What Should You Wear Under Leggings? +5 Best Underwear Options

Woman in leggings

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What’s more important than choosing the best pair of leggings?

Making sure you’re making the right choice about what to wear underneath them.

Whether it’s a stylish pair you’re wearing to do errands or your favorite pair of leggings for working out, what you wear under them is just as important as the leggings themselves.

So, what should you wear under your leggings? Here’s everything you need to know to make the best choice for comfort and style.

Do You Have to Wear Anything Under Your Leggings?

The simple answer is “absolutely.”

It might be tempting to go commando to avoid the dreaded VPL (visible panty lines) but it’s still a good idea to always wear something underneath your leggings – even if they’re not see through. Wearing tight pants – namely, leggings – without wearing underwear can often be a recipe for disaster.  

At the very least, you’re going to have to contend with a lot of chaffing, which is never fun and pretty much ensures you’ll have to take a nice long break from working out at some point.

3 Potential Downsides of Wearing Underwear with Leggings

That said, let’s cover some reasons women may steer away from wearing underwear underneath their favorite pair of leggings.

  • As we touched on above, the most common issue is “VPL”
  • Some types of underwear are just bad choices and will cause can chafing (we’ll cover some great options later)
  • Low-quality underwear breaks down quickly if you exercise regularly, which can get pricey fast

Of course, some women may simply find that leggings just aren’t a good fit (literally) whether they wear underwear or not.

If you regularly experience any of the following issues, maybe consider something else to work out in:

  • Butt Acne
  • Bacterial Infections
  • Yeast Infections
  • Rashes

Fortunately, there are still lots and lots of good options out there. Check out this post if you’re interested in workout bottoms that aren’t skintight.

Alright, with that out of the way, let’s get to the question you came here for in the first place.

What Should You Wear Under Your Leggings?

In a word “underwear.”


But what KIND of underwear exactly?

Let’s take a look.

Here are the 6 most important things to look for in underwear.

1. Choose Moisture-Wicking Materials

One of the common mistakes women often make is wearing regular cotton underwear underneath their leggings.

Unfortunately, leggings naturally fit tightly on the body, potentially leading to increased sweat and moisture in the intimate area. To ensure utmost comfort and moisture control while wearing any pair of leggings, it's essential to opt for specialized underwear.

Seamless underwear is a great choice because it’s crafted from advanced fabric designed to wick away sweat and naturally regulate moisture levels, making it an ideal choice for legging wearers.

Not only will you feel comfortable and cool throughout the day, but you'll also prevent the natural odors that can arise from a demanding workout.

So, when looking for the perfect underwear to wear under leggings, prioritize fabrics that are smooth, silky, and luxurious.

Some fabrics that definitely a good choice for this kind of underwear are:

  • Bamboo
  • Micromodal
  • Nylon
  • Polyester
  • Polypropylene
  • Spandex
  • Wool (especially merino wool)

These types of fabrics ensure a friction-free experience, eliminating the discomfort of chafing that is basically inevitable when you wear other types of fabrics and blends.

For some great options for moisture-wicking underwear that won’t cause issues with your leggings, this is a great post from Glamour.

2. Pick Underwear without Tags or Seams

Seamless, tagless underwear is probably going to be your best option for wearing underneath your leggings.

Ditch those bothersome tags that cause skin irritation, so you no longer have to sacrifice comfort for style.

Any lady who's experimented the pain of those pesky tags will love the difference it makes when they’re not a problem anymore – the new level of comfort will be night-and-day.

And when looking for the ultimate underwear to rock underneath your leggings, it's crucial to snag a pair that leaves no trace of panty lines.

3. Wear Underwear That Doesn’t Ride Up

When you're not in the mood for a thong under your leggings, finding underwear that won't ride up while providing full coverage is essential.

You can wear this type of underwear all day long, from work to happy hour to the gym, without having to readjust over and over and over.

And here's a really important pro tip for you: avoid underwear with elastic.

Many lingerie brands use elastic that stretches to fit your body, which might seem like a great idea, but it usually results in those VPLs we all want to avoid.

Instead, opt for a pair of underwear that is specifically designed to conform to your body’s unique shape WITHOUT relying on elastic. This type of design eliminates visible panty lines completely.

4. Less Is More When It Comes to Underwear for Leggings

This is pretty self-explanatory, but if you’re a woman who usually prefers a little more coverage when wearing their usual underwear, you might have to get used to a little less if you want a pair to wear with leggings that won’t produce VPLs.

Does this mean you have to wear a thong?

Not necessarily.

In fact, we’ll cover some underwear options below that aren’t the bare minimum.

But, in general, if your goal is to find underwear that won’t give you VPLs when wearing leggings, it’d be a good idea to embrace the “less is more” attitude.  

5. If You’re Going with a Color – Make It Match

When it comes to coordinating your outfit, matching is key!

This holds true when wearing a pair of leggings.

If you're rocking a black pair of leggings, you have options galore! Feel free to choose any color you fancy.

However, if you favor for a lighter color or a vibrant print for your leggings, it's probably smart to play it safe with flesh-toned underwear. At the very least, look for a pair of underwear that is the same color, so they’ll be harder to detect underneath your leggings.

3 Types of Underwear to Wear Under Your Leggings

Now that you know more about the materials, cuts, and colors to look for in underwear to put on under your leggings, let’s talk about the three best options.

In the end, your best option is whatever makes you feel most comfortable, but these three types of underwear are the best places to start.

1. Thong

For maximum mobility, opt for a thong made of lightweight mesh fabric. This is a surefire way to avoid those pesky panty lines.

Remember, during exercise, comfort is key, so choose smooth materials instead of lace and steer clear of patterns with trim that can cause irritation and friction in your nether regions.

2. Boy Shorts

Boy shorts” have become incredibly popular in recent years for offering a perfect blend of coverage and comfort – without extra material that will bunch up and cause problems (especially if you wear them with leggings).

The perfect pair of boy shorts should be soft, elastic, and incredibly comfortable. They should contour to the natural curve of your butt, just like your leggings do. Look for a seamless design that offers a relaxed fit. If you want to add a touch of femininity, play around with lace accents to soften the lines.

3. Laser-Cut Underwear

Laser-cut underwear is another option that every brand seems to be embracing these days.

This is an absolute game-changer when it comes to a flawless appearance under your leggings.

With no panty lines in sight, these incredibly sleek shorts are typically crafted from ultra-thin materials with moisture-wicking properties.

The 5 Best Underwear Options When Wearing Leggings

Alright, now that you’re better familiar with all of the options you have for what to wear under your leggings, let’s finally get into some specific pairs of underwear that fit the bill (and fit great under leggings).

Assuming you’re not going commando, here are your 5 best options for underwear to wear underneath your leggings – including at least one style from the three we recommended above.

Old navy underwear for leggings

1. Old Navy Soft-Knit No-Show Hipster Underwear for Women – $4.97

The ultra-smooth Old Navy Soft-Knit No-Show Hipster Underwear from Old Navy, designed to deliver a seamless silhouette and eliminate panty lines under leggings.

These laser-cut hipsters feature a semi-seamless design, ensuring a flawless appearance. Created using a combination of spandex and smooth nylon tricot, they offer exceptional comfort and flexibility. The interior cotton gusset provides an additional layer of softness and breathability.

Their ample elasticized waistband sits comfortably and low on the hips without causing any discomfort.

This hipster underwear also offers plenty of backside coverage while remaining completely invisible underneath any pair of leggings, so you can confidently rock your favorite pair during workouts without worrying about any visible lines.

These hipsters are cute, comfortable, and come in a range of colors (as well as neutral), including:

  • Black Jack
  • Cocoa Mocha
  • Dark Walnut
  • Frappe
  • Old Navy
  • Sugar Coral
  • Surplus Khaki
  • Waves
  • White Lilies

They also come in a good range of sizes from XS to 4X, ensuring a perfect fit for every woman.

And for women who are as busy as they are active, we have more good news: these hipsters are machine washable. Simply toss them in a gentle cycle with cold water and then tumble dry them on low. This convenient care routine makes it easy to enjoy the durability and longevity of these hipsters without any fuss.

Gap breathe thong for leggings

2. Gap Breathe Thong – $12.50

The Gap Breathe Thong is a soft and comfortable pair of underwear designed for ultimate comfort and breathability, which is why we love them for wearing under leggings.

With a low-rise and high-cut leg, this thong offers a flattering fit while providing minimal back coverage. The Gap Breathe Thong is made from a special lightweight heathered jersey fabric that feels as light as air and ensures extra breathability.

Crafted from a blend of polyester, lyocell, and spandex, this thong is designed with your comfort in mind. The lightly elasticized waistband and leg openings are barely noticeable and do not dig into your skin.

Instead, it will feel as comfortable as a cozy worn-in t-shirt that continues to get better with age. Say goodbye to ride-up, digging, and irritation—this thong lies smoothly on your body, even with a tight pair of leggings on top of it.

Lastly, you can choose from a range of colors including:

  • Cerulean Blue
  • Rugby Tan
  • True Black
  • Light Heather Gray Stripe
  • Preppy Stripe Blue

The Gap Breathe Thong is available in sizes from XS to XXL and is completely machine washable.

Plus size underwear for leggings

3. Seamless Smooth Mid-Rise Heather Boyshort Panty – $16.90

For a great plus-sized option to wear under your leggings, check out the Seamless Smooth Mid-Rise Heather Boyshort Panty from Torrid.

It’s an excellent choice for eliminating panty lines and providing the coverage you desire.

This boyshort-style underwear features a seamless construction that effortlessly disappears under clothes. Made from a blend of polyester, nylon, and spandex, these panties offer a soft and stretchy feel that keeps you comfortable throughout the day.

The Seamless Smooth Mid-Rise Heather Boyshort Panty offers a high-rise silhouette that sits just below the belly button but still provides full butt coverage. This underwear is available in heather grey and come in a wide range of sizes from 00 to 6.

Girlfriend collective underwear for leggings

4. Girlfriend Collective Raven High-Rise Brief – $18

The Girlfriend Collective Raven High-Rise Briefs might be one of the priciest option on our list, but it may also be the best underwear to wear underneath your leggings.

Crafted from an incredibly lightweight and smooth fabric, these briefs offer a comfortable and confident workout experience by seamlessly molding to your body.

This is another pair that’s designed to sit just below the wearer’s belly button with a bonded waistband, approximately an inch lower than the Girlfriend’s Collective very popular high-rise leggings. The brand’s High-Rise Briefs are constructed using soft, stretchy, and moisture-wicking materials.

With sustainability in mind, each pair of these leggings is made from 80% recycled plastic bottles combined with 20% spandex.

The raw-cut waistband will lie smoothly against your body, eliminating any pesky panty lines that could disrupt your leggings' sleek appearance.

This pair of underwear is available in

  • Black
  • Copper
  • Shell
  • Lavender

The Girlfriend Collective High-Rise Briefs are offered in a wide range of sizes, too, from XXS to 6XL.

Spanx underwear for leggings

5. Spanx Everyday Shaping Panties Brief – $22

Lastly, there’s the seamless comfort and support of the Everyday Shaping Panties Brief by Spanx.

Known for their expertise in shaping garments, Spanx delivers a panty that offers both comfort and control. The seamless waistband cinches the waist, while the high-cut design allows for easy movement—a feature not typically found in their signature mid-thigh shorts.

Crafted from a blend of nylon, elastane, and cotton, these panties provide the ideal combination of stretch and softness.

Like other Spanx options, this underwear is designed to address common problem areas, such as the lower stomach and love handles. These panties offer low tummy support and help smooth out love handles, making you feel more self-assured. Say goodbye to restrictive shapewear and hello to comfortable confidence.

That’s not all, though.

Breathability is clearly another priority of the Everyday Shaping Panties Brief. Their breathable construction allows for airflow, keeping you cool and comfortable throughout the day. You can confidently wear these panties for extended periods without feeling restricted.

The Everyday Shaping Panties Brief by Spanx is available in a range of sizes, from XS to 3X.

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