Do You Wear Underwear With Running Shorts?

Running with underwear usually increases the heat down there which make some feel uncomfortable. On the other hand, the mesh that substitutes underwear on running shorts is not sufficient to support for many. So the question remains: Do you wear underwear with running shorts? Obviously, the answer is a personal one, but there are three factors to consider.


The Kind Of Running Shorts You Are Wearing

Running shorts come in different shapes and sizes. Depending on what you choose to wear for your run, you may decide to wear underwear with them or to skip. There are three kinds of favorite running shorts:

Compression Tights


These are similar to tights used by cyclists and cling closely to the body.

Many prefer this kind of shorts because they hold the muscle firmly in place during the run. Compression shorts also help keep the muscles warm during the run that can help prevent injury. They can be worn as an outer workout garment or an inner one underneath something looser (1).

The fabric used is designed to have nothing underneath. Compression shorts can also help improve performance during workouts which increases their popularity (2).Ideally, they are designed to be worn without anything underneath.

However, during long runs, wearing compression shorts without underwear may cause friction on the skin. This problem is particularly true during humid days. Some compression shorts have flatlock stitching technology that helps reduce friction on the skin.

Full Split Shorts


These shorts have slits on each side that allow you maximum leg movement. The shorts are loved by many runners because they allow you to move with ease. Some full split shorts come with liners while others don't have. The liners are designed to substitute as underwear although their coverage is minimal (3).

If this is the kind of running shorts you use, whether or not to wear underwear depends on how much support you get. For women, the shorts can be a comfortable choice if used only for running. If you are stretching or doing other activities, however, you may consider using underwear with them.

Longer Shorts


These shorts usually come with pockets where you can keep keys and the like. Depending on the material used, you can decide whether or not to wear underwear. They are similar to full split shorts but just longer (5). 

The Kind Of Underwear You Are Wearing

In case you do decide to wear underwear with running shorts, the material and kind of underwear you also select matters. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice:

Keep Away From Thongs

Many love this option because of the chance to stay clear from wedgies but health-wise, they are not a good idea especially for women. According to researchers, thongs can cause irritation and infection. Wearing a thong during exercise means rubbing back and forth on the cloth which can irritate the skin. In addition, thongs can irritate the rectum and increase the risk of hemorrhoids (6,7).

In addition, thongs can cause bacteria to spread from the anus to the vagina.

Stick To Cotton Underwear

The benefits of wearing cotton underwear lie in the breathability of the material. Since bacteria and yeast love moist environments, the best option is to keep your genital area dry and free from moisture. A synthetic material such as nylon traps moisture and heat which gives yeast the perfect breeding ground. (8)

In addition, cotton helps absorb moisture to prevent odor. The hypoallergenic material of cotton allows you to breathe while you exercise. Even with this kind of underwear, it is advised that you change underwear more than once a day especially after you exercise.

Like thongs, shapewear and other tight fitting underwear may do wonders for your figure but are not a healthy choice. Not only do they keep moisture but they may also restrict blood flow which is never a good thing. (9)

The Kind Of Skin Irritations You Suffer From


The last factor to consider when deciding whether or not to wear underwear with running shorts is your personal level of susceptibility to chafing and other skin irritations.

Many runners who have large muscles have the issue of the upper inner thighs rubbing against each other when they run. If you suffer from his problem, you may consider using compression tights underneath your shorts to reduce friction.

The secret if you experience chafing is to identify the area and probable cause of the irritation. For some, it may be skin rubbing against the skin while in other cases, it has to do with the material of your running shorts. (10)

There are many ways to prevent chafing when running including using a lubricant and choosing better underwear.


The choice whether or not to wear underwear with running shorts depends on these three factors. Before you decide what works for you, consider the kind of shorts you are wearing, the underwear and your personal vulnerability to irritation. With these three issues in mind, you will make the best decision for your running performance.