Your first line of defense against sweat, abrasion, and funk.
Icebreaker Cool-Lite Meld Zone Long Sports Bra ($65)
The Meld Zone wears like a crop top, with enough coverage to be worn on its own. It was the most stylish sports bra we tested, and well-placed seams and soft merino wool made it one of the most comfortable, too. Best for smaller-busted women, and not for high-impact pursuits.
Oiselle Brilliance Bra ($56)
This was large-busted reviewers’ favorite running bra by a long shot, thanks to highly supportive polyester-spandex fabric and brilliant details like padding on the shoulder straps. Ample coverage and mesh panels provide the best of both worlds in terms of support and breathability.
Saxx Platinum Boxer-Briefs ($35)
Without a doubt, the 95 percent modal (a type of rayon), 5 percent spandex fabric in these shorts made them the most comfortable we tested. The stretchy gaskets in Saxx’s BallPark pouch (sigh) offered enough support for jarring sprints, and the softer-than-cotton, moisture-wicking material made them great for just sitting around, too.
Tactical Distributors Battle Briefs ($16)
No cutting-edge materials here, but Tactical Distributors’ briefs moved moisture off our naughty bits as quickly as it appeared. The high horizontal fly required enough getting used to that we wouldn’t trust it after three beers, but the seamless design took the chafe out of burpees.
Rapha Merino Boxers ($50)
Soft, high-micron wool paired with just-right tightness at the legs helped raise these to the top of the list in a crowded merino field. A bit of elastane made them sufficiently stretchy to keep from bunching up or choking thighs on bike commutes, and the fabric is substantial enough to avoid pilling and shape-shifting after months of heavy use.
Smartwool Women’s PhD Seamless Boy Shorts ($40)
One of our testers practically lived in these (though she advises against wearing them under tight jeans). Credit the lack of elastic at the waist to prevent cutting into the midsection, whether saddling up for a ten-mile ride or settling into a desk chair at the office.