Your Helpful Guide to Racing Briefs
Everything you need to know and top picks for 2023.
You may have noticed these go by a few different names: race briefs, racing briefs, running briefs, and even the more colloquial “bun huggers” or simply “buns”.
Regardless of what you call them, tune into any track and field event and you’ll see that racing briefs are a staple among female athletes.
Everyone from sprinters to long jumpers to pole vaulters and more wear race briefs during competition. And there’s good reason for this.
Race briefs cover everything that you need and forgo anything extra (i.e. no superfluous fabric getting in the way).
And when you’re looking for a competitive edge where every second and centimeter matters, so too does every detail.
Here, we’ll cover some of the most common questions associated with race briefs, as well as provide our picks for the best racing briefs of 2023.
Note: Featured products are independently selected and reviewed by Compression Athlete. If you purchase through our links, we may earn commission.
The Top Benefits of Wearing Racing Briefs
While racing briefs have been a staple among professional track and field athletes for many years now, to the uninitiated they tend to raise a few questions.
Most commonly, people wonder about the design and fit of racing briefs. Why wear racing briefs instead of shorts? Do racing briefs offer some advantage over other options?
Some even mistake race briefs for bikini bottoms because of the similar cut and stretchy fabric.
While the two are alike in appearance, racing briefs are built for a high degree of speed and performance.
The main reason why athletes opt for racing briefs over other options is the snug and minimalist design that’s optimized for competition.
The racing brief design foregoes any superfluous fabric while still providing secure coverage.
Less fabric around fast-moving leg muscles and joints means a greater range of motion and less chance for any friction between fabric and skin, which can lead to discomfort and distraction.
Additionally, the minimalist design optimizes a runner’s aerodynamics for less drag when you’re flying down the track or through the air.
When an athlete is performing in competition where milliseconds and centimeters can mean all the difference, any precaution and advantage is welcome.
Are You Supposed to Wear Underwear Under Racing Briefs?
Because racing briefs are so similar in nature to underwear (there’s even “briefs” right there in the name), you might be wondering whether you’re supposed to wear underwear under your racing briefs.
Most racing briefs, especially those from well-known athletic brands, are designed so that you don’t need to wear underwear beneath them if you don’t want to.
However, it really all comes down to personal preference.
If you’re someone that’s more comfortable wearing an undergarment while you’re active or want a little extra security while you’re competing, then by all means go for it.
Wearing underwear beneath your racing briefs is perfectly fine to do and is a common practice among track athletes.
Keep in mind, however, that if you’re going to wear underwear beneath your racing briefs there are certain options much better suited than others.
Because of the snug and minimalist design of racing briefs, thong underwear is typically the only choice that athletes wear beneath them.
Not only will this choice help your undergarment remain unseen, but it also reduces the chance of friction between your underwear and racing briefs, which can be uncomfortable and distracting.
In general, when running in compression garments such as racing briefs or compression shorts, you’ll want to avoid underwear with pronounced seams and non-breathable fabric.
The pressure from the compression garment can push seams into your skin, causing chafing and restriction.
And non-breathable fabrics will trap in sweat and heat, causing discomfort and overheating.
The best underwear to wear under your racing briefs will be a seamless thong option that is lightweight, breathable, and designed with movement in mind.
Check out our picks for the Best Seamless Thongs to Wear Under Compression.
The Best Racing Briefs of 2023: Our Top Picks
A great pair of racing briefs will feature a performance design that’s built for peak speed.
Equally as important, your racing briefs should be comfortable and offer peace of mind. In other words, you want racing briefs with stay-put coverage so that you can stay focused.
Here, we’ve put together a list of the best racing briefs for 2022. Check it out, grab a pair, and get ready for race day.
1. Saucony Elite Running Briefs
The Saucony Elite Running Briefs feature a lightweight and comfortable design for fast race-day performances. These running briefs have lightweight support and prioritize breathability for improved endurance.
Shop at Saucony: Saucony Elite Running Briefs
Saucony’s Elite Running Briefs have a plush elastic waistband with an internal infinity drawcord for adjustability and a secure fit. These running briefs feature sweat-wicking and quick-drying fabric, as well as a bold Saucony logo.
2. Nike Fast Briefs
The Nike Fast Briefs feature a performance fit designed for speed with a secure cut for coverage you can count on.
Shop at Runners Plus: Nike Fast Briefs
Nike’s Fast Briefs utilize sweat-wicking fabric to keep you cool, dry, and comfortable, as well as a drawcord waistband for convenient adjustment.
3. Nike Dri-FIT ADV Run Division Bodysuit
The Nike Dri-FIT ADV Run Division Bodysuit features a soft and sleek design with targeted ventilation to help you stay cool. This versatile bodysuit has a light and stretchy feel with reflective elements integrated into the fabric.
Shop at Nike: Nike Dri-FIT ADV Run Division Bodysuit
Nike’s Dri-FIT ADV Run Division Bodysuit has bonded seams for a smooth feel and a bonded back zipper for easy on/offs. This bodysuit features moisture-wicking Dri-FIT technology to keep you dry and comfortable, as well as 4-way stretch for a full range of motion.
4. New Balance Athletic Briefs 2.0
The New Balance Athletic Briefs 2.0 features soft moisture-wicking fabric in a sleek performance design that’s perfect for track and field, cross country, and club teams.
Shop at Running Warehouse: New Balance Athletic Brief 2.0
Shop at Running Warehouse: New Balance Athletic Brief 2.0 (USA Print)
New Balance’s Athletic Briefs 2.0 have comfortable overlock seams, a mesh undercarriage liner, and a brushed waistband interior for a distraction-free race day.
5. Brooks Elite Buns Race Briefs
The Brooks Elite Buns feature a streamlined race-day design that allows a full range of motion with a stay-put fit for focus and peace of mind.
Shop at Brooks Running: Brooks Elite Buns
Shop at Running Warehouse: Brooks Elite Buns
Brooks’ Elite Buns are designed to handle race days, speed workouts, and any hot weather pursuit. These race briefs have a sleek design with easy adjustability and convenient storage.
6. Alo Yoga Airlift Record Breaker Runner Briefs
The Alo Yoga Airlift Record Breaker Runner Briefs feature extra comfortable Airlift fabric that smooths and sculpts in a high-waisted design for superior coverage.
Shop at Alo Yoga: Alo Yoga Airlift Record Breaker Runner Briefs
Alo Yoga’s Airlift Record Breaker Runner Briefs have a lightweight and curve-flattering cut with zero bunching and a second skin feel.
7. Free People Happiness Runs Briefs
The Free People Happiness Runs Briefs are made for running with a ribbed design and a light compressive feel that stretches with your body as you move.
Shop at Free People: Free People Happiness Runs Briefs
Free People’s Happiness Runs Briefs have a flattering and slouch-free fit with a supportive high-rise waist and an easy pull-on style.
8. Tracksmith Race Briefs
The Tracksmith Race Briefs feature an extra comfortable nylon and elastane fabric blend in a performance design that can handle a marathon.
Shop at Tracksmith: Tracksmith Race Briefs
Tracksmith’s Race Briefs have a high-waist cut with supportive nylon fabric that’s moisture-wicking and quick-drying. These race briefs have a stay-put design and three pockets for convenient fuel storage.
9. Asics Chaser Briefs
The Asics Chaser Briefs feature a performance speed design that’s ready for race-day with flat seam stitching and comfortable polyester and spandex fabric blend.
Available on Amazon: Asics Chaser Briefs
Asics’ Chaser Briefs have stylish contrast panels and a flat front waistband for extra comfort. These race briefs are available in a variety of colors.
10. Oiselle Race Day Briefs
The Oiselle Race Day Briefs feature a sleek performance design that’s optimized for racing and a stay-put fit for distraction free running.
Shop at Oiselle: Oiselle Race Day Briefs
Oiselle’s Race Day Briefs feature a stylish and comfortable polyester and spandex fabric blend with a convenient interior drawcord for a customizable locked-in feel.
11. HOKA Spring Race Briefs
The HOKA Spring Race Briefs feature a lightweight and moisture-wicking fabric in a dialed in racing design.
Shop at Running Warehouse: HOKA Spring Race Briefs
HOKA’s Spring Race Briefs provide superior comfort, a stylish side graphic, and an encased elastic waistband for convenient adjustments.
For more great running bottoms, check out our picks for the Best Compression Running Shorts and the Best Bike Shorts for Running.