Healthy(ish) Workout Pants: Can We Please Talk About Underwear And Exercise?

Do you go Bridget Jones, thongs or full commando?

Yoga Workout pants

by Susannah Taylor |

Having caught sight of my Lycra-clad, knicker-clamped backside in a gym mirror a few years ago, my exercise underwear is now quite considered. After all, nothing in your wardrobe reveals as much as a pair of leggings, right? We spend a fortune on sweat-wicking, tummy-tucking, buttock-lifting ones only to wear pants underneath that cut like a cheese grater and create bum jowls.

A poll of my friends reveals everyone has a different preference for exercise underwear, and to my surprise, many don’t wear any at all. ‘I always go commando,’ says Maria. ‘There’s nothing worse than trying to focus on push-backs in a spin class while rearranging my underwear.’ My HIIT class buddy Rose concurs, ‘No knickers are way more comfortable, you don’t get hot and sweaty.’

Hmm, I’m not so sure – I’m never conscious of feeling sweaty down below, and as one friend said, what if a hair was to poke through? (Good grooming is essential for going commando, btw.) Or, God forbid, that your leggings are see-through? Having been at the back of many an exercise class, I’m afraid many aren’t as opaque as you think. Luckily, Anjhe Mules, owner of fitness wear brand Lucas Hugh, understands many women don’t want to wear anything under their leggings and has created super-lightweight built-in briefs with all her leggings to avoid any awkward moments.

Some of my friends wear G-strings, as do I occasionally to avoid VPL. But I’m also part of the big knicker crowd. ‘I can’t risk the dreaded camel toe!’ shrieks one friend. ‘With so many leggings, the seams are in the wrong place.’ Another, who has five children, says she needs the reassurance of a double lining while she’s banging out the burpees, which – as someone whose pelvic floor ain’t what it used to be – I totally get.

It seems fitness wear brands are now putting a lot of thought into ‘invisible’ non-budge underwear. My favourites are the Lululemon Mula Bandhawear Bikini (£18) which may seem steep for a pair of pants, but they are so unbelievably soft, snug and lightweight you don’t know they’re there, and neither do they shift position during a sun salutation. For a sexier alternative to the big pant, Sweaty Betty No Show Pants (£16) have no seams so don’t eat into your bottom and they are also slighter and more hipster than regular big pants.

I can also recommend, which is devoted to sports pants. Stretchier and higher waisted than others, there’s something marvellously comfortable and secure about them (and they hold my stomach in). Made from seamless, moisture-wicking fabric, they promise not to chafe, which is great for runners. The best bit, however, is that the words ‘Don’t run commando’ are woven into the inside waistband, which makes me laugh every time I go to the loo.

SHOP: The Best Gym Pants And Underwear To Keep You Secure


Exercise Underwear to feel comfortable in

Lululemon Seamless Bikini
1 of 10

Our favourite gym workout panties have to be these Lululemon seamless briefs. You'll get your money's worth with no panty line, as recommended by our Grazia team.

Sweaty Betty Mindful Seamless Hipster Pant
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CREDIT: Sweaty Betty

Another of our favourite options, Sweaty Betty comes in as runner up, with a mindful option for those eco-warriors out there. Not only are they super soft but they're made out of sustainable fabric too.

Runderwear Women's Anti-VPL Running
3 of 10
CREDIT: Runderwear

Runderwear have groundbreaking workout pants made originally with runners in mind. Say no to chafing with these anti-VPL briefs, you won't even feel them on.

Organic Cotton Briefs 2-pack
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CREDIT: Organic Basics

If organic cotton is important to you, you can get these Organic Cotton briefs that are ethically made. They come in a variety of colours and are perfect for the gym or yoga with their soft feel.

FLUX Undies Seamless Bikini
5 of 10

When it comes to our periods, finding the right pant whilst working out can be a mission. These FLUX undies double up as thin period pants that are also seamless - perfect for a gym workout. You can get a variety of period pants to match your flow and these ones hold up to two tampons worth.

COMMANDO High-rise stretch briefs
6 of 10

High-rise pants can be a good idea for working out if you want something that's comfortable and figure-hugging. Their seamless design makes for gentle support that won't clutch your skin in.

Skims Free Cut Mid Waist Thong
7 of 10

We've all heard of Skims through Kim Kardashian and the free-cut selection from this brand is a great option for exercising. With smooth and invisible sides, you can grab these in a thong, bikini or hipster shape.

Gymshark No Vpl Hipster 3pk
8 of 10
CREDIT: Gymshark

Gymshark is running high-quality gym wear so it's no surprise their underpants are an option for us. Their three-pack of hipster no-VPL panties will suit any workout.

Under Armour Women's Hipster 3pack, £19.34
9 of 10
CREDIT: Amazon

You can even get hipster briefs from Under Armour, made specifically with sports in mind. They have four-way stretch making movement smooth and easy on your hips.

PUMA Women's Seamless String 2 pack
10 of 10

We love wearing a thong when working out because there are fewer panty lines so grab PUMA's two-pack of seamless string thongs. No show and clean design - what more could you want?

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