Are You Supposed to Wear Underwear with Running Shorts?

runner with running shorts
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Picture this: it’s 5 in the morning, and you’re prepping for your morning jog. A question hits you as you reach for fresh undies – should I still wear underwear?

Well, are you supposed to wear underwear with running shorts?

It’s recommended to not wear underwear with running shorts, especially if it has a liner or built-in underwear. Yet, there are no rules in wearing underwear with running shorts. After all, fashion and comfort are subjective and are not set in stone. 

In this article, we’ll dive deep into whether underwear is necessary for running shorts, and all your other questions that would come from it.

What are the different types of running shorts?

Over time, running shorts have been developed to have different styles to cater to different needs. 

Compression shorts

Compression shorts are quite like spandex shorts. Its stretchy fabric allows it to stick to the body with ease.

Compression shorts also provide compression benefits. These benefits include increased blood flow and support to the areas they cover.

Think tights, but knee-high and more expensive!

V-Notch shorts

The v-notch shorts get the name from the small upside-down “v” cutout on the outer sides of the shorts. This cutout provides more flexibility in the runner’s movement. V-notch shorts also tend to be short.

Split shorts

Split shorts provide more flexibility and range of motion than v-notch shorts. This is because the outer leg seams are not stitched together – the front panel of the shorts overlaps the back. Because of this, the outer leg seams of the split shorts can reach up as high as the waistband.

Is it Necessary to Wear Underwear while running?

The general rule is if the pair of running shorts have a liner in them or built-in underwear, then you should not wear underwear anymore.

I can already hear your next question – why do running shorts have built in underwear?

The reason for this is because these liners serve the same purpose as if you’re wearing underwear underneath. Liners are integrated with running shorts to provide adequate support while promoting breathability, as they tend to be on the looser side. 

Wearing underwear would defeat the purpose of having liners in your running shorts.

Why Choose Shorts with Built-in Underwear?

Wearing lined shorts still has its perks over wearing underwear with unlined shorts, despite having the same purpose.

Fewer Layers

Fewer layers promote less heat and more breathability. As you run, you won’t feel as congested and hot down there as when you are wearing underwear.

Less Moisture

Running shorts and their liners are made of moisture-wicking materials, such as polyester, nylon, and spandex. 

Moisture-wicking materials absorb moisture and draw it to the exterior of the fabric. This makes evaporation faster, cooling down the skin while keeping it dry.

Less Chafing

Skin chafing results from the friction of your skin to skin or fabric. The groin area is very susceptible to this, along with the thigh and underarm areas. Skin chafing is prone to happen a lot to bigger guys and to active people because of the increased friction.

When you wear underwear under your running shorts, there will be more friction as there is more fabric around your groin area. Additionally, the moisture soaked by cotton underwear will worsen the skin chafing.

To keep it simple, less fabric = less friction = less chafing.

Fewer Embarrassments

Let’s face it, we’ve all experienced our underwear riding up while running or working out. 

Running shorts with built-in underwear virtually erases this problem. No underwear will ride up when you are not wearing underwear at all.

Problem solved.

Is Underwear Safe to Wear with Running Shorts?

Let’s say you’re not comfortable with going commando during your runs. After all, going commando is not for everybody, whether for privacy reasons or for security reasons. 

So, is underwear safe to wear with running shorts?

It’s still completely safe to do, especially when wearing unlined shorts. It’s just that it’s recommended to not wear underwear for maximum comfort. 

Other situations where wearing underwear underneath would be a good idea is if you’re planning to reuse your running shorts without washing them.

Bacteria builds up on the shorts when you’re using them, and re-wearing them without a prior wash exposes your skin to more bacteria. 

With the innate moisture, heat, and certain oils that bacteria love to feed on, the groin area is already a good breeding zone. 

Introducing bacteria-filled clothing to a bacteria-prone area exposes you to a higher risk of skin infections and even yeast infections, especially if you have chafes down there.

What to Wear Under Running Shorts?

Although it’s safe, it doesn’t mean that you can wear any kind of underwear under your running shorts.

Never, and I mean ever, wear cotton underwear underneath!

Cotton underwear is great at absorbing moisture from your sweat, but it does not promote evaporation. This means that the moisture will stay in your garment, making your down there feel hotter and more uncomfortable. 

Extra moisture worsens chafing as well, which is not a comfortable thing to have especially when running a great distance.

With cotton underwear out of the way, let’s take a look at what to wear under running shorts.

Compression underwear

Compression underwear is different from compression shorts. One of these differences is that the latter is made with more complex engineering than compression underwear. 

Compression shorts tend to be on the more expensive end, too, as they provide more compression benefits than compression underwear. 

Compression shorts are also usually made of more durable materials than their underwear counterparts.

Compression underwear is meant to be worn under the split and v-notch shorts. It wouldn’t make a lot of sense to wear them under compression shorts.

Sports underwear

Sports underwear are undergarments made of moisture-wicking materials; the same materials used to make the lined shorts.

They are much better to use than cotton underwear as they do not lock moisture, keeping your groin area cooler and less prone to chafing.

Swimming underwear

Swimming underwear are also made of moisture-wicking materials. However, they tend to be on the thicker side as they are made for swimming.

You will be able to get all the benefits from sports underwear, but you might feel hotter inside as swimming underwear are thicker.

Final Thoughts

Running is a strenuous activity, and so comfort should always be your priority for your running gear. Going commando in running shorts provides more comfort and is generally accepted.

But if wearing underwear with running shorts is your way of life and this does not compromise your comfort, then I say, go for it!

If you find this article helpful, you’ll definitely want to check a related article, What Does Going Commando Mean?

Other Related Questions

The world of running shorts is not uncharted territory for us, but we know how tricky it can be! 

Although we’ve now answered the question “are you supposed to wear underwear with running shorts”, we know you still have some related questions in mind. 

Of course, we have the answers for these as well!

Why do shorts have netting? 

Netting is a feature found mostly on swimming trunks, and it serves the same purpose as the liners of the running shorts do. They are there to keep your junk from chafes and to provide overall support to the area. It also keeps your sensitive parts from being traced by your trunks as swimming trunks are usually made of body-hugging materials, especially when wet.

And no, you shouldn’t wear underwear with netted trunks as well. 

Is it bad to run without underwear?

No, especially when your running shorts have built-in underwear or a liner. 

Do all running shorts have built in underwear? 

Although most running shorts these days either have a liner or built-in underwear, there are still some running shorts that don’t have them. 

Should running shorts be tight or loose?

Compression shorts should be tight in a way that it doesn’t wrinkle when worn, but you can still insert your fingers between your legs and the running shorts. V-notch and split types should be loose in the thighs though, but not in a way that they are baggy. 

Why do runners wear short shorts? 

Runners want to put as few restrictions as possible on their thighs while running. This is why runners wear short shorts, as shorter shorts mean less fabric and less resistance to the lower extremities’ movements.

Do running shorts make a difference? 

Absolutely! Running shorts are designed specifically for running, prioritizing comfort while not sacrificing security. Wearing other kinds of shorts, like basketball shorts or twill shorts while running especially on greater distances would usually translate to discomfort. These inconveniences can range from unnecessary heat to excessive chafing.

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