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After more than 13 years of running in bulky and itchy disposable pads, runner Anna Bartter decided to give incontinence pants a go. Here’s why she won’t be returning to those dark days.

My nerves are palpable, my stomach is twisting and my heart is racing as I lace up my trainers. I take a few deep breaths to steady my nerves before I set off.

No, how long do i take prevacid I’m not starting a marathon,  or even Parkrun. I’m off for a run wearing incontinence pants. I’m so worried that I’m literally about to wet myself in public, I plan a shorter-than-normal route and even take a sweater to tie around my waist – just in case.  

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After 13 years of using bulky pads or uncomfortable disposable pants, it’s time to find a more comfortable, discreet and wallet-friendly option. We’ve come a long way with sustainable period products in recent years, but what about when it comes to those other embarrassing leaks?

I’m encouraged to discover that there is a range of specially designed products being brought to the market right now. A relatively recent trend, women are speaking up more and more about their continence battles, and rightly so. I had to do some digging to find them, but I’ve put a few through their paces and here’s what I discovered.

BP3 sporty hip huggers

First up, it’s UK-based start-up BP3. Founded in 2019 by CEO Kelly Street after her own struggles with leaking during menopause, she created the brand for “women dealing with incontinence but still wanting to look good, feel pretty and stay active”. Bingo.

I tried out their Susie Sporty Hip Hugger Knickers.Marketed as providing “unparalleled protection against all leaks”, I’m pleased to report that they feel as good as they look. Pretty, scalloped edging makes them virtually invisible under my leggings, and they don’t ride up or move around as I run.

After around 10 minutes of running, I’m aware that my bladder is having issues, but it’s not until around the 5k mark that I notice definite leakage. The good news is that the knickers absorb it all with no tell-tale swelling; frankly, they stay put better than my headphones.

In fact, I feel so confident that I whip off my long top (something I haven’t done in over a decade), and am comfortable racing downhill at a decent pace with no worries. A short but sweet 30 minutes later and I’m totally dry down there with not even a hint of (whisper it) crotch sweat either, bonus! A big thumbs up for BP3.  

BP3 pants were more stable and secure than the headphones Anna wore during her run.

Love Luna workout briefs

The next day, it’s time to try out Australian brand Love Luna’s Lady Leaks workout brief. Slightly slimmer than the BP3 pair, I worry that they’ll dig into my thighs, but they prove just as comfy. This time, as an extra test, I take on a HIIT cardio warm up before my run. I’m talking high knees, skaters and lateral lunges – usually guaranteed to leave me racing for the loo.

Again, they’re pretty robust, although I do notice some dampness on my leggings after an hour of high-intensity action, so these are ones for those lighter-leakage days or more moderate exercise. Having said that, I feel totally comfortable running in them and I don’t notice too much swelling, especially compared to pads, which get saturated and heavy: a dead giveaway from behind.

Puma x Modibodi active brief

I’m excited to try out the brand-new Puma x Modibodi range. It’s great to see such a high-profile brand creating and endorsing these products, and I have high hopes. Modibodi CEO and founder Kristy Chong says: “Incontinence is still such a taboo subject, and it’s time we destigmatise it. I am hoping this new range can help the millions of people who suffer and need a sustainable and reliable option that not only works but looks and feels good.”

Puma x Modibodi are one of the few labels to offer pants in a colour other than black.

I’m planning a longer run today, so I pull on the active brief in the grape colour way (not black!), and once again, I’m pleasantly surprised by how comfortable they feel.

I’m more confident to push my pace this time, knowing that I’m secure from leaks, and this pair does not disappoint. I return home dry, comfortable and odour free – a full house. I even sit around for a while before I shower as I have work to do, and there’s no discomfort or chafing. Bonus points too for a 60-day return policy, even on worn items.   

Wuka period leggings

Wuka’s period leggings are as good at absorbing pee as they are blood.

Last but not least, I try Wuka’s Period Leggings. A female-led UK start-up, Wuka’s founder Ruby Raut is passionate about breaking down taboos. Marketed primarily as a menstrual product, the leggings are at the pricier end of the market, but they have built-in pants so there’s no need for two layers.

The material is gorgeous: super soft and flattering. My five-year-old even claims they look just like “normal” leggings. They’re perfect for everyday wear, but I did have to keep hiking them up as I ran, which became frustrating.

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All in all, while there’s still work to be done on colourways (is it a crime to make a patterned pair?), it’s fantastic to find such a wide range of options, inclusive sizing and a commitment to breaking down the stigma around stress incontinence.

I’m ditching disposable pads for good: no more panic-dashing to the supermarket when I run out. These pants have well and truly earned their stripes in my underwear drawer.  

Images: author’s own/brands

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