Should you wear underwear under compression shorts?

Compression shorts have become more and more popular among runners, body builders and other fitness enthusiasts. There is a very common question that many novices to compression shorts ask: Are you supposed to wear underwear under compression shorts? Different people might answer this question differently. Personally I used to wear underwear under compression shorts, but don’t anymore. But let’s see what the community of compression wear aficionados say. Should you wear underwear with your compression shorts? Although compression shorts are not underwear, but they should connect with as much of your skin as possible.

What is the aim of compression shorts?

Why do we wear compression shorts? This question is the one you need to answer first. Compression shorts enhance athletic performance.

Compression shorts also speed up recovery. They achieve these effects by cradling the skin and putting pressure on the veins. This pressure speeds up the blood flow in your legs. The waste materials get washed out of the muscles quicker, and at the same time the muscles receive more oxygen and nutrients.

In order for the compression shorts to have the best possible effect they should have as much connection with your skin as possible. This is the only way the material of the compression shorts can apply maximum pressure on the veins.

Imagine wearing regular socks under your running compression socks. 

See? That would be a ridiculous idea. Compression socks are usually made of a mixture of nylon and spandex. In order for this elastic mixture to have the best effect you should not wear underwear under compression shorts.

Compression shorts have another purpose. The material keeps the skin on your legs dry as it lets the sweat evaporate. If you wear underwear under compression shorts underwear will soak up the sweat.

During the hot summer months the compression shorts keep your legs cool. If the underwear doesn’t let the sweat evaporate, this effect stops.

Do you wear underwear under compression shorts?

If you do, you should change this habit. The underwear not only absorbs the sweat, it also prevents the compression garment from improving blood circulation.

Most underwear have seams. During movement the seams can get caught. These situations can cause chaffing or skin burn. The best compression shorts have a seamless design. By wearing them you reduce the risk of skin injuries. This is another reason why you are not supposed to wear underwear under compression shorts.

If you wear underwear with compression shorts you will feel uncomfortable. I had to learn this the hard way, by my own experience. The added layer can get caught and bunch up under the compression shorts.

What are the benefits if you don’t wear underwear under compression shorts?

There are two main benefits of compression shorts. They enhance athletic performance and they speed up recovery. Both effects are due to the improved blood circulation caused the pressure the garment puts on the skin. These are also the reasons why gym people wear compression shorts for squatting.

The benefits of compression shorts:

Muscle support

Compression shorts give support to the leg muscles. When muscles move they vibrate. This vibration is normal, but can lead to injuries if the muscles are tired, or they can prevent the muscles from healing. The best compression shorts hold the muscle like a cradle without restricting their movement. Needless to say, if you wear underwear under compression shorts, they can’t hold your muscles as tightly.

Allowing your skin to breathe

The best compression shorts let your skin breathe. These materials allow the air to move freely, but they keep your legs warm during the cold days of winter, and cold in the heat of the summer. The material lets your skin breathe and the sweat evaporate. This is key. Otherwise your sweat would cool down and you might catch a cold. This is another reason why you are not supposed to wear underwear under you compression shorts.

Recovery

Post workout recovery is one of the most important benefits of compression socks. Compression garments have great benefits on the muscles they cover during post workout recovery. If the underwear is between the compression shorts and your leg muscles, the muscles can’t benefit from this effect fully. This is another reason why I don’t wear underwear under compression shorts.

A word of caution

Although wearing compression shorts all day long is not dangerous, it is best to give the veins and muscles some rest. Some garments can be worn all day long, but I find that it is best to wear compression shorts during workouts, or for a few hours after my gym session. This gets me the benefits in recovery, but also lets my veins recover and get a little rest from the pressure of compression shorts.

Conclusion

I hope this article answered the question: Should you wear underwear under compression shorts? Many people ask me: Do you wear underwear under compression shorts? I used to, but for the various reasons outlined in this article it is best. to not wear underwear under compression shorts.

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