These Are The 10 Best Pairs of Workout Underwear for 2022

Girlfriend Collective's Sport Thong is a game-changer

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Pairs of Workout Underwear for 2022

LDMA / QUO

Workout clothing can be empowering on and off the mat — loving what your wearing boosts our confidence levels and raises self-esteem: “When you look good, you feel more confident,” Abby Gordon, VP of Design & Merchandising for Alo Yoga, tells InStyle, “So investing in quality athleisure wear will help you feel better in the gym and truly conquer a workout.”

And believe it or not, this includes underwear, too. According to Cami Téllez, Founder and Creative Director of Parade, it's time to be intentional and rethink what’s underneath our workout leggings: “It’s crucial to invest in quality underwear not only for superior fit but also for performance.”

Where to start, you ask? Plenty of things go into picking high-quality sport underwear, from material to style, so we’ve rounded up the best workout to find the highest-performing options for your next high-intensity workout. We found that Girlfriend Collective's Sport Thong is a game-changer — no matter which sport you play — and some other expert-approved picks for your next gym sesh.

Scroll ahead to find out more about those and our other favorite picks.

Best Overall: Girlfriend Collective Clover Sport Thong

Girlfriend Collective Clover Sport Thong

Girlfriend Collective

What We Love: Underwear lines, begone!

What We Don’t Love: These super-seamless undies run big because of their stretch.

Sometimes the requirement for a good thong is one that just doesn’t feel like a thong. In the best way, this Girlfriend Collective thong feels invisible; It’s as close as going commando as you’ll get without actually ditching your underwear before a workout. Invest in this lightweight, stay-in-place pair of workout underwear, and you’ll never have to worry about unwanted panty lines again (I can confirm: These sustainable thongs are squat-proof). With sizes up to 6XL, they’re one of the most inclusive brands out there. But we will say, they do run big because of their stretch, but in our opinion, that overall just makes them feel a bit more comfortable.

Size: XXS-6XL | Number of Colors: 13 | Material: Recycled Plastic Bottles (RPET), spandex | Style: Thong

Best Budget: Target Auden Laser Cut Cheeky Underwear

Target Auden Laser Cut Cheeky Underwear

Target

What We Love: The fabric quality of these buttery briefs is comparable to pricier options.

What We Don’t Love: We wish they had a broader size range.

These might look like your average pair of seamless undies, but that’s kind of the point. These ultra-silky cheekies from Target’s in-house brand Auden are reliable and durable yet at a better price than most other breathable undergarment options that look, well, exactly like these. And chances are, you won’t be able to tell the difference. What stands out amongst the rest, though, is how they cut ideally low at the waist, have an impressive stretch, and hold up after multiple washes, which is a must for the multiple-times-a-week gym-goer. Because they’re laser-cut, they also happen to be seamless, preventing unsightly seams peeking through your leggings. The size range leaves much to be desired, though — hopefully Target expands it soon.

Size: XS-XL | Number of Colors: 9 | Material: Nylon, spandex | Style: Cheeky

Best Splurge: Negative Glacé High-Waist Thong

Negative Glacé High-Waist Thong

Negative

What We Love: The material glides underneath clothing.

What We Don’t Love: The ultra-coverage is made for lower-impact workouts (Think: Less for running and more for barre class), so its wearability is limited to select workouts.

This high-waisted thong from Negative is compressive, yet comfortable. They do what you’d want every piece of exercise clothing to do: stay on, ultimately making you forget they’re on. With almost a shapewear-esque appearance, this high-cut thong glides onto the body and is supportive without the bulk. Big bonus: They also don’t cut into the thigh or hip because of the silky stretch fabric.

Our only pro tip is that these are better for low-impact sports, so probably not the go-to option for cycling or those high-intensity HIIT classes.

Size: XS-XXL | Number of Colors: 3 | Material: Nylon, lycra | Style: High-Rise Thong

Best Plus-Size: Parade Thong Sport+

Parade Sweat-Wicking Workout Thong

Parade

What We Love: These ultra-comfy undies effectively wick away moisture.

What We Don’t Love: The gusset could be wider for some.

Gone are the days of trying to oh-so-subtly readjust your undies mid-pilates class. Don’t believe me? Try this pair and see that these moisture-wicking thongs are as essential to your reformer-based class as grip socks. But these aren’t exclusive to one workout — they work with almost any activity that breaks a sweat because they’re quick-drying and sweat-tested by real athletes. Developed as exercise-in-mind underwear, this pair makes our list because they’re comfy, show no lines, and can keep up with a multitude of workouts.

Not to mention, Parade was founded in response to the one-body narrative pushed by the underwear industry. The brand has since galvanized a grassroots revolution to change the industry into one that prioritizes style, inclusive fit, sustainability, and affordability. The size range actually is not as extensive as Girlfriend Collective’s, but it’s still vast in comparison to some other brands. We would like them to take it a step further by expanding the range — and also making the gusset a bit wider because it might be too narrow for some.

Size: XS-3XL | Number of Colors: 6 | Material: | Style: Thong

Best Thong: QUO Active Thong

QUO Active Thong

QUO

What We Love: These undies don't have a "gusset" that's always in the pantyliner area, which directly helps fight post-workout moisture and breeding bacteria.

What We Don’t Love: That seamless band is thicker than most, so sometimes it can show through thinner leggings.

The QUO Active Thong was made for people who live in their leggings. It’s a single product that offers a solution-based approach for folks breaking a sweat in them: an active thong made from an antimicrobial, sweat-wicking, four-way-stretch polyamide-elastane blend. QUO’s fabric is designed to fight microorganisms that cause infections. So while cotton material might be comfy, it doesn’t actively work against bacterial growth from sweat-down-under as this pair does. All that in mind, this gym-bag necessity is also pretty dang cute. The design is sharp, minimalistic, and high-end. The band feels a bit thicker than other pairs on this list, so it might show through thinner leggings. We’re confident that you’ll still love them, though.

Size: 1-10 | Number of Colors: 2 | Material: Nylon, spandex | Style: Thong

Best Brief: Commando Classic High Rise Panty

Commando Classic High Rise Panty

Commando

What We Love: The raw-cut edges extend an ultra-buttery feel. 

What We Don’t Love: The size range leaves much to be desired.

Equipped with Commando’s signature, patented, elastic-free construction, these high-rise panties have raw-cut seams, appearing completely edgeless. They feel lightweight and don’t chafe or ride up during a run — or any other exercise of your choice. (Seriously, these could survive mountain climbers.) These skin-color-specific undies are durable between washes, too. They’re quick-drying and hold up after each intense workout — so much so that you’ll find yourself wanting to buy a pair for leisurewear. Commando also offers an equally-as-comfy thong version, if you’re looking for a legging-friendly alternative.

We wish they offered a bigger size range and hope that’s in the cards for the brand soon.

Size: XS-XL | Number of Colors: 5 | Material: Nylon, elastane| Style: High-Rise Brief

Best Bikini: LDMA Low Hide Brief

LDMA Low Hide Brief

LDMA

What We Love: You’ll forget you’re wearing these.

What We Don’t Love: We wish these sweat-proof bikini briefs had more color options.

LDMA sent these over for me to try, and I forgot I was wearing them mid-workout — in the best way. These lowrise bikini briefs fit right below your natural waist, without digging into the skin and, despite having a thicker band, they stay put while feeling (and appearing) seamless. Not to mention, they’re made for movement with anti-odor, micro-ribbing fabric, and moisture-wicking technology. Fitness Model and NUFit Founder Natalie Uhling swears by them: “They’re made for working out because you don’t feel or see them under your leggings,” she says. We only wish they came in more colors and sizes.

Size: XS-XL | Number of Colors: 3 | Material: Nylon, spandex | Style: Low-Rise Bikini

Best Seamless: UNIQLO AIRism Ultra Seamless Hiphugger AIRism Ultra Seamless Hiphugger

UNIQLO AIRism Ultra Seamless Hiphugger

UNIQLO

What We Love: These seamless panties have fuller coverage in the back and the gusset.

What We Don’t Love: Despite being dubbed low-rise, this bikini style lies higher than expected on the body.

With a seamless and breathable fabric, the Uniqlo AIRism Seamless Hiphugger is a no-brainer for those on the move. This simple style is made with their signature smooth, breathable AIRism fabric with quick-drying technology, and is light and gentle on the skin. If you’re looking for something sweat-proof, you’ve found it. Our only wish is that these came with a more inclusive size range, but they do have a major stretch to them.

Size: XS-XL | Number of Colors: 12 | Material: Nylon + Spandex | Style: Low-Rise Bikini

Best Boyshort: Lululemon InvisiWear Mid Rise Boyshort Underwear

Lululemon InvisiWear Mid Rise Boyshort Underwear

Lululemon

What We Love: These won’t ride up or cause the dreaded wedgie.

What We Don’t Love: Though claimed to be virtually undetectable under leggings, these will sometimes show depending on the thickness of your outerwear.

Lululemon’s InvisiWear line offers slick underwear alternatives without the slip-and-slide effect. Super-smooth, seriously stretchy, and adapts to the shape of anyone’s body as they move, this pair of shorts do what the ideal boyshorts are meant to do: Offer full coverage, while feeling like you have extra fabric on your body. The edges on them don’t cause any irritation in the bikini area, either. Seemingly being the  “can’t go wrong” version of underwear, these are a solid, comfortable choice for activities and everyday wear.

The leg hole seam appears thicker than we would like, though. You risk it showing through your pants, but the comfort will definitely outweigh that con.

Size: XS - XXL | Number of Colors: 3 | Material: Nylon + Lycra | Style: Boyshort

Best Period: Knix Super Leakproof Cheeky

Knix Super Leakproof Cheeky

Knix

What We Love: This brand offers a commendable size and color range.

What We Don’t Love: The pad doesn’t taper in the front, which might feel heavy to those new to the period panty world.

Did you know that 80 percent of people experience bladder or period leaks while working out — sometimes stopping them from getting active altogether? This is a stat you might’ve seen in Knix’s new ad campaign, which brings light to pelvic floor health. “The more we talk about leaks, the less they're considered taboo,” the brand writes in an Instagram post. Knix does a phenomenal job at offering plenty of leakproof and period panty options, and this Super Leakproof Cheeky of theirs absorbs up to eight teaspoons worth of liquid. (It has a multi-layered gusset just to do so.) The gusset layers have anti-odor and moisture barriers, but they aren’t bulky. This size-inclusive brand also conforms to the body with an ultra-comfy stretch fabric.

For anyone unaccustomed to wearing period underwear, the built-in pad doesn’t taper in the front, so it might feel a bit awkward at first. Trust us, you’ll get used to it, though.

Size: XS-XXXXL | Number of Colors: 17 | Material: Nylon, spandex | Style: Cheeky

What to Keep in Mind

Materials

“Because used underwear cannot be donated or upcycled, it’s important to buy underwear made from quality materials that last for a long time and won’t rip or stretch after a few uses,” Cami Téllez, Founder and Creative Director of Parade tells InStyle. That said, if you’re searching for the next set of workout underwear, look for fabrics that are lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking. “Even better if the fabric is sustainable,” says Téllez. Moisture-wicking underwear is made from a fabric that specifically draws moisture — like sweat from that mid-day workout— away from your body rather than absorbing it. To keep dry, try polyester, nylon, or bamboo, and look for alternatives with that sweat-proof, breathable technology on the label.

Styles

Like any go-to workout routine, your undergarment choice is a personal one that works for your body. Exercise underwear comes in a range of styles, from briefs to boyshorts, and from thongs to bikinis. For an ultra-comfortable style, though, we suggest something raw-cut and seamless to give that “invisible” feeling, or a design with a thicker band to ensure it stays put.

Your Questions, Answered

Should you replace workout underwear more often than regular underwear?

“You should try to change out of your workout underwear as soon as possible and wash after each use. This can help maximize vaginal and overall wellness,” Amy Roskin, MD, JD, Board-certified OB/GYN and Chief Medical Officer at Seven Starling tells InStyle. Replacing workout underwear should follow the same suit: If you’re wearing it as much as your regular underwear, chances are it’ll suffer from wear and tear. Tossing will have to be judged on a case-by-case basis, but keep in mind that bacteria can accumulate in underwear over time. Investing in a good pair can help counteract this.

What material is most comfortable for workout underwear?

“An important characteristic of workout underwear is the ability to wick away sweat and moisture. A good workout can leave you sweaty, and in the vaginal area, that warm moist environment can promote the growth of yeast and bacteria. To help counteract this, look for absorbent fabric that's also breathable,” Roskin says. She adds that cotton or other natural fiber (including bamboo or merino wool) is a good choice: “Some newer synthetic fabrics also work well.”

Why Shop With Us

Philadelphia-based freelance writer Morgan Sullivan has written for multiple publications, including Cosmopolitan, Refinery29, and Elle, focusing mainly on beauty, fashion, and health topics. For this story, she interviewed Amy Roskin, MD, JD, Board-certified OB/GYN and Chief Medical Officer at Seven Starling, Abby Gordon, VP of Design & Merchandising for Alo Yoga, Cami Téllez, Founder and Creative Director of Parade, and Fitness Model and NUFit Founder Natalie Uhling. She even tested a bunch of pairs herself to determine what deserved to make our list.

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