What to Wear under Rash Guard: Essential Tips & Styles

Under a rash guard, wearing a swimsuit, or compression shorts is common. Many prefer a sports bra or swim top for added support.

Choosing the right apparel to wear under a rash guard ensures comfort and functionality while engaging in water sports or outdoor activities. Rash guards, primarily designed for surfers to prevent chafing, have become a staple for various aquatic activities. The choice of undergarments can play a significant role in your overall experience.

For men, compression shorts or a swimsuit offer the necessary support and prevent chafing. Women often opt for a sports bra or fitted swim top beneath their rash guard for additional support and coverage. This choice of layering helps maintain modesty, allows ease of movement, and contributes to a rash guard’s effectiveness in protecting the skin from the sun and irritation. Careful selection of what to wear under a rash guard enhances the experience of any water-based adventure.

Introduction To Rash Guards

Rash guards, commonly known as rashies or swim shirts, are designed to protect the skin against friction and the sun’s harmful UV rays. They are typically worn in water sports such as surfing, snorkeling, and swimming. The choice of what to wear underneath a rash guard is crucial, not only for comfort but also to avoid skin irritation and chafing. Proper undergarments should be made of materials that provide smooth support and retain minimal moisture, fitting closely to the body to ensure full range of motion without compromising on protection.

Many opt for performance-oriented undergarments specifically designed for aquatic activities due to their quick-drying and non-absorbent properties. Fabrics like polyester and nylon blends are popular choices, as they are engineered to reduce drag in the water and enhance the overall experience of wearing a rash guard. Selecting the right undergarment can significantly impact comfort and performance while engaging in activities where a rash guard is utilized.

Selecting The Right Material

Selecting the right material for what to wear under a rash guard can enhance comfort and performance. Synthetic fabrics offer significant benefits, including quick-drying capabilities and moisture-wicking properties that keep the skin dry and reduce chafing. In contrast, cotton absorbs moisture and retains it, which can cause discomfort and a feeling of heaviness.

Material Benefits Drawbacks
Synthetics Quick-dry, moisture-wicking, lightweight May retain odors
Cotton Soft, comfortable Slow drying, heavy when wet

Understanding quick-dry technologies is crucial. These technologies are often integrated into synthetic fabrics, promoting faster evaporation of moisture and helping maintain body temperature. Wearing such materials under a rash guard can substantially improve comfort and performance in various aquatic activities.

Types Of Undergarments For Rash Guards

Under a rash guard, choosing the right first layer is crucial for both comfort and functionality. Swimsuits are the go-to option for water activities, providing a smooth and consistent layer without adding bulk. For those seeking extra support, sports bras and compression wear offer a secure fit and maintain body contour irrespective of movement intensity.

For day-to-day usage or casual watersports, seamless underwear provides an invisible look and eliminates discomfort that can be caused by stitch seams. The key is selecting materials that resist moisture and have quick-drying properties, ensuring that the wearer stays dry and comfortable post water exposure.

Considerations For Different Activities

Choosing the right apparel under a rash guard for surfing and water sports depends greatly on the type of water conditions and personal comfort preferences. A lightweight, quick-drying fabric like polyester or spandex is often recommended as it provides flexibility and minimal water absorption. Some may prefer wearing a swimsuit or bikini for ease of movement and convenience.

Different gym and training activities necessitate suitable support. For high-impact workouts, a sports bra or compression shorts can offer the necessary stability. Men might opt for athletic briefs or jockstraps that provide both comfort and support.

For casual wear, the key is blending comfort with style. A simple cotton tank top or T-shirt can be a practical choice underneath a rash guard. This ensures breathability and avoids skin irritation, while also providing a relaxed, effortless look.

Additional Tips And Accessories

UV protection plays a crucial role in guarding against harmful sun rays, especially when spending extended hours in the water. Opting for undergarments with built-in UPF ratings not only enhances safety against UV exposure but also complements the protective layer provided by the rash guard. It is vital to choose materials like high-quality polyester or nylon that offer additional sun defense.

Hygiene is paramount, and selecting undergarments that are easy to clean and made from anti-microbial fabrics can prevent the buildup of bacteria often associated with wet conditions. Proper care, including regular washing and drying, ensures both the longevity of the garment and the wearer’s comfort.

For those dealing with colder climates or water temperatures, layering is essential. Combining rash guards with form-fitting thermal underlayers can provide the necessary insulation. These materials should be breathable and moisture-wicking to maintain optimal body temperature while preventing overheating when out of the water.


Selecting the right apparel beneath your rash guard is crucial for comfort and performance. Opt for materials that wick moisture and allow skin to breathe. Ideally, choose snug-fitting, seamless garments to prevent chafing. Remember, the right choice enhances your aquatic experiences.

Diving in with the proper attire ensures you’re ready for any ocean adventure.

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