“The SKYNFEEL material—polyisoprene—doesn’t really relate to existing textiles which are typically made by weaving or knitting,” van Dongen says. “You can think of it as a non-woven material. The fact that it comes in a liquid form instead of a yarn creates other kinds of opportunities. One of the ideas we had, for instance, was related to the fact that you could spray or apply the material to a mold of a specific body to make an ultra-personalized design.”
The material used to make SKYN condoms is a soft and very stretchable rubber known as polyisoprene. Though polyisoprene is chemically the same type of rubber as latex, the synthetic material has better tensile strength than natural rubber latex and does not contain any of the proteins that cause latex allergies.
“We were given a lot of freedom to come up with various concepts and ideas,” van Dongen says. “We started thinking about the material and its properties to determine how a specific athlete might benefit from it.” Van Dongen and her team decided to focus on the long jump, a sport with little to no innovation in the apparel department and an official world record that has remained unbroken since 1991. “We saw an opportunity here,” she says.
Van Dongen aimed to find a balance between a design that would trigger something new and unexpected, but not come off as being too futuristic or surreal. “Besides the concept of the design and the way it should look, we also paid attention to the way it would fit within the reality and exercise of the actual sport itself,” she says.