Winning the War Against Leotard Wedgies
Nobody likes getting a wedgie.
Especially gymnastics leotard wedgies.
If you’re a gymnast, you know how downright uncomfortable, distracting, and embarrassing it can be to have your leotard ride up on you.
And if you’re the gym mom, we know how much you hate seeing your kids deal with wedgies. We’ve read your tweets, your comments on Facebook, and your forum posts.
It drives you crazy to watch the kids “pick their seats.”
Mia is that one kid that picks her wedgie in front of everyone at gymnastics #proudsis— Morgan Purkis (@morganpurkiss) September 27, 2016
Oh Morgan, Mia is not the only one!
While wedgies can be funny, there’s another side to the problem.
Why We’re Serious About Stopping Wedgies
We love gymnastics for many reasons including the confidence it gives kids, for the skills and strength they build (both physical and mental), and for the camaraderie they have with their gym friends and teammates.
Most little girls don’t even think about their looks. They just want to play and tumble and flip and do things they’ve never done.
They usually don’t care about wedgies except that they’re uncomfortable. Sometimes the kids are totally unselfconscious about having half their bottom hanging out! While mom is cringing on the sidelines.
Gymnastics for 4-year-olds: Cartwheel, pick wedgie, jump on that squishy thing, pick wedgie, hang upside down while picking wedgie. #kids— Madeline Rae (@MadelineRae23) May 29, 2015
But as girls approach their teen years, they start to feel self-conscious. They’re bombarded with media images telling them how they should look, dress, act, and talk if they’re going to be successful and popular.
They watch the Olympians and compare themselves to the world’s most elite competitors.
Their bodies are changing in ways which can range from annoying to distressing.
These are little girls and young women who are champions for the work they do. They should be focused on learning, getting mentally tougher, and making their bodies stronger. Not worrying about accidentally putting more than they wanted to on display.
They are athletes and should command the respect their hard work deserves.
Hard to do when a gluteus maximus is stealing the show.
Our gymnasts need to stay focused.
The last thing they need to think about is a leotard that’s uncomfortable or makes them feel bad or embarrassed about their bodies.
Which is why Snowflake Leotards declared a war against wedgies from the very beginning.
Old School Leotards Didn't Work!
Our founder and president LaDonna Snow remembers that her leotards didn’t ride up when she was little - because the leg elastic was so tight it hurt!
“I remember I’d have a bright red band around my legs when I got home,” says LaDonna, “When my kids started gymnastics, I wanted to make sure they didn’t suffer like that.”
What LaDonna did then was completely different from any other gymnastics leotard designer or manufacturer that we know of.
Leotards used to have elastic that wasn’t stitched to the fabric. It went through a casing which means it was the same tightness or looseness all the way around the leg.
If you were lucky and built just right for that brand, it worked. But most of the time it was either too loose and you got wedgies. Or too tight and you cut off circulation.
Today, the elastic is sewn to the fabric. We use a special type of elastic that doesn’t weaken when the needle pushes through).
We developed a unique mathematical formula to make the elastic fit just right.
We control exactly how much elastic and stretch there is in every part of the leg opening.
“I spent hours testing where to take out enough elastic to make it fit right and have enough stretch but still have it pull it snug enough,” recalls LaDonna. “The answer is that you make it looser in the front of the leg but much tighter on the back because you want it to cup the rear end. You don’t want it to pull up.”
“Some kids have booty and other kids don’t, we respect that variety,” she says, “Designing the leg openings in this way makes our leotards fit more body types better.”
No “Wardrobe Malfunctions” in Gymnastics Competition
In competition, there are very specific rules about jewelry, hair, and the leotard itself. Shoulder straps (if the leotard is sleeveless) must meet a minimum width.
The leg openings can’t rise over the hip bone (a design flaw guaranteed to give the gymnast all kinds of inappropriate wedgies!).
There are deductions for bra straps showing or exposed underwear.
And you certainly can’t pick a wedgie in the middle of your routine or you’ll get a deduction. It happens to even the best athletes.
#11 on Tenn just picked his wedgie for .5 points off in gymnastics fools! #thatisa— Samantha Higgins (@sbird1016) November 2, 2014
Which is one of many reasons why gym moms obsess over their athletes not picking wedgies in practice.
You compete the way you train.
Plus, in a sport where tenths or hundredths of a point can make a difference between standings, the simple annoyance and distraction of an ill-fitting leotard can make a difference.
You want to control all of the variables that you can. You can't control how well the other gymnasts perform. You can't control potential biases by the judges (it happens unfortunately).
But you can control your attitude, your preparation, and your gear. And this includes your leotard.
If you're competing at the state level, getting judged for your next level, or if you're just trying to do a little bit better then your teammate in practice, the last thing you want to do is be distracted by a leotard wedgie.
How the Olympians Avoid Them
The most amazing thing to me about Olympic gymnastics is how they are not in a constant state of wedgie— Nicole Guttenberg (@nicolegutt) August 10, 2016
They Olympians have two secrets. Not only are their competition leotards custom designed, they are custom fitted to each individual competitor.
Plus, they use "butt glue" which does work if you absolutely must have a perfect look and feel. But nobody wants to use that for practice on a regular basis. It says “gentle” on the bottles, but it’s glue. That’s not pleasant to use day after day.
And… how do you get out of that leotard if you have to go to the restroom?
That’s another reason we work so hard to make our leotards fit ... so a gymnast doesn’t have to deal with that!
A competition leotard should fit like a second skin. Even your daily workout leotards should fit well.
Our goal is to make leotards that fit!
If you’ve tried different leotard brands, you’ve probably discovered that some of them are cut a little less generous in the seat.
Some of them only fit the skinniest kids. Some brands may be better for kids that are a little more sturdy.
We’ve worked on and reviewed our fit over and over and over again.
We put leotards on kids (all of our “models” on the site are real, local gymnasts). We watch how they move and how the leotard moves with them.
If a new design doesn’t fit right, we go back and readjust.
Just like performing a routine, the tiniest things can make a difference.
How to Get The Best, Wedgie-Free Leotard Fit
Body length is one of the most important measurements.
We call it the girth. You can see an illustration on our sizing chart.
Use a cloth measuring tape to go all the way around the body from the shoulder down through the crotch and back up to the same shoulder.
If your leotard isn't long enough, it’s going to ride up.
If your kid’s a little taller, wider, skinnier and they’re frustrated because nothing ever fits - and you’re tired of bugging them about picking wedgies - try a Snowflake Designs leotard.
Let us help you help your gymnast be stronger and more confident. It’s what we love to do!
More Stories You Might Like:
Behind The Seams: How To Make A Leotard (Insider Video!)