“The liner feels like velvet on my balls!!!” were literally the first words out of our wear tester Luke’s mouth the first time he tried on our Balls to the Wall Shorts. We hadn’t really been going for velvet on the nut sack, but we’ll take it.
When our Founder, Brent, first started working on these shorts, he really wanted to create the ultimate pair of shorts he could wear in obstacle course races (“OCR” for the cool kids) he competed in. In early meetings with the design team, Brent laid out what his idea of “ultimate” is when it comes to shorts for OCR. He’d made notes in advance:
That sounds simple enough, but it’s really not. Making great apparel for OCR is something most brands won’t or can’t do. Really big brands won’t because there aren’t enough OCR athletes for them to make anything specific for the sport and other brands can’t because the owner and the designer don’t know what athletes go through in these races because they’ve never done one themselves. Advantage, Human Octane.
Starting with an advantage doesn’t mean shit if you can’t leverage it. We got to work sketching, refining ideas and then sketching again. What was drawn in pencil gave way to digital. Digital gave way to the beginnings of our “tech pack,” which is kind of like a blueprint. This served as the starting point to make our prototype of these shorts.
Fabric selection was super important to carry out our founder’s vision of the ultimate OCR shorts.
We went through more than 50 swatches before landing on the right “hand” feel (which seems to have worked out for our aforementioned wear tester’s balls) and durability.
We ended up with a nylon/lycra blend woven fabric for the exterior of the shorts.
Fabrics that are woven can be lighter and tougher than knit fabrics, making it an easy choice.
For the liner, we selected a knit polyester/lycra blend in a mid-weight.
We did that because polyester/lycra knit blends tend to softer to the touch … so maybe we were subconsciously going for that “velvet on the balls” feel.
We made eight versions of the prototype for these shorts, each time adjusting the fit to make them as comfortable as possible.
Then, our wear tester (if you haven’t figured it out yet, that’s the dude who tests our prototypes) logged a little over 100 miles during training trail runs and put them through the ringer at two Spartan Races, a Tough Mudder and a Bonefrog Challenge.
More refinements to fit and finish came from those tests before we finally went into production with what we think are the ultimate shorts for OCR.
When they came to market we were confident and nervous at the same time.
We knew they were badass shorts, but that was just our opinion until others weighed in.
And weigh in they did, some with words and some with actions. First came Obstacle Racing Media’s review.
You can read the full review here, but this quote pretty much sums it up “To say I’ve been impressed with these shorts would be a gross understatement.
It’s pretty much the only pair of shorts I’ll race in at this point.” People also weighed in with their actions.
Below is a screen shot we took of Victor Quezada running the Skull Buster on the CMT TV show “Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge.”
If you’re in to OCR, you likely know who Victor is.
The point is, he CHOSE to wear our shorts when running an obstacle course for a $10,000 prize.
We didn’t pay him to do that.
We didn’t even ask him to do that.
We guess he just trusted them more than any other shorts he has … or he just wanted it to feel like velvet on his balls.