Depend is a brand of unisex adult underwear for those experiencing urinary or fecal incontinence by Kimberly-Clark. They were first introduced in 1984.[1]

In March 2009, Depend introduced their first gender-specific adult underwear in the United States and Canada – Depend Underwear for Men and Depend Underwear for Women – which replaced the existing unisex adult underwear on store shelves nationwide.


Depend products

Depend brand adult incontinence products are manufactured by Kimberly-Clark and come in a variety of styles.

Kimberly-Clark introduced Depend Underwear for Men and Depend Underwear for Women in the United States and Canada in March 2009.[2]

Depend Underwear for Men are designed to fit the body shape of men, featuring brief-like leg openings and more absorbent material in the front. Underwear for Men is available in super plus absorbency in small/medium or large/extra large sizes. Depend Underwear for Women fits the unique body shapes of women with oval cut leg openings, an underwear-like waistband and absorbent material in the back and underneath. Underwear for Women comes in small/medium, large and extra large in two absorbencies – extra and super plus.[3]

The packaging for Depend Underwear for Men and Depend Underwear for Women was introduced in 2009. Package design includes a new absorbency scale, sizing information, improved contrast for better readability, and distinctive colors, shapes and print styles that define the male and female products.[4]

Guards for Men are strips of absorbent material with a sticky backing that can be fastened to the inside of a man’s underwear and protect against light urinary incontinence. Typically, they are marketed to men who have “drip” incontinence symptoms after prostate surgery. They are also used for males that sometimes release additional amounts of urine after zipping up, thinking they totally emptied their bladders. They also work well for ejaculations. They are worn with tighter fitting underwear briefs and are placed to the front of the underpants. There are also Depend belted shields for men and women who have light to moderate bladder control issues. They can be worn inside underwear or by themselves.

The Adjustable Underwear for moderate to heavy leakage are pre-fastened in the package by tabs and can be pulled on and off like regular underwear if needed. Fitted Maximum Protection Briefs concentrates absorbency in the center for nighttime protection and have a wetness indicator, making them suitable for those who suffer from moderate to heavy urinary incontinence or fecal incontinence. Belted Shields are for both men and women and come with a stay-in-place pad along with two straps that help it fit securely. Boost inserts are designed to complement the absorbency of other Depend products. They must be worn with another absorbent garment and turn liquid into gel for added protection.


In 1983, the initial Depend products were manufactured. The original products were Depend Undergarment liners regular and extra absorbencies. They could be worn inside underwear or along and were held on by small elastic belts. These were to be used for moderate to heavy bladder incontinence.

Fitted briefs were made in one size that could fit waists between 30 and 36 inches. The Undergarment liners were cloth-like on the outer layer but had green plastic right underneath the top dryweave layer. The fitted briefs had a light green plastic outer layer with three tapes on each side. The padding was similar to what had been used for baby diapers like Huggies. These were meant for heavy to complete bladder incontinence as well as bowel incontinence.

In 1985, Depend Shields were introduced in both regular and extra absorbencies. They were for light to maybe moderate incontinence. these seemed more for females but were not indicated as such. In 1986, Depend Briefs began to be offered in three sizes; small for up to 32" waists, medium for 30" to 38" waists, and large for 36" to 45" waists.

Depend Undergarments were offered in 1987 with both an outer plastic green cover and a cloth-like cover. In 1988, all Depend products began to use absorb lock padding which turns to a gel when wet. In 1989, the Depend Products began using plastic packaging rather than cardboard boxes. The Depend products remained pretty much the same into the 1990s. In the mid-1990s, the sizes of the briefs were consolidated into small/medium for up to 36" inch waists and large for over 34"waists. But now two levels of absorbency were offered; regular and extra absorbency (called Overnight Briefs)

Depend began manufacturing protective underwear in 1998. These seemed to be for females but this was not indicated on the containers. These briefs were intended for moderate incontinence. They had regular absorbency, super absorbency, and super plus. These were not intended for night-time protection. Also, the undergarment liners were made with only one absorbency and now exclusively had cloth like outer layers.

In 1999, the fitted briefs, both regular and overnight were made with 40% more absorbency than previous briefs. These briefs vastly improved protection from previous makes with some more padding added. In 2000, the briefs were made in white with a slight green tint. These still had a plastic outer cover. In 2001, Depend expanded the protective underwear for heavy protection, offering refastenable cloth-like briefs with the same absorbency as the regular fitted briefs. These were made in small/medium and large/extra large. Also, the depend shields were phased out in favor of female Poise pads for light female bladder problems. Guards for men began to be made at that point as well for light male incontinence as well as ejaculations. Depend Booster pads also began to be offered for extra protection to be inserted into the brief. In 2005, the refastenable underwear was modified to absorbencies more into the middle of the brief. Also, the look of the packages of Depend products were revamped.

Ad campaign

On March 30, 2009, Depend launched the largest integrated marketing campaign in brand history featuring TV, print, online, direct mail, in-store communication and public relations elements.[5] The brand website,, was also redesigned and launched April 1, 2009. The campaign supported the nationwide retail availability of Depend Underwear for Men and Depend Underwear for Women by showing the unique differences between men and women. The gender Depend Underwear replaced the regular absorbencies of Depend pull On underwear. The refastenables continue to be offered, which are for either gender. The fitted briefs also remain the same.

The TV campaign, created by ad agency JWT, was directed by 2004 Academy Award winning director Errol Morris.[6] The first TV spot, “Driver,” features the differences between a man and woman’s answers to the question, “Who is a better driver?” The second spot, “Rules the World” asks a man and a woman, “Who really does rule the world?”[7] A third spot entitled "Ink Blot" began airing on May 1.


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