have gotten bigger so I can’t wear the ones I had before anyway). I recently tried the Under Armour pure stretch kind and was VERY skeptical because they are “one size fits all” — I normally wear a medium in VS underwear and sometimes a large in various other brands because I have a big booty. Really big. But they fit pretty well, don’t dig in/create weird muffin top issues, stay in place and there are no visible lines, even in super-tight running pants. They also are anti-microbial and not made of cotton, so they are good for working out.

    Here are the ones I got, if you’re interested:

    • Aaron C says

      Target sells them still. They are C9 from Champion. When I’m in the gym, I don’t wear tights because, well I think people would really look at me in a really odd way, due to the fact that I am a male, so I wear work out shorts and C9 women’s active wear under my workout shorts. They are awesome, they suction cup my front and back, they are dry wicking or duo-dry and stay in place no matter what I’m doing. I hate wearing underwear in general and seriously hate men’s underwear, and honestly I don’t think C9 makes them for men anyway. But if you young ladies are looking for good stay in place underwear check them out.

      Again they sell them at Target or Well, maybe they are going to stop selling them. I just tried to find a link so people could check them out, but it kept telling me something went wrong. That’s a bummer, I guess I’m going to head up there tomorrow and buy them out.

      For now, they do have them in the stores.

  29. Alison says

    I feel like a total weirdo now, because I do wear undies when I run and I believe they are cotton. Plain jane Hanes bikinis. Never had a problem, even during a half marathon. So I am weird, yes?

  30. Alison says

    I also think it’s funny that a few commenters here are maybe offended my my panty lines when wearing tights/capris. Like, if I don’t care about them, then why do you? Just don’t look!

  31. melissa says

    Another fan of going commando when working out! Sometimes in pure barre someone will bend over and I will see all the details of their printed underwear and I am still trying to decide if that is more revealing than if they weren’t wearing anything under their leggings lol

  32. Lala says

    I wear thongs in all situations – capris, tights, shorts with and without liners. To be specific, VS v-strings. They’re subtle. I know quite a few people who go commando, but I have just never tried it.

  33. Kathy says

    Who knew all the people I’m waving to out there have a secret (they’re all going commando!). I don’t run in shorts but I do get that the liner is meant to replace undies. I never think that little patch of liner in tights is meant to do that and I prefer to wear a thong under those…never had a chafing issue because they’re super plane and seamless. The occasional wedgie which I think I’m pretty pro at dealing with and I’d rather avoid the dreaded “camel toe” that seems to happen to so many of the free ballers.

  34. Sarah says

    Wow…I guess I’m in the minority since I wear underwear! I’m going to do it — TMI — and use the word discharge. I must be the only one with this problem??????? Someone else please chime in and make me feel better!

  35. Brooke says

    I’ve noticed those liners in my running shorts, but they are too loose to pass as a substitute for underwear. I always choose a seamless bikini pantie. I think mine are cotton, but I’ve never had a problem with chaffing. never gotten a wedgie either. maybe I’ll try commando later? I might be too chicken. I had no idea so many didn’t wear underwear!

  36. Rochelle says

    This is a great topic! I normally wear underwear, but just a vs thong. So stoked commando for a shorter run. I did just buy UA one size fits all running underwear, bit have not tested them out, I’m very skeptical of them! I also saw a pair of running underwear at my running store for $30! That is insane!

  37. Patty Thompson says

    I DO wear undies, and the ones I like are moving comfort. I take spin and bootcamp classes and don’t like sitting on the bike, equipment, floor, without an extra layer for my personal protection. I’ve never had a problem chafing or otherwise. We also do yoga after our runs and I am glad I have another layer under when doing the poses. I will never forget that someone in front of me, wasn’t wearing any and her running pants were very thin when she bent over, so you could basically see thru! So check if your pants are too thin before you moon everybody in yoga!!

  38. says

    No cotton underwear, that’s for sure. I’ve tried C9 (too thick) & Under Armour (expensive, only comes in one size), but I’m fine with the VS Pink microfiber seamless ones that are like 5 for $30.

  39. Allison says

    When it’s warm, no underwear. But, I live in MD and it can get COLD in the winter so in order to keep my lady bits from freezing I do wear underwear, but not “runerwear”. Just any underwear that isn’t cotton because cotton and sweat and cold only makes things worse!

  40. Aaron C says

    I am a male, and I also do not wear underwear under my running tights, both long and short. It’s annoying! But I have never been a fan of underwear period, especially male underwear, it’s the most annoying piece of clothing on earth. When I do, I wear xhilaration underwear, (women’s) bikini and hiphuggers along with C9 women’s active gear dry wicking underwear. The reason, because they use less material and it suction cups my front and back and they are the most comfortable thing I have ever worn. But again, I do not like wearing underwear in general. Yes you read it right, I am a male that was not a typo at the beginning. I don’t think any of you are weird or perverted, it’s not about that, it’s about comfort.

    But I do have a website that I found that was really interesting earlier today about running and work out underwear that I found on Shape Magazine that everyone might like.

    Thank you for posting your video, thank you all for your comments, I enjoyed reading them all.

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