Paper Retail have created the CXP brand of technical sports underwear. The product has a novel waistband design that reduces pressure on the abdomen for greater comfort and support, with the aim that this leads to improved physical performance during high intensity sports and exercise compared to a traditional waistband.

The challenge:

The client had conducted in-house tests on waistband stability and comfort, but they wanted verification of the measured benefit through independent tests. The aim of the project was to carry out a set of user tests comparing CXP to competitor products.

What we did

Through the Sheffield Innovation Programme, the Sports Engineering Research Group (SERG) worked with the client to conduct their user tests. SERG undertook experiment design, creating a research protocol, consent forms, and pre-test medical questionnaire. Five participants were recruited by the company, and each undertook 5 x 20-minute sessions of high intensity interval training (HiiT) in their own homes, covering five different branded sports underwear (one for each session).


Participants took a photograph of the underwear position before and after the exercise session. Using a photogrammetry technique with Adobe Photoshop, the waistband position was recorded at front and back before and after each HiiT session, and distance moved measured. A temperature/humidity sensor was also provided to record the room temperature and humidity, so that any differences between sessions could be considered on movement of the garment during the session.  Participants were also asked to make a qualitative assessment of the garment and waistband comfort pre-exercise, and during exercise.

The results

Upon completion of the user tests, SERG provided data on the waistband movement to the client. This was presented in a set of graphs for visualisation. The insights gained from conducting the tests helped the company understand how different waistband elasticity and tensions can impact the stability of a garment which informed them on the veracity of their own in-house test results.

“The team have been invaluable in supporting the project delivery throughout the entire process. The flexibility, guidance and strong communication has allowed our business to generate trusted results in an optimal environment, enabling us to draw clear conclusions and move forward in a stronger position.”

Tom AustinDirector, Paper Retail

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