Readers Roundtable: Running Commando

salty runs in salty running hoodie and plaid tightsThanksgiving is over and many of us survived heated political debates with our relatives or are feeling lucky to have avoided sending Uncle Joe into a red-faced finger-wagging tizzy as he passed the mashed potatoes. And with the turkey trots in the rearview mirror, it’s not Christmas lights we’re looking forward to. It’s tights season! It’s finally here and along with it, the cold late autumn winds blow back another age-old debate:ย to go commando or not to go commando under our spandex. And thus we ask you:

Do you wear underwear under your spandex tights or shorts? Why or why not?

Keep the talk on this hot topic civil folks! And join us later tonight on Twitter for #SaltyChat. At 7:00 p.m. Eastern, we’ll have an in-depth and fun conversation on this and other topics.ย 

Salty Running boss and mother of 3 little ones with PRs of 3:10:15 (26.2), 1:25:59 (13.1) and 18:15 (5k). I love to write about running culture, mental training, and fitting in a serious running habit with the rest of a busy life.

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26 comments

  1. The never ending debate! My shorts all have built in liners, so that’s a no for sure. For tights and capris, I do – though I think I’d probably prefer not to since they never seem to sit right! It’s funny, because I don’t under bike/tri shorts and tights are just longer versions of the same.

  2. If my shorts have a liner, then I don’t wear them. Otherwise YES YES YES. Always underwear! I need a layer of protection between my V and my clothing. I am very passionately PRO-underwear.

      1. I bought special runderwear, but didn’t like how they fit. I just wear my regular underwear- which are thongs. I just don’t like the feeling of my V rubbing on my clothes. I need that security!

        1. HAHA. Your security thongs ๐Ÿ™‚ I understand that feeling. I have to wear undies under dress tights and most other times. Fun fact: 11 years ago Mike had to tell me the liner in running shorts was a substitute for underwear and that I didn’t need to wear a separate pair with them. Ha!

          1. confession time: I didn’t know the liner was an underwear substitute either- it was a good couple of years before I overheard someone talking about how the liner was the substitute… and I was like MIND BLOWN.

          2. I didn’t know they were a substitute either! I was always annoyed with the liner so ran in my soccer shorts for the longest time unless it was a meet. I heard about the liner’s purpose while listening in on someone’s conversation in college and the world became a better place that day. Generally, I go commando unless it is absolutely freezing and I feel the need for one more layer. Then I just wear my seamless VS underwear. It always stays put.

  3. For me the simple answer is ‘it depends’. It is pretty much part of my layering strategy … because living in upstate NY means having to have a layering strategy ๐Ÿ™‚

    I love wearing t-shirt and shorts – just toss on and go! But the reality of my location and pre-dawn run times is that ~9 months out of the year I need more. Also, it is never wind-free – in general I can assume ~5mph even if the weather app says 0.

    Once the temperature drops below ~40F I start changing my approach – light gloves, long-sleeve shirt, maybe tights depending on wind. As it gets cooler I have a light base-layer under my shirt and will add compression shorts under tights. From there I add heavier base layers and tops and my ‘extreme cold gear’ tights … and in temperatures down to about -30F with wind chill I have not needed more.

    Interestingly this is apparently a topic not addressed often enough amongst men … heck I wrote about it on my blog (when I actively kept up a blog) a few years ago and it remained my #1 post and has surged with each winter season! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. YES! I was at a dinner party with dudes last night and the debate on this topic was uproarious! The dudes were on all different sides and VERY opinionated ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I almost NEVER wear underwear under spandex. The only time I have is when I was postpartum and worried my poor tights might split from the extra padding on my butt. I might wear a pair of wicking undies under looser running pants. If it’s really cold I might throw on a pair of spandex shorts or capris under my long tights. My butt/nethers don’t usually feel the brunt of the cold though, it’s the little pocket of chub under my belly button that is always the next thing to freeze after my hands and feet, so making sure my tights ride high is the most important thing in the dead of winter, not so much the underwear. BUT, for long runs, I have to make sure I apply antichafing stuff to the crotch of my tights before putting them on or suffer the consequences in the post run shower. OUCH!!!!

    1. I never thought of spandex shorts under tights in really cold temps! Fingers crossed I don’t have to test that combo out any time soon ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Yep, I wear undies with my tights. Mostly because all my running tights are pretty cheap and I don’t trust them not to chafe. I did actually buy thong running undies – pretty good wicking properties! One thing that puzzles me – they are New Balance, and there’s a reflective logo on them. On my thongs. Where do they think I’ll be wearing these where a reflective logo will come in handy. (They are, however, very comfortable. Found them at TJ Maxx.)

  6. Pretty in line with most others- it just depends. Most of my spandex is lined so definitely no underwear UNLESS it’s super cold. In the winter I’ll use boyshorts or granny panties for the extra layer over my tush (it does help!). I do have a few pairs of spandex I prefer to wear underwear with (typically thongs oddly) because of poorly placed seams, chafing down there is NOT good.

  7. I’m a no underwear person. I don’t like the feeling of having fabric creeping in my a$$ and having to pull out a wedgie. I also don’t know how a thin panty can keep your butt warmer in cold temps??? It’s not like they’re fleece. If it’s super cold I just wear two pair of tights and keep it moving.

  8. I never wear underwear in workout clothes. I live in TX so I’m more worried about sweaty ass/chafing than I am being too cold. I can’t wear thongs and I don’t want panty lines either, so commando it is!

  9. I do wear underwear with everything. Another layer is always good, whether that means protecting me from chafing or a layer of absorption for any, errrr, fluids that then get the liner gross from repeated use (I think undies extend the life of running shorts/skirts/tights). I wear those lacy thongs from VS so I don’t have panty lines, the old ones get relegated to just-for-running and new ones don’t.