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The Chub Rub Defense Squad

Thick thighs are great, until you want to wear a dress in the summer. Then you have to figure out the best way to keep from enduring the most horrible pain of warm weather: Chub rub.

It’s a dreaded affliction among those of us with chunky legs. We would love to frolic around carefree in lightweight summer dresses, but if we don’t take the proper precautions, we will end up with red, painful, inflamed inner thighs.

A cartoon of a pair of chubby thighs with red marks indicating chub rub.
Image via

There are as many different solutions out there as there are people with thick thighs (note: you can get chub rub at any size), and no one quite agrees on the best option. There are shorts, creams, sticks, powders, spells, incantations, hexes, you name it. And I’m here to try them all. OK, maybe not spells, incantations, and hexes, unless you know of one that works, in which case, let me know.

Defense #1: Bandalettes

I’d heard good things about Bandalettes, and they seemed like a great idea. They’re bands that sit on your thighs, held up by the same plastic that you find inside strapless bras. In theory, awesome — there’s a barrier against chub rub, but without the bulk of wearing shorts.

A picture of pale, fat thighs wearing black lace Bandalettes under a blue skirt.In practice? Not so much. I wore these to work, where I spend a good amount of time sitting, but some standing and walking. While sitting, they were fine. They stayed in place, and even felt like a sexy little secret. However, when my lunch break rolled around and I did some walking, the problems piled up. As soon as I started to move, the bands bunched up, sitting in rolled-up lines on my legs instead of flat and smooth. And yes, before anyone chimes in, I ordered the correct size based on my thigh measurements.

A picture of a pale, fat thigh with a rolled-up black lace Bandalette under a blue skirt.Additionally, I noticed that a big hole had appeared in the lace. This was my first time wearing them, and they didn’t stand up at all. It seems like if you’re making a product meant to serve as a chub rub barrier, they should be high enough quality to hold up against friction.

Verdict? I hated them. Others have raved, so maybe if you have thighs that are smaller or a different shape than mine, they will work, but based on this experience, I can’t recommend them.

Defense #2: Shorts

Tried and true, a simple pair of cotton bike shorts, boxer briefs, or shapewear will ward off chub rub and prevent you from giving the world a show if you happen to walk over a subway grate.

I’ve got a basic pair of black shorts from Woman Within. They hit me about mid-thigh, with a highish waist, and are not too loose or too tight. Since they are cottony, they don’t get too hot.

I also have a few pairs of Skimmies. They’re a less breathable material, but they’re less bulky and shorter, plus I have a beige pair that’s relatively close to my skin color (though may not work for people significantly darker than I am).

Both have their pros and cons, like anything. The cotton shorts are better if it’s hotter, but they’re longer and stick out under really short skirts. The Skimmies are less breathable, and sometimes the legs roll up. They also stray really close to feeling like shapewear, and this is an anti-Spanx body.

Verdict? Shorts are usually the least fussy option, because you can just throw them on under your dress and go. Plus there’s the security of knowing you won’t flash anyone. But they are an extra layer of clothing, which isn’t always welcome when it’s extremely hot out. It’s good to have a few pairs on hand for when you need them, though.

Defense #3: Lotions and Potions

Some people swear deodorant or baby powder will work on chub rub, but it’s never enough for me. However, I gave a few other anti-chafing products a shot, to varying results.

Monistat’s Chafing Relief Powder Gel was the most effective and long-lasting for me. It comes in a tube, so you have to rub it on with your hands, which means some residue will stay behind, but that wipes off. Totally worth it, though, because I’ve put this on before days where I walk a lot, and it doesn’t come off.

Gold Bond’s Friction Defense looks like a stick of deodorant, and is easy to apply. It works for awhile, but needs retouching more often than the Monistat cream. It’s cheaper though — plus you don’t need as much at once — so that’s a bonus.

Athletic companies also make anti-chafing products for hikers and runners. I got a small stick of Body Glide Anti-Chafe Balm to keep in my purse. Of the three, it was my least favorite. While it was good to have a travel-size item to keep with me all day, it didn’t feel as though there was any actual protection for my thighs.

Verdict? It’s nice to not have to wear an extra layer under your clothing on a hot day, but if you’re out for a long time and doing a lot of walking, you may have to reapply, which can be a hassle.

By [E] Liza

PhD student. Knitter. Brooklynite. Long-distance dog mom. Reluctant cat lady. Majestic unicorn whose hair changes color with the wind.

6 replies on “The Chub Rub Defense Squad”

I use the Body Glide balm to good effects, although I reapply frequently. Bonus because the packaging looks a little like deodorant, thus I don’t have to explain myself lest someone sees it in my bag. Extra bonus because you can use it on your feet to prevent blisters, which happens a lot for me!

Pants under skirts are not my thing, in summer I am wearing dress/skirt precisely because I want to feel, ah, breezy on a hot day.

As a woman with a toddler at home who also loves to wear dresses, I wear running shorts/bike shorts under my skirts or dresses all the time! No thigh rub, and I can crawl around on the floor playing with my littler person. Bonus when he tries to lift up my skirt or crawl between my legs in public.

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