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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for Best men's running underwear

Runners are focused on their bodies. To get better, they concentrate on stride, consistency, speed, endurance, and more. However, one area that may be overlooked, especially by beginners, is clothing. When clothing doesn’t allow for freedom of movement or, worse, causes injury, this can keep a runner from excelling. After running shoes, running underwear is arguably a key article of clothing runners wear. 

Without comfortable, moisture-wicking running underwear, your thighs can be rubbed raw, and you might be forced to stop running due to skin irritation. If you want to up your running game, especially if distance is your goal, it’s important to get quality running underwear.

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While some men choose to run without wearing any underwear, this can lead to chafing, doing extra laundry, and staining your workout clothes.

Key considerations

Who needs running underwear?

Men’s running underwear is the article of clothing that protects you from some of the physical discomforts and irritations of running. Specifically, running underwear provides support and reduces chafing. There are four types of runners who can benefit from wearing this clothing:

Runners who go long distances: The more your legs move back and forth, the more friction you create. Someone who doesn’t run more than about 3 miles (5 kilometers) at a time may not need running underwear. However, if you run 6 miles (10 kilometers) or more, you can benefit from wearing this underwear.

Runners who are heavier than average: Runners carrying extra weight are more prone to having their thighs rub together while running, and even short distances can be a problem. If you carry a little extra weight on your legs, running underwear is a good option for you. 

Runners with very muscular thighs: Bodybuilders or individuals with a muscular frame may experience excessive rubbing while running. Running underwear is also a great idea for these men.

Runners who sweat a lot: Some individuals sweat a lot, and this can saturate underwear and cause it to bunch up and create friction. If you sweat excessively when you run, this underwear is a necessary item (as is a water bottle to replenish the fluids you sweat out as you run).

How does running underwear help?

First and foremost, running underwear isn’t made of cotton. It’s made of materials that wick moisture away from the skin to help keep sweat from building up and causing issues while you run. Also, running underwear is usually longer with a tighter fit to reduce the occurrence of friction on the skin. Last, men’s running underwear is reinforced and padded in areas where support and comfort are of primary concern.

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Did You Know?
Some men’s running underwear has a built-in pocket designed to hold a phone.
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Features

Comfort

Correct fit: Not every runner is built the same. Your running underwear needs to fit you. If it doesn’t feel comfortable, try another brand.

No bunching: If you have socks that fall down your heel or bunch up under your foot, you stop wearing them and get new socks that stay in place. Running underwear is the same. If it doesn’t stay secure while you run, it’s not going to prevent chafing.

Moisture-wicking: Running underwear should be made of material that wicks sweat and moisture away from the skin to help keep you dry and prevent bunching and friction. If your underwear is noticeably wet after a run, it isn’t suited for running.

Supportive: When you’re running, you need support in sensitive areas. The best men’s running underwear provides this support without being too restrictive.

Breathable: The fabric in this underwear needs to breathe. Some running underwear is made of fabric that promotes airflow, while other brands have vents for comfort. The best men’s running underwear has both.

Insulated: If you like to run in colder weather, insulation is important. The best way to stay warm is to wear layers, but if you prefer some additional warmth, look for insulated running underwear.

Quantity

Men’s running underwear typically comes in packs of two or three, though sometimes you can find sets of four or more. Unfortunately, most brands don’t offer a significant discount for getting more, so choosing a larger set won’t save you much money.

Although chafing on the groin and rear can be an issue, the most common place runners develop a rash is between the thighs.

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Accessories

If you experience chafing, you might want to try using an anti-chafing product.

Anti-chafe cream: Chamois Butt'r Original

This nongreasy anti-chafe cream is formulated for athletes. It’s paraben- and gluten-free and washes off both skin and clothing with soap and water.

Anti-chafe balm: Body Glide Body

This vegan-approved, allergen-free balm contains plant-derived ingredients. It’s a long-lasting option that’s applied like deodorant before you put on your clothing.

Anti-chafe gel: Lanacane Anti-friction Gel

This hypoallergenic, moisture-proof gel dries on contact and won’t stain clothing. The anti-friction formula reduces skin-on-skin as well as skin-on-clothing chafing. 

Pricing

Inexpensive: While you have to be careful about quality, it’s possible to find a budget pair of men’s running underwear for under $5.

Mid-range: Most pairs of men’s running underwear, whether you get them in sets of two or three, cost $5 or $6 each. This is the best place to look for a combination of affordable price and quality.

Expensive: If you’re loyal to a certain brand, you can pay anywhere from $7 to $17 for one pair of men’s running underwear. This underwear has all the bells and whistles you look for in high-end athletic wear. However, bear in mind that you aren’t necessarily getting better deal at the upper end of this price bracket.

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Did You Know?
Chafed skin isn’t a serious medical condition, but it can be extremely painful, and if left untreated can become infected and require medical attention. 
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Tips

Wearing the right underwear is the best way to reduce or eliminate chafing while running. Unfortunately, that strategy might not always be enough to keep your workouts pain-free. If your running underwear needs a little extra help, consider these tips.

  • Deodorant: Wearing deodorant on your legs might prevent chafing. It helps keep your skin dry to prevent any irritation caused by sweating. 
  • Baby powder: This can be used to soak up moisture on longer runs.
  • Diaper cream: This is specifically designed to soothe raw and chafed skin on babies. While it might be messy, diaper cream is an extremely effective solution. If you get a small tube, you can take it with you in a running belt.
  • Vaseline: Using a layer of vaseline might be uncomfortable, but it works to lubricate your skin to eliminate friction.
  • Water: It’s important to drink plenty of water before running and stay hydrated while running. Not sweating can accelerate chafing. The American Council on Exercise recommends drinking roughly 16 ounces of water a couple of hours before you run and 8 ounces every 10 to 20 minutes while exercising. You should also replenish your body with water after your workout — at least 16 ounces of water per pound lost during your run. 
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While cotton is considered a great fabric for underwear, it isn’t a good option for runners because it absorbs moisture, gets heavy, and shifts around, which can cause chafing.

FAQ

Q. Do I really need running underwear?
A.
There are some runners who go shorter distances and don’t sweat much who may not need underwear that’s specifically designed for running. If that describes you, you might not need it. However, if you have problems with chafing, don’t cause yourself unnecessary pain. Select the right underwear to alleviate the problem.

Q. What causes chafing?
A.
Chafing occurs whenever two elements are present: friction and moisture. When a runner engages in a repetitive action, the combination of sweat and skin rubbing against skin or skin rubbing against fabric is all it takes to create a problem. It can happen anywhere on the body where there is prolonged rubbing.

Q. My running shorts have a lining, but I still chafe. What can I do?
A.
There are some loose-fitting running shorts that have an inner lining that’s designed to reduce chafing. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the best solution. If the shorts you have can comfortably accommodate running underwear, that’s the best option. 

Q. Is there a difference between underwear for running and for workouts?
A.
Yes, but it’s subtle. Both are manufactured with quick-drying, moisture-wicking material, but running underwear is usually designed to fit more snugly (especially around the thighs) to reduce chafing. Underwear for working out needs to be loose enough to allow freedom of movement so you can exercise without your clothing restricting your workout.

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