Moisture management (how well clothing can transfer moisture from a person's skin to the outside air) is not always considered when coaches and athletic directors make team gear purchasing decisions, but this factor is important. In fact, those who understand how high-tech fabrics control moisture could help their teams gain a competitive edge over rivals. We discussed in previous articles how heat or cold can alter a team’s performance. Managing moisture is a key strategy for counteracting the performance-limiting effect of extreme weather conditions.
Moisture management refers to the heat exchanged during evaporation that cools our bodies. When moisture is trapped inside an athlete's training gear, he or she could become uncomfortable and cooling can be impeded in both hot and cold weather. When athletes stop moving, their bodies cool down. If there is moisture trapped inside their clothing, it can cause them to become extremely uncomfortable quickly. Moisture management fabric helps athletes and coaches stay comfortable and at the ideal temperature for athletic performance.There are several different ways fabrics manage moisture:
Microfiber fabrics transport moisture away from the skin efficiently thanks to the "capillary effect" of the very thin strands that comprise them.
Hydrophobic fabrics like polyester prevent liquid water from passing through but usually have very tiny pores for letting water vapor (evaporated sweat) out.
Hydrophilic fabrics like cotton absorb sweat but tend to retain it, not allowing it to evaporate into the air. This is why pure cotton athletic apparel can feel clammy. Fiber shape, yarn structure, weave structure, and the density of the fabric are just a few of the factors that affect a fabrics performance.
How to choose the right high-tech moisture management apparel
Many athletes and coaches want all-weather apparel that's breathable, comfortable, and easy to clean. The best high-tech moisture management clothing is all of the above and helps sports teams perform well in cold or hot temperatures. Increased comfort is perhaps the greatest benefit provided by high-tech moisture management apparel.
Modern training apparel combines fabrics with different moisture management attributes, like hydrophobic and hydrophilic, for maximum effectiveness. Unfortunately, all of this can all get very technical. As a team buyer, how do you know which moisture management fabric will work best for your training gear, uniforms and other apparel? Ask the experts. Team dealers should have highly trained and qualified experts on staff who know the benefits and drawbacks of different moisture management technologies and can help you choose the right one, balancing cost and performance. They will also advise you on how to layer different fabrics to stay dry and comfortable through changing conditions.
For more expert guidance on choosing the right team sports apparel, gear, and uniforms for performance and durability, download our free guide by clicking on the image below.
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