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We thoroughly tested the best period swimwear so you don’t have to stress about leaks as you swim.
Medically reviewed by Renita White, MDFact checked by Rich Scherr
Sometimes, getting in a swimsuit while you’re on your period can be a bit tricky. But it doesn’t have to be. Period swimwear allows you to enjoy time at the beach, pool, or lake without having to worry about leaking.
Period swimwear has really changed the game for many women. Taniqua Miller, a board-certified OB-GYN and midlife expert at HerMD explains that period swimsuits are an amazing alternative to standard menstruation products. However, women who worry about leaking on heavier flow days can also pair a swimsuit with tampons, discs, or cups for additional peace of mind.
Unlike regular bathing suits, period swimwear is made specifically for folks with a period; it features a highly absorbent gusset that is lined within the crotch area of the swimsuit. Every period swimwear piece absorbs a different amount of blood, and we decided to put a bunch to the test.
Unfortunately, only a few of the swimwear pieces that we tried actually held up. Below, we’ve covered why we love these specific period swimwear pieces, how we tested the period swimwear, and why the others didn’t quite pass our test with flying colors.
Best Overall: Savvi Wear Period Swimwear High Waisted Bottoms
Actually holds the amount of liquid that it claims to
Keeps your towel stain-free
Available in nine sizes
Those with heavy flows may need the added support of tampons or cups
Only available in three colors
The Savvi Wear Menstrual Leakproof High Waist Bikini Bottom performed the best in our period swimwear testing. We loved that this pick actually held the amount of liquid that it claimed to, and didn’t pool, spill over the sides, or leak out before it could fully absorb.
Not only was the gusset highly absorbent, but it felt damp, rather than really wet or saturated after our testing. The dyed liquid that we used during testing did not transfer to a white towel. These bottoms come in nine sizes and three colors, which can be easily matched with any bathing suit top you have.
We also loved that this bikini bottom was supportive and high-waisted—ideal for anyone who prefers a full-coverage bathing suit (and who doesn’t when they are on their period?). We can see this suit flattering many different body types.
There is not a lot we didn’t love about this pick. Rather than using this bottom as your sole period protection, we would probably recommend that you use it as a secondary form of protection from period leaks, along with any tampons, pads, or menstrual cups if you have a heavier flow.
Price at time of publication: $33
Type of Swimwear: Bikini bottom | Materials: 75% nylon and 25% spandex | Sizes: XXXS–XXXL | Absorbency: 2–2.5 tampons
Best Bikini Briefs: Knix Leakproof High Rise Bikini Bottom
Creates a smooth silhouette
Doesn’t dry as nicely as we wanted it to
Not great for the beach
There are a lot of things to love about the Knix Leakproof High Rise Bikini Bottom. First off, we love the look of these bottoms—they are sleek, high-rise, and create a smooth silhouette. Another thing we liked about this pick is the absorbency. When we poured three teaspoons of liquid on the bottoms, the liquid absorbed with ease on the smooth material. Plus, it didn’t transfer over to a towel when we did our towel test.
We like that the fabric feels very smooth to the touch and is a good quality fabric overall. It is thick and the cut and design are very supportive. Plus there is nothing scratchy about the fabric, and the stitching is tight. We think many women will also like the high cut to help support the waist and tummy area because it’ll hold everything in place without suffocating the wearer. And the banded high-rise bottom with gentle tummy compression is flattering, too.
One big issue we found with these bottoms is that, although they did absorb the blue liquid we poured onto them, the fabric felt very moist, wet, and cold when we touched it. You probably wouldn’t notice this while swimming in the water, but some women might find this feeling uncomfortable when on land or sitting on the sand at the beach.
Price at time of publication: $55
Type of Swimwear: Bikini bottom | Materials: 85% nylon and 15% spandex | Sizes: XS–XXXXL | Absorbency: Three teaspoons
Best for Teens: Knixteen Period Swim Sport One-Piece Swimsuit - Medium Absorbency
Fabric is soft, stretchy, and supportive
Wide range of sizes
Great for athletes
May transfer fluid to towels
Only available in three colors
We were really impressed by how well the blue liquid absorbed into the Knixteen Period Swim Sport One-Piece. It held the liquid without too much spilling or pooling, and, after 30 minutes, only a very small amount transferred onto the towel when we applied pressure.
The fabric feels soft and stretchy and can provide enough support for any body type. Although it doesn’t have adjustable straps, we appreciate that the open racerback gave enough support for busts of all shapes and sizes.
We think this suit would be ideal for athletes because it provides a lot of support. It comes in three colors and seven sizes. The only issue we saw with this pick was that it left the slightest amount of liquid on the towel after testing, but we still think it does a fantastic job of providing medium absorption for your period.
Price at time of publication: $83
Type of Swimwear: One-piece | Materials: 85% nylon and 15% spandex | Sizes: XXS–XXL | Absorbency: Three pads
We Also Tested
Modibodi Recycled Hi Waist Bikini: We liked the style of this high-waisted bikini bottom and think it would flatter many body types. Unfortunately, we found a few issues with this pick. The first is that it didn’t absorb the blue liquid as well as the other period swimwear options that we tested. Additionally, the inner lining layer felt rough and scratchy to the touch and might be uncomfortable when rubbing against sensitive areas.
Knix Leakproof Classic One-Piece: We found that this bathing suit did not absorb liquid well—so much so, that it actually leaked through two layers of towels. However, we liked the style of this suit, the removable bra cups, and the fact that it has adjustable straps. We might recommend this pick for someone with a really light flow or someone who experiences spotting.
How We Tested the Period Swimwear
We tested nine period swimwear pieces, and each piece went through rigorous testing before this roundup was written. We also spoke with experts about period swimwear and asked two gynecologists to test each period swimwear piece based on various factors. These experts include:
Adi Katz, MD, the director of Gynecology and director for the Obstetrics and Gynecology residency program at Lenox Hill Hospital
Susan S. Khalil, MD, director of the Division of Sexual Health in Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Taniqua Miller, MD, a board-certified OB-GYN and midlife expert at HerMD
Angela Jones, MD, FACOG, a board-certified obstetrics and gynecology expert
We first smelled each piece to see if there were any chemical odors when opening the packaging. Then we examined the fabric to see whether it felt strong and durable or cheap and flimsy, and looked for loose threads and any scratchy or irritating fabric pieces.
Once we examined the fabric, we then began the liquid test. We poured blue liquid on each swimwear piece then placed each swimsuit on a white towel and let the water soak and settle in. We set a timer for 30 minutes and waited to see how well the blue liquid absorbed into the gusset and if any of the liquid transferred over to the white towel. We pressed the suit onto the white towel gently for about 30 seconds and noted whether we could see moisture stains on the towel.
Then, we submerged each swimsuit into buckets of water and moved them around to see if any of the blue dye spread into the water, and if so, how much. We washed the swimwear using mild, unscented, dye-free detergent and did an extra rinse cycle to make sure that there wouldn’t be any residual detergent on the swimwear. Lastly, we noted whether there was any staining post-wash, if there was a residual odor, and if the swimwear was good as new or if it deteriorated in the wash at all.
What to Look for in Period Swimwear
Many period swimwear brands offer a guide for absorbency when purchasing a period swimsuit. Dr. Miller recommends taking particular note of each brand’s claimed amount of absorbancy and taking it into consideration with your personal flow in mind. Many of the popular brands will say that their period swimwear offers medium absorbency. But what does that actually mean? “For one brand, it may mean three pads worth of blood, while it may mean five pads worth of blood for another,” says Dr. Miller. “So knowing the capacity of the brand before purchasing can help with setting expectations for the type of coverage and leak-proof experience you expect.”
Style of Swimwear
We tested a few different styles of swimwear, including high-waisted bottoms and one-piece suits. We found both styles to be flattering for all body types. We liked that the high-waisted bottoms create a nice silhouette for curvy women while we loved that one-piece suits offer bust support.
All of the swimsuits that we tested were made of a blend of nylon and spandex. Some of the gussets are made with polyester and polyurethane film. According to Dr. Jones, you’ll want a material that is highly absorbent, comfortable, non-restricting, breathable, and durable.
Fit and Sizing
Period swimwear comes in limited fits, but multiple sizes. For example, most of the period swimwear we tested came in either a high-waisted bottom or a one-piece. Sizing can vary from 3XS to 3XL.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does period swimwear work?
Period swimwear takes a layered approach. Angela Jones, MD, FACOG, a board-certified obstetrics and gynecology expert explains that the top layer is often moisture-wicking to help you stay dry, the next layer (which is called the gusset layer) absorbs and locks in menstrual fluid, and the final layer is waterproof to prevent leakage.
Period swimwear has all of the components of regular bathing with a specialized area in the gusset (or crotch area) that allows for the absorbency of menstrual blood. Dr. Miller notes that the layers are often odor-resistant to help you smell and feel fresh.
What is the best material for period swimwear?
The material for period swimwear depends on what you are using the swimsuit for. Dr. Miller notes that competitive swimwear will usually be made of polyester blends with Lycra to minimize drag so athletes can keep a fast pace. More relaxed, recreational swimsuits that you would commonly wear to the pool or beach for a season or two are composed of Nylon with a touch of Spandex for stretch. Regardless of your preference in material, however, the important thing to keep an eye out for when it comes to period swimwear is a gusset that gives you the level of absorbency you need for your individual flow.
How do you care for period swimwear?
Period swimwear requires the same care as other swimsuits. According to Dr. Miller, there is nothing special about period swimsuits that requires any additional care, even in the gusset area. She says that you can wash them as you would any other swimwear, however, some brands may recommend that you wash period swimwear in cold water to make them last longer. But you don’t you need to have some extra scrubbing of the gusset area before throwing it in the washing machine.
Does period swimwear cost more than other swimsuits?
According to Dr. Jones, period swimwear will run anywhere from $30 to $140, depending on material, size, and style. She notes that this is similar to regular swimwear pricing.
Why Trust Verywell Health
Daley Quinn is a freelance journalist, specializing in beauty and health, who has contributed to numerous publications, such as Elle, Real Simple, Allure, The Cut, WWD, and more. She also writes for her blog, The Daley Dose. She used thorough editor insights to determine the best period swimwear on the market.
Read the original article on Verywell Health.