Do You Wear Underwear with Running Shorts: 3 Pros + 4 Cons

Are you confused about what to wear underneath your running shorts? Have you ever asked – do you wear underwear with running shorts? Do you sometimes wonder if it is safe to run without underwear? Are you wondering what is the best underwear for running shorts?

Wearing appropriate undergarments during your run can make all the difference when it comes to comfort and performance. This article will provide insights into the pros and cons of wearing underwear with running shorts. Ready, set, GO!

What are the benefits of wearing with Running Shorts?

Wearing appropriate undergarments for running provides support and comfort and prevents chafing. There are several types of running shorts that can be worn with underwear or without it. Running shorts with liners are designed to provide breathability, reduce the risk of infection, and increase comfort and freedom.

Do I Need to Wear Underwear When Running?

So, are you supposed to wear underwear with running shorts? The answer to this question is an indefinite “It depends.” Some runners may choose depending on their anatomy, gender, the type of shorts they are wearing, and the type of running.

Generally speaking, men benefit from wearing underwear with running shorts, as it provides them more support than women typically require, including additional protection from potential chafing in the groin area.

For women, it depends on what kind of running shorts they are using. Lined running shorts can provide adequate protection for female runners and, therefore, will not require extra layers underneath. However, when opting to wear slightly thinner or unlined running shorts, underwear might offer extra comfort and hygiene.

Reasons to Wear Underwear with Running Shorts

If you are wondering what do guys wear under running shorts, then you must first understand the reason to wear or to avoid underwear while running. Wearing underwear when running is generally a matter of comfort, hygiene, and personal preference.

For some people, wearing underwear with running shorts helps provide additional support and keeps sensitive areas of skin covered. Wearing lightweight, moisture-wicking underwear is especially beneficial for preventing sweating issues, which could lead to unpleasant odors.

Another reason why some runners choose to wear underwear with their running shorts is that it provides an extra layer of warmth on cold days. It also offers protection from scratches, cuts, or scrapes that may occur while traversing uneven terrain.

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Pro Tip:

Due to the nature of fitted athletic clothing (both men’s and women’s), having secure coverage might help form firmer muscle contours under the garment by limiting the excessive movement common in looser-cut styles, such as those found in regular boxers or briefs.

Ultimately, each runner should base their decision upon what makes them feel comfortable and supported.

3 Advantages of Running in Shorts Without Underwear

Wearing running shorts without underwear can provide enhanced breathability, reduced risk of infections and chafing, and increased comfort and freedom of movement. Let’s take a closer look:

1. Enhanced Breathability and Ventilation

Running in shorts without underwear offers improved breathability and ventilation compared to running with traditional underwear. The vents in the shorts help release any excessive heat that builds up during a run, ensuring that runners stay cool and dry throughout their workout sessions.

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Pro Tip:

The core principle behind Fartlek training is to allow the body to adapt to various speeds while increasing its overall fitness. Both high-intensity and low-intensity sessions can be utilized in Fartleks for an extensive workout routine.

2. Reduced Risk of Infections and Chafing

When running in shorts without underwear, there is a reduced risk of chafing and infections. Sweating while running can create irritation due to the moisture getting trapped and rubbing between skin and clothing. In addition, a warm, moist environment is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria.

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Pro Tip:

Wearing sweat-wicking or natural fiber shorts helps reduce discomfort by promoting airflow for fast drying to avoid infection risks. Specific materials like cotton are breathable and absorbent, providing enhanced safety when running outdoors or on trails that might be contaminated with various germs and fungus.

3. Increased Comfort and Freedom of Movement

Wearing running shorts without underwear can provide maximum comfort and enhanced freedom of movement. Without underwear, runners don’t need to worry about the extra layer restricting natural movement. This allows for longer strides and unrestricted leg mobility over rough terrain, making it much easier to move efficiently with each step.

Wearing running shorts without underwear

3 Disadvantages of Running in Shorts Without Underwear

Wearing men’s shorts without briefs can put runners at risk of increased irritation and potential hygiene issues. Want to know more? Keep reading!

1. Increased Risk of Irritation

When it comes to running in shorts without underwear, there is a heightened risk of skin irritation due to factors such as friction if you have very sensitive skin. However, wearing undergarments beneath running shorts can worsen this issue if the fabrics used are not breathable and moisture-wicking.

This combination of an uncomfortable material next to your skin plus heat and sweat generated during exercise increases your chances of developing chafing or other skin irritations.

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Pro Tip:

To reduce the likelihood of irritation, it’s important to choose running shorts with proper liners made from lightweight, moisture-wicking materials that won’t hold onto sweat. Opt for fabric blends that provide superior ventilation and performance compared to traditional cotton materials.

2. Lack of Proper Support and Stability

Without underwear, there is a lack of support and stability. This can lead to discomfort during physical activity, and even potential injury if the pants don’t fit appropriately.

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Pro Tip:

Although wearing undershorts does restrict some movement, depending on its design, they provide an additional layer that redistributes pressure from the hip flexors while providing comfort and breathability during vigorous exercise such as running long distances.

3. Potential for Hygiene Issues

Wearing underwear with running shorts may be a matter of personal preference, but the wrong kind of running shorts can create health issues. When moisture, dirt, and bacteria build up in tight-fitting clothes, they can lead to fungal or bacterial skin infections.

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Pro Tip:

Runners should consider investing in good quality running shorts with built-in liners to reduce the potential for hygiene issues. This type of clothing is designed specifically for active lifestyles, providing lightweight breathability while wicking away moisture from the skin and inhibiting bacterial growth.

3 Types of Running Shorts

When looking for running shorts, it is important to consider the tailoring, lining, and whether you need to wear underwear under the shorts.

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Why Do Running Shorts Have a Mesh Lining?

Running shorts often have a mesh lining, also known as built-in underwear. This fabric is designed to provide support and reduce chafing while wicking away sweat for breathability and comfort during physical activity.

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Pro Tip:

Mesh linings are made of moisture-wicking materials such as polyester or nylon, which draw moisture away from the body, typically through evaporation or absorption. These materials offer enhanced ventilation that allows air to circulate around the genital area more freely, reducing risk of overheating and irritation in this sensitive area.

The purpose of the mesh lining is to keep runners cool and comfortable when exercising by providing similar levels of coverage as underwear, but without additional bulk or warmth. Lined running shorts are typically worn without additional underwear due to their tailored fit, as well as the added stability created by stitching for more protection during high-intensity running.

Let’s look at the three main types of running shorts:

1. Lined Shorts

When shopping for running shorts, it is wise to consider tailored shorts with a built-in lining that provides superior support and protection. Liner materials come in brief and boxer styles to maximize comfort and fit for both men and women.

These liners are made of breathable fabrics that help regulate body temperature during intense exercise, providing a cooling effect that can prevent discomfort during workouts. They often have moisture-wicking properties, as well, helping keep sweat away from the skin for optimal performance.

Lined shorts eliminate the need for additional underwear, which can cause irritation or chafing due to layers of fabric rubbing against each other.

running shorts with underwear

2. Running Shorts Without Liners

Shorts without liners don’t have built-in support, but they are usually made from lightweight, breathable fabric that allows for maximum ventilation. This helps reduce uncomfortable chafing caused by excessive moisture build-up and encourages air circulation around the body.

Additionally, a lack of steams in liners reduces the chance of developing skin irritation due to friction during long-distance running. However, wearing such shorts without underwear also means less support for your genitals during activities like sprints or jumps. This can result in instability and possibly even injury if you don’t maintain proper form while exercising.

3. Compression Shorts

Compression shorts are designed to provide runners with greater support and stability while running, as well as an improved range of motion during physical activity.

They feature a tight-fitting design that resembles cycling shorts, but come with extra padding in crucial areas, like the hips and bottom part of the pelvis. This can reduce pain from muscular stress due to long runs and be incredibly beneficial for recovery after tough workouts.

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Pro Tip:

Because they compress your muscles, compression shorts help to prevent inflammation, alleviate muscle fatigue, promote faster recovery times, and even improve performance levels over time.

However, wearing compression shorts without underwear on hot days or during longer runs may result in friction against the skin, which can become uncomfortable if not managed properly.

Top 3 Running Shorts That Can Be Worn Without Underwear

For those looking for the best and most comfortable running shorts with built-in underwear, the following products are great options.

1. Under Armour Men’s Launch Run 7-inch Shorts

This product is a great choice for those looking for performance shorts that can be worn for running without underwear. They don’t stretch out over time and provide sufficient support. They are excellent choice both for cardio or HIIT trainings.

7-Inch Shorts

Under Armour Launch Run 7-inch Shorts

Under Armour Men’s Launch Run

These shorts feature a seven-inch inseam, solid elastic waistband, and internal mesh liner that provides support and protection while also helping to wick away moisture.


  • Fits all sizes, from XS to 5XL.
  • Good breathability and moisture-wicking.
  • Elastic around the waist for added comfort.


  • Some users find them to be too loose.
Under Armour Launch Run 7-inch Shorts

2. New Balance Men’s Accelerate 5 Inch Short 22

The New Balance Men’s Accelerate 5-Inch Short is designed for training and racing. They have a comfortable fabric liner built in so you don’t have to wear them with underwear. These shorts provide excellent range of motions and are very lightweight. 

5-Inch Short 22

New Balance Accelerate 5 Inch Short

New Balance Men’s Accelerate 5-Inch Short

These shorts are crafted from a lightweight polyester fabric with mesh paneling along the sides to ensure breathability and ventilation during your runs. An elastic waistband provides a secure fit, while hand pockets and drop-in pockets at the waist hold essential items.


  • Lightweight and moisture-wicking.
  • NB DRY fast-drying technology.
  • Secure and supportive fit.


  • Some users find the lining to be too tight.
New Balance Accelerate 5 Inch Short

3. Nike Men’s Flex Stride 7″ 2-in-1 Dri-Fit Running Shorts

The Nike Men’s Flex Stride 7″ Running Shorts provide unrestricted movement and comfort during runs. They are perfect for running, but also fit good for many other fitness activities.

7″ 2-in-1 Dri-Fit Running Shorts

Nike Flex Stride 7-2-in-1 Dri-Fit Running Shorts

Nike Men’s Flex Stride 7″ 2-in-1

Crafted with lightweight materials, these shorts feature breathability and a stylish slim fit, allowing for maximum air circulation during exercise. The durable fabric also has added Dri-FIT technology to keep you dry during the roughest workouts by wicking away sweat quickly and efficiently.


  • Lightweight and breathable.
  • Snug knit liner.
  • Multiple storage options.


  • No-zipper pockets.
Nike Flex Stride 7-2-in-1 Dri-Fit Running Shorts

4 Alternatives to Running Shorts for Running

Runners who are looking for an alternative to the traditional athletic short may want to consider some other options:

  1. Running tights are form-fitting pants that provide exceptional mobility and comfort during a run.
  2. Compression pants, often referred to as long underwear or base layer bottoms, offer additional support throughout the legs while preventing chafing.
  3. Capri-length bottoms hit around the mid-calf area and can be used in any season. They’re especially good at keeping you cool in warmer weather runs.
  4. Finally, skirts built specifically for female runners provide additional coverage without sacrificing the range of movement.

All of these options are usually equipped with moisture-wicking technology, which helps keep skin dry even during rigorous workouts.

Alternatives to running shorts for running

Frequently Asked Questions About Wearing Underwear with Running Shorts

Do You Wear Underwear with Lined Shorts?

Running shorts that come with a liner already serve as your underwear and keep you fresh and comfortable while running. This provides greater convenience while exercising, as well as support for the groin area. Most compression shorts also do not require wearing any form of undergarments underneath.

Are You Supposed to Wear Underwear with Nike Run Shorts?

Most Nike run shorts feature built-in liners constructed of lightweight fabrics that provide enhanced breathability and ventilation, in addition to wicking away moisture and providing overall excellent support. Thus, wearing additional underwear may be unnecessary.

Final Thoughts on Wearing Underwear with Running Shorts

Ultimately, the answer to the question do runners wear underwear depends on personal preference. Some people choose to go commando and forgo undergarments altogether, while others prefer wearing underwear beneath their running shorts.

What’s most important is that you choose something comfortable and supportive that works best for you. It doesn’t matter what you choose, as long as your run is safe, comfortable, and productive!

Do you prefer wearing running shorts with underwear or without? Please share your experience in the comments below.

Also read:


  1. Chafing // Cleveland Clinic: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/23517-chafing
  2. Sports-related dermatoses among road runners in Southern Brazil // PMC: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4148272/
  3. Physiological and Psychological Responses during Exercise and Recovery in a Cold Environment Is Gender-Related Rather Than Fabric-Related // Frontiers: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01344/full
  4. Study on the Compression Effect of Clothing on the Physiological Response of the Athlete // MDPI: https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1944/15/1/169
  5. The Role of Sports Clothing in Thermoregulation, Comfort, and Performance During Exercise in the Heat: A Narrative Review // Sports Medicine: https://sportsmedicine-open.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40798-022-00449-4

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