Cheeky logo

What is a Gusset? The Purpose of Your Underwear Pocket


We love questions from our customers, nothing is TMI or off limits and we pride ourselves on being knowledgeable about our bodily functions -  everything to do with periods, pee leaks and even poo!

One of the questions we get asked is - What is the gusset in underwear for? Read on to learn more about your reusable knickers!

What Is a Gusset in Pants?

A gusset in pants is a little pocket, extra layer or shaped piece of material in the crotch of your underwear. Historically in dressmaking, it was necessary to add a gusset to add breadth to the seat of pants and trousers. 

The gusset may be sewn closed on both sides or left open on one side, depending on the style. 

Manufacturers can save a bit of time and therefore money by not stitching it completely leaving a pocket or tunnel. 

The purpose of a gusset in regular underwear is -

  • to keep you cool
  • to prevent sweating
  • to keep you super comfortable
  • to protect your pants and clothes from discharge

Gussets serve a few functions. We need to keep our vulva cool and allow it air to breath - we don't tend to spend too much time with our crotch open to the air. It is a sensitive area of our body that can become uncomfortable if it gets too hot or sweaty. The extra layer in a gusset helps with this. 

In some styles of pants, like shorts or boxers it covers the crotch seam so you don't have an uncomfortable row of stitching right under (or digging into) your vulva.

Many leggings have a diamond shaped gusset to stop them rising into your crotch area.

In your everyday knickers it is a layer of cotton to absorb any discharge and keep you and the outer of your pants feeling fresh.

This cotton first layer protects you if you are wearing fancy knickers in a less vagina friendly fabric.


"A repeat purchase of the sporty underwear, I have tried other well known brands, but the Cheeky Pants design and quality is superior, with the extra long gusset all the way up the front and back. Great for extra reassurance and everyday wear. Lovely fabric and very comfy." Mrs K L Trustpilot review

What About Period Pants?

The gusset in your pairs of period pants serves an additional role of being a super absorbent lining to collect your period blood or pee if you have bladder weakness. 

In menstrual underwear the gusset is reinforced with a layer of fabric next to your skin to wick menstrual blood or urine away quickly.

This is followed by layers of absorbent material - like bamboo or cotton - to soak up and trap pee and blood.

Then by a waterproof layer (either TPU or PUL) backed with the outer layer of your pair of pants.


Thin reusable period pants are less absorbent than thick period pants so match the absorbency to your flow. There is no magic in the gusset of your period underwear, just layers!

A good, reliable pair of reusable pants will then extend this layer of protection to give full coverage to the front and rear waistband, for additional leak-proof confidence. Period knickers benefit from the extension of these layers so you have more protection when wearing period undies and -

  1. You are playing sports
  2. You are sitting
  3. You are reclining
  4. When you are sleeping on your front or back
  5. You have super heavy flow


"Also great for running in hot weather! I love Cheeky Pants for my period but have recently been using them for running during hot weather. I had been getting a sweaty gusset (lovely!) which made it look like I'd wet myself in my cycling shorts!

I tried my Cheeky Pants and hey presto no sweaty wet patch! I am still sweaty and unfit but I can proudly hold my head up without peering at my crotch wondering if the patch is back!" Jenny, Trustpilot review

If you found this blog helpful and would like to read more - 

The best period pants and reusable pads for heavy flow, clots and flooding

Which period pants or pads are best for endometriosis?

Can you prevent leaks on your period?

What period pants are right for me?

If you would like more help, please drop the team a line or use the website chat function. We all use the products ourselves and just LOVE to chat pee poo and periods, all day long. Nothing is TMI and we all love to overshare based on our own experiences.

About the Author: Kirstin on our customer services team loves spending her days helping customers with their reusable period product needs and advising cloth nappy using families. Kirstin lives with her three teenagers and loves walking and sea swimming year round in our beautiful bay.

08 June 2024  |  1:21

Nothing big, but the comment toward the end about sweaty crotch suggests to me a topic that may be of great interest. At 83 I am suffering from incontinence but I swear I am also sweating more in the crotch and sometimes I cant tell why I feel so wet. Yes I do imagine people may be looking!! I'll bet I'm not the only one!!!
Pat N

08 June 2024  |  1:24

Gushing might be another topic!!!

And is there a tendency for more urine to come out while we are sitting? I have had two different incidents where I sat conversing for several hours only to get up and find I was totally wet, way beyond any pad's capacity.

12 June 2024  |  14:13

Great questions Pat, our pants can definitely help with sweating and making sure it isn't visible on the outside of your clothing. Sorry to hear you had leaked more whilst sitting.

We find that pants might be helpful in this instance more so than pads - as they have absorbency from the front waistband through to the back waistband so would catch more to the front and back.

Always feel free to message in if you have any questions,

Best wishes,