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Best Way to Choose Belted Undergarments

Posted by Brianna Maguire on Nov 13th 2020

Belted undergarments, also called “belted pads” or “belted shields,” feature a long, heavily padded body and two straps that secure the pad around the waist. Great for anyone who prefers a pad but needs a more contoured fit, these pads are absorbent, comfortable, and easy to change in almost any setting. Plus, they tend to be more breathable than pull-ups or diapers with tabs, because they cover less skin.

Learn about:


What are belted undergarments?

Belted undergarments, also called belted pads, are a unisex incontinence product with a long absorbent core and an elastic strap that fastens to either end of the pad. They can be worn either with regular underwear or alone, and resemble a protective underwear without the sides. Since the elastic bands hold the pad in place, belted pads offer a more secure fit, without an adhesive backing.


Who should use belted undergarments?

Belted pads are great for:

  • Pad users who want a more secure fit
  • Protective underwear users who are traveling and need something easier to change in a public restroom
  • Those who want to continue wearing regular underwear, but need a little more coverage and security than a traditional pad
  • Men who want to wear boxers (traditional pads have an adhesive backing that doesn't fasten to the inside of boxers)
  • Those who want the comfort of a pad but either can’t use or don’t like adhesive

Who shouldn't use them?

Belted pads are not a good fit for those who:

  • Have bowel incontinence
  • Need heavier incontinence protection
  • Are immobile
  • Are looking for very light incontinence protection, or a very discreet pad
  • Have limited dexterity in their fingers and would struggle to fasten buttons

How do they work?

Belted undergarments typically feature two holes in the front and two in the back, which are used to fasten the reusable straps to the body. Worn either with underwear or alone, belted undergarments work by trapping urinary incontinence in the absorbent core. Super absorbent polymers (tiny beads) lock in liquid and turn it into gel to prevent leaks and odors.

How to put a belted undergarment on

  • Fasten the straps to both sides of the pad before trying to put it on. Work one side at a time, fastening the strap first to the back, then to the front.
  • Step into the pad and pull it up over your legs, much like you would regular underwear
  • You can either wear the belted pad alone, or wear regular underwear on top
  • When you’re ready to remove the pad, simply unfasten each side, then lift the pad off your body


What features exist?

Reusable straps

Most belted pads come with one set of straps per pack. That way, you can reuse the strap each time you put on a fresh pad.

Leg guards

Leg guards, also called “leg barriers,” are strips of fabric along the leg that keep incontinence locked away.

Strap type

  • Some belted pads have adjustable straps called “hook and loop” fasteners, which allow you to attach and reattach the belt as many times as you need to in order to find a perfect fit
  • Some belted undergarments have button holes, which fasten the straps to the pad much like you would fasten the front of a shirt together. Since these are one-size-fits-all, it can be a little trickier to get an exact fit.

Backing material

  • Cloth-backed pads are quiet, breathable, and comfortable. Since they’re made of cloth, they won’t make crinkling sounds and are more discreet
  • Plastic-backed pads are not breathable, so they can trap harmful vapors from incontinence and lead to damaged skin. Plus, they’re more likely to make noise when you walk.

How do I choose?

  1. Decide which features work best for your needs. If you need more protection, look for leg cuffs. Want a more snug fit? Look for adjustable straps.
  2. Decide if you’d prefer button straps or hook and loop (adjustable straps). If you have unique body needs or want something a little more snug, go for the adjustable straps.
  3. Decide which absorbency you’re looking for. For a little extra peace of mind, go for a lighter absorbency. Need something for multiple voids? Look for something heavier.
  4. Need more help? Call us at 855-855-1666 for guidance.

Carewell's recommendations

Our customers love belted pads from brands like TENA, Prevail, and Attends

Our favorite belted pad is:

This pad is unlike any other incontinence product we offer. The belt is fastened around the waist first, then the pad is lifted up and attached to the belt anywhere along the waistband. This makes it a perfect choice for:

  • Caregivers with a combative loved one, because you can just turn them around and fasten the product on the backside.
  • Those still able to make it to the toilet. Simply unfasten the pad, attach it to your side and out of the way, and refasten when you’ve finished.
  • Anyone who needs a more snug fit - the flex waistband is refastenable, so you can attach and unattach again and again, until the fit is just right

Brittany's pro-tips

  1. Most belted pads are “one size fits most,” so if you have a uniquely shaped body, you’ll want to go with our TENA ProSkin Flex Maxi recommendation, which fits up to a 50 inch waist and is readjustable. Not large enough? Consider a pant liner instead - they’re very large, absorbent, protective pads that comfortably accommodate almost any body size.
  2. Since belted undergarments offer a little less skin coverage than traditional protective underwear, we recommend that you wear them with underwear, though you technically don’t have to.
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