The fabrics and textiles used in different sports today have become highly customised to suit particular sports requirements. From feather-weight skin suits to embedding nanotechnology to monitor performance, functional sportswear is constantly being innovated to help athletes, both professionals and novice, to perform to the best of their abilities.
The major 4 pointers on which ‘clothing comfort’ can be defined are as below:
– Thermo-regulatory Control
– Touch and Feel Comfort
– Mobility / Dexterity
– Aesthetic Comfort
Various materials are designed keeping these aspects in mind. Many high-functioning polymers, yarns and smart double-woven fabrics are being developed to provide optimum comfort. In addition, another factor which is being explored for sustainability is of creating sports jerseys from recycled materials like PET bottles or other organic fibres.
Popular Fibres used in Active Sports:
– LYCRA® (Owner – INVISTA)
One of the most commonly known fabrics, majorly used in swimwear, Lycra is a high-performing man-made elastic fibre, invented by DuPont in 1958, having a robust combination of thickness, stretch and fibre chemistry.
One of the oldest and probably the best-known waterproof breathable fabric, Gore-Tex is a thin microporous membrane of Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) placed between two fabrics. A similar waterproof fabric is the SympaTex, with the difference being that the latter one is extremely thin-layered (70-100 microns) without any micropores.
– Dryarn (Owner – Aquafil)
This lightweight polypropylene microfibre is a high-performing fabric, with high thermoregulatory capacity and anti-odour features along with quick-drying capacity.
– Triactor (Owner – Toyobo Co Ltd.)
This hydrophobic fibre created by changing polyester filaments to Y-shaped cross-sections, showcases high perspiration absorbency through capillary actions, thus providing water-repellency as well as quick-drying and refreshing properties together.
Developed specifically for the sportswear market, Coolmax® is a high-performing four-channelled and six-channelled polyester fibre that keeps its wearer dry and cool, through improved wicking capability and moisture-vapour permeability.
Apart from these, there are many other fabrics which are being constantly developed the world over, along with new technologies. Single-knit Jerseys, biomimetics, phase-change materials (PCMs) are a few of the new technologies and fabric treatments being used in recent times.