When Keep It Cleaner (KIC) founders Steph Claire-Smith and Laura Henshaw picked up a story about women who don’t wear underwear under their activewear on their eponymous podcast, they didn’t realise they had a viral sensation on their hands.
They began the podcast with the question: “Do you wear underwear under activewear?”, with Claire Smith revealing, “I know people who don’t.”
Henshaw went right to the source of the trouble, stating candidly, “I would get thrush.”
Claire Smith agreed, “I agree, I don’t understand how that’s possible. Like, no?
“If it’s a look thing, like you don’t want the lining of your undies sticking out, is it because you haven’t found the right seamless things? Or do you actually find it more comfortable not wearing underwear?” she continued.
Henshaw added, “I have dreams about forgetting to wear underwear, like nightmares, not dreams.”
However the consensus was not as clear in the comments.
“Undie free since 2017! Soooo much more comfy then having a constant wedgie!! I also don’t wear them in everyday life either… (Skirts n dresses if above knee yes) and it’s given me sooo much more of a stronger pelvic floor n everything (yes that means no discharge “falling out”),” one wrote.
Then, fellow model and influencer Ellie Gonsalves, who has over 1.2 million followers shared that none other than Khloe Kardashian told her to go commando under activewear.
“Haha I don’t! So much more comfortable, no lines under my pants.. @khloekardashian told me to do it so I did and I haven’t looked back,” she shared.
Another added, “Leggings nowadays are so seamless that I don’t need to wear undies. It helps with getting wedgies or fixing undies mid run (hate doing that). I haven’t worn them since 2020 and I absolutely love that I can move freely in my tights. Also I’d never wear the tights again. They go directly in the laundry after being worn once.”
Meanwhile, other women in the comments were shocked at the news unfolding before their very eyes.
“I couldn’t even imagine not wearing them. I can understand people that say they’re more comfy…but what about the hygiene reasons / health stuff that goes on down there? Ughhh I can’t imagine,” one shared.
There’s no denying that when it comes to wearing undies, you can absolutely do what you want to do. However, under a health lens, we couldn’t help but wonder, is it really sanitary not to wear underwear under your leggings? Are we risking thrush?
We spoke with specialist GP Dr Sam Saling, who set the record straight for us.
“Yes [wearing underwear] is healthier and more hygienic. Activewear is typically made from synthetic fibres that are not breathable,” she explains. “Wearing cotton underwear between your skin and activewear creates a breathable barrier that can also wick excess body fluids and sweat.”
In saying that, she agrees that every woman should have the choice to wear what suits their body best.
“Each to her own, if one feels more comfortable and secure going commando, that’s their choice.”
We guess it’s a ‘more power to you’ kind of thing.
But, for those in the ‘no commando’ camp, we do have some interesting science behind why wearing underwear can be of benefit to you.
Dr Saling explains, “I often see recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis (otherwise known as thrush) in women who wear activewear often. This is because with activewear, the non-breathable moist environment creates the perfect conditions for some microorganisms to thrive.
“This same environment also causes the pooling of sweat directly between skin and clothing, which can result in an eczema-like rash. I also see bacterial Staphylococcus spp. related conditions like boils, abscesses, and carbuncles in the groin area, and anecdotally see these increasing in our activewear wearing population.”
Her doctor approved recommendation?
“I always recommend wearing cotton underwear, or if you must wear synthetic underwear, ensure it has cotton lining. Ideally, I suggest changing out of one’s activewear within 30 minutes of finishing an exercise session.
“For those who wear activewear all day long and are prone to the above conditions, it may be in your best interest to change to denim, linen, or cotton fabrics for your all-day wardrobe. In fact, for my patients with a history of recurrent thrush, I try weaning them off their activewear habit entirely!”
Maybe it’s time to swap your athleisure for a little elevated loungewear?