Hello everyone. NorthShore was kind enough to let me sample their upcoming Underwear and I thought it might interest a few folks here if I shared my thoughts and experience with them. Unfortunately I tend to ramble, so I apologize in advance!
First off, before we get down to business, I just want to make sure that I thank NorthShoreAdam for his help in getting me the product. I was out of town when the originals were shipped and alas, they were gone when I returned. He very quickly sent out a new pair which arrived in two short days and in great condition. Thank you.
Okay, down to the product. I was sent a pair of Medium NorthShore FlexSupreme Underwear (waist size 30"-44") Maximum Absorbency
These pull-ups are built in the same shape and form as almost all adult pull-ups and are all white with a nice printed "tag" in the back. Not nearly as "granny panty" as most though, so that is a plus. The material is soft, yet feels more "sturdy" than any other adult pull-up. NorthShore products are starting to stand out in a big way in build quality in my opinion.
The wide elastic part of the pull-up (above the absorbent pad) that lends its self to granny panties is somewhat shorter than a few other companies, thicker, more elastic, and comfortable. They are the closest in feel and look to the side material in Goodnites and Pull-Ups…until you stretch them, that is. Once you pull these on and they stretch the elastic material "opens up" and the weave pattern becomes much more like what we've come to be accustomed to in adult pull-ups.
The sides are touted as "tear-away" and there are leg cuffs as WELL as standing leak barriers, yay! The standing leak barriers alone put this product ahead of most of its contemporaries. These are latex free, "air breathable", and listed as "all-night absorbency"
The absorbent pad is, well, as pad. It comes up equally far in the front and back, and widens just a bit above the "crotch area". It is no where near as thick or stiff as the material in the NorthShore Supreme Briefs, but appears to have the same absorbency properties.
The material was very comfortable and I found it to be "just right". It was soft without being too soft and stiff enough to make the product feel sturdy and safe.
Fit: (For comparison, I am at the top end of their medium Supreme Briefs)
I am unsure how to rate this. I was most definitely able to pull them on but I feel as though they were too small for some reason. Physically, the fit was perfect with plenty of room for larger people, but they just "felt" small. These were not tight on me, at all. In fact they may even be a bit loose.
Everyone's experience with pull-ups is going to be different. They never seem to fit anyone the same. I am hesitant to mark down the product as not fitting as, unlike a diaper of course, I cannot adjust the fit. I understand that it is very difficult to make something like this to fit a wide range of body shapes and sizes.
So, as you can expect, I was very excited when I returned from work to find these on my doorstep. I hurriedly took them inside and opened the package. My initial reaction was one of slight disappointment, as I was hoping against hope that these would be constructed differently from other adult pull-ups. I was happy to see that there wasn't TOO much empty elastic above the pad though, not as much as many other products.
So, these were quite instantly put on. The feel is good and I had no issues with the material against the skin. I wondered to house for a bit putting things away and what not when I first started to notice that maybe these are not the best fitting pull-ups for me.
As I stated above, the fit seemed absolutely fine at first. When I started to move around is when I realized that the seat area was either too narrow or, more likely, there wasn't enough elastic on the edges of the leg cuffs to keep things covered and fitting well. I ended up with pull-up wedgies. The material that covers the cheeks just did not want to stay put and kept sliding pulling together exposing some flesh. Now, we are not talking full on atomic diaper wedgie here, but the feeling of exposed flesh back there was a bit unnerving and uncomfortable for me, like an absorbent thong.
The strange thing was that the pull-up was not tight, it was loose. Even though, the material just kept pulling together in the back. I really feel that there is not enough elastic around the leg holes to keep a snug fit and perhaps the leg holes are a too big as well.
I ended up having my first accident fairly quickly, it was a small to medium flood (approximately 6-8 oz.) and the FlexSupreme did a superb job handling it just as it's bigger cousin the Supreme Brief does with major flooding. The material absorbed and spread quickly leaving me comfortable and confident. This is where the poor fit or lack of elastic started to really show. Not only was I constantly reaching back to re-cover my self, but there was a sag issue as well. The poor fitting leg holes and lack of stronger or more leg hole elastic was allowing the product to sag and loose contact between the legs, the dreaded "gap".
Regardless, I soldiered on as the absorbent material had much more to give than one smallish flood. I put back on my nice form fitting long undies (my house is nice and cold this time of year) for warmth and diaper support. As I continued with household chores, the pull-up moved well with me, was unobtrusive, discreet, felt dry, and continued to instill a sense of confidence despite my slight misgivings.
Here is were things failed.
I sat down and started on some work at the computer and was enjoying the sun and warm diaper. I had another (small) accident and continued unabated with my work confident in the NorthShore system thanks to the EXCELLENT sitting qualities of the briefs. It was false confidence. I ended up leaking from the top of the pull-up soaking the pants and my shirt.
Now, this may be partly due to my overconfidence in an untried product, or it could be because of how they fit me. But I feel that it is because the pad shape is roughly the same as everyone else's. I do not believe that I reached the absorbency limit of the pull-up, not even close. On the plus side, there was no press out or leaking at the legs while seated.
Comfortable, all white, fast absorbency, wetness "locks", good leak guards, not too noisy (slight rustle), and very well made. Now, these had a poor fit on me (I would love to try the next size down to see if that would alleviate these issues) but fit is really a personal thing when it comes to pull-ups and I feel its unfair to criticize at this moment.
Now, for our communities favorite part of this company…the suggestion box!
The waistband material that is above the pad (and runs clear around the waist) is wonderful. It is strong, comfortable, thick, and supportive. But, the material that is there currently needs to be moved to the sides and sides alone. There is no reason for it run around the top of the pull-up in a big ring that is 3"-4" tall. I truly feel that the pad needs to be longer by a few inches with a much shorter waist band above it, maybe an inch. The pad also needs to be wider in the front, as well as the back. The leg holes should have more or stronger elastics as well. In fact, if they could be ringed with the same elastic material that is on top of the product now, that would be awesome. Also, make the leak guards taller. Due to the gapping nature of a pull-up, this would help minimize issues.
I know that those changes are a bit radical (but highly vaunted). At the very least, I would suggest at least lengthening the pad, widening it in the front and back (A lot, it is too thin there. Through the crotch it seems just fine) and shortening the height of the elastic waistband. Also, I would HIGHLY suggest that you (NorthShore) make the waistbands much tighter, LESS elastic, and manufacture these in multiple sizes.
All adult pull-ups are made to cover a LARGE size range, and I believe that is wrong. Most manufacturers will only produce two adult sizes to cover 24"-60"+!! That is what makes for a poor, leaky, uncomfortable fit. I honestly feel that if you make products that cover much smaller ranges, they would fit MUCH better. Please consider this, it may just be the key to producing the greatest adult pull-up ever. If this is the one change I would make, this would be it.