But it turns out the so-called crotch patches do actually serve a purpose.
According to Under Armour, which has worked with the team since 2014, the uniforms underwent "hundreds of hours of wind-tunnel testing", they explained in a statement to InStyle.
The contrasting material in the inner thigh (friction guards) has been commonplace for speed skate skins for decades, to reduce friction. The 2014 UA skin had one panel instead of two, but in testing the new skin, the addition of a second panel reduced friction even more—by 60 percent.
They even explained why the patches couldn't be the same colour as the rest of the uniform.
We tested a multitude of friction guard materials to find the material that reduces friction the most. Altering the color or using a material that comes in a different color would have rendered it considerably less effective.
The athletes love the look of the skins and how they perform and are getting compliments from other countries.
Though this scientific reasoning justifies nothing for some people.
Y’all I’m assuming there is a point to the way the speed skating uniforms are designed, but maaaan that’s a weird p… https://t.co/fTjC6oRA5t
— Christina Stephens (@Christina Stephens)
Don’t care the science behind this, this look is not OK (📷 by @rodger_sherman) https://t.co/23EM04qtZR