What underwear should you wear when you run?

What's the best UNDERWEAR to run in?

To my Grandfather, who I know reads every blog I post – please don’t read this one. Also anyone else that doesn’t want to know about my knickers…STOP READING NOW!

For those of you runners, I feel like there’s no such thing as TMI (too much info) when it comes to sharing with other runners. You can talk about your pre and post run loo habits, the best and worst portable loos, runners trots, and chafing. Today we’re talking about underwear.

When I first started running, I thought when it came to pants, bigger was better. Large, black M&S granny pants to be precise. What I didn’t take into account was ‘hungry bum’ while running which sadly caused some painful chafing.

I now run commando (sorry Grandfather if you kept reading). There’s nothing to chafe, and it’s one less thing to think about when planning your running kit. Here’s some top tips if you do want to run commando;

  • Shorts with pants within are the best of inventions.
  • You really need to test that your leggings are not see-through, ask someone you trust to tell you the truth before you go for a run.
  • Run skirts are amazing, why do you think I wear them for all of my marathons?
  • Vaseline is your friend. Actually vaseline should be every runners friend, regardless.
  • Look for leggings with a proper gusset (Lululemon is very good for this), sweat wicking, and antibacterial if possible.
  • Wash your leggings/shorts/skirt after every run.

I was recently sent some Runderwear to test out, and was intrigued. I wore them on a run and can see why people like them. I felt snug, secure, protected. The seamless knickers have micro-perforations throughout the material to control air-flow and ensure maximum comfort, ideal for those that like to wear a big knicker when running. These would be great for anyone that wants top coverage out on their run (or in their yoga class). I’d be more likely to wear these to the gym or a class where I didn’t want accidental knicker flashing.


I have to say, I don’t quite understand the Runderwear bras. In my opinion they aren’t supportive enough to run in, despite the website saying that they are. I am a strong believer that no matter the size of your boobs, they need to be adequately supported! Again, this might be good for a Pilates class or even Bikram yoga.

I often run in what my mum calls ‘my silly little knickers’ – a thong. There are some great seamless ones out there from sports shops like Sweaty Betty and Lululemon as well as good old M&S, although obviously technical, breathable fabric that you’ll get from the sports thong is better for your bottom. You’ve already done the ‘hungry bum’ so it won’t be a surprise (less chafing) and you get some coverage to ease any nerves of going commando.

It’s not so simple for guys either. Shorts with a lining are the obvious choice, however that gets a little nippy in winter. Baggy boxers aren’t ideal for running, apparently a tighter brief is best. Tom likes these Lululemon pants – Lock em down trunks.

What pants do you run in?


  1. October 1, 2015 / 7:33 am

    I agree that there is no such thing as TMI when it comes to sharing with other runners! It is especially important for the new runners who don’t have any runner friends around – your best friend becomes a running blog. In terms of going commando when running, I think it’s a great idea (if you have many running clothes though), however, the biggest problem for me would be calming my nerves as I would think ‘everybody can see it’. I will have to try it as it seems verrrry comfortable. Thanks for sharing!

    • charlotte
      October 4, 2015 / 12:20 pm

      I don’t think you should worry when out running, but I do definitely feel like that in some Barre/Pilates classes!

  2. Elliot Kidner
    October 1, 2015 / 9:06 am

    Yes you have hit the nail on the head ‘commando’ every time regardless of weather ???? as a boy a pair of shorts with running lineing are a must though to keep all your ‘bits’ in place, and in the spirit of never TMI ???? during the winter months your bits do get ‘effected’ by the cold but nothing a hot shower will help bring back to life after!!!.

    Also the tip about vasaliene is a good one smear the stuff on ????

  3. Elliot Kidner
    October 1, 2015 / 9:08 am

    Sorry the ???? We’re comedy smiley faces that haven’t uploaded properly.

  4. October 1, 2015 / 9:18 am

    I don’t have any undies recommendations but I would love to know what Lululemon leggings you have on!

  5. October 1, 2015 / 9:29 am

    Glad other people want to talk about these ‘secret’ things. I don’t want to feel like I’m odd somehow. I bought some runderwear a couple of months ago and I find them convenient (if you don’t mind the granny style pants). But only on shorter workout times. To be honest, anything over one hour makes me feel very uncomfortable, don’t mean to be gross but the sweat tends to pool in the vaginal area. Maybe I just sweat too much? Anyway, I like them for shorter workouts but go commando for longer ones. I don’t find the commando thing very odd since I was already doing it with the bike gear. Thanks for sharing 🙂 hope your grandpa took your warning seriously!

    • charlotte
      October 4, 2015 / 12:19 pm

      I completely agree, no grey leggings for me 🙂

  6. October 1, 2015 / 10:26 am

    I usually do commando, but it does mean you have to change the leggings/capris/whatever every time. Which is a PITA. I’m also trialing Runderwear briefs and like you I found them really comfy. The bra top is also comfy, but is not good enough to be a sports bra (so I’m using it for climbing).

    • charlotte
      October 4, 2015 / 12:17 pm

      They’ve actually now changed their website to reflect that it is definitely not supportive enough, yay!

  7. October 1, 2015 / 4:44 pm

    Another commando-goer and proud, but I’d love to know your recommendations for sports bras. I now have a marathon training war wound in the form of chafing on my sternum 🙁 vaseline doesn’t seem to help and I’ve started to tuck my vest under the bra when I’m running to stop the pain! I’ve always worn shock absorbers as find they give the best support. Any ideas?

    • charlotte
      October 4, 2015 / 12:16 pm

      Its on my list to write another blog post about the best sports bras for support, but I like Moving Comfort, Shock Absorber RUN bras and Under Armour!

      • Martha
        May 21, 2016 / 2:33 am

        I know this question what written long ago, but using your bra backwards (the inside out) helped me!

  8. PortlyGent
    October 1, 2015 / 5:08 pm

    I’m a hefty guy and either wear shorts with internal mesh liner, or compression shorts with running shorts over the top. The compression shorts would be OK on their own but I think they are too revealing. Never had chafing since doing this – wearing normal underwear under my shorts DID cause nasty chafing.

    One annoying thing Insuffer from is chafed nipples – vaseline is not proof against it. Hairy chest so don’t want to wear plasters – any advice??

    • charlotte
      October 4, 2015 / 12:13 pm

      hmmm I know we used Vaseline for Tom’s nipples, other suggestions are Body Glide, or try choosing a softer top (Brooks make some really soft ones).

      • PortlyGent
        October 13, 2015 / 10:50 am

        Thank you, will check Brooks out

  9. October 1, 2015 / 5:12 pm

    Commando is the only way to go! One less thing to worry about, to have move in the wrong direction… one less thing to wash! Although, you do need to wash shorts/pants more often ~ the real runner problem is not having someone to do our laundry 😉

    • charlotte
      October 4, 2015 / 12:12 pm

      I know, sometimes I wear 3 outfits a day if I do two different fitness activities!

  10. October 1, 2015 / 5:50 pm

    i was just thinking about this too, believe or not. i just bought a pair of running underwear from under armour but haven’t tried them yet. stay tuned! 🙂

    • charlotte
      October 4, 2015 / 12:12 pm

      Oh interesting, I love Under Armour sports bras.

      • October 5, 2015 / 1:52 am

        update, i like them but they are one size only and they roll about on the sides. TMI? never!

        • charlotte
          October 7, 2015 / 10:44 am

          Hahah never too much!

  11. October 1, 2015 / 8:41 pm

    Really good post Charlie. Totally relevant, yet it’s the first honest post on running underwear I’ve ever come across. Thanks for the tips 😉

    • charlotte
      October 4, 2015 / 12:11 pm

      No problem!

  12. Hannah
    October 2, 2015 / 7:37 am

    I love Runderwear! They’re my pants for races, long runs, intervals etc. They are a bit expensive though so only have 2 pairs which means my shorter/slower runs are in big M&S granny pants! I find my shorts and leggings rub around my waist if I don’t have large pants on. Who cares how big they are anyway – no one knows and they have a function! For sports bras, M&S ones are great and are much cheaper than the running brand ones.

    • charlotte
      October 4, 2015 / 12:11 pm

      Haha so true, I find that the baggy M&S pants can cause some chafing though!

  13. October 3, 2015 / 4:33 pm

    Now the question is: did Grandpa read the article?
    I have to admit that I have never tried running commando!

    • charlotte
      October 4, 2015 / 12:11 pm

      I haven’t received any messages so hopefully not!

  14. Sarah
    October 27, 2015 / 6:14 am

    Another commando convert here but only when running. Have not plucked up the courage to go commando at the gym yet but perhaps I should give this a try. How often do you still run in a thong?

    • charlotte
      October 28, 2015 / 3:48 pm

      Lots! Depends on the leggings/run!

  15. Sarah
    October 28, 2015 / 5:36 pm

    If the leggings have a gusset / liner do you tend to go commando?

  16. Sarah
    November 2, 2015 / 7:07 pm

    Don’t you find thongs uncomfortable?

    • charlotte
      November 4, 2015 / 7:25 am

      No not at all- maybe I’m just used to them!

      • Sarah
        November 4, 2015 / 3:15 pm

        I have never found them comfortable and prefer boy shorts. Have you ever gone commando at the gym?

  17. Sarah
    November 10, 2015 / 2:41 pm

    What does your other half think of your underwear choice?

  18. David
    February 3, 2016 / 8:08 pm

    As a guy, I tend to wear support underwear as i find that my Nike shorts with lining just do not support you in any way… so I always wear Nike or Under Armour underwear. My Nike running tights don’t tend to support much either although it is a LOT comfier being commando.

    For longer runs, like 10+ miles, defo need compression underwear to stop chafing…

    Randomly my new Nike ‘thermo’ tights are a snug fit so find you have to go commando in those but they are supportive at same time…

    Suppose each clothing article has its benefits!

  19. January 8, 2017 / 6:29 pm

    I like the Under Armour women’s underwear. It’s seamless, sweat-wicking, and not too expensive (although being in Bmore I buy them at their HQ sales!). They come in all sorts of styles-brief, thong, etc. I don’t like going commando! I agree about some nice Lulu running pants as well as some Oiselle meter tights that are my fave.


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