At first I was a bit apprehensive about wearing leggings without underwear. Wouldn't that just be too strange a feeling to get past? But I ended up really liking these leggings. They easily absorb heavy bleeding, and remain secure even during intense exercise. The downside is that you have to wash them after each use, which isn't very convenient.
You've probably heard of period underwear by now – underwear that you can use instead of single use pads or tampons during your menstrual cycle.
If you're already a period underwear convert, you'll be excited to know that some companies such as Modibodi are expanding their range to include activewear that can absorb menstrual flow and be safely worn throughout your period.
We trialled their 7/8 Recycled Active Leggings to see how they hold up against a few different types of exercise.
What are Modibodi period leggings?
Modibodi leggings are made from recycled fabric and arrived in recyclable packaging.
Modibodi's period-proof leggings look pretty much just like any other pair of leggings you'd wear while exercising. They have a sleek, black appearance and you probably wouldn't be able to pick that they're period-proof leggings at a glance (if you look very closely, you might be able to spot it).
They're only available in one level of absorbency – moderate to heavy. This means that they can safely hold 15mL of liquid, which is the equivalent of two to three tampons' worth.
How do you wear them?
They're designed to be worn without a pad, tampon or cup. That also means that you wear them without underwear. As these are leggings, that can be a bit of a daunting prospect at first!
The leggings have an in-built, merino wool, polyester and polyamide gusset, which takes the place of underwear and absorbs your menstrual flow.
Is it strange wearing leggings without underwear?
This was the number one question on my mind before trialling the leggings. I really couldn't imagine heading out on a 5km run or even going on a leisurely stroll around my neighbourhood without any underwear on, particularly while, you know, heavily bleeding.
It did feel very strange to pull the leggings up and on without wearing underwear (is this how Winnie the Pooh feels all the time?). But once they were actually on, it was completely fine. The in-built gusset, combined with how tight the leggings are, really does make it feel like you are wearing underwear. I felt totally secure with them on.
At a glance, you simply can’t tell these are period-proof leggings.
Do they work?
I tried these leggings out in a couple of different ways – I wore them on a fast-paced 5km run, on a walk, and while pottering around the house. I also added in a couple of squats for good measure. I tried to wear them on the heaviest days of my menstrual cycle, as they claim to be able to handle a moderate to heavy flow.
The leggings performed really well on my run. It was actually so liberating to go running on one of the heaviest days of my period without having to worry about pads or tampons!
They stayed nice and secure throughout the run. I didn't have any feelings of discomfort or wetness, and when I took them off, I was surprised to see that the gusset looked completely dry: you wouldn't have been able to tell that I had just run 5km while bleeding pretty constantly.
My only criticism is that these leggings only have one pocket on one leg. I would've loved one more pocket on the other side, as it would've made it a bit easier to carry my phone, keys and glasses.
You could certainly wear these out and about while running errands or doing grocery shopping, in the same way you might wear regular leggings
The leggings also held up well on my walk. Once again, it was very freeing being able to do this without having to think about pads or tampons. I also wore them around the house for a couple of hours with no issues.
You could certainly wear these out and about while running errands or doing grocery shopping, in the same way you might wear regular leggings.
Would I recommend them?
Overall, yes. These leggings performed well, but they do come with a bit of a downside – you need to wash them every time you wear them.
If I've been wearing regular leggings while running errands or going for a walk, I won't wash them until they've been used a couple of times. As the Modibodi leggings have absorbed blood, you'll need to rinse them and pop them in the wash after each use.
When you factor in the time it takes for them to air dry (you shouldn't put these in the dryer), you won't be able to use them on every single day of your period, unless you buy multiple pairs.
If you're keen to help out the environment by reducing your use of tampons and pads, you might be better off buying a couple of pairs of period underwear and wearing them with your usual activewear.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.