Chafing is a potential problem for every runner who takes to the streets. On a long run, the constant friction of skin rubbing on skin or clothing can produce an angry, painful rash that takes days to heal. Check any marathon finish line photo lineup and there’s bound to be at least one male runner with bright red streaks staining his shirt from bloody nipples. Everyone who sees this crimson “11” cringes. Such a sensitive part of the anatomy scraped to the point of bleeding draws sympathy from even the most hard of heart.
While the nipple-chafed man receives compassionate words and understanding looks from the crowd, there is another man who suffers an irritation he must bear alone. His is the rash that few dare to admit to publicly: the abrasion of the parts which make him a man.
Chris Varney, a reformed couch potato, recognizing an unmet need, set out to create a product that would protect men’s valuables from this painful scourge. After four years of development, he settled on the final product and RUEZ underwear was born. Varney designed his RUEZ undergarments with two layers on the front panel. The one closest to the skin, made from a wicking compression material, holds the family jewels comfortably in place. The second layer, via a strategically positioned hole, creates a separate compartment to hold and protect the rest of the apparatus.
Both the briefs and boxers are made to be worn under running shorts and biking shorts. They feature a Personal Pocket at the back for carrying room keys, ID, credit cards, car keys or other personal items.
A product that holds things in place and prevents chafing sounded good to the men of the dailymile team, so five of them agreed to put the RUEZ briefs and boxers to the test. Two gear reviewers wore both models during separate workouts. The other three chose one or the other and took the product out for a spin. Afterward they each shared their impressions. What follows is a composite of the group’s findings.
All reviewers found the RUEZ comfortable. There were no sizing problems for anyone. Ray Javier was pleased. He commented, “The junk is where it should be with full support.” Peter Larson, who wore them on a 10 mile run in the rain, said they worked great! “It’s like a push-up bra for your jewels…Did I say that?” Figuring out exactly how to get everything in place was difficult at first for one tester. Without documentation, he was left to figure it out on his own. Brodie Wise, who tested both types, said they felt similar to compression, but with a little more support. “I felt a lot of support in my groin area,” he reported, “This is the same area I ended up getting a hernia and the support was noticeable. Also, since they were so small, I didn’t notice a difference in my running shorts, felt the same as the inner liner but with more support.”
The single complaint about the boxers mentioned by two reviewers? “They rode up the leg a little.” For one this wasn’t much of a distraction. For the other, Mike Neifert, it led to a minor irritation on the inner thighs. Other than this the one isolated case, there were no reports of chafing at all during testing. Peter was a bit concerned at first that the little circular “entryway” into the front pouch might cause some problems “down there,” but despite being soaked on his long run they “caused no chafe.” Brodie, who normally has problems reported, “Even with body glide and wearing compression shorts, I chafe on longer runs…I was able to do a 20 mile run [in the boxers]…I admit, for that reason alone, I will get a few more pairs.”
All reviewers were pleased with how the RUEZ garments handled moisture, too. Thomas Neuberger wore his briefs on a humid day and reported, “The garment held up well.” Ray, who sweats a lot on runs, added, “Surprisingly, they felt pretty dry, which is awesome!”
Concerning compression, a problem for many runners, the RUEZ performed well in the estimation of most of the reviewers. Ray said he’d been searching for something to keep his “stuff” warm so “I don’t have to wear shorts on top of my tights; maybe I found a solution with Ruez.” Peter said this, “I like wearing compression shorts on long runs, and these work fine as compression shorts (I had the boxer style). If they are competitive when it comes to price, they are a good option.” Brodie’s take, “I did see value in not needing compression as much as I did in the past and since it does a much better job with preventing chafing, there is more value there.” Thomas suggested that the RUEZ briefs and boxers were in their own category. “I like them better than compression shorts,” he said. “With the briefs, things felt separated, but not smashed.”
Reviewers weren’t terribly impressed with the Personal Pocket. “When things are in your shorts, it’s hard to get to for the pocket,” Brodie reported. “I would use my current things to carry items if I need something. This wasn’t a good feature to me.” Mike, who used the pocket to carry his music player, liked that it held the player firmly in place, but didn’t like the tightness which prevented him from easily removing the player to change songs on the go. Ray said, “Some of my running shorts don’t have pockets, so, yes, it came in handy…I like that it is also hidden.”
Would any of these dailymilers buy a pair of RUEZ underwear for themselves based on their experience? Ray was enthusiastic. “Yes and I highly recommend it!” Peter more cautiously said, “Would depend on the price. I’ve never really had chafing issues in that particular region, so the ‘peter pocket’ may be overkill for my needs. If the price was competitive though, could see them as a valid option.” Brodie’s opinion: “I think the briefs are good and would be a good supplement for winter running, but I didn’t see the chafing benefit. The boxers seem like a better purchase for me for the chafing protection. I have so much trouble with that it seems to be a good option.” Thomas simply added, “Yes and probably will.”