Sports Science - Fabric That Works

October 2, 2008

I remember a few years ago when I first got my hands on a shirt by manufacturer Sports Science. My instant thought was "Where's the science, this is cotton". Closer inspection and a little reading had me thinking otherwise as the product tag read, simply, "it's not cotton.". How is that a fabric can wick like a synthetic yet feel soft like cotton? Sounds a lot like wool to me, which Sports Science is utilizing in some of it's Polywool tops, including a few built for skiers and the Raglan Long-sleeve T-Shirt (on sale as of this posting). When I spoke with the folks at Sports Science they said that they use a special type of weave pattern to mix threads of cotton throughout the polyester. That's the science part - getting the weave right so that the cotton is evenly distributed. How it works Since polyester is hydrophobic and will release water if it comes in contact with it you have the ability to let go and in the case of fitness to "dry" with the polyester. Typically to get a poly fabric that will wick moisture you have to chemically treat it. Cotton on the other hand is very hydrophilic and will naturally wick moisture but won't release it as well. This is why outdoor athletes abhor cotton - it won't dry out during use. So when both materials are blended you get the best of both worlds. It's done in a 85% (poly) 15% (cotton) blend. I've used this top for running and found it to work very well. A friend of mine uses hers during workouts and has found it to be her favorite work out shirt. However, when used for extended periods of time as a base layer (I cut the sleeves off one shirt and use it as a base layer under my cycling jersey) rather than a solo layer I've found that it won't dry as well. Good Science It actually does feel soft like cotton No snags like typical poly performance tops Keeps it's size and shape well after multiple washings Affordable - much more than it's wool or synthetic competition Won't hold smell like a poly shirt Bad Science Doesn't dry super well during extended performance as a base layer BUY: Get your hands on a Sports Science tee at by picking up one of their "Where's Karl" tees which celebrated Ultra Trail Runner Karl Meltzer's quest to break the Appalachian Trail record. While he didn't snatch the record, he did finish with the 4th fasted time in 53 days and change. Solid effort indeed, and a solid tee that is fit for the occasion of running the AT.

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