This post contains affiliate links.
Running underwear—one that could give a runner the biggest problems in a run but also one that is often neglected by them. You can have the perfect and most advanced gear from head to foot, but if you aren’t wearing the right underwear, especially during a long run, you’re up for a rude awakening. I’ve been there many times and over time I learned what types of underwear are best for running.
In general, it is best to wear a boxer brief that is moisture-wicking and seamless to prevent chafing. It draws sweat out of your skin reducing the amount of friction and the longer length acts like another layer of skin that prevents your thighs from rubbing each other.
Ahead, we will look more into what you should look for in running underwear. I will also give you a list of the best running underwear I’ve tried and that has worked well for me.
What To Look For In A Running Underwear
- Boxer brief length – I’ve tried different lengths of underwear on my runs and I can confidently say that the length of your underwear plays a huge part in preventing chafing. My advice is to stick to boxer briefs that are at least 5″ long on the inseams.
- Seamless or flat seams – Look for underwear that is seamless or has flat seams. Regular underwears that have thick seams usually end up irritating your crotch or legs in a long run.
- Moisture-wicking – An underwear used for vigorous activities should wick away sweat and moisture keeping you dry and fresh longer. Stay away from cotton! Underwear that absorbs sweat and moisture is a recipe for chafing and skin irritations.
- Quick-drying – Wet underwear is a site for bacterial build-up. Make sure your underwear is quick-drying. Plus, it allows you to wash and wear quickly too.
- Stretchable – You want any underwear that doesn’t restrict your motion when running. Look for underwear with a blend of some sort of elastic fabric like elastane or spandex.
- Doesn’t ride up – Underwear that rides up can interfere with your performance. Long underwear that is tight on the thigh usually helps. Some underwear also has a silicone grip in the thigh to prevent them from riding up.
Top Picks For The Best Running Underwear For Men
- Runderwear 5″ Boxer Briefs
- Stance 6″ Boxer Brief
- New Balance 6″ Boxer Brief
- BALEAF 9″ Performance Boxer Briefs
- ExOfficio Give-n-go Sport Mesh 6″ Boxer Brief
- Smartwool Merino Sport 150 Boxer Brief
Runderwear 5″ Boxer Briefs
My number 1 pick for long runs is the Runderwear 5″ Boxer Briefs. I’ve worn them multiple times on several long runs and not once have I experienced chafing wearing them. I absolutely have no complaints whatsoever about this one.
They have a 360° seamless design, are very breathable, and have excellent moisture-wicking capabilities. It has some type of silicone in the leg area which prevents them from riding up and it has worked very well for me.
Not to mention, the Runderwear is designed by runners specifically for runners so you can be sure they’re doing the best they can to excel at it.
Every runner looking for a good pair of underwear that prevents chafing should start with this one. It’s an absolute must-have!
Stance 6″ Boxer Brief
Best In Comfort
Want comfort more than anything else? The Stance boxer briefs are the ones for you. Stance has made a very soft blend of fabric which they call Butter Blend made of 66% modal, 26% lyocell, and 8% elastane. And I can tell you from personal experience, they feel really good.
I don’t normally use them for running because I like them as everyday underwear (and they’re too nice to be sweat on). But I’ve used them on some of my long runs and trail runs and I had no problem with chafing whatsoever. They don’t dry as quickly as the other two though, so keep that in mind.
I recommend it for those who want comfortable and stylish everyday underwear that can also be used for running.
New Balance 6″ Boxer Brief
Nothing too fancy, but it works.
If you’re looking for affordable underwear you can use for running that’ll prevent chafing, the New Balance boxer brief will do the trick. It’s made with 90% polyester and 10% spandex making it stretchable, moisture-wicking, and quick-drying which, frankly, is everything you’d need from a running underwear.
But wait, I haven’t told you the best part. You’ll get three of these for less than what you’d pay for one piece of the underwear listed above!
I highly recommend these for those who are looking for running underwear that doesn’t break the bank.
BALEAF 9″ Performance Boxer Briefs
Best Bang For The Buck
Another affordable yet effective solution to chafing is the BALEAF Performance Boxer Briefs. If you like how compression shorts feel, the BALEAF boxer briefs feel just like that.
I ordered a pair of these when I was looking for a pair of compression shorts (although these are boxer briefs). At that time, I didn’t know it was made as underwear.
I mean, it looks like a compression short so I thought it was a compression short. Turns out, it’s underwear and it looks like underwear (mostly because of the open fly design) and should be worn under running shorts.
Related post: Wearing Only Compression Shorts In Public: Is It Okay?
Anyway, I love how they feel and how they fit. Aside from the Runderwear, this is underwear I could rely on.
It’s made with 90% polyester and 10% spandex giving it its flexibility and elasticity. They’re breathable, moisture-wicking, and quick-drying too.
One thing to note is that if you’re not used to compression-type shorts and you prefer freer movement, this underwear isn’t for you. Otherwise, they’re good underwear that will completely eliminate chafing.
Highly recommended for those who want to get the bang for their buck.
ExOfficio Give-n-go Sport Mesh 6″ Boxer Brief
Best For Hot Weather
One thing I like most about the ExOfficio Give-n-go mesh boxer briefs is that it’s odor-resistant. It underwent antimicrobial treatment to prevent microbial build-up which is common when you sweat a lot. And, it works.
Its mesh design allows for maximum breathability and its boxer brief length prevents chafing in the thigh area. They are quick-drying and moisture-wicking making them perfect for running.
However, there are some reports against the quality of the product. I’ve read reports from other customers that it pills and loses its elasticity quickly, although It hasn’t happened to my pair yet which is why this made it to the list.
I recommend it for those who want a very breathable running experience on a hot summer day.
By the way, if you’re interested in finding out how to dress for running in hot weather, check out my complete guide in a separate article.
Smartwool Merino Sport 150 Boxer Brief
Best For Cold Weather
Last but definitely not the least is one that is made by one of the most respected makers of merino wool garments in the outdoor community—Smartwool.
This underwear is made of 56% Merino wool fabric known for its excellent thermoregulation properties, softness, anti-odor properties, and excellent moisture-wicking abilities.
It keeps it cool in hot weather and warms in a cold one. It’s very comfortable and has a great design too. However, they’re quite expensive.
Highly recommended for long runs, trail runs, and running in cold weather.
When it comes to running, your underwear is just as important as your other gear. Make sure you invest in a good one before heading out for the long run. This way, you won’t experience unnecessary discomfort while you accumulate mileage.
You might have heard of runners who are against underwear when running which made you wonder: what else can you wear under running shorts? I made an article that covers that topic in detail.
Additionally, you may also be wondering whether you should still wear underwear under compression shorts. I also made an article that answers that question in detail.