Are you a runner?
If you are, then you will be all too familiar with blisters. And the main reason for blisters, is the wrong choice of running outfit. To be more specific, the type of materials that your outfits are made out of are not ideal for running. Be it your top, shorts, and all the way down to your socks, the materials that they are made from matters. So what is the right kind of materials?
Functional fabrics, also known as technical fabrics, are fabrics designed to keep moisture out. Unlike cotton, which is a comfortable material for garments in general, has a nice stretch to it and soft to the skin, but not so ideal when it comes to getting rid of moisture. Like your sweat, from running. Cotton would trap up all the sweat and caused the fabric to produce friction when rubbing against your skin, or your foot in the case of a running sock. But with functional fabrics, like nylon, polyester and lycra, they were designed to allow moisture to leave the fabric as quickly as possible. Functional fabrics are also slightly water-repellant. Ever heard of ‘Dri-Fit’? That’s the concept.
In some cases, brands would further enhanced their fabrics, by applying special coatings to it, and give it additional features like being water-proof yet breathable (e.g. GoreTEX), UV cut, even reflective surfaces that makes night runs that much safer.
Apart from keep you dry, functional fabrics can also keep you warm. Thermal clothing are also made from functional fabrics. Through a brushing process, the fabrics are made into fleece, yes, that furry layer on the inside of your jumper or jacket, which helps trap heat and keeps you warm.
So apart from running wear, what else is made from functional fabrics? I believe the question can be easily answer by saying ‘what’s not made from functional fabrics’. At least, for most sports. From rashguard, to yoga pants, to compression wear and cycling tights, are all great examples of functional fabrics at work.
So the next time when you’re thinking of what fabric is best, think of what function it needs to provide and plan according from there.