Following on the heels of our last test of a belted diaper here’s another one for you. The subject of attention this time is the Abena Abri-Wing.
Caveat emptor before we begin: Don’t get hung up on the package depicted. It seems they simply look different in different countries while the content is the same. Since I got mine once more from SaveExpress, it’s quite possible that this is a re-imported version. As far as I can tell the official German version comes in the usual white/ dark blue packages with the Premium label slapped on and turned 90 degrees on its edge, so the carrying strap is on the narrow side, but that’s about the only real difference. For all intents and purposes, you always end up with the same breathable product.
With that out of the way, it’s time to look at the actual product. I’ll probably never get over my dislike for this sort of diaper, and this product only reaffirms my reservations. I’m really beginning to wonder whether manufacturers do any actual real-world testing (you know, on actual people, not lab mannequins) before they bring this stuff to the market. There’s several issues with this one as well, but before we venture off getting picky about the bad parts, let’s point out the good points.
As such, one can’t deny that the diaper sits reasonably well and its dimensions are within the regular size assignments. I had no issues fitting this size M where I thought it should go on my waist line and it stayed there throughout the whole period of wearing. The straps are soft and feel comfortable on your skin, while they are stable enough to withstand even some heavy pulling. Similar to the Seni Optima they also stay in place in the overlapping areas, though a bit less perfectly. There is some minor sliding and it’s possible to have the ends come out and dangling freely just with a little bit of tucking on the protruding parts.
Someone also had the good sense to not let the velcro pad that acts as the buckle touch the edges. Technically, the same could be said for the arresting regions of the front flap, but here it gets a bit dicey. Unfortunately Abena have followed Tena‘s example and are hiding those bits under the flap. Trouble ensues because naturally you’ll never get it right on the first attempt and end up putting it too high or too low, so it scratches on your skin. In my case this is exacerbated by the belt rolling up under my belly, so it’s very hard to get it sitting right without causing skin irritations. This method fails us a second time since the pad is rather narrow for obvious reasons and thus the offending parts are in even less preferable locations. Needless to say that it’s also not wide enough to offer satisfactory coverage of my butt.
The pad itself is pretty nice and offers decent absorbency, but you should not hope to ever be able to exploit it fully. Perhaps this is where the fundamental design flaw of flex diapers reveals itself – they’re really just oversized pads with tapes bolted on and without the extra material that otherwise allows to adapt the fit or offers extra sealing. Unless the pad naturally flows with your body contours, there’s always the risk of seepage. I feel compelled to recommend at least wearing something spandex-like to press the pad against your body. It might also help to go with a thinner version like M2 in this case. I had the distinct impression that the pad being squeezed and rolled between my legs contributed to certain malfunctions.
Similar things could be said for the front part. It’s hard to imagine why the pad reaches so far up when there is no sideways extensions that would stop anything from escaping left or right. Since like 70 percent of all leakage are in these lateral regions, I wouldn’t consider this product particularly suitable for night-time use or anything that has to do with sleeping or resting in a side position for that matter. Unless I had an erection, I wouldn’t even be able to get to those frontal areas way up high, which goes back to my comment about never being able to fully exploit the absorbent pad. Funny enough, this is the single area where the Tena Flex outdoes the competitors simply because of its smaller overall shape causes a more snug fit.
I’m naturally massively biased from the outset and everything I say should be taken with the necessary grain (or spoonful) of salt. However, try as I might, I just can’t find a good way of using these belted diapers on myself. Perhaps if I had the body of a swimmer or dancer… Things being what they are, I’m not saying that this is a terrible product, but time and again I have to use my cautionary “You will have to see for yourself and do some serious testing.” here. The circumstances under which it will work are too specific and trying to lay them out here would end up as a furball of “if” and “when” that make the infinite possibilities of a quantum superposition look like a picnic. ;-) Let’s just say that out of a thousand people only a few ones will ever be perfectly satisfied with such a product.