Monday, March 30, 2009

Mysterious case of Polyester

As the summer approaches I spent the last few weeks shopping at Marshalls for some activewear. The last few summers have been brutal and I was hoping some new activewear would help until I started searching for the phrase "hot weather fabric" and I somehow hit into a snag.

It is kinda weird because all the guides for snowboards or athletic wear have polyester as the recommended base layer for breathe ability and wicking. All the under armour is basically polyester so I am thinking the recommended natural fibers like cotton is a joke because I have worn cotton in orlando and it's ridiculously uncomforable.

Even more confusing as I went through the various links seem to confirm and contradict. So based on what I read I came to a few conclusions:

1) Cotton is "natures" most breathable fabric. However sweat will soak into cotton and when wet it will cling to your skin causing it to increase heat buildup. Lightweight is better like that of underwear but regular t-shirts (NOT to be confused with lightweight short sleeve shirts) can be quite thick/heavy. Avoid sweats in summer.
2) Fabric's ability to breathe is now engineered into the weave of the clothing. So the fabric description on the tag is not that important as even microfiber can be labeled 100 percent polyester. So if it's polyester make sure it's intended for the right weather.

Some caveats with polyester is that in a fire... not a good thing to be wearing polyester as it will basically melt on your skin... ohhh.

So hopefully this helps some people because it was annoying to read some idiot screaming no polyester in the summer without going further into it. Though I have not seen much of any polyester clothing since at least the 1990's. Only high end excercise wear nowadays(where are these people buying their clothing from?). I actually found a short sleeve shirt that's made of modal and some spandex and it felt great. I guess the problems with all these breathable and wickable clothing is the sweat stains involved which just demonstrates their selling point but that can be a con that is not justifiable.

Excellent link Here. Feel free to add anything interesting.

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