Clothing has the ability to make or break your run. If it fits right, feels right, and keeps your temperature comfortable, your running kit can help you push to a new PR. But if it fits poorly, chafes, or leaves you too hot or too chilled, clothing can be a deal breaker. This is as true for your underwear as it is for any other piece of technical gear. If you are a runner, you know that the underwear you use can have a dramatic impact on your run.
Sure, some shorts come with built-in liners, but sometimes this doesn’t cut it. Or if you’re like me, you just don’t feel comfortable with a liner. This is where a good pair of running underwear can really help you out.
Regular underwear just doesn’t cut it when it comes to providing support or wicking away sweat. Any runner who has experienced chafing understands you don’t mess around when it comes to running underwear.
Thankfully, clothing companies have been creating underwear specifically for running for some time. But what if you don’t know which underwear to choose? That’s where this guide comes in.
Below, you’ll find a collection of the best men’s underwear for running, with several choices based on length and material. Let’s get started!
Top 3 Best and Favorites
Craft Greatness 6” Boxer
2UNDR Power Shift 3″
Sugoi MidZero Wind Boxer
Smartwool Merino 150 Boxer Brief
GORE M Base Layer Briefs
Best 6″ Boxer Briefs
Boxer briefs are the best of both worlds: long like boxer shorts, but skin-tight like briefs. 6″ is the most popular length, and that works with a variety of shorts and tights.
1. Craft Greatness 6” Boxer
These boxer shorts are made of polyester and a special fabric called elastane, which provides exceptional durability and stretching without causing the boxers to lose their shape. This keeps them tight and supportive while allowing for superior coolness and breathability.
As such, they’re a great choice for athletes since your legs won’t get as sweaty during physical activity. The micro polyester material is also slightly moisture-wicking, pulling perspiration vapor off your body.
The ergonomic and athletic fit is also quite comfortable. We expect men who are interested in boxer shorts that offer a wide range of motion will appreciate this pick.
- Lightweight and cooling
- Wicks moisture away
- Comfortable fit
- Offers good support
- May be too tight for some
- No fly opening
2. Under Armour Tech 6” Boxerjock
This is another pair of excellent boxer shorts with polyester and elastane as the primary fabrics; this allows for exceptional cooling and some moderate moisture-wicking capabilities.
But there’s also some articulated mesh weaving along the front panel and the gusset. These are great since they provide even more support for the groin area, all without needing side or back seams. The 4-way stretch construction is great for retaining your range of motion.
What’s more is the anti-odor tech integrated into the fabric. This is phenomenal for preventing the shorts from smelling terrible even after you throw them in the washer. The Tech 6″ Boxerjock is a great choice for guys who can’t stand their underwear smelling like last evening’s workout.
- Doesn’t retain bad smells
- Very comfortable
- Great support
- Moderate moisture wicking
- All styles are a bit flashy
- Fabric is a bit thin
3. New Balance Premium 6” Pocket Boxer Brief
This underwear features a rare innovation that most other boxer briefs don’t bother incorporating: a pocket. It’s located on the right side and is large enough for many smaller items like keys or your wallet, so these are a great choice for use at the gym or just for keeping your belongings secure.
The pocket is bonded and sewn durably into the shorts, so it’s a secure compartment you can depend on. It’s a helpful feature, since you can carry rougher or sharper items without worrying about them easily puncturing the pocket fabric.
The boxer briefs as a whole are well-made. They feature yarn-based technology that has special moisture-wicking properties, making them a great choice for guys who tend to sweat a lot below the waist. Additionally, a proprietary NB FRESH odor management finish is woven into the shorts; this reduces how bad they’ll smell after each use and helps them smell clean after washing.
- Has pocket on the right side
- Pocket is well-stitched
- Fabric is anti-odor
- Feels comfortable
- No fly opening
- Waistband is a bit weak
Top 3” Boxer Briefs
The second most popular style is the 3″ boxer brief. This size is just like the 6″ but covers a bit less of the leg.
4. 2UNDR Power Shift 3”
These 3” boxer briefs are made with high-quality yarn for the waistband, which provides great elasticity and strength. The resulting briefs are comfortable to wear, yet snap tightly to your waist to keep things secure and snug.
The front pouch is particularly well designed, elevating and supporting your more sensitive parts and keeping things separated to avoid excessive sweating and skin contact. The breathable athletic mesh back panel also helps to prevent your legs and groin from becoming too hot or sweaty during athletic events.
The polyester and coldskin fabric used for the majority of the shorts are specifically designed to reduce thermal output and improve cooling. All in all, they’re quite comfortable to wear even during excessive exercise or in hot climates. The flat-locked stitching is a final benefit, as it doesn’t rub against your sensitive areas while providing good durability.
- Very good at keeping things cool
- Offers exceptional support for the groin
- Comfortable fabric
- Stitching is intelligently placed
- Risk for wedgies
- A little tight around the upper legs for some
5. Adidas Sport Performance Climalite (Trunk Silhouette)
These boxer briefs can be selected in several packs or sizes and are composed of polyester and spandex. The spandex provides some moisture-wicking capabilities to improve your comfort and keep things cool even under heavy movement. The polyester does a great job of keeping things comfortable.
In fact, this fabric blend is one of the softest and stretchiest on the market, but it does a great job of retaining its shape after lots of wears. It also features a double-lined pouch at the front of the groin to increase support and keep your more sensitive parts secure.
The legs are specifically designed to prevent riding up, which is a risk that many 3-inch boxer briefs run due to their short inseam. However, you’ll never need to worry about that with this pick.
- Great support for the groin
- Won’t ride up leg
- Stretchy and soft
- Somewhat moisture wicking
- Can retain sweaty smell
- May occasionally cause chafing
6. Reebok Performance Boxer Brief
These boxer briefs can be chosen in either 100% polyester or polyester and spandex variants, though the latter is normally a better choice. Spandex as a fabric offers added elasticity and slight moisture wicking that polyester doesn’t offer. Either way, they come with an advantageous contour pouch to provide additional support for the groin.
These briefs are also designed to be exceptionally quick-drying, so you can actually follow the traditional advice of hand washing your boxer briefs and letting them air dry rather than using a machine dryer. The high-stretch design of the fabric can improve your mobility during your workouts or events without compromising the shape.
Additionally, you can pick up these shorts in multipacks for affordable asking prices. Thus, these are a great choice for men on a budget who need several comfortable athletics shorts in a pinch.
- Dry very quickly
- Offer great comfort
- Moderate moisture wicking
- Can be a little too tight for some
- May shrink if machine dried
Best Wind Blocking Underwear
For the coldest and windiest days, you need some good wind block underwear to keep the essentials from freezing. Enter wind-blocking underwear that features a nylon strip in the front to block wind.
7. Craft Active Extreme 2.0
These underwear are 100% polyester woven into an elastic fabric that’s been channel-knitted, which gives it the ability to trap air and provide warmth for your groin. At the same time, the special weaving of these shorts’ fibers let them keep your sensitive parts cool and prevent excessive sweating.
The Windstopper fabric at the front of the groin does a great job of protecting you from wind chill. Put simply, the shorts do a great job of preventing you from becoming too cold or too hot at the same time.
But what about comfort? These underwear are decently comfortable, with soft fabric down the thighs toward the knees. The waistband is suitably elastic and snappy at the same time, though it’s not the most comfortable waistband around.
- Comfortable overall
- Can keep you from getting too hot or cold
- Good groin protection/moisture evaporation
- Waistband isn’t that comfortable
- A bit long for some shorts
8. GORE Windstopper Base Layer Boxer Shorts
These windstopping shorts are made from polyester and elastane, granting them great comfort and durability while enabling them to stretch to enable a full range of motion. They’ll be great for runners who demand flexibility.
They also feature a soft elastic waistband. This has been brushed on the inside, which keeps them comfortable as you sweat and prevents chafing by moving the moisture away from sensitive skin. The shorts feature minimized seams, as well, which improves your comfort by reducing the chafing you might experience.
There’s a Windstopper insert in the groin area too, to protect your more sensitive parts from excessive wind force and chill. The shorts are reinforced with seat padding, as well. This makes them a great choice for longer runs or hikes, as their long-term comfort is practically unmatched.
- Great comfort overall
- Waistband feels fantastic
- Groin protection is great
- Seat padding feels good
- Fabric is a bit thin
- Not the warmest Windstopper
9. Sugoi MidZero Wind Boxer
These windstopper boxers are made with a combination of polyester and spandex, and they feature an excellent moisture-wicking and elastic waistband. Not only is this one of the more comfortable waistbands for windstopping boxers we found, but it’s also fantastic for reducing chafing and keeping you from overheating during your work out.
It also features a reinforced center front panel for added support and durability, and to protect your groin area from heavy winds. The boxers can be hand washed for added performance and appearance.
These boxers are great because their length is ideal for athletic activities. It’s not so long as to become too tight on the leg, but it’s long enough that they’re very unlikely to ride up and cause discomfort.
- Feel comfortable overall
- Great waistband
- Moderate moisture wicking
- Have reinforced front panel
- May shrink in wash
Top Merino Wool Underwear for Running
10. Smartwool Merino 150 Boxer Brief
This Smartwool brief has excellent insulation and ventilation, meaning that they’ll be ideal if you typically become too hot or cold during your workout routines. Their 13% nylon and 87% Merino wool construction offers a very breathable experience, providing some of the best temperature regulation on the market.
These shorts are also extremely comfortable in colder weather conditions and have been reinforced with flatlock seams at the bottom. Not only do these increase the durability of the shorts but they also prevent chafing.
What’s better is that these boxer briefs can even help to provide some motor control thanks to their fabric. The odor resistance capabilities will be helpful since you’ll only need to wash them once to get rid of your stink.
- Great for any temperature
- Can regulate sweat and odor
- Very comfortable
- Good stitching that doesn’t tear
- Groin stitching is a bit weak
- May tear under stress
11. Icebreaker Anatomica Boxers
These boxers are made with a collection of fibers that have been core-spun. This enhances their durability without compromising comfort, allowing you to benefit from the natural softness of merino wool at the same time.
There’s also a bit of Lycra woven into the fabric. This provides extended mobility and stretchability to the boxers. Basically, this will afford you a greater range of motion when working out or running and make this pair of boxers a suitable choice for athletic men.
These also feature flatlock seams to reduce chafing, and a contour pouch for the groin that provides enhanced support and comfort. It also helps to regulate temperature and keep you from growing too hot in that sensitive area.
- Very good flexibility
- Stretches without compromising durability
- Wool content feels great
- Good pouch support
- Not as soft as other merino wool shorts
- Can cause sweating
Best Running Briefs
If you prefer a traditional brief, we’ve got you covered! Here are the best running briefs around.
12. GORE M Base Layer Briefs
These briefs afford a very tight fit to keep your groin contained and your genitals supported as you run. They do a great job of keeping things collected and supported without tightening the groin area too much, allowing you to focus on winning the race or finishing your workout without being distracted.
They feature a thin elastic waistband, which provides good comfort without chafing. The elastic waistband also helps to keep the briefs in place even as your waist moves back and forth. They’ve been high cut in the back area, as well, to prevent embarrassing moments if your pants slip down.
These briefs are made with selected fabrics that offer excellent moisture-wicking capabilities and a breathable experience. All in all, they’re premier running briefs due to their focus on support and cooling.
- Very good at moisture wicking
- Keep things cool
- Good groin support
- Stretchy but durable
- Might be a bit tight if they shrink
- May ride up
13. Icebreaker Anatomica Briefs
These are made from merino wool, nylon, and Lycra. All three have been core-spun together to improve their durability without compromising their soft texture. The resulting underwear is exceptionally comfortable and great for wearing over long stretches.
They have flatlock seams to prevent chafing plus a contoured pouch that does a great job of supporting your groin as you pump your legs. The waistband is the only part that isn’t that exceptional, featuring a standard elastic band that will eventually weaken over time.
Still, they’re a great set of underwear given their fabric weave and asking price. The nylon ensures that they’ll stretch and move with you without riding up too much at the same time.
- Don’t ride up
- Good support
- Feel very comfortable
- No chafing at seams
- Waistband can weaken
FAQ and Buyer’s Guide
Do I need running underwear if my shorts have a liner?
Maybe, maybe not.
Most running shorts have a liner built-in. Using that liner as your underwear is perfectly fine and quite common.
That being said, if you want to add running-specific underwear, you can. An extra layer won’t hurt. But we would recommend using traditional brief underwear if you are wearing a 2-in-1 (long boxer liner) pair of shorts. And likewise, wear boxer brief underwear with a brief-style liner in your shorts.
What type of underwear is best for running?
The best underwear for running should afford you plenty of mobility and a good range of motion for your legs. At the same time, it needs to not ride up and cause discomfort, especially since your legs will be moving.
You should also try to find underwear that is made with moisture-wicking material (like the ones above) if you plan to use them while running. This will also increase your comfort during your exercise and prevent chafing at the hips or from a sweaty groin.
What Makes Running Underwear Better Than Normal?
Running underwear is made with moisture-wicking fabric, and is designed with particular ranges of motion in mind. They can be made to not ride up or cause other discomfort from shifting around. Athletics-specific support for the groin to keep your sensitive parts cradled as you run is also important. Normal underwear does not necessarily (or usually) provide these benefits.
What Should I Do if My Underwear Causes Chaffing?
If you have a good pair of running underwear and still experience chafing, you should try:
What Underwear Should I Wear Under Tights?
Thin underwear that provides plenty of support is the way to go. Supporting your groin and avoiding lots of bulky cloth beneath the tights should be your primary concern.
Should I Wear Long Underwear Under Shorts in Winter?
It’s definitely acceptable to do so if it’s cold. But be advised that it might look strange to many, especially if your shorts are not in a style that suits long underwear.