Fabrics for Sportswear
Sports fabrics are technical materials which help to keep the wearer comfortable during exercise. The type of fabric required will depend upon the intensity of the exercise and the activity. Yoga clothing should use fabrics with good stretch ability for easy movement which will likely require the fabric to be of a knitted construction. Apparel for long distance running will keep the wearer in good comfort if it has excellent moisture wicking properties to enable sweat to transfer from the inside to the outside for the garment. Performance clothing for outdoor sports in the winter or snow sports ought to use breathable fabrics with very good insulating properties.
SPORT FABRIC PROPERTIES
Fabrics with good thermal conductivity are not good insulators, therefore these fabrics will be cooler to wear. Air is one of the worst conductors of heat which is why the more still air a fabric can trap, the warmer it will keep you.
Wicking is the transport of moisture through a fabric. Moisture can pass between fibres, yarns and through the fibre itself. The ability for moisture to pass through a fabric will depend on the fabric construction and the fibre type. Synthetic fibres tend to dry quickly and are the most commonly used fibre in athletic wear now.
Water Vapour Transmission
When high intensity exercise takes place, sweating will occur to evaporate heat off the skin. If clothing is not breathable than there is nowhere for the moisture to escape. This causes moisture to build up inside the garment and on the skin resulting in the body getting hotter. Another consequence is when exercise decreases and heat stops being generated from the body, the moisture (which is less insulating than still air) will then increase heat loss rapidly, especially in a cold environment. From this we can conclude that clothing needs to prevent rain and wind from getting in but at the same time allow moisture from the inside to escape out. This process is known as water vapour transmission and fabrics which are able to do this are known as waterproof breathable fabrics.