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Should Women Wear Underwear When Jogging?

author image Whitney Dickinson
Whitney Dickinson is a professional writer focusing on fitness, nutrition, goal-setting, motivation and travel. Dickinson is a National Strength and Conditioning Association certified personal trainer. She earned her Bachelor of Science in exercise science and Master of Science in kinesiology, and is currently completing a Master of Science in psychology.
Should Women Wear Underwear When Jogging?
Group of young woman jogging on the beach. Photo Credit Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Commando while running? Some women swear it's the only way to go. Others wouldn't want to be caught without a layer between their skin and shorts or capris. Some runners swear by thongs while others say that you must wear only white cotton underwear due to risk of infection.

How you choose to dress for your run is really up to your own personal preference, but take into consideration health concerns and comfort. There are positives and negatives to keeping your nether region bare and being covered.


Wearing thongs eliminates the panty-line look when you're wearing fitted aerobic pants or shorts. Because thongs use a thin piece of material to cover your womanly parts, you never have to worry about dealing with the wedgie scenario.

However, the design of thongs is the perfect setup for allowing fecal bacteria to make its way to the vagina, leading to uncomfortable bacterial infections.

Because thongs are tight, stay close to your body and moves back and forth as you jog, it leaves an open road for bacteria to travel where it should not go. Therefore, opting out of thongs is a wise choice. If you do choose to wear a thong when you run, change out of your sweaty clothes as soon as you're done working out.

Nylon Panties

Nylon panties rank high in comfort, but the material does not wick away moisture. Instead, it traps moisture between your underwear and your body, creating a breeding ground for bacteria.

Newer high-tech nylon/spandex blends may be a better choice. These form-fitting fabrics do not chafe or retain moisture, thereby decreasing the chance of yeast infection.

Cotton Underwear

Cotton underwear fits more loosely and breathes more readily, so infection potential is decreased. Health professionals have long tagged this fabric as the top choice for anytime use thanks to its ability to help keep infections and bacteria growth at bay. However, many joggers find it uncomfortable during the activity as it tends to slide into the dreaded wedgie position. Plus, you may find you experience chafing around the seams at your hips and thigh holes.

No Underwear

If allowing your skin and genitalia to breathe during exercise is an important factor, it seems logical that going commando might be the answer. If you're wearing shorts with underwear or underlining built in, you don't need an extra layer. If, however, you're running bottoms offer just one layer, consider the risks.

Urinary incontinence is very common, and chances increase with the exertion of exercise. Moreover, normal cyclic vaginal discharge occurs at different times throughout the month. Underwear catches anything that might make for an embarrassing situation.

Some women just prefer the no-underwear option. Go nude only in pants that are made of a wicking fabric and that have a panel in the crotch to help prevent vaginal health problems. Moisture can get trapped in nonbreathable gear and raise your risk of infection.

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