Being in the business of nipple chafing, I’ve pretty much seen it all. Runners go to great lengths to protect and preserve their nips, but some methods add to the pain, cause new problems, or are just downright unnecessary. Here are some fails we’ve seen and some reasons why these alternatives deserve a hard pass.

Duct Tape

We don’t blame people for considering duct tape for nipple chafing. After you’ve come home from a long run and your nipples are aching, duct tape seems like a convenient, logical option for your next run. The stickiness of ordinary tape, including duct tape, isn’t dependable because it’s not formulated to cling to human skin, especially under what could be hot and sweaty conditions. On the other hand, a heavy duty tape can lead to some seriously heavy duty regret. Have you ever had a place on your body waxed? Now imagine that same ripping action on your nipples. Red, chafed nips from tape are just as bad as red, chafed nips from running.


Band-aids are less likely to hurt when removed than duct tape, but they still have plenty of other setbacks. Band-aids collect bacteria, moisture and odor during your workout, making them a poor option for both your skin and your love life. Band-aids also have an insufficient stickiness to withstand the elements and their outline can be pretty noticeable underneath your gear. If they do hold up, peeling them off the delicate skin around your nipple can leave your skin red, raw and sensitive.

Cutting Holes in your running gear

Picture yourself in your running shirt. Now imagine that your shirt has two sizable holes right where your nipples are. Enough said.

Running Shirtless

Running shirtless might work in warm weather, but cold days are out of the question. Not to mention, if you’re a little chubby like me, or have more hair on your body than on your head, you might prefer to keep things covered. My wife is actually the one who suggested I avoid running shirtless, so naturally I feel it’s a good rule of thumb for everyone.

Men Wearing Bras

There’s no shame in a man wearing a bra, but why wear one if you don’t have to? The primary purpose of a bra is to provide breast support, making them unnecessary for men (unless you are a man with breasts--no judgment here). Not to mention, friction can still occur between your skin and the bra during long distances, even if it’s a sports bra, creating even more possibilities of chafing.