Outdoor Life

How moisture wicking clothing works

Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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Performance clothing keeps you dry and at your best
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How moisture wicking clothing works to keep you dry and comfortable for workouts

Sweaty, sticky cotton tees once were a sign of a good workout. Fortunately, high performance clothing makes wet clothes a thing of the past. Athletes, firefighters and anyone working in extreme conditions can now do so in the comfort of a dry shirt.

Many wonder how moisture wicking clothing works. If you've never worn this type of material before, it has a soft, almost silky feel. The first time you touch it, it's hard to imagine how this thin fabric not only keeps you warm and dry, but is extremely durable.

It's all about the technology. High performance athletic clothing is blended with synthetic materials and treatments designed to draw sweat from the skin. Rather than absorbing this moisture as cotton does, performance clothes push perspiration through the material to the surface where it simply evaporates.

If you've ever worn a pure polyester shirt, you've felt first hand how effective the fibers are at absorbing moisture. The trouble is that without the treatments that allow the fibers to push moisture to the surface, sweat becomes trapped in the clothing. This leaves the wearer sticky, uncomfortable and not smelling their best.

Basically the technology in this clothing performs two major functions. First, it enhances the fabrics ability to rapidly pull perspiration from the skin it covers. Second, it releases the moisture so the wearer stays dry and warm. For instance, if you dive in a pool and put one of these shirts on, the shirt will dry you and itself surprisingly fast.

The beauty of this type of clothing is that it works whether you're running in only a tee and shorts on a cool spring day, or wearing it under layers on a cold winter hike. Outdoorsy people know how important it is to adapt to the elements. This athletic gear allows you to do so.

Does it work for everyone?

While there are a few lucky people in the world who never seem to break a sweat no matter how many marathons they run, most of us perspire when we're working hard. Its our body's natural way of cooling itself down. That said, some sweat far more profusely than others.

Once you know the basics of how moisture wicking clothing works, you may still be skeptical. There's a reason why the companies producing this gear are now designing business suits from the same material. It works for everyone! The treatments don't wash out no matter how many times you wash the material the technology's there to stay.

Sweating-fighting for every budget

A quick browse through your local athletic shop may result in some sticker shock. That's because the brand name clothing can be expensive. Now that this technology has proven itself to work, other manufacturers produce sweat wicking tops, bottoms and undies at affordable prices.

In general, endurance athletes, outdoors enthusiasts and people who work outside for a living dress themselves head to toe in performance gear. Wearing the right clothing allows you to focus on the task at hand from navigating a steep hiking trail, skiing a new slope or teaching your kid how to kayak. If you're raising a future nature lover or athlete, note that performance clothing is made for children, too.

Now you know how moisture wicking clothing works and why it beats pure cotton. When you need to be at your physical and mental best, the last thing you need is a damp, clingy garments weighing you down.

Still skeptical? Go to a local race and compare the runners in fitted, athletic gear to those trapped in a heavy t-shirt. Better yet, take sweat-wicking clothing for a test run and see for yourself how dry and fresh you feel after 20 minutes.

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