Having the right gear is critical to optimizing your running experience. Breathable fabrics provide superior temperature regulation and moisture management, allowing runners to run longer without risking heat exhaustion or discomfort.
Breathable fabrics allow air to circulate freely, facilitating heat transfer and moisture between the body and clothing. Let’s take a closer look at how these fabrics function and how they can benefit your running.
The fabric’s ability to pass moisture and air through its pores, or breathability, is one of the most critical factors in determining comfort and performance. As sweat, heat, and air are transported through the fabric, evaporation of the moisture reduces body temperature and helps to regulate it.
A fabric’s permeability to water vapor depends on both its pore size and density, as well as its thickness and surface tension. Generally, a material with more and larger pores is more breathable than one with few and small ones. It is also essential to consider the humidity of the fabric and the surrounding environment when evaluating a garment’s breathability.
In addition to determining a fabric’s permeability, its construction and yarn type influence its breathability. In general, tighter knits and weaves are less breathable than looser ones. In addition, a fabric’s weight and fiber content are essential considerations.
An excellent way to test a fabric’s breathability, like the high quality compression fabric, is to hold it up to the light and see how much light passes through. This is a nonscientific but convenient way to judge a fabric’s breathability and can be particularly helpful when selecting clothing for outdoor activities. Whether looking for running shorts or a long-sleeved running shirt, the right breathable fabric can make all the difference.
When fabrics allow for the passage of air and its moisture vapor, they can control a human body’s temperature by increasing or decreasing heat dissipation. The breathability of a fabric is influenced by the density of its weave, the size and shape of its pores, the yarn’s construction, and its finished coating. The permeability of fabric is also affected by the humidity and temperature in its environment and by the relative humidity between it and the skin.
A fabric’s breathability is commonly expressed in its moisture vapor transmission rate (MVTR), which measures how much water vapor passes through a material daily at 77 F and 50% RH. This is an important parameter to consider when selecting apparel for sports and exercise. Still, several other factors influence whether a fabric will help you perform and feel comfortable.
For example, while most research has focused on the impact of MVTR on performance and comfort during hot exercise, evaporative heat loss capacity, and sweat-wicking ability have yet to be reported in these studies. However, these are the most critical parameters to address if the clothing is intended for athletic competition in high humidity and warm environmental conditions.
You’ll want your sportswear to breathe well, whether running in the summer heat, sweating during a high-intensity workout, or taking a long and grueling yoga class. Breathability allows heat from the body to escape and cool air to move in, helping you feel comfortable and boosting performance.
Breathability is a term that can be confusing, as it doesn’t mean that the fabric is alive. Technically, it refers to the fabric’s moisture vapor transmission rate (MVTR), which measures how much water vapor can pass through a square meter of material in a day.
To be breathable, fabrics must have a difference in humidity between the inside and outside. The material must also have plenty of large pores, allowing the passage of air that may carry a small amount of moisture in the form of water vapor.
Cotton, linens, and other plant-based fabrics have natural breathability that some athletes prefer for their softness and silky feel. However, their MVTR is better than synthetic fabrics, and they can retain odors. In addition, their production and processing can be environmentally unfriendly.
Breathable fabrics are essential for staying cool during workouts. Whether you’re doing an early morning run or a high-intensity afternoon sweat session, the material you wear will make a massive difference in your experience and performance. But with so many different options, deciding which fabric is best for your specific needs can be challenging. In addition to varying fiber contents, weights, and stretch factors, many materials also have complicated names that are often difficult to pronounce or understand. Some are also given a variety of marketing descriptions that can be misleading or even misrepresentative.
The most common fabric used in athletic wear is polyester. This synthetic cloth is characterized by its low cost, durability, and moisture-wicking properties. It’s also durable and wrinkle-resistant, so it holds up well to vigorous exercise and doesn’t get stretched out of shape like cotton can. However, polyester is less breathable than other materials. It’s more likely that a piece of polyester clothing will be described as “breathable” than one made from nylon or other more specialized material.
As a result, athletes may mistakenly assume that fabric is breathable based on its description or brand name. To avoid this, you should always read a garment’s label before purchasing. Look for information about the fabric’s MVTR, moisture vapor transmission rate, and breathability rating. A higher MVTR suggests that more moisture will pass through the material, while a higher breathability rating means that more water will evaporate.