Do You Wear Underwear Under Compression Shorts? Don’t – Here are 3 Good Reasons Not To

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Written by Brian Sweet

Elite athletes wear compression shorts often. If it works for them it should probably work for ordinary Joe/Jane as well. More and more fitness aficionados wear compression shorts. But, do you wear underwear under compression shorts? And should you?

While some people don’t feel comfortable going commando, there’s a short and no-sweat answer to these questions: you shouldn’t wear underwear under compression shorts.

You’ll lose these benefits…

  1. Temperature regulation and support of the upper leg muscles.
  2. Wicking sweat away avoiding chafing and rashes.
  3. Not looking silly. Meaning, you may with underwear.

Why You Should Wear Nothing Under Compression Shorts

There’s a short answer – compression shorts are designed to fit tight around the skin with nothing in between. It is the only way these garments can fulfill their purpose. If you think you can lose some extra weight wearing an extra layer, forget about it. You’ll end up smelling awful and you’ll only lose extra water. 

If you’re still not convinced I’ll share a couple of facts on how compression shorts work and why we wear them in the first place.

Are Compression Shorts, Shorts or Underwear

Compression shorts are underwear even though the name suggests differently. You can wear something over it, but not underneath it. Basketball, tennis, soccer players wear these under their regular shorts or skirts, while sprinters, runners, cyclists wear compression shorts only, nothing under or over it. Especially cyclists.

Middle part of girl on bike wearing all the gear. She wouldn't be asked the question "do you wear anything under compression shorts"

At the end of the day, it’s your choice whether you’ll wear ordinary shorts on top of compression shorts or not. Fashion, modesty, or warmth are typical reasons for wearing an extra piece of garment.

But, either way, compression shorts should be the layer in direct contact with your skin.

Does It Work?

Back in the day, one could see all kinds of outfits in a gym. From garish T-shirts and leotards to sweatsuits or wide shorts and tops. Fast forward, and you’ll see skin-tight, compression garments dominating the game. Why is it so, what happened to a variety of styles? Is it just a fashion fad?

No, it’s not a fashion fad. While I appreciate versatility, there’s a simple reason behind the rise of compression garments – they work better.

What Are They Made Of?

Compression shorts are typically made of blends of nylon, polyester, and spandex. These materials have elastic and moisture-wicking properties. Therefore, these garments provide support for your muscles while keeping your skin relatively dry.

However, wearing underwear under a compression garment would diminish positive effects and make you feel uncomfortable.

This case is a no-brainer, compression shorts and other compression garments are game-changers for all athletic activities.

We have reviewed 5 of the best compression shirts here.

How It Works

Specially designed materials are responsible for the excellent results of using compression garments. Two basic improvements make this gear effective.

First, they are more comfortable for exercising because they keep you dry much longer than regular garments. These fabrics are quick-dry and they also use “capillary action” (there’s lots of science behind the process) to transfer moisture away from your skin to the outer surface of the fabric from which it can evaporate.

The longer the activity and the more you sweat, the more efficient the wicking material works.

We have covered more information on wicking sweat and the top moisture-removing shirts.

Staying dry comes with important benefits. These include regulating body temperature, improved comfort, and fewer skin irritations. Not to mention sweat-related unpleasantries in sensitive areas.

Compression is the second principle. It also helps in many ways. Compression garments have been used for decades to help the soft tissue healing process. They support muscles and keep them warm. As a result, you’ll feel better and recover faster after the workouts.

As well as compression shirts for running and similar events you can get full pants, three-quarter or 2-in-1, a pair of compression shorts is stitched within a regular layer of athletic shorts.

lower halves of 6 running men showing their different taste for shoes and shorts

Compression garments also enhance biomechanics and slightly reduce muscle fatigue and post-exercise soreness.

There’s also a claim that compression improves circulation. Take it with a pinch of salt. While it’s proven that they may aid circulation, it takes a perfect amount of pressure on the right places. And we have different body types, so this won’t work for all of us. 

What Happens If You Wear Underwear Under Compression Shorts

For starters, you’ll probably look silly. Compression shorts are skin-tight, and briefs or boxers will cause bunching and creasing. But more importantly, you’ll feel discomfort.

You’ll probably feel too hot at the beginning and too cold when your sweaty and dampened underwear cools down. It’s like you’re asking for skin troubles. To make it simple, you’ll lose all benefits of compression shorts.

So, for athletic reasons, there’s no dilemma – compression shorts are the best to give support and comfort to workouts.

If you want to protect your modesty or live up to your fashion standards, there’s a solution. Wear whatever you like on top of your compression shorts.

And I Couldn’t Resist

Do you wear Under Armour underwear under Under Armour shorts?

The whole compression shorts idea is based on improving comfort, regulating body temperature, and supporting your muscles. Plus, you’ll avoid chafing and rashes. Anything between your skin and compression garments would decrease or eliminate these benefits.

So, compression shorts should help make you feel better during physical activity and after. 

Photo of author
Mad keen runner of old. Now just mostly mad. But mad keen on researching the best and latest fitness-related information and products for a healthier and fitter midlife. Over 50 - most definitely. Qualified in Australia as a PT in Sports & Recreation.

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