There isn’t usually significant overlap between the condom industry and the athletic apparel industry, but then again, Pauline van Dongen isn’t a normal fashion designer, and Skyn isn’t a normal contraceptive company. In what van Dongen calls the ultimate “material research,” the Dutch visionary has created innovative athletic apparel made from the same material that condom company Skyn uses to make condoms. In other words, full-body condoms are the new tracksuit.
The new active wear, called Skynfeel Apparel, borrows Skyn’s trademarked material made from polyisoprene, a material that mimics the strength of latex but feels softer, lighter, and more aerodynamic. Skyn successfully created thinner condoms with increased sensitivity using polyisoprene, not to mention a safe product for people with latex allergies, and is currently the only company that makes condoms from this material.
Recognizing the immense potential, Skyn approached van Dongen and implored her to take the material “out of the bedroom and onto the running track,” Dezeen reports.
The jumpsuit was specifically designed for long jumpers who want to improve their aerodynamics while soaring through the air. “We asked ourselves, can we create an ultra-lightweight garment and mould it in a way that could help long jumpers perform better?” Drawn to the elasticity, strength, comfort, and light weight of the material, van Dongen, who is known for other imaginative wearable designs, envisioned a final product that could help long-jumpers increase the distance of their jumps.
The jumpsuit’s secret aerodynamic weapons are its dragonfly wing-inspired flaps made from the Skynfeel material and fortified by a laser-cut grid. “With the stretch of the body, and the movement of the athlete, the flaps would open up and create these kind of air pockets that would create lift during his jump,” van Dongen said. The flaps lay flat during the runner’s approach and then open once the jumper is airborne, providing an extra push upward to keep the jumper suspended in the air for longer. While the jumpsuit’s flaps may only increase a jumper’s distance by a minuscule amount, competitive athletes will seek out any advantage. After all, the distance between the Gold and Silver could be a fraction of a centimeter.
Athletics will always value raw talent and personal drive over everything else, but who says an athlete’s clothes can’t provide an extra boost in the direction of the finish line? Pauline van Dongen’s one-of-a-kind Skynfeel Apparel jumpsuit caters to the increasingly competitive spirit of athletics while expanding the boundaries of fashion to include the use of innovative and unusual materials. If the design takes off, perhaps we’ll see some Skynfeel Apparel jumpsuits at the Olympics in Rio this summer. You know what they say about full-body condoms in athletic settings — no glove, no love … from the judges.