Technical Undies


You buy wool baselayers and moisture-wicking tops, so why wear cotton underwear?

Technical underwear is your first defense against a sweaty, clammy behind, helping to keep your delicate surface temperature regulated year round. Soaked cotton undies in winter can translate to a cold, wet butt on the chairlift. In summer, excess sweat can easily soak your underwear making you sticky, itchy, and uncomfortable.

Luckily, many companies make underwear that will keep you comfortable and dry, no matter the season. Here are some of my favorite types of all-season technical underwear.

(And remember to always go commando when you’re riding in bike shorts with a chamois—no lady wants an uncomfortable seam and extra moisture down there. Believe me.)

Exofficio givengo

Ex-Officio Give n’ Go Lacey Bikini and Low-rise Bikini

These underwear and matching camisoles are a cult favorite for a reason. They are odor-resistant, moisture-wicking, and keep you cool in summer. Plus, they last forever: wash after wash, they hold their shape and still look great. Of course they’re an excellent choice for travel, but are perfect for backpacking too, when space is at a premium. Two pairs will easily last you a month in the woods. Just rinse them out each night and voilà–clean underwear. The matching Give n’ Go Lacey Shelf Bra Cami is feminine and provides extra support for the girls. XS – 2XL.

$14.92 – $22 (bikini), $24.92 – $40.00 (cami),

WEB_Image Soleie Lady Hipster Hot Pink Striped M 195939143

Bergan’s of Norway Soleie Lady Hipster

This is my go-to underwear for skiing. Under long underwear, the lightweight Soleie Hipster provides just enough extra  warmth to keep your buns warm on a cold chairlift. The band is soft and stretchy–never chafes or pulls. But, since these hipsters are 100% merino wool, they work well for summer activities like hiking or climbing. They work well as PJs too, when you’re snuggled inside a sleeping bag. XS – XL.


patagonia undies

Patagonia Women’s Active Hipster and Active Boy Shorts

The Stretchy, polyester/spandex fabric has a super soft hand, making these undies a delight to pull on. The wide band doesn’t roll down, even if you have more of a tummy than you’d like to admit. These run large.

If you prefer more coverage, try the Active Boy Shorts. Made from the same fabric as the Hipster, the Boy Shorts keep you cool and covered and, because they are not sheer, can even double as bathing suit bottoms in a pinch. The band tended to roll down on me, but I still like them. XS – L.

$18 – $20;


Smartwool NTS Micro 150 Bikini and Tank

Uber lightweight and soft, the NTS (next-to-skin) Micro 150 bikini made out of 98% superfine merino wool and 2% nylon so that it holds its flattering shape. With 150 grams of wool per square millimeter, the NTS Micro 150 is the lightest baselayer in the Smartwool family, making this set ideal for year-round wear. They feel great when they’re on. Like all Smartwool products, both the underwear and tank are machine washable, but I still find that it’s best to let these items air dry to extend the life of the garment. XS – XL.

$28 (bikini), $60 (Tank);

Looking for some high-performance sports bras too? Click here.

Last modified: April 1, 2014

5 Responses to :
Technical Undies

  1. Judy says:

    I’d love a review of the many bike padded undies now on sale that replaces buying the expensive bike padded shorts all the time!

  2. jeannemeeks says:

    I’ll be shopping for these soon. A luxury, but if they can wick away some of the sweatiness. Yea!

  3. Marina says:

    Whoa wool? It makes sense, but that would be itchy for me.

  4. Dana says:

    Unless you’re actually allergic to lanolin or wool fiber, fine merino fiber isn’t itchy whatsoever. My Ibex merino briefs are the only underwear I’ll run in.

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