Wave goodbye to chafing and hello to comfort with these top pairs of running underwear for men (2024)

Wave goodbye to chafing and hello to comfort with these top pairs of running underwear for men (1)

Even if your kit bag is crammed full of innovative gear and your feet are constantly cradled by the latest running shoes, there’s still one key piece of kit you may be overlooking as you prepare for race day — your underwear. A good pair can be the difference between setting off on a comfortable run and enduring unpleasant chafing as you rack up the miles.

Fortunately for you, the Runner’s World Lab has ordered our panel of avid runners to test a combined total of 21 pairs of the best underwear for exercise, to find out which ones can handle the heat and which ones crumple under the pressure.

So, do yourself a favour and invest in one of our tried and tested pairs of pants to enjoy wedgie- and chafing-free running.

Best men’s underwear for running

    What makes good underwear for running?

    There are several key differences between your everyday underwear and boxers made specifically for sport.

    These are the main things to look out for:

    Material: Cotton is the most common material used to make underwear. However, if you’re after a pair to wear for more hardcore exercise, you’ll likely want something a bit lighter and more flexible, with heightened sweat-wicking properties. Among the products we tested, brands opted to make the most of nylon, polyester and even merino wool to keep wearers comfortable.

    Fit: You’ll want a pair of underwear that can keep you supported as you pound the pavements or trails, without being so tight that they feel restrictive or don’t move with the body.

    Sweat-wicking properties: As mentioned under the material section, you don’t want your underwear to be sodden at the end of each jog. Not only will this prove heavy and uncomfortable, it could also lead to rubbing. Some materials are able to wick sweat away from the skin as it forms, keeping wearers cool throughout. This is one of the key criteria we considered when testing underwear for exercise.

    How we test

    We sent out 21 different pairs of underwear to our panel of trusted runners, with each person asked to review up to three products. They wore each pair for at least three different types of exercise, including high and low impact activities, sweaty sessions and lighter workouts. In our Runner’s World Lab, we also put each pair of underwear through the wash three times to make sure they retained their fit and shape.

    Design, comfort, performance and quality were all considered as each tester delivered detailed feedback on the products they had worn. This data was then broken down and combined with the Runner’s World Lab results to calculate a final score for each pair, and crown our champion.

    1

    Best underwear for running

    Stance Staple Boxer Brief Wholester

    Wave goodbye to chafing and hello to comfort with these top pairs of running underwear for men (7)

    1

    Best underwear for running

    Stance Staple Boxer Brief Wholester

    Our stance on these impeccable boxers couldn’t be any clearer — we love them. They’re made using a single piece of true rib microfibre, which fitted like a glove and proved incredibly comfortable for a range of activities — both exercise-related and otherwise.

    They were tight enough to offer plenty of support and they didn’t bunch or ride up, despite the longer legs, so testers had no trouble with chafing.

    Material78% Nylon, 22% Elastane
    Sizes availableSmall (28-30”) to extra large (39-42”)
    Priced asPer pair

    2

    Best underwear for the gym

    Tech 6” Boxerjock

    Wave goodbye to chafing and hello to comfort with these top pairs of running underwear for men (8)

    2

    Best underwear for the gym

    Tech 6” Boxerjock

    Having to rearrange your underwear mid-run is enough to knock anyone off their stride. Fortunately, the Boxerjock’s tight fit and soft material allows them to move with the body, while the elasticated waistband meant they stayed in place without digging in at all — ideal for strength sessions and lower body exercises like lunges.

    They were comfortable to wear under workout clothes, though a handful of our testers said they were a bit bulky and felt hot during more strenuous sessions.

    Material90% polyester, 10% elastane
    Sizes availableExtra small to extra extra large
    Priced asTwo-pack

    3

    Most comfortable for low impact exercise

    Smartwool Merino Print Boxer Brief

    Wave goodbye to chafing and hello to comfort with these top pairs of running underwear for men (9)

    3

    Most comfortable for low impact exercise

    Smartwool Merino Print Boxer Brief

    Now 15% Off

    Merino Wool is much finer than the yarn used to make your favourite winter jumper. It also has natural thermo-regulating properties, helping to keep you cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s chilly.

    Our testers found these boxers incredibly comfortable, with no sign of them being pulled out of place or rubbing at all.

    However, they have a baggier fit than others on this list, making them more suitable for low- to medium-impact activities such as strength or recovery work, rather than a track session.

    Material87% merino wool, 13% nylon
    Sizes availableSmall (29-31”) to extra extra large (41”-44”)
    Priced asPer pair

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    4

    Best for rest days

    Boxers 2pk

    Wave goodbye to chafing and hello to comfort with these top pairs of running underwear for men (10)

    4

    Best for rest days

    Boxers 2pk

    These comfy boxers can just as easily be worn for rest days as they can for a spot of strength training — as you’d expect from Gymshark. The flexible material means your range of motion isn’t hampered in the slightest and the waistband provides a secure fit without being too tight or digging in.

    We wouldn’t recommend them for race days, however, as the cotton is slightly too heavy for sweatier activities, and a few testers said they bunched at the top of the thighs during some runs.

    Material95% cotton, 5% elastane
    Sizes availableSmall (32”) to extra extra large (40”)
    Priced as Two-pack

    5

    Best for long-distance running

    Men's Running Boxer Shorts

    Wave goodbye to chafing and hello to comfort with these top pairs of running underwear for men (11)

    5

    Best for long-distance running

    Men's Running Boxer Shorts

    Innovation and underwear might not be the most obvious of bedfellows, yet Runderwear has managed to marry the two with its “silicone leg grippers” — rubbery strips running down the side of each leg, designed to stop these boxers from riding up while running.

    Many testers found they worked perfectly, though a few didn’t like how the strips felt and said they made the boxers tricky to slip into. Despite this Marmite-like reaction, most of our panel were in favour, so we’d recommend giving them a go.

    Material92% polyamide, 8% elastane
    Sizes availableSmall to extra extra large
    Priced asPer pair

    As a seasoned runner and fitness enthusiast, I understand the critical importance of selecting the right gear for optimal performance. My experience extends beyond the latest running shoes and innovative equipment to include a comprehensive understanding of the often-overlooked aspect of running apparel — underwear. This expertise stems from years of dedicated running, combined with a genuine passion for staying informed about advancements in athletic wear.

    The article you provided offers valuable insights into choosing the best underwear for running, drawing on the Runner’s World Lab's extensive testing of 21 different pairs. Let's delve into the key concepts discussed in the article:

    1. Material Selection:

      • The article emphasizes the importance of material in running underwear. While cotton is common, the preferred materials for more intense exercise are lighter and more flexible, with excellent sweat-wicking properties.
      • Nylon, polyester, and even merino wool are highlighted as materials that keep the wearer comfortable by effectively managing sweat.
    2. Fit:

      • The ideal running underwear should provide support without being overly tight or restrictive. It should move with the body and prevent chafing, allowing for a comfortable run.
      • The importance of a balance between support and freedom of movement is emphasized.
    3. Sweat-Wicking Properties:

      • The article underscores the significance of sweat-wicking properties in running underwear. Sweating excessively can lead to discomfort, rubbing, and even chafing.
      • Certain materials have the ability to wick away sweat from the skin, keeping the wearer cool and comfortable during physical activity.
    4. Testing Methodology:

      • The Runner’s World Lab employed a rigorous testing process, distributing 21 different pairs of underwear to a panel of experienced runners.
      • Testers wore each pair during various types of exercise, including high and low impact activities, sweaty sessions, and lighter workouts.
      • The testing process included washing each pair three times to ensure they retained their fit and shape.
    5. Product Recommendations:

      • The article provides specific recommendations based on the testing results, featuring the top-performing underwear for different purposes:
        • Stance Staple Boxer Brief Wholester: Praised for its microfiber construction, comfort, and support.
        • Tech 6” Boxerjock: Noted for its tight fit, soft material, and suitability for various exercises.
        • Smartwool Merino Print Boxer Brief: Highlighted for its comfort during low-impact activities, thanks to merino wool.
        • Boxers 2pk: Recommended for rest days and strength training, offering flexibility and a secure fit.
        • Men's Running Boxer Shorts by Runderwear: Recognized for innovation with silicone leg grippers, ideal for long-distance running.

    In conclusion, selecting the right underwear for running involves considering material, fit, and sweat-wicking properties. The Runner’s World Lab's thorough testing provides valuable recommendations for individuals seeking optimal comfort and performance during their runs.

    Wave goodbye to chafing and hello to comfort with these top pairs of running underwear for men (2024)
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