Workout Underwear: Your Best Options

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September 28, 2023

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As dramatic as it might sound, your activewear really has the power to make or break your workout. A scratchy, unsupportive or too-tight sports bra can kill your vibe, the wrong shoes can make a tough workout even harder, and bottoms that aren’t squat-proof can mess with your workout confidence. And then, there’s your underwear. 

As so many women will know, the wrong pair can throw your Sweat session off completely. It’s the last thing you want to be thinking about while you exercise, but the wrong pair of underwear can result in bunched fabric, wedgies, skin irritation or infections, and feeling the opposite of fresh. 

Choosing the best underwear for working out is essential for comfort and hygiene, and will allow you to go into your workout without a second thought paid to what you’re wearing. 

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The best fabrics 

If you’re someone who doesn’t sweat very much or you have sensitive skin, your best option is to opt for natural fibres when selecting fabrics for your workout underwear. Fabrics like cotton and bamboo are lightweight, eco-friendly and breathable, keeping you comfortable while you exercise. Bamboo also has antibacterial and antimicrobial qualities, which we love! 

If skin sensitivity is your main issue, going for undyed white underwear can also help, as fabric dyes can be a skin irritant. Leave those lacy numbers for another time, too. The fabrics aren’t made to be particularly breathable for workouts and the cuts can be uncomfortable or irritating. 

Tend to be more on the sweaty side or know certain workouts or training styles (or even seasons!) make you sweat more than usual? While natural fibres are great, they might not be the best option for you as they tend to hold moisture, which can leave you feeling uncomfortably damp with sweat trapped on your skin. Many activewear brands now sell underwear made of fast-drying moisture-wicking material to keep you feeling comfortable from your first rep to your last.

The best cuts

The shape and design of your workout underwear is totally up to you and what your personal preferences are. Many women prefer a seamless design or a thong to avoid any visible lines or the discomfort of fabric bunching mid-workout, while for others, more coverage equals more comfort. You might feel your best with a pair that sits lower on your hips, while your best friend might love a high-waisted cut to prevent any rolling down issues. You do you!

What about… going commando?

This question can spark heated - not to mention hilarious - debate amongst gym-goers, but it’s worth talking about! Many women are fans of wearing only tights or shorts as for them it feels most comfortable, and means no mid-workout underwear adjustments or visible lines. 

If you’ve wanted to try it, don’t worry, it won’t pose a health risk, but there are a few things to keep in mind to maintain good hygiene and feel comfortable as you exercise.

  1. Make sure you’re putting on a freshly washed pair of workout bottoms. 

  2. Choose fast-drying, moisture-wicking fabrics to draw the sweat away from your skin. Some activewear brands are now designing their workout bottoms with a square of cotton in the crotch, knowing how many women choose to workout this way!

  3. Wear shorts or leggings that are tight-fitting. Loose fabrics means more friction and potential chafing! 

  4. Go for a pair that don’t have seams around the groin area, otherwise the seam may rub and cause irritation. 

  5. Wash your workout bottoms after every workout, even if you don’t feel super sweaty. You want to minimise bacteria, reduce any chance of irritation or infection, and minimise the amount of time that the sweat is sitting on your skin. You wouldn’t repeatedly wear underwear after a workout, so the same rule applies here!

  6. Have a post-workout shower to wash off any sweat and bacteria. If you don’t have time to shower immediately, use antibacterial wet wipes to fresh up and change into dry, clean clothes.

Sweat is about so much more than your workouts

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The best habits 

Whether you’re a fan of wearing underwear during your workouts or not, our advice remains the same. Do what makes you feel most comfortable and confident for your workouts, shower and wash your underwear and activewear after each Sweat session, and choose fabrics that keep you as cool and comfy as possible.

When it’s so easy to come up with excuses not to work out, we don’t ever want to hear that your underwear is one of them.

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A more empowered you starts with Sweat, and our editorial team is here to bring you the latest fitness tips, trainer recommendations, wellbeing news, nutritional advice, nourishing recipes and free workouts.

* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.


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