Updated: Oct 25, 2019
For those who don’t go commando, these briefs provide that in-between layer to wick sweat away and prevent nasty chafing.
A little secret to running success? A good foundation. And no, we’re not talking about training blocks that build gradually: We’re talking underwear.
According to a Runner’s World State of the American Runner survey in 2016, 61 percent of runners are for going commando, while 39 percent can’t imagine running without some undies underneath. But have those 61 percent actually tried it? Sure, we love everything about the idea of running without underwear—the ease, the breathability, the joyful freedom of springing lightly into motion without excess fabric to hinder our movement. But the sweaty, skin-chafing reality? Ugh. Not always so fancy-free.
Plenty of running shorts have built-in drawers for a reason—not only does down-there moisture feel gross, but it also harbors bacteria. Cotton, as we know, holds moisture, which can breed bacteria that can cause yeast infections and jock itch. Technical fabrics such as wool or those with antimicrobial treatments—like the ones listed below—will disperse sweat from your sensitive parts and minimize chafing with their seamless construction.
How We Selected
Every product here has been thoroughly evaluated and vetted by our team of test editors. We research the market, survey user reviews, speak with product managers, and use our own experience wearing and running in these products to determine the best options. Most models have been tested by our staff, and those that haven’t have been carefully chosen based on their value, technical fabrics, comfort, looks, and ability to wick away sweat and prevent chafing. Here are the best new picks for those times you’d like a little more fabric and support.
Reebok High Waist Seamless Briefs
High Waist Seamless Brief 3-Pack
If you like a bit more coverage from your running underclothes, these lightweight, seamless briefs have a higher rise so they’re less likely to slide around or divide your midsection into segments. A breathable blend of polyester and spandex maintains stretch and wicking powers while you run, but they’re soft enough that you might want to change into another pair for all-day wear.
Runderwear Women's Boyshorts
In case the name didn’t tip you off, Runderwear makes seamless, chafe-free performance underwear for runners and triathletes. These comfortable, full-coverage boy shorts are made of breathable technical fabric that stays put while you’re in motion.
Arcteryx Phase SL Brief
Arc'teryx Phase SL Brief
Arcteryx, known for its hiking gear, offers a baselayer-type panty great for adventure or multiday runs. The company claims a three-stage wicking process—wick, disperse, dry—but you’ll just feel comfy.
Asics ASX Boy Brief
ASICS Women's ASX Boy Briefs
A super-lightweight nylon and polyester blend keeps these boy shorts breathable and quick-drying. Even the sweatiest runner we know (ok, I’m talking about me) has praised their wicking superpowers. A high waist and more than two-inch inseam provide full coverage that won’t ride up.
Reebok Seamless Boy Shorts
Reebok 3-Pack Seamless Boyshort Panties
These soft, stretchy boy shorts are slightly misleading in name—the waistband is seamless, but the legs have bands to keep them from riding up while you’re running. They’re made of a lightweight nylon and spandex blend that dries quickly and wicks sweat, so you can wear them under anything and feel lighter and freer overall.
Champion Absolute Briefs
Price: $20 for 2
Champion Women's Absolute Brief
Sometimes cooling touches are both dead simple and high-tech: Exhibit A is the cutouts in this polyester-spandex number. Minimal seaming creates stay-put tailoring.
Under Armor Original Series Boxerjock
Under Armour Original Series Boxerjock
With multiple colors and sizes from small to 4XL, UA has you covered. And supported: Product reviewers report good support, and the polyester fabric doesn’t chafe or hold moisture.
ExOfficio Give-N-Go Brief
ExOfficio Men's Give-N-Go Flyless Brief
On a running vacation? Rinse these gems in your hotel sink and they will be dry tout suite. And even if the farthest you travel from home is on your 10-mile loop, you still get flatlock stitching, anti-odor treatment, moisture-wicking magic, and a functional fly.
Brooks All-In Training Boxer Brief
Brooks All-In Training Boxer Brief
With a 7-inch inseam, these boxer briefs are longer than most pairs, but they have a nice grip that keeps them from going anywhere and chafe-free flatlock seams so the extra fabric won’t rub. A blend of odor-resistant fabric DriLayer fabric, polyester, and spandex keeps you comfortable during workouts or for all-day wear.
Smartwool Sport 150 Brief
Smartwool Merino Sport 150 Boxer Brief
From socks to base layers to briefs, Smartwool is practically synonymous with soft Merino undergarments that keep you warm and cozy without any chafing or scratchiness. These light boxer briefs are soft against your skin while fighting odor and wicking sweat—so you can focus on the mile you’re in—not the underwear you’re in.
New Balance 6" Boxer Brief
New Balance Men's 6" Boxer Brief
Deal alert: These boxer briefs come in a three pack at a great price, so you can stock up and ignore your horrifying mountain of laundry longer. They’re made of lightweight polyester-spandex fabric that wicks sweat and dries quickly. The fit is snug, but the briefs move well with your body without bunching up.
Reebok 6-Pack Performance Boxer Briefs
Reebok Performance Boxer Briefs
That three-pack not enough? Stock up for every day of the week (minus rest day) with this six-pack of polyester-spandex boxer briefs. The fit is snug and supportive so the legs won’t ride up on you—and the fabric is light, breathable, and fast-drying so they don’t feel too hot under shorts.
Mack Weldon Air Knit Boxer Brief
AirKnitx Boxer Brief
Best known from its many podcast ads, Mack Weldon makes an online-only line of men’s basics, including socks, undershirts, and underwear. These boxer briefs are made of lightweight, moisture-wicking microfiber that breathes well while you’re in motion, and dries quickly once you’re not. This pair has a 3-inch inseam; check out the 8-inch version if you’d like something with more stay-put leg coverage.