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There are a lot of cool things out there that make us wonder — do they really work? In our I Tried It series, we set out to use them in the real world and have determined that, in fact, they really do.
The Product on Trial
Eunice Lucero-Lee, low-impact fitness fan, period-haver
As a yoga and Pilates practitioner for the past 12 or so years, my sessions have definitely coincided with my cycle more times than I can count. And although I’m a recent convert to period panties when it comes to my mode of overnight or casual, everyday protection, I still admit to tampon usage during a studio class (mostly since my period panties of choice are full-coverage bikinis, which tend to leave a visible panty line underneath yoga pants).
Coincidentally, Knix’s LeakStrong LeakProof activewear came to my attention when I was at Lollapalooza last July. I usually try to sneak in a workout while I’m on the road — nothing like hotel gym equipment to get you more motivated — but got my period early because, what can I say, sometimes my uterus likes to play jazz. I was tampon-less at the moment and thought, if only my leggings would survive an hour of vinyasa without looking like Carrie post-high school dance (...nope, no, they wouldn’t). I decided against it — and a few weeks later, Knix goes and does the thing — am I a psychic!? Should I make a career switch to brand development!? Long story short, manifesting works, people.
So, What Is It?
LeakStrong LeakProof Activewear is a capsule collection from renowned period panty pioneer (and winner of our Best Overall period underwear) Knix. The collection is made of three core pieces: leggings, bike shorts, and a skort — all intended to be worn without underwear. All pieces feature the brand’s proprietary quick-dry, antibacterial, four-way stretch fabric engineered with a “bonding design and discreet leakproof coverage” capable of absorbing up to six tampons’ worth of liquid. And because they know, the clothes also come in sizes XS to 4XL ... and they have pockets (for all the cash you’ll be saving on tampons, I presume.)
I primarily tested the printed leggings for my heavy days and decided to do the black bike shorts for my light/spotty days as a backup. Full disclosure: I did all my testing at home for peace of mind. Once I had my samples in, the only thing left for me to do was wait for my period.
I’m usually pretty regular, so a few days (and four emotionally devoured anchovy pizza slices later), D-day had come. I had also gotten a booster shot the day before, so I definitely had a case of the icks on Day 1, aka bike shorts day.
The first day of my period is usually a low-energy day for me, so I went with a low-impact yin — aka restorative — yoga workout that still had some stretching poses and used some light hand weights. The leakproof fabric gave both the shorts and leggings a compression feel, but the stretch made them much more forgiving — clutch for period bloat! I worked out for 45 minutes and foam-rolled for an additional 10. Total workout time: 50 minutes.
For Day 3, which for this cycle was my heaviest day, I wore the Galactic Leggings and did a yoga workout for cramps (my uterus: *jazz hands!*). My friend RJ also clued me into the wonders of Walk At Home, which is exactly as auntie as it sounds, and I decided both were perfect for my testing purposes: Equally low-impact but also involving lots of dynamic movement. Total workout time: 45 minutes. Advil count: 4. 😣
Honestly, the first thought that came to mind was: Do people really wear leggings without underwear? The repercussions of doing so came to mind and were kinda jarring: Infections! Camel toe! Chafing! Odor! Leaks!
But this is exactly the kind of disruption that Knix brought when they first introduced their period panties, and I suppose this is what’s in play here. As mentioned, the fabric dries quickly and fights bacteria, and the stretch really does play a big part in preventing any chafing or groin discomfort. And like their panties, the gusset of both the shorts and leggings I tested are also reinforced, so you’re pretty damn sure no liquid or moisture — be it blood, sweat, or urine — will seep through (no camel toe, either). It also helps that the two bottoms come in either black or a dark printed pattern, just in case.
For those who get multiple uses out of their workout bottoms before washing, for obvious reasons, this might not be for you. You would have to treat the LeakProof leggings and bike shorts like you would any other piece of period underwear: rinse after using, and then wash thoroughly.
The main blocker was my initial discomfort at pretty much going commando under a pair of yoga pants, particularly during a tender time of the month. It was a slow but sure burn for me with period panties too, so I’m convinced it’s just a matter of time before we all get on board with this new approach to wearing athleisure while on your period.
But for all intents and purposes, my LeakProof bottoms worked flawlessly. I can see them being a game changer not just for those menstruating but also for those in postpartum or menopause, for people with bladder control issues, or for those prone to bacterial infections like BV, which can be brought on by anything that throws off vaginal microflora, like sweaty yoga pants.
According to Knix, 70% of us consider leaks a deterrent to working out. Leakproof leggings might just be the security the majority of us needed, for better or worse — so yup, no more excuses! If you’re anything like me, though, just make sure you have your Advil on hand.
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