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6 common features of Performance Fabric.

Stay comfortable with performance fabric.

What do you think of when you hear “Performance Fabric”? Common features include UV Protection, Fade Resistance, Wrinkle Resistance, Anti-Pill, Moisture Wicking, Stain Resistance, Anti-Microbial, Water Proof/Water Resistant, and Wind Proof. All of these features are available in today’s performance fabric but to keep things short we will cover the top six features most desirable in performance tees and golf shirts.

UV Protection Factor chart image

UV Protection – Several important factors influence the UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) of a fabric. Color, weight, and tightness of the weave are the top three influencers. Dark color garments with a heavy weight and a tight weave offer the best UV protection. UPF is a measure of a fabrics ability to block the sun’s UV rays from reaching the skin. A UPF rating of 25 will allow 1/25 of the sun’s UV rays to penetrate the garment and reach the skin.

Fade Resistance – Most noticeable fading occurs during the wash cycle; however another major factor is sunlight. Try hanging a dark colored shirt next to a window exposed to direct sunlight for a week and you will see what I mean. There are two primary methods for achieving fade resistance in performance fabrics, first is a chemical treatment of the fabric that will block UV rays much like sunscreen applied to the skin. Chemical treatments are not permanent and will eventually wash out of the fabric. A second and better method is Dye Bonding. Dye Bonding is a method of penetrating the core of the fabric which allows the color to become part of the fiber and will resist fading for a much longer period of time.

Wrinkle Resistance – Permanent Press technology has been around since the 1960’s; however today’s performance fibers and synthetic blends are more wrinkle resistant than ever. Most fabrics including cotton can be chemically treated to resist wrinkling but performance fabric, because of its inherent flexibility, is the best choice for easy care garments. Again, chemically treated fabrics will eventually wash out of the fabric but polyester performance fabric maintains its wrinkle resistance permanently as long as the manufacturer’s suggested care instructions are followed.

Anti-Pill – Pilling of fabric refers to the little balls or fuzziness that can accumulate on the surface of fleece or poly material. Up until the past couple of years this has been a major problem with synthetic fabric yarn. Manufacturers now use a polyester yarn spun with a much higher “Twist” rate than previously available which in turn produces a finished material much less prone to pulls and pilling during wash cycles and exposure to rough surfaces.

demonstration of moisture wicking technologies

Moisture Wicking – Moisture wicking fabric is a feature most people identify with performance fabric. Polyester fabric is considered Hydrophobic or lacking an affinity for water. Natural fibers such as cotton are considered Hydrophilic or having an affinity for water. Performance fabrics with moisture wicking properties draw moisture away from the skin and spread the moisture to the surrounding area of the fabric where it can more easily evaporate unlike cotton which simply draws the moisture away from the skin and retains the moisture within the fabric. Performance fabric also allows greater breathability than natural fibers which makes the garment more comfortable to wear.

Anti-Microbial – A common misconception with moisture wicking garments is that they cause less perspiration than traditional garments. Perspiration generally occurs at the same rate as other materials but performance fibers are better at expelling the moisture which makes the wearer feel more comfortable. Odor causing bacteria can still form on polyester fiber if it is not treated with anti-microbial properties. Silver Ion was one of the first treatments used in the war against odor which contributed to the elevated price of the early moisture wicking fabrics. Manufacturers now use more cost effective methods including topical applications as well as more permanent fiber additives.

Performance garments such as golf shirts and tee shirts have come a long way since the early days when they were developed for athletes. Modern performance apparel has become part of our daily lives from corporate offices to casual wear. Live in comfort with the latest technology, visit our website for hundreds of choices in performance apparel – www.aeoink.com – or give us a call for more information 800-397-0292.

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