Underwear the new essential in workout clothes

You killed it in class, but your workout clothes have failed you: Somewhere “down there” you feel the sweat pooling, and now you’ve got a situation—a sweaty crotch situation, to be exact. It’s hampering your celebratory lap to the water cooler. We totally sympathize and are ready to handle that quandary with this simple recommendation: Upgrade your underwear.

workout clothes
The new essential in workout clothes: underwear. Photo courtesy Shutterstock

Controlling moisture is the key to resolving sweat overload, and it just involves revisiting your layering technique. One of the primary goals of technical layering is to move moisture away from the skin quickly so that it can evaporate. Why is it important that it evaporates? You stay dry longer. How can we accomplish this? We troubleshoot the garments closest to your skin.

For many of us, cotton is the material of choice for our underpinnings, but cotton is prone to absorbing moisture and is slow to dry out. It is not recommended for technical clothing. For optimal wicking and breathability, there are two key fiber types to rely on: the synthetics (modal, nylon, or polyester) and the natural (wool). Both are often mixed with some sort of stretch-retention fiber like Lycra, elastane, or Spandex to optimize fit.

Now that we’ve identified the culprit of your angst, here’s how to resolve it. These seven companies have our rears covered with innovative undies that are sure to deliver (and put the spring back into your post-workout step).

workout clothes
Asics’ ASX boxer and bikini have runners covered. Photo courtesy Asics

Asics: A name well known to runners, Asics makes technical briefs that have to outlast the miles athletes clock during an average run. Asics utilizes a synthetic fabric blend, and product features include seamless technology, flatlock stitch construction(to minimize chafing), compression paneling, and, for the guys, an odor-reducing technology.
MSRP: ASX bikini, $18; ASX boxer, $25

workout clothes
Under Armour’s Boxerjock boxer briefs and Pure Stretch thong; photo courtesy Under Armour

Under Armour: This sport brand is no stranger to sweaty athletes hailing from a variety of high-impact sports. Their fabric of choice is nylon/elastane. For the girls, product features include laser-cut edges for flawless fit and look, four-way stretch for improved range of motion, and antimicrobial technology. For the guys, product features include a proprietary HeatGear fabric, four-way stretch, a moisture transit system (for optimal sweat-wicking), and anti-odor technology.
MSRP: Pure Stretch thong, $12; Boxerjock boxer briefs, $20

workout clothes
Lululemon’s got more on offer than just yoga pants. L to R: The Format boxer and Mula Bandhawear bikini; photo courtesy Lululemon

Lululemon: This yoga brand has built their bottom line by covering our bottoms during downward-facing dog. For the girls, they’ve utilized the synthetic fabric MicroModal. Product features include stretchy Lycra fiber in the hems to keep them in place and low-profile seams to minimize panty lines. For the guys, they’ve chosen the synthetic fabric Luxtreme. Product features include an engineered fit with chafe-resistant flat seams, four-way stretch, and Silverescent, which inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria.
MSRP: Mula Bandhawear bikini, $18; Format boxer, $38

workout clothes
Smartwool’s king of the natural-fiber game. L to R: Microweight boxer briefs and PHD seamless bikini; photo courtesy Smartwool

Smartwool: This merino-pimping activewear brand sits in a category all its own. If you favor natural fibers over synthetic, take note. The fabric used is merino wool with a touch of nylon and elastane. For the girls, product features include seamless construction, a wide waistband for a flattering fit, and varied knit textures for ventilation. For the guys, features include jersey knit for temperature control, a guarantee that the product won’t itch, and a covered elastic waistband that prevents chafing.
MSRP: PHD seamless bikini, $32; Microweight boxer brief, $48

workout clothes
Leave it to Patagonia to turn used soda bottles into moisture-wicking skivvies. L to R: Active hipster and Silkweight boxer briefs; photo courtesy Patagonia

Patagonia: This brand’s eco-philosophy is incorporated into everything it does. The recycled polyester (synthetic) used for these skivvies comes from recycled soda bottles. For the girls, the fabric blend wicks moisture (incorporates Spandex), the seamless waistband and leg openings won’t chafe or creep, and there’s a breathable mini-rib crotch. For the guys, silkweight poly jersey integrates Polygiene for permanent odor control.
MSRP: Active hipster, $20; Silkweight boxer briefs, $32

workout clothes
Next-level lingerie: the Hazel sport hipster; photo courtesy Dear Kate

Dear Kate: This for-the-girls-only line of panties is so innovative that we’re not sure where to start. Going beyond what one would ever expect from their unmentionables, Dear Kate has revolutionized moisture-blocking capabilities to an unheard-of degree. Let us break this down: Most of us are used to dealing with the sometimes messy outcome of, how should we say, “period panties”? Um, yes—we’re all familiar, and frankly fed up. Made in NYC, each pair of Dear Kates is wicking, stain releasing, and leak resistant—preparing you for everything from cardio to just another day hanging out with Aunt Flo. Check out their so-smart founder here.
MSRP: Hazel sport hipster, $34

workout clothes
No girls allowed at Athletic Recon. Their products are built strong enough for a man … and are made for them, too. The Streaker; photo courtesy Athletic Recon

Athletic Recon: This for-the-guys-only startup seamlessly combines street fashion with the technical merit needed by endurance athletes and city gym-dwellers alike. We really like their vibe. Utilizing a synthetic blend, this sport-performance boxer brief has a built-in patented soft mesh gusset for breathability and moisture control.
MSRP: Streaker, $28

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