By: Jeremy Neisser
You’re all prepped for your Tough Mudder or Spartan Race. You have your shoes, shorts, shirt, and watch. But do you have special underwear?
Believe it or not, some companies create and sell underwear designed specifically for runners. These should help athletes remain comfortable and deal with moisture that can cause problems. But should you really invest in them?
Considering numerous runners go commando, there might be a reason for special athletic underwear.
6 Best Underwear for a Tough Mudder or Spartan Race
Why Special Underwear for Tough Mudder or Spartan Race?
Everyone knows that athletes sweat, even in areas they would rather not mention. Sweating produces odors, bacteria, and moisture that can leave runners feeling gross and uncomfortable. One of the best ways to combat sweat is to find a pair of underwear that wicks away moisture.
Scientists and manufacturers developed certain materials designed to reduce sweating or wick away dampness so runners are more comfortable.
Seamwork Magazine describes these fabrics as “activewear” with fibers that keep moisture away from the skin so runners stay dry. Specialty underwear helps runners stay comfortable during difficult races like a Tough Mudder or any Spartan level events.
Another issue with sweating is chafing. Chafing happens when skin rubs against skin or repeatedly against fabric. Healthline lists symptoms as a red rash that comes with a burning or stinging sensation, while some rare cases can include bleeding and skin peeling.
Athletes developed several methods to treat chafing. Runner’s World recommends showering immediately after a run to remove bacteria and soothe the area. It’s also encouraged to use a skin calming cream that can combat irritation.
Unfortunately, people will still need to suffer from the discomfort of chafing unless they prevent it. Sometimes, runners can avoid chafing by correcting their running form, as seen in the below video.
However, form is just one part of the equation. People with thicker legs are more likely to chafe because there is more skin surface area rubbing together.
Best Men's Underwear for Tough Mudder or Spartan Race:
Men’s underwear is naturally designed to accommodate a different physique. Most running underwear for men tends to be tighter and more form-fitting than their regular counterpart and also include extra support and protection for comfort.
These come in several styles, including briefs and shorts.
Male athletes do need to be careful when searching for a pair that works for them. Many products run small and might cause significant discomfort. If possible, male runners should purchase one size larger than usual or read reviews to determine what the standard fit is.
It’s also important for men to protect their private area. Many new products feature special pockets and support to keep everything in place. However, some models lack convenient pockets and slits in favor of a more form-fitting design, which doesn’t work for everyone.
In a Tough Mudder or Spartan Race, you will be tested to your limits and so will your underwear. Always train wearing the same clothes you intend to use during the event and be sure to find a combination of comfort, support, and moisture avoiding capabilities.
Any of the following models below are excellent examples of what you should search for when making a decision.
1. Smartwool PhD Seamless Brief
The Smartwool seamless brief is designed to be tighter but feature a moisture-resistant fabric that can keep men comfortable while they run.
The product is 71% Merino wool, which manufacturers realized is one of the best materials to stop sweat buildup and keep runners at a comfortable temperature during exercise.
Some reviews mention that the briefs run small and might be tighter than anticipated, but most runners enjoy the comfort and the lowered levels of moisture and chafing. The underwear does not cover the legs, which is ideal for individuals who don’t like wearing too much fabric.
- Lightest weight Merino jerset fabric uses a nylon core to increase durability while keeping Merino wool next to skin
- Fully functional fly
- Wide elastic waistband (40 mm) designed for ultimate comfort; keeps Merino next to skin
The briefs use knit textures to improve ventilation and help stop sweat buildup. A typical pair is designed to last for a long time, making this underwear an investment.
2. ExOfficio Give-n-Go
ExOfficio uses antimicrobial fabrics for this brief, making them an excellent choice for individuals who worry about the odor produced by sweating and running.
This material can additionally reduce the amount of bacteria found in one’s underwear after a run, which can reduce the chances of developing fungus like jock itch or other ailments.
This product can be thrown in the washing machine without suffering damage and also lasts for runners used to hard workouts, making them a popular choice during Spartan races or the Tough Mudder.
The easy to clean feature also means you won’t be left trying to scrub the mud out in the sink and can instead rely on technology.
- Be Ready For Anything - Lightweight and comfortable enough to be worn all day, this boxer brief is also durable enough for whatever your schedule demands — from work or household projects to adventures farther from home. Its quick-drying feature also makes this the ideal underwear for travel.
- The Original Give-N-Go - Made with breathable mesh fabric, our Give-N-Go collection is designed to provide airflow and prevent odors — keeping you fresh throughout the day.
- Comfortable Enough For Extended Wear - The Give-N-Go Boxer Brief won't stretch out with use, but instead retains its shape — no matter where your day takes you.
The ExOfficio Give-n-Go features some leg coverage around the upper thigh and groin area to prevent chafing and the irritation associated with it. The fabric is also designed to stretch to fit different people but doesn’t actually wear out the material, making them a popular choice for runners.
3. Nike Pro Combat Short 2.0
The focus of this underwear is keeping you dry, which is a common problem for people during longer runs like the Tough Mudder or a Spartan race.
Sweat is moved from the skin to the fabric’s surface, where it can evaporate. The material additionally protects the upper thighs and groin area from chafing.
Nike’s underwear includes some extra fabric to accommodate individuals with muscular or thick thighs.
The product helps reduce bulk and tries to keep the legs apart to lower the chances of chafing as well. The sizes do run small as the shorts include a fair amount of compression.
A pair costs lasts longer for intermediate runners. They can be thrown in the washing machine or hand washed. The Nike shorts do not include as much groin support as other models and instead emphasize a sleeker, tighter fit for runners.
Best Women's Underwear for Tough Mudder or Spartan Race:
Women have different needs than men when it comes to underwear. It’s harder to find models that include some form of thigh coverage and most products will not have extra support in the grown.
However, it’s easier to find tighter fits and a range of styles from shorts to briefs to thongs.
A lot of the products for women include additional moisture wicking because female runners tend to produce more sweat in the area around the groin.
Cotton is not a popular fabric because it traps moisture, so most women’s underwear is made from wool or synthetic fibers.
Because the majority of women’s underwear is style like a brief, it is much more likely that female runners will suffer from the ever-present and ever-annoying wedgie. It’s important to find a product that features a little extra fabric to fully cover the butt without eliminating the tightness that holds the material in place.
The following products are some of the most popular for runners seeking long-lasting, durable underwear for races like the Tough Mudder.
Remember to practice wearing the clothing in which you intend to complete the race.
1. Arcteryx Phase SL Brief
Let’s be honest with ourselves. Runners sweat a lot, and this sweat can mix with the natural bacteria and yeast produced by women to create some truly nasty smells.
One of the benefits of the Arcteryx Phase SL Brief is that it includes anti-odor protection around the groin to help stop odors before they begin.
Another benefit is the inclusion of polyester fabrics which help wick away moisture. Not only will you be sweating during a Spartan race or Tough Mudder, but you will also likely end up in puddles, mud, or rain.
You want underwear that will stay dry for as long as possible, and the Arcteryx briefs are an excellent option.
- PHASE SL BOXER - A women’s boxer designed for high-output activities and comfortable enough for daily wear, the Phase SL is a silkweight performance baselayer that rapidly wicks moisture, and stretches with the body. The next-generation Phasic SL polyeste
- ARC'TERYX ESSENTIALS - Versatile high performance designs for diverse activities and conditions.
- PHASE - Quick dry base layer with excellent moisture management. For high output activities.
This product fits like standard women’s briefs but is tighter around the waistband and legs to ensure the material stays in place. This means fewer wedgies! It also includes a gusseted crotch for extra comfort during long runs.
2. Champions Absolute Briefs
These women’s briefs include tighter edges to help the material stay in place while running. The product uses polyester, nylon, and other synthetic fibers to encourage moisture to sit on the surface of the underwear and evaporate in the air.
The product also has targeted ventilation to keep the groin cool while running. This is important for long runs like the Spartan race, where it’s easy for participants to overheat.
These underwear can be thrown in the washing machine for a quick and thorough clean without losing structural integrity.
- Quick drying Champion Vapor technology evaporates moisture fast
- Moisture management technology wicks moisture away from the skin
- Targeted ventilation for breathability
- Stay-put edges for a distraction-free workout
3. Under Armour Power in Pink
Unlike a lot of women’s underwear, these provides extra support so everything stays in place. Female runners tend to store more fat around their butts, thighs, and groins, so there is plenty that needs to remain in place during a run.
The Under Armour Power in Pink also have a tight fit to stop wedgies before they begin.
Mesh inserts included around the groin increase breathability and help runners remain cool. The product also has some anti-odor material to prevent the smells associated with excessive sweating and bacteria.
- Updated alpha sizing!
- New super-soft stretch fabric delivers excellent all-day comfort for any activity
- Laser cut edges offer a hem-free construction for a smoother, more flattering silhouette
- 4-way stretch construction moves better in every direction
- Under Armour’s mission is to make all athletes better through passion, design and the relentless pursuit of innovation
Under Armour uses synthetic fibers that help wick away moisture so it can evaporate and women remain dry during races like the Tough Mudder. Many people additionally enjoy the material because it is soft, smooth, and doesn’t bunch up during movement
6 Best Underwear for a Tough Mudder or Spartan Race Wrap Up
An individual’s choice in underwear is one of the most personal tidbits about someone, but can make the difference during a tough run.
While many runners go commando, others are uncomfortable with this idea and want an extra layer. You won’t know what works for you until you try a few pairs, and these options are an excellent mixture of quality and price.
Hi, Jeremy Here,
I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journey. About Jeremy.
I have run over 250 races including the California International Marathon, Clarksburg Country Run, and various other 5K & 10K races throughout the United States. I am a former Athletics department employee at University of the Pacific and Shoe Consultant with Dicks Sporting Goods
Last update on 2023-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API