How Apparel Technologies Can Help Your Workout

Say goodbye to the classic cotton tee. The latest high-tech athletic apparel is designed to minimize sweat, control body temperature and support muscles so you can train more comfortably and effectively.

MOISTURE WICKING 

Simply put, moisture-wicking technology helps you stand up to sweat.  These innovative fabrics use microfibers to lift perspiration off your skin to the surface of your fabric, where it quickly evaporates.  

“When you’re working out, moisture-wicking keeps you cool and dry,” Janie Talerico, athletic apparel merchandiser at DICK’S Sporting Goods, said.

This popular textile technology is available in activewear from most major brands.

ANTIMICROBIAL FABRICATION

Gym odors got you down? Try apparel infused with antimicrobial agents. This technology minimizes the growth of odor-causing bacteria to keep gym clothes fresh and clean-smelling. You can find it in tops, bottoms, sports bras, and even athletic footwear and socks.

REFLECTIVE DETAILING

reflective detailing

Runners in particular can benefit from apparel lined with reflective detailing. These garments feature a panel or strip of fabric that reflects light in dark conditions. When you’re running outside in the evenings, this functional technology grants much-needed visibility. You can also try sporting a reflective running vest.

APPAREL VENTILATION 

mesh shirtmesh straps

When you’re working up a sweat, breathability is essential. Runners, outdoor athletes and hot yoga devotees alike should look for apparel that maximizes airflow.

Looser-knit stitching helps cooling air reach skin faster. Talerico said this type of stitching is “specially designed to release hot air” for supremely breathable comfort.

Many brands offer apparel with mesh inserts in key zoned areas of the body, like the back of your knees or the small of your back.

“The mesh  is located where you need breathability the most,” she said.

HEAT-TRAPPING FABRIC

warm fabric close up

Thermal fabrics can warm up any cold-weather workout—without unnecessary bulk.

Cold weather athletic apparel has an extra-tight knit to maintain critical body heat in cold conditions.  Soft, brushed inner liners keep you comfortable and cozy.

“A close-knit ensures that the fabric is more impermeable and wind-resistant from the outside in,” Talerico said.

Some brands coat garments with waterproof or water-resistant agents. Other pieces are lined with thermo-conductive coating for superior heat retention. You should always review product information when purchasing cold-weather athletic gear, as many garments are made for particular weather conditions or climates.

COMPRESSION APPAREL 

compression shorts

Compression garments have a lean, second-skin fit that supports muscles. The snug fit of compression apparel pressures blood vessels to boost circulation, which in turn fights muscle fatigue and soreness.

You can find compression apparel in a variety of styles, including arm and leg sleeves, leggings, shirts, bras and tank tops. Compression gear can be worn alone or as a baselayer beneath your regular workout clothing. Plus, many compression pieces are moisture-wicking, thermal and/or antimicrobial—so you can make the most of your training.