See if this sounds familiar: you’re midway through a spin class, yoga session, gym circuit or even a morning run when your knickers start to twist, bunch up or start showing unflattering sweat marks. It’s such an annoyance that you dial down your exertion, thereby undermining your workout, so you don’t have to fidget with your undies.
Under-performing performance underwear is one of those fashion frontiers where complaints are common but solutions are few.
It’s also the inspiration behind the latest high-tech innovation from Toronto’s Knix Wear, which debuted last year with an immediately popular line of moisture-wicking and odor-resistant panties that were marketed as a solution to occasional incontinence.
This time, Knix founder Joanna Griffiths set her sights on the booming activewear market, with the aim of creating “the most innovative, highly technical underwear around.”
The company’s new FitKnix line combines the odor- and moisture-repelling properties of Knix‘s basics and fashion lines, but adds the soft, stretchy capabilities of something called LYCRA® FreshFX® fabric.
Knix worked with LYCRA’s brand development team to evaluate hundreds of fabric blends before choosing one that had the right mix of stretch, feel and technical properties that would work throughout the entire garment.
The company then created two versions of its high-tech cotton gusset, offering different levels of anti-microbial and leak-resistant protection.
Specifically, though, what’s the problem being solved here? FitKnix‘s three seamless panty styles are meant to be worn under tight workout pants with the assurance that you won’t have to flee the class or cut your workout short because your panties are bunching up or your butt crack is showing embarrassing sweat lines.
“Just because they are wearing tight yoga pants, does not mean they have to go commando or be forced to wear a thong,” Griffiths said. “Our aim is to give women the freedom of choice.”
Before taking on the athletic underwear market, Knix Wear talked to over 350 certified female fitness pros to find out where existing products were failing. Their survey produced a long list of ‘wants’: comfort, invisible panty line, no chafing, odor prevention and moisture-wicking.
And some of their survey results were just plain shocking: 93% of women survey said they are not satisfied with their current athletic underwear; and 80% said they have had to interrupt a workout to fix an underwear malfunction.
Perhaps the most damning data, though, came from fitness instructors who were asked what happens in their classes. A full 88% of professionals surveyed by Knix Wear said they have seen female clients “not push themselves to their full ability” because they are embarrassed by wet marks.
“As with all of products, we started with the end consumer, listened to what they like and don’t like about their existing underwear, and then took their feedback to create an innovative new product,” Griffiths said.
Knix Wear made a lot of news in 2013 when it raised more than $60,000 through the crowdfunding site Indiegogo.com to pre-sell orders for its debut collection.
They’re taking the same approach to the FitKnix launch, hoping to raise $15,000 by March 14 to finance the first production run. A contribution to the new campaign will give backers first dibs on the new FitKnix styles when they ship in May.
Knix Wear currently offers basic and stretch lace panties in four colors in seamless thong, boyshort and bikini styles, with retail prices ranging from $28-38. Supporters of the new Indiegogo campaign get a big discount: a $20 donation gets you one pair of FitKnix, a complementary laundry bag and free shipping. Rewards get better with higher donations, and retail customers can save a bundle on bulk orders.