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How Castore designed the world’s most advanced boxer shorts

“The Leo boxers use a specialist membrane fabric and construction to deliver superior breathability, anti-odour capability and overall training performance.” Phil Beahon, Castore co-founder

As any athlete knows, staying fresh when training hard poses many challenges. Spending extended time in the gym or out running on the road can often result in painful chafing, uncomfortable bunching of fabric and mounting weight due to excess sweat absorption. These are the problems we have looked to confine to history through creating the Leo boxers.

The Leo’s have been designed as the most advanced sporting boxer shorts in the world, designed to give athletes superior comfort and performance during training. When developing the range, Castore designers exhaustively searched for a specialist fabric that had two key capabilities. Firstly to not absorb sweat so they remained light and breathable no matter how sweaty the athlete was; and secondly, to be completely chafe-free, entirely removing the itching and pain endured by so many runners and other athletes.

Traditionally, boxer shorts are made from heavy variations of cotton that becomes incredibly heavy when wet – not ideal if you’re producing a lot of sweat. “If you’re training hard in the gym or putting in the miles out on the road, your body is obviously going to heat up significantly. Cotton is completely unsuitable as a fabric for this purpose and it was very important to us to find a superior alternative that would make a real difference to athletes when training” said Ffion Appleton, lead designer – product innovation at Castore.

“We found a modern synthetic insulation that allows us to provide just that. It’s easy to work with and, more importantly, has hydrophobic properties so it won’t absorb moisture in the same way natural downs will. It also dries extremely quickly. The blend of being exceptionally breathable and complete anti-chafe is a pretty potent combination.”

The synthetic insulation, made by Swiss fabric producer Navarino, was first developed for the US Special Forces to be used in combat uniforms. They requested a fabric that was versatile enough to eliminate the need for shedding layers during activity, by providing warmth and breathability at the same time as being lightweight.

Javier Ramos, Castore product manager, said: “Using a fabric that is designed to perform in the most extreme of conditions aligns perfectly with Castore’s philosophy of creating the most advanced products in the world and giving athletes the benefit of features that will make a real difference to them. By placing patented low density fibres between air permeable fabric layers, we created a more efficient product for regulating warmth and transferring moisture. The fabric is highly compressible, made with a stable core of lofted knit fibres that prevents fibre migration and keeps a uniform consistency, even after heavy wear and repeated laundering.”

In the final stages of product testing, at the Great Britain Rowing team pre season training, the team wore the Leo’s throughout the 23 day camp. A non-stop test of endurance set on Lake Como is certainly an incredibly demanding challenge for any garment to perform through and provided the perfect opportunity for the Leo’s to prove their credentials.

Joel Cassells, GB rower and 2x World Champion said “I wore them throughout the day during training and would have a second pair to relax in during the evenings. They performed very well throughout the camp and almost feel like a second skin against the body - you don't get the usual itching, or bunching of usual boxers shorts and at a time when you’re really working hard in the gym or on the water, there is no feeling of discomfort at all which was very pleasing”.

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