Are moisture-wicking fabrics all they are hyped up to be? Three average athletes and one outdoor worker take the test.
Chances are, you’ve heard some hype about moisture-wicking fabrics. Often used to make athletic apparel, workout-wear, and business polo shirts, manufacturers claim these performance fabrics can help keep you dry and comfortable by wicking away sweat. But can fabric really do that?
The quick answer is yes. BUT not all moisture wicking fabrics are alike. Here’s the scoop:
So do moisture wicking fabrics work for everyday people? We asked a weekend bike-rider (Kurt), a daily outdoor runner (Tiff), an indoor cardio kick boxer (Toni), and a landscape designer (Ben) to do their thing in 100-percent cotton on one day and in a polyester-performance blend the next day. Here’s what they found:
For a moisture-wicking fabric to work properly, it needs to be both sweat-wicking and breathable. Some fabrics (like cotton and linen) can be breathable, but they aren’t sweat wicking. The weave of a polyester fabric also makes a difference. A polyester running shirt usually features a knitted, mesh-like structure of yarns (think chain link fence). A polyester rain jacket, on the other hand, is made from a non-permeable weave (think canvas awning). When choosing moisture wicking wear for working or working out, read the manufacturer’s description and look for words like “dry-fit, sweat wicking, stay-dry, performance, antimicrobial, antibacterial, or fast drying.”