Outdoor sports have become an essential part of our lives.
Sport clothing has an increasing market share all over the world. People have become more and more functional and comfortable in clothing choices. Thus, high-tech fabrics grow rapidly with sports market demands.
Performance fabrics are engineered for a wide variety of uses. Such as activewear, mountain activities, trekking, workwear, military, urban wear, and protective wear. Everyone knows that fabric is the root of a performance garment. Do you know what fabrics are on the market?
Gore-tex fabric, invented and produced by W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc., is the world’s first and currently the most durable waterproof, breathable and windproof fabric. It breaks through the contradiction of waterproof and breathable and has windproof function. It is known as the “century of cloth”. Clothing, shoes, hats, gloves made of this fabric have been protecting the U.S. astronauts and countless explorers for many years.
Gore-Tex film has an average of 9 billion small holes per square inch. Each pore is 20,000 times smaller than a drop of water and 700 times larger than a water vapor molecule. So rainwater cannot penetrate Gore-Tex material, but sweat from the body can evaporate through the pores. Making you feel comfortable and natural. Almost all of the world’s top outdoor and sportswear brands use GORE-TEX fabrics to provide comprehensive protection for outdoor activities and sports enthusiasts. and to enable them to fully enjoy the fun of outdoor activities.
There are 3 kinds of Gore-Tex fabric that suit your different needs: GORE-TEX®, GORE-TEX® Pro, and GORE-TEX® Active.
GORE-TEX®: For casual wear, or hiking.
This is the most widely used GORE-TEX product. It works well for daily wear or traveling abroad, you don’t have to worry about getting wet from the sudden summer rain.
GORE-TEX® Pro: For weighted hiking, climbing, senior skiing, and other professional outdoor sports.
Pro means professional. Usually, when we climb a mountain, we may need to carry 10-15 kg for several days. During this period of time, the shoulder straps and waist belt on the backpack will be tightly attached to the outer clothing. Resulting in severe friction on the outer clothing, such friction will cause the GORE-TEX film damaged easily. In this case, I recommend the use of GORE-TEX® Pro products.
The most important feature of the Pro is that it replaces the lining used in the original “three-layer structure” with a low-denier. Low-density woven fabric, which effectively reduces friction and yarn hooking, reduces weight, and improves the breathability of the garment, which they call Micro Grid backer lining technology.
GORE-TEX® Active: For single-day, highly aerobic activities.
Because Active uses the most breathable and lightweight film in GORE-TEX products. It can dissipate heat and moisture more quickly during high aerobic activity. It is ideal for marathons, trail running, cycling, and other low-impact exercises.
EVENT is a revolutionary, innovative waterproof, and breathable fabric. It offers more direct wicking, breathable benefits and waterproof barrier than any other membrane ever made. And it’s exclusive Dry System Technology sets a strict new standard: perspiration must dissipate before it can penetrate the lining of the fabric.
In some respects, EVENT’s waterproof and breathable capabilities surpass those of Gore-tex.
GORE-TEX film is coated on both sides with a thin layer of PU coating that is oil resistant and allows moisture to pass through. This treatment enhances the durability and strength of the fabric. But at the same time negatively affects the air permeability of the fabric. The difference of EVENT here is that it does not apply a whole PU coating on the surface of the film. But directly protects the micro-pores of the film separately. So that moisture and water can flow out of the micro-pores faster and more efficiently than GORE-TEX, creating a better “direct ventilation” effect.
It is also worth noting that good breathability also means that the heat emitted from the body is more easily lost. This is not a good thing in extremely cold conditions, and fabrics that are too breathable may cause a loss of heat. Then you need to wear a heavier base layer or mid-layer. In this regard, the durability and reliability of GORE-TEX fabric has been tested for many years. And its slower breathability than EVENT is more suitable for cold weather activities. So in warm weather, EVENT is a better choice than Gore-Tex while in cold condition Gore-Tex can protect you from catching a cold.
The core of EVENT fabric is a water-repellent, expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (hydrophobic PTFE) membrane. Also to its superior breathable structure, the EVENT material is now used in the high-end products of some of the top outdoor brands. And it is combined with an anti-oil effect to avoid staining from body oils, sweat, and sunscreens.
Windstopper, like the highly acclaimed Gore-tex, is a fabric developed exclusively by Gore USA. Gore claims that it is the most widely used fabric for outdoor use to date. It is not only windproof and breathable but also more than twice as warm as ordinary fabrics.
Windstopper and Gore-tex can be called the best and most durable functional fabrics in the world today. And many people don’t understand what the difference is between them. In fact, although they are both Gore products, Windstopper is a softshell fabric and the other is a hardshell fabric. Gore-tex has excellent water resistance and is usually used to make rash vests, while Windstopper has strong wind resistance and is mostly used to make windproof clothing.
Polartec Classic Fleece
Polartec Classic fleece is a textile material produced by MaldenMills in the USA. It is by far the most popular fleece on the outdoor market. It is lighter, softer, warmer, and does not shed fleece than regular fleece. It also dries faster and stretches well. Polartec is divided into lightweight, medium weight, and heavy weight. 100 series is lightweight and suitable for fleece pants. 200 series is the most common, with better warmth than 100 series and not as heavy as 300 series. 300 series has the best warmth and is suitable for extreme environments and is heavier in weight.
Polartec Thermal Pro: Thermal Pro series, compared to Polartec Classic, uses a more complex brushing process to “insulate” more air within the fleece fabric. And use less yarn in the fabric weaving process. Thus, the performance in warmth, compression is more excellent, and lighter weight. At the same time, because it is superior functional, the use of the range has exceeded the trend of the Polartec Classic series, which widely appears in the field of clothing, gloves, hats.
Polartec Power Shield is said to be able to achieve 98% windproof effect by relying on the Composite of nylon fabric with the outer layer of the fabric. This fabric is smooth outside, short fleece inside, the thickness of the fleece and Polartec Classic 100 is almost the same. It is elastic, windproof, and waterproof.
Polartec Power Dry was developed as a quick-drying material. Inside of this fabric is a small square layer of fine fleece. The thickness is slightly thinner than fleece, and it is good elasticity, comfortable to the touch, with good compression properties. Because it focuses on moisture-wicking, so it is not as warm as Polartec classic 100. Generally use for underwear, but also as gloves, but rarely seen. In winter, I would like to wear this material underwear, because it is really comfortable.
Polartec Power Stretch, as the name implies, is highly elastic fleece fabric. The same as the above-mentioned Power Dry, commonly used in underwear materials. But also often used in the need for high elastic parts of the patchwork, the thickness of the equivalent of wool sweater. One side is smooth, and the other is fine fluff. It can be worn on both sides. The official description is that the smooth side makes you warmer when worn next to the body. And the fleece side is better for moisture absorption and perspiration.
Invista® (formerly DuPont) in the United States invented SUPPLEX® fabric, a new fabric that is better than natural cotton fabrics. With a comfortable cotton-like feel and also wear resistance and durability like man-made fibers.
Most people like cotton clothes. Supplex fabric not only has the unique softness and comfort of cotton clothes. It also overcomes the problems of cotton being easy to wrinkle, shrink and fade. Clothing made of this fabric can maintain a good prototype even after repeated washing, and the color is still as bright as new.
Supplex is a kind of nylon air-twisted yarn, a new type of textile made by a special air processing technique. The fiber has an excellent porous structure, which can achieve a quick-drying effect. It is also 26%-36% softer and lighter than normal nylon. So Supplex fabric is very suitable for workout clothing. It is windproof, water-resistant, quick-drying, super lightweight, stain-resistant, and anti-color fading.
Primaloft is produced by Al-bany International, a U.S. company. It is an ultra-soft, water-repellent microfiber that is a good alternative to down fibers. It is super lightweight and has the same soft and warm feel as down fiber.
This product was developed for the U.S. Army. They needed an alternative to down fibers that would dry quickly when wet and provide a feeling of warmth when wet. The inventors began to study the physical and thermal properties of down fibers. And he finally created a product consisting of millions of microfibers that could be polymerized like down fibers.
The extremely light and soft Primaloft insulation provides millions of air chambers suspended in a microfiber mesh. The air chambers are extremely tiny, so that water droplets only stay on the surface. Even if drips are squeezed into the Primaloft fibers, the water won’t be absorbed by the microfiber structure. So Primaloft will keep you warm even when wet.
There are three types of Primaloft products, the thermal insulation properties of different Primaloft products are different. Primaloft One used as a filler in clothing, sleeping bags, and gloves. Primaloft Sport is normally used as an insulating layer in casual wear, footwear, and sleeping bags. And Primaloft Lite is mainly used in sleeping bags.
Primaloft One is an excellent microfiber insulation layer. Combining ultra-fine fibers and patented special processing procedures, it achieves incredible softness, lightweight, and water resistance. Primaloft One’s water absorption is 1/3 of that of ordinary fiber, and it has 14% more warmth retention when dry, and 24% more warmth when wet. Its windproof, breathable, and quick-drying effect is better than that of down, and it has the warmth and compressibility similar to that of down. In addition, it has an excellent water repellent effect.
CoolMax is a four-pipe fiber material developed by DuPont. The four-pipe fiber and the fiber form the largest space to ensure the best air permeability. And quickly transmit the moisture emitted from the skin surface to the outer fiber.
Compared with cotton, although it can absorb sweat, its ability to wick away sweat is not high, while ordinary chemical fiber has a poor ability to absorb sweat. CoolMax fiber is excellent at absorbing sweat and wicking away sweat. As a sports clothing manufacturer, we recommend using this material for gym t-shirts, golf polo shirts, pants, socks, underwear, hats, backpacks.
Lycra, an artificial elastic fiber invented and produced exclusively by DuPont, can be stretched 4 to 7 times and quickly return to its original length after the release of external force. It cannot be used alone but can be interwoven with any other man-made or natural fibers. It does not change the appearance of the fabric, is an invisible fiber and can greatly improve the performance of the fabric. It is one of the most commonly used fiber for sport clothing fabric as it bring a super stretchy effect to the clothing.
Teflon, developed by DuPont, uses special molecules to encapsulate the outer layer of fibers and protect them from oil, liquids, dirt and soil. It provides high durability, longevity and protection. Teflon protects your clothing from dirt and grime. Taking care of this fabric is very easy, just soak up the liquid, brush the dirt and dust.
This fiber is a high-quality wool fiber extracted and processed from Australia’s Merino breed. It is good elasticity and soft luster. Its unique elasticity gives the garment a special fluffy feel and a smooth feel. Soft, very comfortable, and keep you warm. And it has good perspiration and anti-odor effects. It is one of my favorite materials as it gives me warmth and tenderness as my mon does.
I hope that after reading this article, you have a preliminary understanding of the top ten popular sports fabrics and a better understanding of how to select the correct fabric for your activewear clothing brand. If you have any difficulty in choosing workout fabric, welcome to contact us.