Zubaz (// ZOO-baz) is a brand of shorts and pants that became popular during the early 1990s. They were created in 1988 when Michael Hegstrand and Joseph Laurinaitis brought the idea to two Minnesotan bodybuilders, Dan Stock and Bob Truax. Initially, they were marketed as a comfortable, functional pair of shorts for weightlifting. Hegstrand and Laurinaitis used their professional wrestling personae as the Road Warriors to help popularize the pants in the early 1990s.
They hoped to make a pair of shorts that would stretch and expand with the body during a workout. In a short time, the shorts became wildly popular in the United States. The Zubaz company sold $100 million worth of products in 1991 alone. The company slogan was "Dare to be Different."
Although Zubaz began as a line of shorts, the brand was extended into long pants, caps, shirts, and even diapers. The pants are tapered at the ankle, with the outer part of the leg being longer than the inner part. They have an elastic waistband to allow for greater flexibility and movement. The pants were originally created in a zebra print, but later began to be sold in almost any design imaginable.
Regardless of the specific design, Zubaz are almost always bright, flashy, and often ostentatious. Zubaz designed the uniforms of several Arena Football League teams in the early 1990s, including the Tampa Bay Storm and the now-defunct New Orleans Night. However, these designs were considered outlandish and were soon replaced.
In a 1993 survey in Inside Sports magazine, Zubaz finished third in the voting for Worst Thing to Happen in Sports that year. Ahead of it were the retirement of Michael Jordan and the death of wrestler Dino Bravo.
The long pants were the most popular item in the product line. Despite the decline in popularity, fans still sometimes wear Zubaz pants in team colors at professional football games.
Zubaz manufactured "slider shorts." These shorts had the famous wild patterns at the bottom of the garment while the rest of the garment displayed the name and logo of the sport team and the Zubaz name.
The original business went bankrupt in 1996 and Truax and Stock bought back the trademark rights. In 2007, Zubaz resurfaced, offering a limited production release of the original classic Zubaz patterns.
In another sign of the resurrection of the Zubaz brand, on July 16, 2008 the Saint Paul Saints independent professional baseball team wore Zubaz pants during their game against the Sioux City Explorers. The bases were also painted in a recognizable Zubaz tiger-striped pattern. On the December 6 edition of professional wrestling TV show, TNA Impact, Christopher Daniels and Kazarian wrestled the main event in pink and black Zubaz pants. Lately, the Russian Curling team wore Kansas City Chiefs pants in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
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- Zubaz pants are back, Herón Márquez Estrada, Minneapolis Star Tribune, March 24, 2008.