As all bikini-wearers know, the two-piece bathing suit is a risky choice for active sports. The pesky fabric has a tendency to fall out of place, or—if you're doing something like tubing or water skiing—fall off completely. Before you opt for a one piece, know that Patagonia has found a possible solution for your bikini woes. They've created a special bathing suit that won't slip off, no matter how many waves hit you.
The product is the result of Patagonia talking with female surfers, who say they prefer bikinis because it makes them feel freer in the water.
“I don’t see a lot of people trying to create women’s products that are specifically built for sport and that’s discouraging. In surfing, all the swimwear innovation is happening on the men’s side of the business,” Laura Kinman, Patagonia’s product line director of women’s sportswear and surfing, tells Outside.
In 2014, Kinman discovered a sticky fabric that gripped to skin when wet. The material has a large surface area, made up of thousands of microscopic polyester filaments that are 1/175000th the thickness of a human hair. She used them to build a few prototype bikinis and brought them to Oahu's North Shore to let the Patagonia surfing ambassadors test them out.
Although the material, called Nanogrip, feels unusual and takes a long time to dry, it was a big hit with the surfers who tried it out. Thanks to the way the material hugs the body, athletes wearing it no longer have to hold on to their suit when diving or emerging from the water.