Workout Leggings Underwear: What to Wear under Workout Leggings

Workout Leggings Underwear: What to Wear under Workout Leggings For Women

Choosing the right underwear to wear under workout leggings is an important decision for any active woman. The material, style, and fit of your underwear can greatly impact both your comfort and performance during exercise. Seamless, breathable, and moisture-wicking underwear helps prevent chafing, reduces sweat, and provides necessary support during movements. With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to choose which underwear works best with your leggings and workout routines. This comprehensive article will break down the key factors to consider when selecting underwear for workout leggings.

First, it’s important to understand the challenges of finding suitable underwear for activewear. Traditional underwear often has thick seams, restrictive elastic bands, and non-stretch fabrics that can cause discomfort during exercise. The close fit of leggings also necessitates underwear that won’t show visible panty lines or edges under the fabric. Purpose-made athletic underwear is designed specifically with features to address these issues.

Second, keeping the intimate area dry, supported, and chafe-free has a big impact on being able to focus on your workout. Underwear that bunches, rides up, or chafes can be distracting and painful, throwing off your performance. Seamless, tag-free underwear crafted from technical fabrics ensures everything stays in place and wicks moisture away from the body. This allows you to have a smooth, comfortable workout experience.

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I. Factors to Consider When Choosing Workout Leggings Underwear

When evaluating options for the best underwear to wear for working out in leggings, there are four important factors to keep in mind:

A. Material and Fabric

The material and fabric technology used to construct underwear plays a key role in keeping skin dry and supported during exercise. Look for these features:

  1. Moisture-wicking properties: Fabrics that wick moisture away from the skin and allow for quick evaporation prevent over-accumulation of sweat. Materials like polyester and nylon are common in moisture-wicking performance underwear. The structure of the fabric fibers draws sweat away from the body and towards the surface for faster drying.
  2. Breathability and ventilation: Mesh inserts, microfiber fabrics and knit textures allow air flow to keep the intimate area cooler and drier during sweaty workouts. Underwear made from only non-breathable materials can become hot, creating discomfort.
  3. Stretchability and flexibility: Underwear material needs to move with you, stretching and bouncing back through lunges, squats and cardio sessions. Spandex, nylon, and polyester blends enable freedom of movement. Look for underwear with at least 15-20% spandex for adequate elasticity and recovery.
  4. Opacity and coverage: Underwear fabric should be thick enough to not show through leggings, but not add unnecessary bulk. Lightweight microfiber and moisture-wicking material provide coverage and opacity without excess layers.
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B. Style and Fit

Choosing the right style and fit ensures underwear lays smoothly under tights and leggings. Consider these options:

  1. Thong style: Prevents panty lines and fits seamlessly under leggings. The minimal rear coverage makes them ideal for low-intensity workouts or wearing under tighter pants.
  2. Cheeky style: Offers slightly more coverage than a thong while still minimizing panty lines. A cheeky has wider sides that cover more surface area of the rear. Great for lighter workouts that involve lots of stretching.
  3. Boy short style: Smooth material covers the hips and butt for medium coverage. The boy short length prevents ride up, ideal for yoga and pilates where you are bending and folding regularly.
  4. Classic style: Offering full rear coverage, the classic brief is perfect for high-intensity training that requires a lot of quick movement in all directions. Prevent feeling exposed while jumping, squatting or doing HIIT.
  5. High-rise briefs: Hitting right at the natural waist, high-rise briefs stay in place even during hardcore cardio, HIIT or weight training sessions. The extra coverage also smooths over the stomach area.
  6. Mid-rise thongs: Offering a middle ground of coverage, mid-rise thongs sit lower than briefs. The thong back is quick-drying with minimal seams without being as revealing as a standard low-rise thong.
  7. Hipsters: Riding lower on the hips, hipster underwear offers less constriction of the waist and may work well for curvy figures. The leg openings ensure good coverage of the rear and thighs.
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C. Seams and Tags

Seams and tags on regular panties can irritate the skin during repetitive motion. Seek out underwear constructed to avoid potential rubbing:

  1. Bonded seams: Stitching is bonded with adhesive for smooth, ridge-free seams. Unlike thick seams on cotton underwear, this prevents any risk of chafing from fabric rubbing together.
  2. Laser-cut seams: Seamless finishing cut by laser removes stitching at the fabric edges. The laser technology results in an ultra smooth profile with zero bulky seams or hems.
  3. No-show design: Eliminates tags, prints, logos and designs for discreet wear under leggings. Any decorations may show through stretchy activewear fabrics. A no-show style is simple and seamless.
  4. Tag-free waistbands: Lack of tags, labels or wrap-around seams at the waistband prevents skin irritation and abrasion. Printed labels on the inside can still cause rubbing and irritation during movement.
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D. Size and Inclusivity

Finding the right size in performance underwear ensures comfort:

  1. Sizing options: Diverse size offerings beyond the standard S-M-L allow you to get the perfect fit. Look for sizes sold in actual hip measurements for accuracy. Underwear runs small, so consult specific size charts.
  2. Brands with inclusive size ranges: Some brands design underwear to suit plus-size and non-standard body types. Seek out athletic brands that offer a wide range of sizes up to 4X and beyond to accommodate different figures.
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III. Best Fabrics and Materials for Workout Underwear

When it comes to workout leggings underwear, the best options use technical, synthetic fabrics that actively work to manage moisture and sweat. Here are some top materials to look for:

  • Polyester and nylon for quick-drying performance. Polyester is also resistant to shrinking and pilling. Its wicking abilities pull sweat away from the body.
  • Mesh panels made of polyester or nylon enhance ventilation and cooling between the legs and butt. Well-placed mesh inserts add breathability without compromising coverage.
  • Microfiber polyester provides an ultra-soft feel and efficiently wicks moisture away from the skin’s surface. It also allows for compression without tightness.
  • Spandex or elastane is blended into fabrics to allow stretch and bounce-back recovery. Look for at least 10-15% spandex content. Too much can make underwear restrictive.
  • Seamless material blends like nylon, polyester, spandex and elastane create a smooth profile perfect for underneath leggings.
  • Modal or Tencel offer sustainable options that are exceptionally soft and breathable while still being high-tech for athletic use.

Avoid cotton underwear, which absorbs and holds sweat during exercise. The moisture gets trapped against your skin rather than wicking away. Stick to synthetic moisture-wicking materials that actively cool and reduce friction.

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IV. Matching Underwear Material to Your Workouts

  • Light, low-intensity workouts: A minimalist thong made of thin moisture-wicking material prevents lines and stays in place inside leggings.
  • Yoga, pilates, barre: Stretch-friendly hipsters or boyshorts with a seamless gusset offer flexibility and coverage as you bend and fold.
  • HIIT, cardio, spin: Lightweight, mid-to-high rise shaping briefs or bike shorts in slick fabrics manage sweat during intense exertion.
  • Strength training, running: High-rise briefs with bonded seams avoid chafing from repetitive bouncing and movement between machine stations or mile intervals.
  • Loungewear: Soft modal or merino wool provides comfort if leggings pull double duty as casualwear during a Netflix marathon or rest day.

V. Best Underwear Brands for Leggings

Many athletic brands now offer purpose-made underwear for working out and leisure made from technical fabrics. Here are some top picks:

  • Under Armour Pure Stretch – Ultra-smooth fabric contains elastane to provide 4-way stretch. Resists digging in and smooths lines under tight leggings.
  • Lululemon Namastay Put – Patented bonded seamless edging is designed to prevent irritation, riding up, or shifting during downward dog and warrior poses.
  • Nike Pro – The classic moisture-wicking performance underwear now with mesh for breathability. Great for high intensity sweating.
  • Athleta Ultimate – Crafted specifically for low-impact exercise, these feature buttery soft bonded seams to prevent chafing during repetitive yoga flows.
  • Knix Leakproof – Innovative cotton gusset liner absorbs leaks, sweat, and moisture. Perfect if you need a little extra backup coverage.
  • Vuori Elevation – Silky-soft modal material blended with spandex makes these a versatile pick for lounging or light training.
  • SPANX Suit Your Fancy – Shaping options from minimal thongs to shorts offer control and slim bulges. Flattering yet practical.
  • Outdoor Voices Doing Things – Super-breathable with barely-there coverage and seams. Ideal for low-key activities or wearing under dresses.
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VI. Expert Tips for Choosing Underwear for Workout Leggings

Take the following guidance from experts into account when selecting underwear for athletic leggings:

  • Prioritize performance materials like polyester, nylon and spandex blends over basic cotton underwear. For working out, moisture-wicking fabrics are key.
  • Match underwear coverage to the intensity and range of motion of your workout. More intense training may require fuller coverage for security.
  • Be mindful of underwear rise. Low-rise can work for lounging but higher cuts stay in place better during exercise.
  • Don’t overlook breathability. Mesh fabrics or panels add ventilation to keep you cooler.
  • Take your leggings’ thickness into account. Thinner yoga pants show lines more easily than thicker fabrics.
  • Find your perfect size, erring on the side of too small over too big. Properly fitted underwear won’t shift or ride up.
  • Try different styles and cuts to find the most comfortable for your body shape. Every body is different.
  • Look for bonded or laser-cut edges for zero skin irritation from seams, fabric or tags.
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VIII. Caring for Your Workout Underwear

Like activewear leggings, sweat-wicking underwear requires proper laundering to prolong its performance and lifespan:

  • Pre-treat stained areas with stain remover to avoid permanent discoloration from excess sweat or oils.
  • Wash in cold water to preserve elasticity of spandex and prevent shrinkage. Hot water degrades performance fabrics.
  • Use a gentle detergent without dyes, fragrances or other harsh additives. Avoid fabric softener which can inhibit wicking.
  • Air dry or tumble dry on low to prevent damage from heat. High temperatures break down stretchy fibers.
  • Avoid ironing which can melt moisture-wicking fabric blends. Let garments air dry fully wrinkle-free instead.

With the proper care, high-quality performance underwear can retain its comfort and functionality for seasons of workouts to come.

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IX. When to Replace Your Workout Underwear

It’s important to retire and replace worn out underwear specifically intended for athletic wear. Here are some signs it may be time for a refresh:

  • Visibly worn, frayed or punctured fabric
  • Loss of compression, sagging, or bagging in the fabric
  • Permanent discoloration or stained gusset lining
  • Holes, thinning fabric, or tearing at the seams
  • Elastic bands that have lost stretch and bounce
  • Unpleasant odors that don’t wash out
  • Chafing, itching or irritation when worn

As a general rule, plan to replace performance workout underwear every 6-12 months depending on frequency of use. Choosing quality fabrics designed for durability extends their lifespan.

Investing in new underwear ensures the highest level of comfort and confidence to perform your best during workouts.

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X. Getting the Proper Fit

  • Stand in front of a mirror in just your underwear to assess fit. Fabric should lay smoothly without bunching, bulging or cutting in.
  • Straps shouldn’t dig in with underwear bottom loose. Nor should straps gap while fabric pulls at bottom.
  • Leg openings shouldn’t pinch flesh or be too loose. Lay flat when standing.
  • Waistband should stay in place without rolling over or sliding down.
  • Fabric should provide full coverage when moving actively without riding up or becoming exposed.
  • Consider going down a size if you’re between sizes. Underwear bottoming out is worse than being too snug.

Choosing the correct size underwear for your body’s unique proportions makes all the difference in comfort. Don’t hesitate to exchange if the fit doesn’t feel right.

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XI. Common Fit Issues and Finding Solutions

If your underwear doesn’t fit properly, it can undermine an otherwise flawless leggings workout outfit. Here are some common problems and troubleshooting tips:

Rolling/Digging Waistband

  • Try higher rise styles to hit at natural waist, not hips
  • Size down for a more compressive fit if waist is loose
  • Choose wider waistbands that distribute pressure


  • Look for laser-cut edges instead of seams around leg holes
  • Size down if there are gaps at the bottom and fabric is riding up
  • Lower rise styles may help underwear sit better under cheeks

Visible Lines/Panty Showing Through

  • Match underwear color closely to legging color
  • Try a thong or more minimal coverage like a cheeky
  • Size down for smoother fit – avoid any puckering fabric


  • Seek totally seamless options or pairs with bonded seams
  • Switch to slicker fabrics like moisture-wicking microfiber
  • Adjust fit so legs don’t pinch or cut in

Sweaty/Swamp Crotch

  • Look for highly breathable fabrics like mesh or cotton gusset panel
  • Size down if loose fabric is trapping moisture
  • Change out of wet underwear as soon as possible post-workout
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XII. Best Practices for Comfortable Workout Underwear

Follow these pro tips to maximize comfort while wearing underwear beneath your leggings:

  • Always put on underwear before leggings to ensure smooth, aligned fit.
  • Stick to quick-drying performance fabrics that won’t hold sweat.
  • Carry spare underwear to change into if working out more than once a day.
  • Avoid thongs if you have chafing concerns – opt for fuller coverage.
  • Adjust fit frequently as elastic can loosen over time with wear.
  • Keep nails trimmed to avoid snagging delicate performance fabrics.
  • Seek tag-less options to prevent skin irritation during repetitive motions.
  • Apply anti-chafe balm or powder to inner thighs as added friction prevention.
  • Wash gently and hang dry to preserve stretch and wicking capabilities.

Taking measures to care for your workout underwear helps ensure it performs as expected workout after workout.

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XIII. Workout Underwear for Specific Activities

While most high-performance underwear works for general training, you may want to tailor options to these popular workouts:


  • Hipster or boyshort styles provide coverage through folds and stretches.
  • Seamless is ideal to avoid irritation in contorted poses.
  • Modal or merino wool offers extra softness.


  • Moisture-wicking briefs prevent chafing during mileage.
  • Mid to high rise provides stability and stays in place.
  • Lightweight with breathable paneling or mesh.


  • Compressive briefs keep everything locked in.
  • Bonded seams avoid abrasion from repetitive bouncing.
  • Quick-drying material for high-intensity sweating.


  • Mid or high rise shaping briefs won’t roll during hundreds.
  • Fitted but not compressive through thighs.
  • Bonded edges for smoothness under leggings.


  • Padded cycle shorts reduce irritation from the saddle.

III. The Best Underwear for Workout Leggings

Choosing the right underwear for working out in leggings is crucial for comfort and coverage. Here are some of the top-rated options:

Pros: Affordable price, seamless edges, soft fabric

Cons: Sizes run large, minimal color/style options

Material and Design: 92% modal/8% spandex blend. Soft, tagless stretch knit. Hipster rise.

Fit and Comfort: Smooth stretch fabric moves with you. Won’t show under leggings.

Color and Size Options: Black, white, navy, grey. XS-XXL.

If you’re looking for an affordable, everyday underwear option to wear beneath your workout leggings, Old Navy’s Soft-Knit No-Show Hipster is a great choice. The supersoft modal and spandex blend ensures these hipsters move with you while providing full coverage. The seamless edges and tagless design prevent any irritation or lines under leggings. These lay smoothly and won’t ride up, keeping you chafe-free during exercise. The hipster rise also provides a bit more coverage than a standard bikini cut. While the color and style options are limited, the price point makes these great for stocking up on multiple pairs. The soft knit fabric feels great against the skin, though the sizing does run slightly large. Overall, these are a solid underwear pick for wearing under activewear if you want an inexpensive, seam-free panty that gets the job done.

Pros: 100% cotton, seamless construction, high waist

Cons: Pricey, cotton absorbs moisture

Material and Design: Soft stretch cotton with high-cut leg. Double-layered gusset.

Fit and Comfort: Full coverage, high-waisted smoothing effect.

Color Options: Variety of muted tones like rose quartz, lavender, black. XS-XL.

For those seeking a high-waisted, full coverage underwear option, Hanro’s Cotton Seamless Full Brief is an excellent choice. The 100% cotton construction provides exceptional softness and breathability. The innovative seamless design eliminates irritation while the high-cut leg and full seat coverage offer security during active movements. While cotton can absorb moisture rather than wick it away, the seamless bonded construction prevents rubbing and minimizes discomfort. The double-layered gusset increases opacity and the high waist further prevents digging in while being smoothing under leggings. The extensive size range and variety of muted, complimentary colors ensure you can find an option suited to your needs. However, the premium cotton does come at a luxury price point. Ultimately, Hanro’s briefs are ideal for low-impact activities or as comfortable everyday underwear.

Pros: Compressive fit, seamless, antimicrobial copper infusion

Cons: Limited color selection, runs small

Material and Design: Eco-friendly compressive fabric infused with copper for odor control.

Fit and Comfort: High waist is secure yet soft. Bonded edges prevent irritation.

Color Options: Black, white, olive, ivory. Sizes XXS-6XL.

For those seeking a compressive, high-performance underwear for high intensity workouts in leggings, Girlfriend Collective’s Copper Sport Brief is ideal. The eco-friendly fabric infused with copper provides natural odor fighting properties to keep you fresh. The compressive fit hugs the body while the bonded edges ensure zero irritation or lines. The high-rise waist stays put even through intense exercise. The Copper Sport Brief fits like a dream, however the slim sizing does run small, so sizing up is recommended. While color choices are limited, the neutral options ensure seamless wear under leggings. If you want underwear with antimicrobial benefits that power through hardcore workouts, this brief has you covered while making sustainability a priority.

Pros: Smooth fabric, seam-free leg openings, stays put

Cons: Can feel restrictive for some, delicate material

Material and Design: 88% nylon, 12% elastane interlock fabric. Low rise hipster cut.

Fit and Comfort: Snug fit, no ride up or shifting during exercise.

Color Options: Variety of bright and neutral shades. XS-XXL.

Under Armour’s Pure Stretch Hipster provides the unrestricted mobility and sleek fit needed for athletic pursuits. The ultra-smooth fabric blend incorporates elastane for four-way stretch. The hipster rise and seam-free leg openings offer medium coverage while laying flat against the skin – perfect for eliminating panty lines under leggings. Under Armour’s signature moisture-wicking performance fabric keeps you cool and dry even through high sweat workouts. The snug fit stays in place but those seeking a looser feel may find it overly compressive. While delicate, Pure Stretch Hipsters hold up well when cared for properly. With vibrant colors and patterns available, you can choose options to perfectly complement your workout wardrobe. Overall the exceptional comfort and range of motion makes these ideal for everything from intense training to lounging.

Pros: Completely seamless construction, bonded edges

Cons: Not full coverage, expensive price point

Material and Design: Sweat-wicking nylon/Lycra blend. Ribbed for stretch.

Fit and Comfort: Dig-free edges, smooth fabric lays flat under leggings.

Color Options: Black, pink, blue, purple. Sizes 0-14.

Lululemon’s InvisiWear Mid-Rise Thong is an ideal choice for those who prefer minimal rear coverage combined with functionality. The seamless construction using slick, sweat-wicking technical fabrics ensures zero irritation while remaining completely invisible under leggings. The mid-rise fit allows the waistband to sit smoothly under the belly button without digging in. The bonded edges also prevent the thong from shifting while you move. With no seams or tags, you can focus on your workout rather than adjustments. The streamlined profile wears seamlessly under all pant types from yoga leggings to jeans. Just note the thong design provides only partial rear coverage. While expensive, InvisiWear Thongs deliver exceptional comfort with no distractions mile after mile. If you desire seamless invisibility, these thongs check all the boxes.



A. What type of underwear is best for workout leggings?

Seamless, moisture-wicking performance fabrics without bulky seams or tags. Fitted bikini or hipster styles provide a smooth look.

B. Can I wear regular underwear under workout leggings?

It’s better to opt for technical athletic fabrics to prevent chafing and visible panty lines. Cotton underwear absorbs sweat.

C. Should I choose thong-style or full-coverage underwear for workout leggings?

It depends on your comfort level and activity type. More intense workouts may require fuller coverage underwear.

D. What materials are ideal for workout leggings underwear?

Look for sweat-wicking polyester, nylon or microfiber blends. Mesh panels add ventilation. Spandex provides stretch.

E. How do I prevent visible panty lines (VPL) while wearing leggings?

A seamless thong or cheeky, or underwear closely matching your leggings color helps avoid VPL. Also size down for a close fit.

F. Are there any health concerns related to the materials used in workout leggings underwear?

Some brands use PFAS “forever chemicals” for stain/water resistance. Seek PFAS-free options when possible.

G. What is the impact of PFAS on activewear and underwear?

PFAS are linked to health issues. They don’t break down and can contaminate water and environment. Avoid when you can.

V. Conclusion

Choosing underwear specifically designed for working out in leggings can make your gym sessions infinitely more comfortable. Look for technical moisture-wicking fabrics with bonded seams to prevent chafing and irritation. Match the coverage level and rise to your preferred fitness activities and comfort needs. Investing in quality underwear ensures distraction-free peak performance.

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