All eyes have been on American skaters' crotches in PyeongChang.

That's because their uniforms — which have white legs and are black from the thighs up — have a very noticeable anomaly around the nether regions, where a silver patch is placed on both the men's and women's attire, news.com.au reports.

It could well be the worst sports uniform since this effort from the Colombian women's cycling team in 2014.

But as with most things in professional sport, there's a science behind what looks at first glance to be a bizarre fashion faux pas.

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According to a Slate article in 2014 the unique material — known as "ArmourGlide" — reduces friction by up to 65 per cent.

For The Win quoted a statement from America's uniform manufacturer Under Armour, who added some more detail behind the reasoning of the crotch-specific material.

"The contrasting material in the inner thigh has been commonplace for all country skins for decades, to reduce friction," Under Armour said. "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 per cent.

Emery Lehman of the United States warms up prior to the Men's Team Pursuit Speed Skating Quarter Finals. Photo / Getty
Emery Lehman of the United States warms up prior to the Men's Team Pursuit Speed Skating Quarter Finals. Photo / Getty

"The athletes love the look of the skins and how they perform and are getting compliments from other countries."

Makes sense, really. No one wants to have to deal with chafing at the best of times, let alone when you're trying to win a gold medal.

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