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  • Compression Athlete

What Should I Wear Under Soccer Shorts?

A few options to keep comfortable and confident on the pitch.

Female soccer players competing on the field.

Whether you’re just getting into the sport or curious what standard practice is among players, it’s not uncommon for athletes to wonder what they should wear under their soccer shorts (or football shorts for our non-US readers!).


For starters, we get that this can be a little tricky. Compared to other uniforms, there’s more variety in terms of style and fit when it comes to soccer shorts. And to top it off, you have to deal with the whole team uniform aspect, which means doing your best with what you’re given.


Ideally, you want a solution that’s comfortable and keeps you locked in on the field. Because the last thing you want is to feel self-conscious or distracted while you’re playing, worrying about your shorts instead of focusing on the game. So, here we’ll cover the common go-to choices for what to wear under soccer shorts.



Best Underwear Options for Soccer Shorts


If you’re trying to determine what the best underwear option is to wear under your soccer shorts, there are a few factors you’ll want to consider. In this case, what you wear for underwear may have a lot to do with your outerwear (i.e. your soccer shorts).


While soccer shorts can vary some in both length and fit, they generally rest at about mid-thigh and are looser fitting in nature (i.e. not compressive against your legs). It’s a common sight on the field to see soccer players adjusting their shorts, whether rolling up the waistband or hiking the legs to rest higher on the thigh.


Female soccer players competing in a game.

If your soccer shorts are more form-fitting to your body, you might decide that you want a slimmer underwear option, for example. Or, if your shorts are looser in the legs, you might opt for a more secure underwear option.


There are also uniform color considerations to take into account. White shorts or other lighter colors may dictate your choice if you’re at all concerned about transparent fabric. The weather conditions you’re playing in may also be a factor—more breathable when it’s humid and a warmer option in the cold.


Of the possible underwear options, the three most common choices among female soccer players to wear under shorts are briefs, compression shorts, and thongs. All three options are suitable choices and utilized by soccer players at the highest levels of play.


1. Wearing Briefs Under Soccer Shorts


The first option we’ll take a look at here are briefs, which are a classic choice and familiar option for athletic activity in general. They’re known for offering a good mix of security and comfortable fit under a uniform.


One thing to keep in mind with briefs is that depending on the cut, color, and fabric of your uniform shorts, briefs typically tend to impart an underwear line (or VPL) more than the other options listed here. Some players find this distracting, while others could care less. Both are fine.


Also, note that certain brief options will work much better than others. Your everyday wear briefs might not be the best choice if they utilize cotton or silk fabrics. Cotton, for example, does not wick sweat away from the body well and silk tends to trap in heat.


Instead, you’ll want to opt for briefs that are specifically designed for physical activity. These will have a seamless design and consist of nylon or polyester fabrics blended with spandex, elastane, or lycra, which makes the brief lightweight, breathable, and sweat-wicking.


Check out our picks for the Best Seamless Briefs.



2. Wearing Compression Shorts Under Soccer Shorts


Up next, we have the most secure and versatile option of the three, which is compression shorts. Note that in soccer, compression shorts worn under soccer shorts may also go by the name “sliders.”


Beyond the worry-free security that compression shorts provide, they’re also a very comfortable option that wicks sweat and eliminates chaffing. Additionally, compression shorts support your leg muscles and improve circulation. This makes them a popular choice when playing in colder weather, as the improved circulation helps to keep your muscles warm.


Female soccer player wearing compression shorts sliding for ball.

Compression shorts worn under soccer shorts can vary in length but are typically sized smaller in length than the shorts worn over them (i.e. the uniform or outerwear). However, with compression shorts you don’t have to worry about the leg of the shorts showing from underneath your uniform shorts. So, unless you have certain team uniform rules to follow, you can pick a compression short length based on personal preference.


Most importantly, though, when wearing compression shorts under your soccer shorts, you’ll want to be sure to have a pair that layers well, rather than a pair geared towards outerwear. In other words, you want a smooth and snug fit that is lightweight and doesn’t require adjustment.


Check out for picks for the Best Soccer Compression Shorts.



3. Wearing a Thong Under Soccer Shorts


If you’re someone that doesn’t require a more encompassing fit as a base layer (such as compression shorts or briefs), you might consider opting for a thong under your soccer shorts. This option is best for those that want more freedom of movement in the legs or for those that prefer a no seams look under their shorts.


Not only is opting for a thong the lightest and most breathable underwear option for soccer players, but it offers essentially zero fabric surrounding (and potentially constricting) your legs under the uniform shorts. And when it comes to a sport that’s all about leg movement, many athletes enjoy how this option frees up their mobility.


If you’re thinking that a thong might not be the most comfortable option for soccer, well, that may be true if you’re thinking about one designed for everyday wear. Of course, if you have an everyday pair that you’re most comfortable in and hasn’t given you any problems while playing then by all means go with what you’re most comfortable in.


But just as with briefs, certain thong options will work better for athletic activity than others. The best options will have a comfortable seamless design that stays in place and utilizes a lightweight and breathable fabric.


Check out our picks for the Best Seamless Thongs.



Parting Thoughts: Prioritize Comfort and Function


When you’re figuring out which base layer works best for you, the most important thing to prioritize is comfort and functionality. When you take the field, you want to be completely locked-in and ready go, not distracted by an uncomfortable fit or self-conscious about your appearance. You’ve a got a game to play. Find a solution that’s comfortable and allows you to perform at your best.


If you’re at all worried about not wearing the same thing as the other members on your team, rest assured not every player on a given team is going to wear them the exact same way. After you fire off those first couple all-out sprints, it’ll probably be the last thing on your mind.


You might see some consensus among teammates but mostly everyone is going to do what works best for them. It might sound a bit cliché but everyone is different, so their preferences will look a little different too.


Additionally, as you consider these options, you might decide that different scenarios call for different choices. This is a common practice, as well. Whether it’s a change in weather conditions, uniform color, or another factor, you may find that more than one of these options has its time and place.


And most importantly, remember that it all comes down to personal preference. There aren’t any hard rules here, so wear what you’re most comfortable in and helps you compete at your best.

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