Underwear that rides, bunches or grips in all the wrong places can ruin a workout. Plus, you don't want panty lines showing through your perfect capris as you squat, bend and twist. Fit is critical when it comes to workout underwear, but fabric and style are too. The best workout underwear wicks sweat, stays put and is so comfortable you forget it's there.
Sweat and cotton don't mix, especially during a workout. Cotton underwear soaks up water and holds it, causing rubbing and possible chafing in your delicate areas. Plus, too much moisture can lead to yeast and bacteria overgrowth -- not the outcome you're looking for from your exercise session. Because it's inevitable that you'll sweat down there, cotton and non-performance synthetics -- such as rayon -- are a definite no-no. Save your lacy satin lingerie for other occasions too -- satin doesn't breathe. Instead, look for underwear made from fabrics such as Nylon, Spandex or Elastane, which wick moisture away from the skin and allow air to flow. These fabrics are stretchy and move with you -- especially important when you're doing Downward-Facing Dog, kicking a punching bag or shimmying your hips in dance aerobics.
Whether you choose a full-coverage brief, a boy short, a bikini or a thong is largely a matter of personal preference. What you do want to consider is what feels and looks best under your shorts, pants or capris. Height of the waist band is also important -- you don't want the top of your thong flashing as you do forward bends or deadlifts. If you are a fan of thongs, you might think twice about wearing it in a high-intensity cardio class such as cycling or during a run. The thong may slide around as you work out, causing too much warmth and friction; this can make you vulnerable to bacterial and urinary tract infections.
Lose the Love Handles
Flatter the look of your body with the right underwear and avoid the dreaded muffin top. Most workout underwear is form-fitting to minimize rub. The best underwear fits you snugly at the waist, but not so tightly that it digs in and causes unsightly bulges. Wide elastics are usually more comfortable than thin ones when it comes to workout underwear. The best underwear is seamless to discourage chafing and panty lines.
Maybe Nothing at All
Going commando is surprisingly perfectly acceptable. It can also be comfortable, particularly if you wear workout clothes made from wicking fabric, according to David Bank, M.D. in a "Shape" magazine article. In other cases, you may not have to invest in a separate pair of undies. Some of the best underwear comes built into your workout shorts or pants. These panty inserts fit well, wick moisture and show no lines.