Synthetic materials are synonymous with athletic clothing. Ask any person about polyester or spandex and they would likely associate those words with athletics.
Almost 60% of clothing materials worldwide are synthetic. They are either exclusively used in performance wear or blended to create a mesh material (i.e. tri-blend shirts). What makes these materials so popular in society?
Limitations with Cotton
Cotton is the most prevalent clothing material in the world. It is used for everyday outfits because it is comfortable, commonly grown around the globe, and very breathable. The list of positive attributes associated with cotton is endless and is the reason why most casual wear is made of it. Regardless of its benefits, cotton is not an ideal material for athletic clothing or aerobic activity.
Cotton is sweat-absorbent and retains liquids. When a runner trains or goes to the gym, their sweat will not wick away from their skin. Because of this, sweat builds up around the material, generating heat. This creates an uncomfortable situation, especially if the athlete plans on training for a long period of time.
Synthetics Provide a Solution
Unlike cotton, synthetic materials are moisture-wicking. The moisture-wicking aspect of polyester and spandex means that they wick away sweat, dispersing fluid throughout the fabric. Instead of absorbing sweat, polyester and spandex allow for perspiration to develop, transferring the sweat throughout the material.
Through capillary action, sweat is pulled away from the skin, moved to the surface of the fabric, where it will eventually evaporate. The evaporation allows for body temperature regulation, meaning that a person will not overheat. This is extremely beneficial to athletes because their sweat won't accumulate during aerobic activity.
Synthetics Effect on Society
Synthetic materials are amazing in their own way. They are great for athletic clothing and provide other benefits through their durability, stretchability, and wear.
The problem that comes from synthetic materials is their impact on our planet. These materials are not sustainable and contribute significantly to CO2 emissions.
That is why we use recycled synthetic materials in our athletic clothing. Our Anova Velocity shirts are made from 100% recycled polyester. Recycled polyester is better for society because it is more environmentally friendly than virgin polyester and provides the same moisture-wicking technology.