The Best Cotton Underwear for Women, from Lace Thongs to Boy Shorts (and Everything in Between)

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If we’re being honest, buying underwear isn't often at task we look forward to, but it is a necessity. And while there are plenty of sexy lace and quality synthetic options out there, we’ve found cotton to be the best when it comes to breathability, comfort and durability—three absolute requirements, in our opinion. So, when we set out to find the best cotton underwear for women, we ensured that each pair checked all those boxes. Now, let us introduce you to your new top-drawer favorites.

What Are the Benefits of Wearing Cotton Underwear?

Cotton is naturally breathable, meaning it’s excellent for wicking away excess moisture down south and eliminating excess heat, two things that are imperative for a healthy vagina. “Overheating or moisture can disturb women's pH and resistance to antibacterial treatment options,” Dr. Monica Grover, MD, OB/GYN and chief medical officer at VSPOT, a sexual health and wellness company, recently told Glamour. And as an added bonus, cotton is also hypoallergenic, meaning it’s far less likely to accumulate microorganisms or cause irritation to the sensitive skin on and around your vagina.

Despite all those benefits, however, cotton underwear isn’t necessarily the best in all situations. Anyone who’s ever worn a cotton T-shirt to work out can tell you that cotton’s ability to wick away moisture only stretches so far. So if you plan to engage in a particularly sweaty workout sesh or are powering though a hot, humid summer day without A/C, you might actually be more comfortable in a synthetic material with improved moisture-wicking abilities. Those prone to yeast infections, which tend to thrive in warm, wet environments, might also prefer a synthetic over 100 percent cotton. Really, it comes down to whatever makes you feel most comfortable.

Does My Underwear Need to Be 100 Percent Cotton to Reap the Benefits?

The most important thing to look for when shopping for cotton underwear is a design that has a gusset (that extra piece of fabric right in the crotch of your undies) that is made from 100 percent cotton. Most brands include at least some elastane or spandex in the material used for the rest of the panty just to ensure it can stretch and move along with you without digging in or sagging. So long as the gusset is cotton and the remaining material is made with a majority cotton blend, you should still reap all the benefits of a pair that’s truly 100 percent cotton.

The Best Cotton Underwear for Women at a Glance

Editors’ Pick

1. Knickey Mid-Rise Hipster


Multiple PureWow editors recommend Knickey as their favorite brand for cotton underwear. “I love that their products are all made from organic cotton so you don't have to worry about any weird chemicals in your underwear, and the fabric is so soft it feels barely there,” says assistant commerce editor Natalie LaBarbera. Beyond comfort, Knickey’s underwear also holds up really well even after lots of washes and wear. Executive editor Dara Katz reports, “Through many a load of wash and drying cycle (even though they recommend you line dry to save energy), they’re still looking like they just popped out of the recycled boxed they came in.” Plus, the brand puts a big emphasis on sustainability using only Oeko-Tex- and GOTS-certified materials. And if you also find yourself falling in love with these beloved cotton undies, you can save more the more you buy—three for $48, five for $80, ten for $150 or 20 for $280.

Truly 100 percent Cotton

2. Oddobody Tanga


  • Composition: 100 percent organic cotton
  • Size Range: XS to XXXL
  • Other Available Styles: Brief, French Cut, String Bikini, Thong, High Waist, Sleep Short, Boxer
  • Why We Love It: a portion of all proceeds are donated to organizations that support sexual and reproductive health causes, made from 100 percent GOTS-certified organic cotton

All of Oddobody’s undies and tops are made from 100 percent organic, sustainably-grown and ethically-sourced cotton. The two female founders place an emphasis on talking about and demonstrating the realities of women’s bodies, which explains why there are videos of various models sporting each style. Further, you won’t see any photoshopped curves or retouched pubes on this site. As for this popular cheeky style, fans rave about how the sides don’t dig in and more than a few deemed them wedgie-proof.

Best Classic Bikini

3. Felina Organic Cotton Bikni


  • Composition: 91 percent organic cotton, 9 percent spandex
  • Size range: XS to XL
  • Why We Love It: wedgie-proof, made from organic cotton, lots of color options

For a classic bikini, you pretty much can’t go wrong with any of the brands included in this list. But we felt these Felina panties deserved a special call-out for two main reasons: the price point and the details, rave reviews. A pack of six breaks down to just over $8 per pair, which is phenomenal for organic cotton. Reviews do say these tend to run small, so you’re likely better off going up one from your usual size, but they also rave about how soft the material is and how flattering they look when on. “I find these really comfortable and they’re nice and stretchy, including the leg holes so they don't cut into your skin,” writes one buyer. Another says, “Feels like nothing is there. Very soft, no catchy bits that pull or tug, no wedgies, stretchy and breathable, but definitely runs small. One size up fit me perfectly after washing.”

Best String Bikini

4. Aerie Cotton String Bikini


For those who want something with minimal coverage on the sides, this Aerie string bikini is a great option. It still offers ample coverage in back and the elastic waistband won’t dig in, giving you a smooth silhouette from all angles. So much so that some reviewers compare them to the brand’s No Show undies. “[The String Bikini] is so comfy and lightweight, and something I wasn’t expecting is how little they show under tight clothes,” writes one reviewer. “I’ve bought Aerie’s No Show underwear in the past these are close to how little they show.” A note on fit: These are listed as a low-rise style, and some reviews found them to be a bit too low in the front for their taste.

Best Thong

5. Hanky Panky Cotton Original Thong

Hanky Panky

  • Composition: 96 percent cotton, 4 percent spandex
  • Size Range: one size fits most (approximately U.S. 4 to 14)
  • Other Available Styles: High-Cut Brief, Low-Rise Thong, V-kini, Boyshort
  • Why We Love It: incredibly lightweight, fit a range of sizes, made in the United States

The adorable packaging and the fact that they come in a single size has long made Hanky Panky panties one of our favorites for gifting. And while at first we were skeptical of that “one size” claim, they truly are built to comfortably fit sizes 4 through 14 through the magic of the stretchy lace waistband that’s built to move with your body. Per one size 10 shopper, “These are some of the most comfortable thongs you will ever wear. There is no binding or pinching, and the cotton really makes the difference when it comes to a bit more comfort and protection.”

Best French Cut

6. Oddobody French Cut


  • Composition: 100 percent organic cotton
  • Size range: XS to XXL
  • Other Available Styles: Brief, Tanga, String Bikini, Thong, High Waist, Sleep Short, Boxer
  • Why We Love It: a portion of all proceeds are donated to organizations that support sexual and reproductive health causes, made from 100 percent GOTS-certified organic cotton

French Cut undies typically have a higher waist than classic bikini styles and feature high-cut leg holes that rise above the widest part of the thigh. This Oddobody pair hits that Goldilocks spot, both on the waist and on the legs, for maximum comfort without either too much coverage up top or too little down below. As one five-star reviewer put it, “So comfortable and the coverage is amazing. This is wide coochie approved—will be buying more!” And, like all of the brand’s panties, they’re made from 100 percent GOTS organic cotton as an eco-friendly bonus to the supreme comfort.

Best High Rise

7. Everlane Cotton High-Rise Hipster


  • Composition: 92 percent cotton, 8 percent elastane
  • Size Range: XXS to XL
  • Other Available Styles: High-Rise Bikini, Bikini, Hipster, Thong
  • Why We Love It: machine washable and dryer safe, matching bras available, 

Everlane is known for its quality, comfy basics—including undergarments you can trust. For those who want maximum coverage, on both the bum and tummy, this high-rise hipster is incredibly soft and lightweight, meaning it won’t ride up and give you a wedgie, nor will it feel too tight around your midsection. “The high-rise hipster is so soft and fits beautifully—no panty lines,” reads one review. “They also stop the button and zipper on my high-rise pants from digging into my skin, which is nice.” Reviews say this pair runs true to size and holds up well after lots of washing and drying.

Best Low Rise

8. Knickey Low Rise Bikini


For those who prefer a low-rise bikini, this Knickey style is our top recommendation. It hits in exactly the right spot to feel comfortable below your belly but not so low that you feel overly exposed. And that ideal cut extends to your rear so you don’t have to worry about exposing too much in back, either from the top or on your cheeks. Reviews say the sides and waistband don’t dig in, and the organic cotton is incredibly breathable and lightweight for maximum comfort. “Yeah, I’m fully in love with this underwear now,” writes Maddie L. “I started with a couple of the low-rise thongs which are SO much more comfortable than any thong I’ve ever worn. Then I got some of the bikinis and they are just as amazing. Super soft, comfortable and really cute.”

Best Boyshort

9. SKIMS Cotton Jersey Boy Short


If you haven't tried SKIMS underwear, you're seriously missing out. The brand has some of the smoothest body-contouring options out there, including its cotton jersey collection. We particularly love the brand’s Boy Short style because it offers more coverage on the sides and in back than most boyshorts to prevent weird bunching or wedgies from occurring. “As someone with sensory issues, I really struggle with underwear,” writes on reviewer, “but these are perfect! They're so comfortable and breathable. Love these so much!” P.S. Get a pack of three to save 40 percent on whatever style you love most.

Best Boxer

10. Aerie Cotton Boxer


For maximum coverage, or to prevent chafing under dresses or skirts, we love this Aerie boxer short. Reviewers rave about the mid-rise waist and an inseam length that hits low enough to offer protection from chafing without feeling like a true bike short. Many were also surprised at just how soft and breathable the material is. “These are so, so cozy,” reads one review. “I didn’t expect them to be so soft! I might order a size up next time just because they were a little tight, but it wasn’t a deal breaker!” Most reviewers say these run true to size, but if you prefer a looser fit you’ll likely be happier going up one from your usual.

Inclusive Size Range

11. SKIMS Cotton Jersey Tanga


As mentioned above, SKIMS underwear is a major favorite for its comfort factor and super-smooth look under clothing. But even better than that is the fact that everything SKIMS makes comes in the full size range, XXS to 4X, for all colors and styles. “Super comfy, don’t strangle my thighs or ride up, made from nice breathable cotton,” writes one reviewer, and multiple others comment on how great it is that the Tanga cut specifically doesn’t ride up in back, even for those with bigger butts.

Budget-Friendly Pick

12. GAP Organic Stretch Cotton Bikini


  • Composition: 92 percent organic cotton, 8 percent spandex
  • Size Range: XXS to XXL
  • Other Available Styles: Thong, Hipster, High-Rise Hipster, Shorty
  • Why We Love It: made from organic cotton, affordable price point, lots of color options

Multiple women told us that GAP is their go-to for simple cotton undies. The bikini style has more than 800 reviews, nearly 85 percent of which are five stars. Take it from one longtime fan: “I love [this] underwear, they have been my ‘everyday undies’ for years. They don't ride up, they aren't too thin and they're a better quality than similar cotton undies from [other mall brands].” There is also a non-organic cotton style available (93 percent cotton, 7 percent spandex), but we prefer the organic offering because it’s more eco-friendly and uses much less water and energy to produce.

Best Under $10

13. Uniqlo Plain High-Rise Brief


  • Composition: 95 percent cotton, 5 percent spandex
  • Size Range: XS to XL
  • Other Available Styles: Plain Hip Huggers
  • Why We Love It: affordable price point, save even more if you order a bundle, full coverage in back

These simple cotton undies tend to sell out just as quickly as they get restocked, so if you see them in your size, we highly suggest snapping them up ASAP. Despite the low price tag, these Uniqlo panties are surprisingly good quality, and last much longer than you’d expect, according to reviews. Folks also say they run true to size and that they won’t shrink in the wash (although the site does recommend you wash them in cold water and lay flat to dry). Plus, you can save even more if you add multiple pairs to cart.

  • Composition: 93 percent cotton (47 percent Pima cotton, 46 percent cotton), 7 percent spandex
  • Size Range: XS/S to L/XL
  • Other Available Styles: Bikini, V Thong
  • Why We Love It: matching bras available, made from high-quality Pima cotton

If comfort is your number one priority, we highly suggest checking out Eberjey’s selection. The bikini style is made from Pima cotton for an incredibly soft, smooth, luxurious feel that you won’t want to take off. “These are pricey but so worth it! I tried one pair and loved them so much I ordered several more,” writes one happy shopper. One thing to note, however: The label says to handwash, so be wary about tossing these in with your regular laundry.

Most Eco-Friendly

15. Pact Classic Fit Bikini


Pact has very high standards for its eco-friendly manufacturing practices and even has a Fair Trade certification, so you can rest assured the cotton used to make these undies was procured and woven in an ethical and sustainable manner. As one review says, “I have been buying PACT underwear for years because the cotton is organic and the fit is perfect. I bought so many pairs (and they endured so well) that I haven't needed to buy any since April 2017. I just came back to buy some basic black underwear, and I'm very glad to get those.”

Fully Compostable

16. Kent Organic Cotton Bikini


  • Composition: 100 percent organic cotton
  • Size Range: XS to 3XL
  • Other Available Styles: Thong, Hipster, High-Waist Brief
  • Why We Love It: made from 100-percent GOTS organic-certified cotton, you can save money by bundling multiple pairs

You read that right; these organic cotton panties are 100 percent compostable and will break down in soil after just 90 days. Don’t let that scare you into thinking they’ll fall apart quickly. According to reviews, they wear and wash incredibly well (plus, it’s only after they’ve been placed into a compost container that the fibers will be encouraged to break down). In another nod to sustainability, only black and white are included in Kent’s core collection and all other colors are manufactured in small, limited batches to minimize excess waste. One reviewer writes, “[Kent undies] are incredibly comfortable and breathable all day long. They look beautiful on. [The company has] wonderful customer support. Plus, it’s run by women for women and is environmentally friendly from beginning to end. What’s not to love?!”


17. Organic Basics Briefs

Organic Basics

  • Composition: 95 percent organic cotton, 5 percent elastane
  • Size Range: XXS to XXL
  • Other Styles Available: Hipster, Thong, High-Rise Briefs
  • Why We Love It: vegan, ethically and sustainably made

If animal welfare is a key issue for you, Organic Basics makes their undies using GOTS-certified organic cotton that is PETA “Vegan Approved,” meaning they’re cruelty-free and don’t contain any animal products of by-products. The site even has detailed information on the carbon footprint of each pair of underwear so you can really do a deep dive in the brand’s eco-friendly practices. “These briefs are just perfect,” writes one reviewer. “Very comfy (almost like a second skin), after washing them multiple times they still look like new. Sustainably and ethically made in Europe — great job, Organic Basics.”

Prettiest Everyday Pair

18. Cou Cou Cozy Brief

Cou COu

  • Composition: 100 percent organic cotton
  • Size Range: XXS to XXL
  • Other Available Styles: Thong, High-Rise Brief, Low-Rise Brief
  • Why We Love It: made from 100 percent GOTS-certified organic cotton, subtly sexy design, also available in packs of three or five

This French-inspired lingerie brand launched just a few years ago, in 2021, but has already developed something of a cult following. Cou Cou puts a huge emphasis on sustainability and uses only GOTS-certified organic cotton. According to reviews, the Pointelle cotton is incredibly soft and doesn’t dig in or ride up. Reviewers and the site say they mostly run true to size, but if you’re between sizes or unsure, both recommend going for the larger. And unlike most other pairs on this list, Cou Cou’s panties feel far prettier than just plain cotton to “bridge the gap between your lingerie and underwear drawers, so you don’t need to compromise comfort for cuteness,” as the brand’s site puts it. You can also buy packs of three or five should you find a particular style you adore.

Most Splurge-Worthy

13. Hanro Cotton Seamless High-Cut Brief


  • Composition: 100 percent cotton
  • Size Range: XS to XL
  • Other Available Styles: Bikini, Full Brief, Hipster, Boyshort
  • Why We Love It: non-binding edges, made entirely of cotton

If you’re willing to spend some extra dough to get a truly luxurious, 100-percent cotton panty, Hanro’s got you covered. The brand has a serious cult following and tons of reviewers mention these as their go-to pair for the last five, ten, even 20 years. So, what makes them special? The super-soft cotton has a barely-there feel and the sturdy (but not too tight) elastic makes them immune to wedgies or riding up. “I have always been a huge fan of Hanro underwear. They are pricey but so worth it. The cotton in these is so fine that you don't even feel like you have them on. They are light and breathable and they last forever with proper care. Love them!” writes Eileen M., a reviewer from Atlanta, GA.

Budget-Friendly Multi-Pack

20. Amazon Essentials Cotton Bikini Brief

Amazon Essentials

  • Composition: 95 percent cotton, 5 percent spandex
  • Size Range: XXS to 6X
  • Why We Love It: inclusive size range, lots of color combos, tag-free

Whether you’re looking to pick up a set of six neutral hues or ten brightly colored styles, these Amazon undies are definitely the way to go. There are nearly 140,000 reviews to scroll through (if you’re interested), but most praise the breathability, comfort and ease of the simple bikini cut. And while some reviewers found they didn’t last as long as they’d hoped (avoiding the dryer should help), at just over $2.50 per pair, we’d say they’re still well worth the buy. A note on sizing: Lots of reviews suggest going up one from your usual size, as these panties will shrink a bit after the first wash.

Highest Rated at Nordstrom

21. Natori Bliss Cotton Briefs


  • Composition: 94 percent cotton, 6 percent spandex
  • Size Range: XS to XXL
  • Other Available Styles: French Cut, Full Brief
  • Why We Love It: tons of color options

Prettier than your basic cotton panties, but not quite as attention-grabbing as sheer lingerie, these lace-trimmed briefs are one of the highest rated pairs of underwear at Nordstrom. The label “the Holy Grail of underwear” has even been thrown around in the review section. One reason for all the hype? That lace trim gives these undies a seamless, no-show effect under jeans, pants and dresses (although very tight styles, like yoga pants, may still leave you with VPL). Take it from a newly converted fan, “I bought these on a whim during the anniversary sale. I'm normally loyal to another popular brand but I'm making the switch to these. They are wonderfully soft and extremely comfortable and, most importantly, stay put.”

Highest Rated at Macy’s

22. Jockey Classic French Cut


  • Composition: 100 percent cotton
  • Size Range: S to 5XL (refer to size chart for size conversions)
  • Other Available Styles: Bikini, Briefs, Hipster
  • Why We Love It: made from 100 percent cotton, machine washable and dryer safe

Jockey may not be the sexiest or trendiest brand out there, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make great underwear. In fact, while most cotton panties at Macy’s have somewhere around 100 or so reviews, these classic briefs have more than 9,600, most from repeat buyers. In addition to the impressive breathability, soft material and gentle elastic at the waist and legs, folks love the extensive size range, which goes up to a 5XL for most of the brand’s designs.

Highest Rated at Amazon

23. Fruit of the Loom Eversoft Cotton Briefs

Fruit of the Loom

  • Composition: 100 percent cotton
  • Size Range: S to 3X (please refer to the brand’s size chart for size conversions)
  • Other Available Styles: High-Cut Brief, Low-Rise Brief, Bikini, Hipster
  • Why We Love It: affordable price point, made from 100 percent cotton, tag-free

This Fruit of the Loom set is one of the highest-rated on Amazon, with more than 97,000 reviews, 85 percent of which are four stars and up. They’re perfect for the gal who’s looking for a no-fuss panty she can pull on and forget about, with no midday adjustments necessary. “These cotton panties—the same I've been wearing for over 60 years, I swear—are well made [with] breathable cotton” says one lifelong fan. “When ordering, keep in mind that they will shrink a tad (not a lot) when you first launder them.”

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Abby Hepworth is an RRCA-certified running coach who has worked in fashion for over 10 years. Want to know what shoes are in this season? She's got you. Need recommendations on...