Ladies, we often chat about diet, women-specific gear, sports bras, best cross-training for ladies, and other sporty things that are slightly different for us than they are for the male runners out there.
But we don’t often chat about working out while you’re on your period. We all know that the lady in red can ruin a great workout, which is why we’re reviewing the best tampons for swimming and sports today.
Not all of them are designed to withstand vigorous exercise. But the ones we’re covering today are made for sports, so if you need extra protection at those times, you may want to try some of these out.
Our top choice is the Playtex Sport Tampons. They’re designed to expand and be leak-proof when worn, come in multiple absorbencies, and are available either in scented or unscented versions.
We know it’s a personal thing, though, so we’ve reviewed a bunch of options for you to choose from. Here’s to better exercise at that time of the month!
Top 3 Best and Favorites
Playtex Sport Tampons
Seventh Generation Organic Cotton Tampons
Rael Organic Cotton Compact Tampons
1. Playtex Sport Tampons
These athletic tampons are designed with a unique layering method that provides optimal coverage. Flexi-Fit technology allows it to fit your body and move with you, without you even noticing that it’s there.
Interlocking fibers make them a strong and highly effective option, as they trap leaks in their tracks. They use multiple layers and have a high absorbency level, so no matter how heavy your flow, they’ve got your back.
Speaking of flow, they have a huge range of absorbencies to choose from: light, regular, super, super plus, and ultra. No matter where you stand on those first days, there’s something for you here.
They also come in dual-variety packs, such as a combination of regular and super, so you can choose what you need on the day. You can also choose between unscented and “Fresh Scent”.
Playtex tampons come with an easy-to-use and contoured-tip applicator, although take care when using it as the edges may be sharp on some of them. This helps you to place the tampon precisely so you hardly feel it while you’re doing your exercise.
- Multiple absorbencies
- Available in Fresh Scent or unscented
- Contoured applicator
- The applicator may have sharp edges – be careful!
2. o.b. Organic Regular with Plant-Based Applicator
The o.b. organic tampons are a healthy option. Made with organic cotton and using a plant-based applicator, they’re a little better for the environment too.
The TruComfort applicator is made of up to 92% renewable, plant-based materials. The tampons themselves are certified organic, use cotton that’s free from pesticides, and don’t contain any dyes or fragrances that could aggravate sensitive skin.
Available in both regular and super absorbencies, you can expect effective leak protection for up to 8 hours, depending on the heaviness of your flow.
They do recommend choosing regular for lighter days and super for the first few days of your period.
If you don’t like using an applicator, you can also get these tampons without the applicator, for your convenience.
According to the manufacturer, the tampon is designed to “bloom” outwards, to fit your body and provide the best possible coverage and protection against leaks.
Do take note that multiple users have reported these tampons to be slightly bigger than average. A regular o.b. tampon seems to be on par with a super in other brands, so take that into consideration before you buy.
- Plant-based applicator
- Made with 100% organic cotton
- Free from chemicals and dyes
- They’re a little bigger than other tampons
3. Seventh Generation Organic Cotton Tampons
Seventh Generation is committed to creating products that are safe for both you and the planet. As they point out, the average woman uses around 16,000 tampons or pads in her lifetime!
That’s a lot of contact with your body, but also a lot of stuff ending up in landfills. Not so with these ones, though – the tampon, applicator, and packaging are all biodegradable.
You can get them with or without an applicator. If you do choose to use the applicator, it’s made from 95% plant-based, BPA-free plastic that’s environmentally friendly.
These hypoallergenic tampons are comfortable thanks to their composition of certified organic cotton. They’ve been tested by gynecologists, and are also free from dyes and chlorine (which some brands use to whiten the tampon!).
They’re effectively absorbent, and an extra layer of leak-proof protection is added by the water-repellent waxed string (also eco-friendly). They also expand while you’re wearing them, contouring to the shape of your body and offering a high level of leak-proofing.
The only tiny issue that some women may have is that there’s no knot in the string, which can make it a little more difficult to remove. You could always knot your own strings, though, if you have the time and dexterity!
- Dual-layer leak protection
- No knot on the string
4. Rael Organic Cotton Compact Tampons
Rael Organic Cotton Tampons are natural and healthy for your body.
Made of 100% certified organic cotton (tampon and string), you won’t find any chemicals or unnatural stuff in them. No chlorine, no dyes, no fragrances, and no hint of pesticides!
As well as the entire tampon being organic, the applicator is BPA-free and consists of 90% plant-based material. If you don’t like the idea of a plastic applicator, you can choose a cardboard one. Each tampon is wrapped in a sustainable paper wrapper.
Once you’ve got the tampon in the right place, it expands slightly to provide an excellent seal against leaks. Over the absorbent cotton fibers is a thin cotton veil, designed to prevent the fibers from coming loose and staying behind.
All of this, plus their Leak Locker absorbent technology, makes these a great choice for wearing while you’re on-the-go, whatever your choice of activity is.
As a bonus, the applicator is compactly designed so it can fit easily into your pocket. You’ll never be caught out again!
- Fits in your pocket
- OSC-Certified Organic Cotton
- BPA-free plastic applicator
- Absorption is a little low, so you may need to size up from your usual!
5. o.b. Original Regular
The o.b.tampons were designed by a female gynecologist, so they’re everything a woman needs.
Soft and expandable, they’re both comfortable and effective at preventing leaking while you’re doing your exercise or swimming.
These tampons are regular size, but they have certain features that help keep them protective. FluidLock grooves in the cotton helps to increase the absorbency, keeping you safe from leaks for a good amount of time.
They’re designed for lighter flows, so if your first few days are heavy you may want to use a different one and save these for when it’s eased up a bit.
You also won’t get an applicator with these tampons. They’re slim and easy to hide in your pocket so you can carry them around conveniently and discreetly.
The hardest part of using these is removing the thin plastic tab around the middle of them to unwrap the packaging!
- Designed by a female gynecologist
- Applicator-free tampon
- Compact and discreet
- Plastic tab on the packaging may be hard to unravel
Best For Heavy Flow
6. Playtex Simply Gentle Glide Tampons
On day one, you need a heavy-duty tampon to keep you safe and leak-free. These work well, as they use a triple-layer construction with a woven core to ensure that as much as possible gets absorbed.
They fall under the “super plus” absorbency level, perfect for heavy days. The cotton fibers that they use to make these tampons are purified and washed up to five times before being used, so they’re soft and healthy from the very beginning.
Once inserted, the tampon “blooms” and shapes to your body, providing a high level of comfort. As long as it’s in properly, you won’t even feel it as you’re going about your activities!
The Comfort Shape plastic applicator contains no BPA or dyes, although it’s not biodegradable. Slightly less good for the planet, but may be able to be recycled.
- Triple-layer protection
- Free from BPA and dyes
- Shapes to your body
- Non-biodegradable applicator
7. Cora Organic Cotton Tampons
If you prefer using an applicator but still want to be able to carry a spare tampon in your pocket just in case, we recommend the Cora Organic Cotton Tampons.
The applicator is super compact, only slightly longer than the tampon itself when packed. It’s easy to fit into a handbag or pocket so it’s within easy reach at any time. It may take some practice to become comfortable using this little applicator, though.
As well as being convenient, these tampons are made of certified organic cotton, free from pesticides, chlorine, and fragrances. The applicator is BPA-free, for even more peace of mind.
For improved leak-proofing, the string is coated with water-resistant wax. There’s also a light veil over the tampon that prevents cotton fibers from coming off, which is made of polyester, polyethylene, and fiber.
Interestingly, these tampons are designed with a folding W-shape. It may sound odd, but once you’ve inserted it with the applicator, it unfolds slightly to provide extensive coverage against leaks.
Choose from light to super plus absorbencies to suit your body and activity.
- Compact applicator
- Expanding W-shape
- GOTS certified organic cotton
- May take some practice to get used to using the applicator
Best Compact Size
8. Playtex Sport Compact Tampons
These tampons are designed specifically for sport use, but they’re also neatly compact and still do their job well. 30% smaller than the regular Playtex tampons with the applicator, they have all the same features to keep you safe and free from leaks.
Their 360° Sport Level Protection, Flex Fit interlocking fibers, and an expandable design work to trap any liquid so it doesn’t become an issue.
They come in regular and super absorbencies, or a mix of both in one box – ideal for a full cycle! You can also choose from scented or unscented.
Note that the tampons themselves are not tiny. It’s mainly about the applicator, which is the largest part of the whole contraption!
- 360° Sport Level Protection
- Small enough to fit in the tiniest purse or pocket
- Choose from unscented or scented
- May not be big enough for heavy flows
Best For Travel
9. The Honey Pot Organic Regular Tampons
These cutely-named tampons are made of organic cotton, are hypoallergenic, and come with a bio-plastic applicator (made from sugarcane, of all things). They don’t contain any unhealthy chemicals, fragrances, or dyes.
They’re unscented and come in regular and super absorbencies. With 18 in a box, these are easy to use and will see you through the month no problem.
- No fragrances, dyes, or chemicals added
- Bioplastic applicator
- Hypoallergenic and safe
- The applicator may take some time to get used to
Not sure about changing brands or trying one of our recommendations for the best tampons for swimming and sports?
Here’s some more information that may help you make up your mind!
Tampon Features & Considerations:
You can get tampons in a variety of sizes, or “absorbencies”. This technically relates to how much fluid it can hold, although who’s measuring how much they bleed?
You should be able to estimate which absorbency is right for you by how heavy your flow is. Some women choose to use super, super plus, or ultra absorbencies on their first few days, when the flow is heavy and move to light or regular on later days.
Most tampons will come with an option for an applicator and without one. Technically, it’s all about personal preference if you want to use one or not.
Applicators allow you to position the tampon in the right place with little hassle. It also means you don’t need to get your fingers all up in there, which might be uncomfortable for some ladies.
Applicators usually come in a plastic material or cardboard. Plastic is sturdier than cardboard and easier to use, and some are plant-based plastic which biodegrades more easily.
Otherwise, you do get those without an applicator. These are usually more compact and easier to carry in a pocket. But in the end, it’s a personal choice!
Tampons are made to expand when filled with fluid, but there are a few different ways in which they do so. Some expand widthways, filling the space and allowing for little leakage. Others unfold, either side-to-side or in a 360-degree way.
Typically, you won’t notice the difference when you’re wearing it. But it’s nice to know in case you do have a preference!
What’s the Difference Between an ‘Active’ Tampon and Regular Tampon?
Sports tampons, or “active” tampons, are specifically designed to be more comfortable, more absorbent, and provide a better fit to prevent leaks.
You can do your chosen activity freely and comfortably when you’re on your period, without worrying about mess, discomfort, or embarrassment.
Can You Use Regular Tampons for Sports?
You can use regular tampons if you have a light flow and aren’t worried about leaking. They may not be quite as comfortable as sports ones, but they are still designed to be unobtrusive and hardly felt when you use them, so there shouldn’t be any issues.
If your flow is heavy, though, you may want to avoid the regulars and choose something specially designed for active use.