Good walking gear gives you a better walking outcome: underpants – PART THREE

By way of introducing this sensitive topic, there is this true story about a New Zealand Prime Minister, Robert Muldoon (1975-1984) when asked to comment about the huge numbers of Kiwis moving to Australia, infamously stated that each time a New Zealander left his homeland to go to Australia, that emigrating Kiwi raised “the IQ of both countries“.

Why should an item of walking gear be “sensitive”?  For two reasons. Firstly, we are dealing with intimate underwear for both men and women around the genitalia area (and that is always sensitive and private) and what can sometimes happen to both male and female walkers (even slim ones) who are predisposed to catastrophic chafing between the legs.

In English, the verb is “to chafe”.  To chafe means that the object, here: the two legs joining together in the crotch rub abrasively against one another.  In French, the noun is: “frottement” and in Spanish “rozadura“.

What is the meaning of  “catastrophic chafing“?  The walker can no longer walk pain-free and every step constitutes for him or her agony with more and more consequential damage to the skin in the crotch area and thereby becoming so hyper sensitive and reddened that normal walking terminates forthwith.  To move forward slowly, the sufferer opens up his legs in opposite directions – similar to horse riders all day in the saddle when dismounting.  To allow some form of walking, albeit slowly, whilst abnormally opening up one’s legs in an east-west direction, minimizing the excruciating pain.  This is a problem not very often talked about or indeed, solutions proffered.

The “crotch” being defined as the part of the human body between the legs, where they join the torso. Crotch in French is: “l’entrejambe” literally between the leg and in Spanish the same: “la entrepierna” – simple and descriptive.

Many heavy-duty long distance walkers are spared this cursed.  However, a significant minority seem to be cursed.

In his practical classes and workshops in Australia and New Zealand, the writer has a policy of bringing these matters into the open (pun intended) and all participants gain the necessary skills to manage this situation if it occurs whilst walking the Camino.

The writer has two solutions for those who suffer this significant problem on the track: firstly, their existing underpants is obviously causing this problem and those existing underpants must be gotten rid of and secondly, to repair the already damaged skin a special therapeutic cream must be applied.

One very fast and effective test to see if your existing underpants is causing your chafing is to touch the crotch area of your own underpants, when you pull them down whilst going to the toilet in either a sitting or crouching position.  If they feel wet or very moist, then you can be nearly 100% sure that, that item of clothing closest to you is doing the damage and could very possibly lead to serious chafing issues.

Cotton underpants are the invariable culprits.  When cotton becomes very moist to wet in the crotch area it means for the walker, that that wetness is there to stay for the duration and we know that once cotton is laden with moisture, it cannot wick out any moisture whilst the person is engaged in that physical activity.  And they start to act like sandpaper against the thin and sensitive skin in the crotch area: “ouch“.

Earth Sea Sky’s mens 95% superfine merino wool stretch + 5% lycra boxer underpants

Readers of this Blog are reminded what was said in PART ONE of “Good walking gear gives you a better walking outcome” and cotton products must never be used by walkers.  Cotton underpants for suffers predispose them to chafing problems: in the writer’s opinion they are totally inappropriate to wear when doing heavy-duty walking over many days.  Included are some hi-tech non-merino woollen underpants (panty style) which are not “boxer” length in the crotch area.

When you are on the track and suffer “catastrophic chafing” it is imperative to get rid of the existing underpants and repair the skin in the crotch.  French and Spanish people use an anti-chafing product called NOK which has large amounts of (shea) butter and is very greasy.  Shea butter is very popular in Europe: it is a fatty substance made from the nuts of a West African tree (Vitellaria paradoxa).  The nuts collected from this tree contain large amounts of fat.

Despite what Europeans claim, the writer after testing this product on the Camino track, prefers a superior product, unknown in the Northern Hemisphere and called: Silic 15 Cream.  It is an Australian made product, cheaper than NOK and can be used both as a prophylactic (preventer) and as a remedy (repairer of damaged skin); not only for the crotch area, but also for the feet before putting on one’s socks and boots. Silic 15 is lanolin-free (non fatty substance), perfume-free, non-greasy, absorbed into the skin very quickly and with a pH of 7.  It has been successfully tested by heavy-duty walkers (men and women) who are predisposed to very bad chafing in the crotch area.

However, using Silic 15 cream combined with using Earth Sea Sky’s (ESS) boxer underpants (see the three photos) which are put together by flat lock seams gives the best protection, superior wicking properties of any 100% merino wool boxer underpants in the world.  Flat lock seams are used with this product because it means less bulk and less chance for abrasions to occur against the skin.  In addition, by using 5% lycra it holds its shape no matter what and the ESS boxer underpants never sag compared to other products on the market.

Robin Boustead, Australian author of The Great Himalaya Trail and heavy-duty trekker has proudly claimed wearing just one ESS boxer underpants in the Himalayas for more than 40 days and nights without ever changing.  And he was still socially acceptable.

The writer has critically tested this product for nearly ten years, not only on himself but on other people of both genders whilst matching it against similar products.  All users agree that once used for heavy-duty walking, there can be no going back to any other products on the market.  All predisposed “chafer testers” reported being chafe free wearing ESS boxer merino

The ESS superfine, stretch boxers for women with a low-rise, sitting just below the waist

underpants with the Silic 15 cream applied once in the morning and walking on average 28 kilometres per day over multi-day Camino tracks in both France and Spain.

Returning to the first sentence in this Blog: this extraordinary exported Kiwi product: the ESS merino underpants when it leaves its native shores and worn by any one, immeasurably improves their walking outcome and their walking experience.  Long live our “Kiwi friends”, for they are next to our skin and the family and crown jewels are protected!!

The Earth Sea Sky product for women: superfine stretch boxer underpants


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