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What Do Guys Wear Under Running Shorts?

New to the fitness world? Running can be your best bet at improving your stamina and overall health. Running isn’t only perfect for your heart’s condition, but it’s also the most budget-friendly exercise since you can run anywhere. One perplexing question that people ask, mostly men, is what guys wear under running shorts.

All you need to buy to start your running adventures are a good pair of running shoes and a pair of running shorts. But, do you wear your regular boxers or briefs under your running shorts? Do you have to buy special underwear? Can you even go commando and wear no underwear at all?

Well, we’ve got your back with this article. We’ll tell you all about the options out there for men who run. We’ll give you a brief about every combination out there, whether it’s running shorts with liners, compression shorts or tights with gym underwear, or compression shorts and tights alone. We’ve got it all down.

Ready, get set, let’s go! 

text: what do guys wear under running shorts with a picture of a guy running with shorts on
There are many options to wear under running shorts – men can wear nothing at all or regular underwear depending on their preference.

What Do Guys Wear Under Running Shorts?

Nowadays, you’re offered many options of what you can or can’t wear under running shorts, whether it’s the option of wearing running shorts with liners, compression shorts, or special running tights. In fact, you’ll probably have trouble choosing between all the options out there, rather than finding what to wear in the first place.

Just remember to not run in any underwear that isn’t designed for running, as regular underwear isn’t designed to provide your genital area with the support and breathability it requires while exercising, and wearing them on your run would risk various health hazards, like fungal infections and varicoceles among others.  

Almost all of the men’s running shorts available now have liners—underwear made from breathable materials sewn directly to the running shorts—which is why many male runners opt to wear only these lined running shorts with nothing underneath them. However, if you don’t particularly feel comfortable with only the shorts on, there are other combinations that you can try. Are there any running shorts without liners and what should you do if you choose to wear them?

Unlined running shorts mean you’d have to wear something underneath them, like compression shorts or tights especially made for you to exercise in or specific gym underwear. Whether it’s compression shorts, tights, or gym underwear, they’re all made from special synthetic materials that help absorb moisture to keep your genital area dry, and thus prevent harmful bacteria from building up, as well as providing your privates with the necessary support while running.

You can also wear compression running shorts or tights alone with nothing over them, but you should know that they can be a bit see-through, so add an extra layer on top for extra coverage if you’re uncomfortable with that.

Why Do Men’s Running Shorts Have Liners?

Running shorts liners are made from breathable yet supportive fabrics that absorb any sweat down there, keeping you dry and cool while also maintaining firm support to your private parts, thus solving both problems that plague male runners.

The two most common issues that male runners face while running are moisture build-up and uncomfortable movement of their genitals. Wearing lined running shorts means that you won’t be constantly annoyed with your underwear shorts riding up while you run, and if you opt for liners looking like compression shorts, they’ll provide additional protection to your thighs and prevent painful chafing.

If you haven’t seen the inside of lined running shorts yet, we’ll tell you exactly what those all-famous running short liners are. These usually look like your regular briefs or compression shorts sewn directly to the seams of the running shorts, so the end result would be two shorts attached together at the seams.

These liners are made from artificial materials that wick away any moisture and protect you from the accumulation of excess moisture on your skin, which would create the perfect environment for bacterial growth. They also won’t ride up while you run, thus reducing friction, irritation, and chafing of your genital area and upper thighs.

Wearing regular underwear under your lined running shorts would defy the purpose and keep you from benefiting from these shorts, so you shouldn’t wear any underwear under your lined running shorts. If you absolutely hate wearing only your lined running shorts with nothing underneath, you could cut off the liners and wear them as regular shorts with gym underwear, compression shorts, or tights.

However, we recommend that you do that only if you already have lined running shorts that you absolutely hate, otherwise just buy non-lined running shorts from the start and save yourself the hassle.

Do You Go Commando in Running Shorts?

You can go commando in running shorts. Wearing lined running shorts or your favorite compression running shorts or tights without underwear is the best option for going commando because they provide all the support you need while still keeping you dry down there.

Going commando is a favorite practice among professional and recreational frequent runners, and it comes as no surprise since you can save money buying only one piece of gym wear, while also saving a lot of laundry time with one less item you’ll be adding to the laundry pile.

Offering not only economical benefits but health benefits as well, skipping the underwear allows your genitals to enjoy better air circulation, which keeps them dry and cool throughout your exercise period.

In addition to its economical benefits, skipping the underwear comes with its own set of health benefits. Going commando sets your genitals free, allowing them to enjoy better air circulation, keeping them dry and cool, which significantly reduces the risk of fungal infections and protects your sperm production. Another thing that keeps male frequent runners addicted to going commando is the sweet feeling of freedom it offers their private parts.

The easiest option out there if you want to go commando is wearing running shorts with liners which would serve as your underwear so that you won’t have to worry about accumulating moisture, insufficient support, or accidentally flashing your genitals while running.

If you prefer to wear compression shorts or tights, you can definitely wear those without underwear since they’re made of synthetic materials that absorb sweat and stop harmful bacterial growth, while maintaining the necessary support to your genitals as you exercise.

Just one thing to keep in mind if you’re thinking of wearing only compression shorts or tights is that they’d probably show all the details of what’s underneath them and may even be slightly see-through, so if the thought of intruders’ peeks makes you uncomfortable, you might want to add a layer underneath or over the compression shorts or tights for extra coverage.


Throughout our article, we’ve discussed possible answers to the question “What do guys wear under running shorts?” and we’ve touched base on all the options available out there. You can wear the lined runner shorts alone and save yourself the thought and laundry hassle, or you can wear your favorite compression shorts and tights, or if you prefer, without special gym underwear.

Just remember that with running apparel as with any clothing item, there isn’t one size—or one style—fits all, which is why you should try all the options out there and pick the one that works best for you so that you can keep your eyes and mind on the prize.

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About the author

Jasper loves to write about fitness, running, and anything else that gets him moving outdoors. He's an avid hiker, backpacker, and climber who loves to stay fit so he can make sure he's healthy enough to enjoy his favorite hobbies. He also spends time writing about his true passions in life.