Running is a great way to keep fit and healthy, and if you have the right clothes, it is an activity you can enjoy year round. Great sports and running underwear for women is about more than just that old cliché “support”…it is about breathability, comfort, and functionality starting from your toes up.
So, what is the most popular running underwear for women and what makes it special?
Underwear for active people does more than just cover skin, it serves to draw moisture away from the body, and regulate your body temperature. When it is cold good sports underwear keeps you warm, and when you sweat, the evaporation of moisture that gets drawn away from the skin actually cools you off. Modern running underwear for women is typically woven from a combination of wool or cotton, and synthetic fibre such as polypropylene. This combination maintains the breathing function, while adding elastic qualities that are important when running or cycling.
You have probably seen many women (and men for that matter) wearing skin tight shorts when running. These “skins” as they are known are usually worn over normal underpants (light weight cotton is good because it doesn’t chafe) or thermal underwear under extreme conditions, and serve several purposes: they insulate, wick moisture, and provide a steady gentle compression for the large muscles of the thighs and upper leg, which reduces the instances of cramps and later muscle ache. In addition, skin tight running underwear for women of this sort doesn’t ride up as you run or cycle, and also has a positive shaping effect.
Long legged variants of these running skins are also popular, especially in winter. Their insulating properties are obviously better, and many people choose to wear them over regular underwear and under tracksuits or even under shorts. Again, women who are keen runners or cyclists will find that sweat is drawn away from the skin and muscle aches and cramps are reduced, so synthetic skins make excellent running underwear for women.
For upper body underwear, similar characteristics are desirable in terms or moisture removal and insulation. It would be easy to assume that loose or baggy clothing allows air circulation and therefore provides a more comfortable running experience, but in reality tight fitting singlets or sleeved tops offer far superior performance. Singlet or t-shirt style running tops are available for women, which will keep your body temperature at a comfortable level at all times. Good undershirts and running underwear for women should consist of soft fabric that has enough stretch to allow a full range of motion, and should not pull at the elbows, shoulders, or neckline. You should be able to stretch and twist without any tightness in the material.
Don’t forget that running socks should be open weave, light weight fabric with reinforced heel and toe sections. Cotton is the cheaper material, but high grade wool actually wicks moisture more effectively and keeps you cooler – albeit at a higher cost.
Good underwear is so important – without it you will be uncomfortable at best, and miserable at worst! In cold climates you might also want to consider insulated underwear for outdoor sports, to stay warm and flexible even under extreme conditions. Here you can learn more about the best long underwear for cold weather, and find some more info about different fabric types.