In several cases, more than a garment'sappearance, the properties are the vital factors that make it popular. Theworkplace norms make it compulsory for some to wear special safety garments,nevertheless, when it comes to sports the garment choices that thesportspersons make directly affects the performance. The ease and comfort ofthe clothing is linked to performance. Consequently, ensuring that thesportswear has certain properties is quite palpably beneficial. The most basicproperty that the sportswear must have is breathability. Here, breathabilitydenotes the ability of the garments to transfer the moist vapour through thepore of garments. Breathable sports garments ensure rapid moisture vapourtransmission through garments, thus making any physically strenuous activitycomfortable.
The term breathable implies that the fabric is activelyventilated. Breathable fabrics are all about Moisture Vapour Transmission Rate(MVTR), which is the measure of how quickly or slowly, moisture passes througha fabric or other substance. MVTR is measured in g/m/day, or the mass ofmoisture that passes through a square meter of fabric in a day.
The sportswear combines multilayered fabric. The innerlayer fabric is capable of whisking away the moist vapour and perspiration fromthe skin to the outer layer. This process keeps the garment dry with modules ofperspiration only on the outer layers. When theobjective of the sportswear is to breathability along with keeping thebody warm then the inner cover is usually a micro fleece, which is a soft andnapped, synthetic wool material usually made from polyester. This keeps thebody warm and in countries, where the mercury levels drop drastically like inEuropean countries, the need for such clothing is important. The players needgarments having multilayer as a defense against extreme cold weather. Thislayer ensures insulation in the body and lets the body breathe by lettingperspiration pass through the fleece to the outer layer. As a result, thewearer remains safe from extreme cold conditions and also the excess moisturereleased by the body. The outer layer of the sports garment must allow sweatmodules to exit through the garment while keeping wind out.
The moisture can passthrough a fabric either by ventilation and solid state diffusion. Forventilation a porous fabric is used, as it ensures that air passes directlythrough it. The air may carry moisture in the form of vapour. In solid statediffusion, some non-porous fabrics permit the transmission of moisture. Inother words, the type of fabric used in manufacturing breathable sportswear isalso equally important. There is a school of thought that believes that ingetting rid of the perspiration, the basic attribute of the fibre to absorb themoisture plays an important role. Thus, those who support this school ofthought believe that cotton or viscose is a necessary element for thesportswear. While there is another theory that says that fibres in thebreathable garments should not absorb moisture, so that moisture orperspiration is guided away from the skin to outer layers of clothing from hereon it can evaporate. As per this theory the synthetics must be the preferred inclothing of active sports as synthetics do not hold moisture and thus thegarments weigh lighter even after release of excess sweat. Also fast drying is a must trait that the breathable sportswear must have, following which, today, the modern textile materials use the basic idea of capillary action.
With modifications and consistent research, breathability of the garment is being combined with several other factors like water resistance, odour-free, etc. Sports apparel layers are going through some remarkable technological developments. Manufacturing breathable sports apparel in various combinations will unquestionably raise the level of ease in sports apparel. Such qualities are required in helping players stay dry and confident. Breathable fabrics combined with properties like UV protection, skins and compression garments are intended to enhance performance in sports. The breathable sportswear technology is heading in the progressive direction. The sportswear is now designed to keep the wearer warm, dry, cool, increase performance, help recover quicker and even smell better!
The breathable sportswear must ensure maximum heat and moisture control, good air and water vapour permeability, quick moisture absorption and easy mobility, no signs of dampness, quick drying, minimal water absorption in the layer nearest to the skin, easy care, lightweight and fine feel. Special finishing processes can be used to increase the difference in surface energy between the face of a fabric and the back of the fabric to enhance its ability to keep sweat away from body.
Breathable fabrics are not apt under certain conditions like in high humid weather or when the breathable fabric gets drenched with sweat then the process of ventilation is hindered making the wearer uncomfortable. However, the benefits of the breathable sportswear outweigh the negatives and with so many innovations in line, the breathable sportswear will improve in days to come. Outdoor activities are all about fun and the fun actually becomes better and relaxing when the sports gear allows utmost breathability.