Should You Wear Underwear With Spats?

July 23, 2021

Want to wear some cool designs while your roll? Or just keep your legs warm? Then you probably already own a pair of spats! If not, know what you should wear under and over them so you don’t go to class with your training partners trying to avoid drilling and rolling with you.

Should You Wear Underwear With Spats?

Should You Wear Underwear With Spats

You should wear underwear with your spats. Most spats are made of thin, elastic material that can be see-through when stretched in the right lighting so covering up your bits and pieces with underwear are a must.

Further, it is common courtesy to your training partner to put another layer between your private parts and their body. Especially if you are on top in the north-south position! No one wants a sweaty crotch in their face.

One more reason to wear underwear under your spats, especially if you are a male, is the safety of your manhood. Having your manhood out freely can turn into a painful event if someone decides to knee cut to pass your guard.

If your manhood isn’t safely tucked away, this knee cut may crush anything that is in the way.

Why Do People Wear Spats For BJJ?

BJJ practitioners will wear spats for multiple reasons, not just to keep their legs warm.

Prevent Mat Burn

Spend a session in grappling shorts performing various takedowns and you may have some sore knees at the end of class. Not joint sore. Your skin burning sore.

Wearing spats is one way to reduce mat burn and protect the skin on your knees.

Prevent Cuts, Scratches, and Infections

If you train regularly, you’re likely to come out of class with random scratches on your hands, arms, legs, and neck. While covering your hands and neck isn’t possible, you can cover your legs by wearing spats and preventing any cuts and scratches.

The bonus of doing this is you also prevent potential infections. Staph and ringworm infections are common in BJJ and occur through skin-to-skin contact. Spats provide an extra layer between you and your training partners.

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Keeps Your Leg Hair

Ever had someone grab your gi pants only to also grab your leg hairs? It’s almost a cheat code to pass guard!

It sucks, to say the least. Wearing spats under your gi pants will prevent anyone from grabbing your leg hairs while they try to pass your guard.

Winter Warmers

Getting started on cold mats on a cold day isn’t a nice feeling. Spats will help you warm up faster and retain heat because you are covering more surface area.

Create More Friction

This can work for and against you. Some no-gi submissions can be easier to escape from when you’re sweaty. You can escape like a wet fish! Wearing spats can reduce some of this slippery, sweaty surface and allow you to lock up various submissions without your training partner escaping so easily.

Should You Wear Something Over Your Spats?

This is a controversial topic. Many believe if you’re wearing compression shorts or underwear under your spats you are fine to train without anything over top. Others believe you should always wear shorts over top of your spats as a male to hide your bulge.

The answer to this is going to come down to your BJJ club, training partners, and your personal preferences. If people in your class are consistently wearing spats with nothing over top, you can do so too.

If everyone wears shorts over their spats, it’s probably better to err on the side of caution and wear them yourself!

Should You Wear Underwear Under Your Gi?

This depends. If you are wearing nothing under your gi pants, then you will need to wear underwear. If you are wearing spats under your gi pants, you don’t need to wear underwear.

An easy way to remember this is the two-layer rule. Two layers between your crotch area and your training partner.

About the author 

James de Lacey

I am a professional strength & conditioning coach that works with professional and international level teams and athletes. I am a published scientific researcher and have completed my Masters in Sport & Exercise Science. I've combined my knowledge of research and experience to bring you the most practical bites to be applied to your combat training.


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