Anyone who is a member of a running team or football team, or is a cyclist or almost any other form of athlete, knows that wearing regular clothes is a bad idea for comfort and performance, making sports wear essential.
You are probably aware that a car engine gets hot when running and requires cooling to prevent it from overheating. For athletes, your body is your engine, and as you push your muscles, you raise your body temperature and get hot.
The body’s natural cooling process is sweating. The evaporation of sweat cools the body. However, traditional fabrics can interrupt the process and prevent your body from reducing its core temperature.
While some people sweat more than others, a fabric that helps you stay cool and dry, working in harmony with your body, is exceptionally advantageous for all athletes.
If you have been looking for sports wear, you have probably come across the term ‘fast wicking fabric.’ But, what is it, and why is it so important?
What Is Fast Wicking & How Does It Work
Fast wicking fabrics are technical fabrics that perform two roles:
- Fast wicking fabrics move sweat quickly to the outer surface of the sports wear
- Fast wicking fabrics dry rapidly, so the player’s sweat does not saturate the material
Wicking sports wear works through a capillary action that draws off the liquid through the narrow spaces in the fabric. The material is created in such a way that outward capillary pressure is natural and self-sustaining.
The yarns are engineered with structures that promote a molecular force that facilitates the outward movement of moisture. Typically, this molecular action is created by having thinner yarn next to your skin and thicker yarn on the exterior.
Most often, the yarn is synthetic. This is important because synthetic fabrics are hydrophobic, which means they are not penetrated by water. A non-wicking fabric such as cotton would hold the reverse properties, absorbing and becoming saturated with sweat. Cotton also takes a long time to dry.
Research shows that cotton will hold seven percent of its weight in sweat, with synthetic fabrics holding on to as little as half a percent.
How It Benefits Sports Wear & Performance
Choosing sports tops and bottoms that are fast-wicking will ensure you are more comfortable. The fabric feels dry when it touches the skin and helps your body regulate its temperature.
If your football shirts and running shirts are made from non-wicking fabrics, then you will feel cold on chilly days and hot and sticky on warm days. The clothing will also retain the bacteria that are responsible for bad odours. So, moisture-wicking fabric is an advantage for any sports wear that touches the skin.
To get the best from your fast-wicking sports wear, you should restrain from using dryer sheets or liquid softeners when washing the items. Liquid softeners place a waxy residue on the surface of the fabric, which prevents wicking.