Thong underwear doesn’t have to be a compromise between style and comfort.

By Claudia Fisher
Updated June 06, 2019
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Credit: courtesy of manufacturers

Despite the usefulness of thong underwear, it’s been a long and slow road I’ve traveled to discover thongs that have more to offer than no visible panty lines. My first-ever thong featured elastic bands so rigid, you could actually snap them into place on your hips. What lines I avoided through my leggings were overcompensated for by those on my skin, and trying to sit up straight without pulling the back elastic into the sharpest wedgie ever made good posture an unfortunate, but necessary, casualty.

After what I call the Rubber Band Period, I moved into the Lace Era of thong-wearing, in which Hanky Panky reigned supreme, and my ears were deaf to any words against the brand’s one-size-fits all model. What I learned during this stylistic shift was that, while lace thongs can be on the more comfortable side, the pliable material doesn’t exactly stay put when you’re pulling on pants. And, as a human in modern society, I wear pants quite often. So, lace underwear died by a thousand rolled bunches at my hips.

The weird thing about the women’s underwear industry is, for a long time, comfort and function weren’t very common benchmarks of quality; really, it’s been a question of how conventionally sexy a style is. While I think it’s important for people to feel sexy, and wardrobe choices can contribute to that, wearing uncomfortable underwear (and having to pick a wedgie quickly when no one is looking) definitely doesn’t make my “helpful to feeling sexy” list.

Through trial and error, I have discovered women’s thongs that not only serve their purpose of being invisible through my clothes but also are actually comfortable. Below are my tried-and-true favorites that don’t roll or bunch with impractical waistbands, show lines with thick seams, or wedge themselves way higher up than any of us deserves.

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Tommy John Women’s Air Thong

1 Tommy John Women’s Air Thong

Tommy John has made a name for itself by offering some of the most comfortable men’s and women’s undergarments and loungewear out there. Just in time for summer, I discovered the brand’s new “air thong,” which is as light and breathable as the name suggests. The style comes in 14 colors and, because the brand offers consistent color options in everything from thongs to lounge joggers to camisoles, you can deck yourself out in the coziest monochrome set ever.

To buy: $26;

Gap Stretch Cotton Thong

2 Gap Stretch Cotton Thong

This underwear by Gap is the closest you’ll get to that feeling of lounging around the house in your favorite, perfectly-worn cotton T-shirt. The low-rise style is easy to wear under most clothes, and the soft material is never scratchy or irritating, even after a wax when my skin is super sensitive.

To buy: From $5;

Negative Underwear Sieve Thong

3 Negative Underwear Sieve Thong

I’ve written about Negative Underwear’s thong before—and it’s still one of my all-time favorites in my underwear drawer. Made of Belgian honeycomb mesh, the subtly-sheer fabric is silky smooth and an almost unnoticeable presence on your body. Even the waistband feels delicate, with the perfect amount of elasticity to stay securely in place without being so tight you’re left with indents on your hips and lower stomach.

To buy: $28;

Champion Women’s Laser Cut Thong

4 Champion Women’s Laser Cut Thong

I ended up buying two pairs of Champion’s thongs strictly to hit a minimum for free shipping one time (because I’m a sucker), leading me to discover the best silver lining to impulse spending. I know “laser cut” is a cautionary name, but this lightweight underwear is soft, breathable, and sleek. It’s the furthest thing from razor sharp I can think of, so don’t let the name scare you away.

To buy: From $7;