How Your Athletic Apparel is Working as Hard as You

Sports fashion changed quite a bit in the last 20 years. Gone are the days of non-breathing, heavy weight fabrics limiting motion and diminishing performance. Today’s consumers want their apparel to perform at the highest level, from the world’s greatest athletes to the average “Joe.” Not only are design and fashion important, but also the way the fabric performs. Performance factors like comfort, breathability, odor control, and moisture management are now standard for athletic wear. Two of the top factors, moisture management and odor control, are often the focus of this conversation.

Staying Cool & Dry in Movement

Moisture management is controlling the movement of moisture away from the athlete. Fibers treated with a hydrophilic additive wick away moisture while keeping the athlete cool and dry. These fabrics transport moisture away from the skin through to the surface of the fabric. We’re familiar with this as wicking.

Wicking prevents the moisture from trapping next to the skin. In warm climates, trapped moisture can heat up causing the body to have fatigue and exhaustion. This can diminish the performance of the athlete. In cooler climates, the trapped moisture can cool, causing the body to experience hypothermia. In either temperature, wicking provides a solution to keep the athlete healthy.

Another extra added advantage is the wicking fabric weighs less. As fabrics without wicking treatment tend to hold moisture, they become heavy.  Heavy fabrics can lead to chaffing and skin irritation, as well as limit the motion for the athlete.

Keeping Fabrics Clean & Healthy

Odor control is a result of antimicrobials, which kill or slow the spread of microorganisms. Microorganisms include bacteria, viruses, protozoans, and fungi such as mold and mildew. These microorganisms live in the sweat. Even though the moisture wicks away there are still tiny microbes left behind.

On unprotected fabrics, these microorganisms can double every 20 minutes. A fabric treated with antimicrobials inhibits the growth of bacterial. They also help to prevent odor in footwear, protective gear, and towels with mildew inhibiting qualities. When an athlete purchases treated fabric garments they have protection against odor causing bacteria.

Clothes Will Grow to Work Harder

Much has changed in the sporting apparel industry. Athletes of today are bigger, faster, and stronger. Jerseys are no longer just a shirt with a name of a team. Now, they are performing at just as high a level as the athletes. We may not see it while sitting in the bleachers, but these technologies are prevalent and are here to stay. We can only imagine what the next 20 years will bring in the sporting apparel industry. Maybe the apparel will be able to clean itself?

Connect with a technical specialist to find the right performance wear chemicals for your applications.

By |April 26th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

About the Author:

C. Scott Wilson is a Technical Sales Representative at First Source Worldwide specializing in textile applications. His optimism helps him find hidden solutions to improve process efficiencies. He’s spent over 20 years in the hosiery business, even dyeing socks for Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls team.