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In the early 2000s, the term “period panties” referred to the stained, broken-in drawers you rocked during your period. But starting in the 2010s, period panties got an upgrade thanks to leakproof technology and elegant designs. *Throws one back for science*
Despite this progress, gyms, studios, and trails remained the tampon’s domain — in no small part due to commercials featuring long-legged athletes gallivanting, galloping, and gymnastics-ing around in white (!) leggings.
But then… along came period-proof leggings, singing proudly: 🎶 Anywhere you can sweat, I can sweat bleeding.🎶
Period-proof activewear isn’t new-new.
Hell, even period-proof leggings aren’t new!
But while the pandemic had us turning to at-home workouts, other brands decided to hop on the wagon and hook us up with even more options, taking period-proof leggings from fluke to full-on trend.
Maria Molland, CEO of Thinx, Inc., credits this launch to the pandemic. In the last year, “we’ve seen tremendous adoption of period underwear; meaning more people know what they are, how they work, and that they can be a true alternative to disposable period products,” she said in a press release for the product.
“This has been largely in part to […] the pandemic acceleration of online adoption,” she added. “Now with more consumers in the space, it’s the perfect time to expand the line into Activewear.”
TL;DR: Nothing says period-proof leggings quite like a global pandemic! (LOL)
Leggings are basically just extra-long knickers. So, it should come as no surprise that these menstrual magic garments use the same leakproof technology as the panties, but with the added feature of leg sheaths.
Here’s how they work: You put them on and “free bleed.” The innermost layer absorbs the blood *without* bleeding through to the world-facing layer.
After 6 to 12 hours — depending on your flow and the specific pair — you machine-wash them with cold water and then let them air-dry.
Exactly how much blood the leggings hold varies from product to product and company to company.
|Legging||Price||How much does it absorb?||Sizes|
|Ruby Love Legging||$50||up to 2.5 tampons’ worth (23 mL)||Juniors–3XL|
|Flow 2 Freedom Exhale Cropped||$138||2 tampon’s worth (18 mL)||XS–XL|
|Flow 2 Freedom Exhale Pant||$168||2 tampon’s worth (18 mL)||XS–XL|
|Dear Kate Go Commando||$40||1.5 tampon’s worth (14 mL)||XS–3X|
|Thinx Legging||$95||3 tampons’ worth (27 mL)||XS-XL|
If you have a period, there’s likely a size for you (though we do hope brands create more options for larger bods).
The brands with the widest ranges are Dear Kate, which offers eight size options from XS through 3X, and Ruby Love, which offers sizes Juniors through 3XL.
Now that more brands in the period space have period-proof activewear than don’t, odds are high that we’ll soon see even more period-proof options.
Basketball shorts, track pants, and swim trunks for menstruators of all sizes? I’ll take one of everything!
Gabrielle Kassel (she/her) is a queer sex educator and wellness journalist who is committed to helping people feel the best they can in their bodies. In addition to Healthline, her work has appeared in publications such as Shape, Cosmopolitan, Well+Good, Health, Self, Women’s Health, Greatist, and more! In her free time, Gabrielle can be found coaching CrossFit, reviewing pleasure products, hiking with her border collie, or recording episodes of the podcast she co-hosts called Bad In Bed. Follow her on Instagram @Gabriellekassel.