The debate on looks vs. comfort at the gym is certainly not new, but what's the verdict when it comes to underwear? Should you wear it, even if that means you have a panty line? Or do you sport a thong or, dare we say, go commando?
When you're working out, wearing appropriate underwear is more than a style choice, it's essential for your health! Still, experts are still divided on what's best for you during a sweaty workout.
"Bacteria and yeast love a moist and warm environment," Doerthe Brueggmann, M.D., of Health Goes Female told Shape. "So a very effective and simple protection is to wear any underwear under your workout gear to catch sweat and developing moisture."
While Brueggmann suggests wearing underwear, David Bank, M.D., founder and director of the Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery, told Shape that it really depends on the workout gear you're wearing.
"If you frequently wear bottoms with moisture-wicking capabilities, then underwear is not necessary," said Bank.
This is good news for those who are worried about underwear lines showing through your yoga pants, as doctors agree that thongs are a no-no during a sweat session. While you may not see underwear lines in a barely-there pair, you're also increasing your risk of a urinary infection by allowing bacteria from the rear to move toward the front as you workout.
If you aren't sure what to do, what are other choices?
Dr. Nicole E. Williams of the Gynecology Institute of Chicago warns against using underwear "meant to be seen," that is, anything sheer, lace or silky to Elle. Better options include high-tech underwear with special materials similar to your workout gear that wick sweat or are antibacterial.
If that's out of the budget, cotton will also work fine as it's breathable.