Written and published on ZOZI.com
(C) Kathy Murdock
Moisture-wicking, polypropylene, elastane, Wick. Q technology – decoding the meaning of
words commonly found on fitness labels can be as difficult as deciphering a foreign language.
No worries! We’re here to tell you what these words mean and why they matter when it comes
to fitness wear; and we’re even going to share with you a few of our favorite picks.
Technical Fabric: A Brief History
Browse photos of marathon runners from the 1970s and you’ll find them dressed in a basic
cotton tee. (Did we just hear a collective gasp!) Then, in 1984 with the help of a NASA scientist,
an aluminum-coated uniform was created for the US Olympic team. (ref:
heavy_to_tight_and_dimpled_a_visual_history_of_olympic_sprinting_attire.html) This fabric
promoted moisture wicking during physical activity.
Today the majority of fitness wear is designed with some type of technical fabric, and most
athletes avoid cotton fabric like it’s a contagious disease. Why this shun of cotton when it’s time to break a sweat? That comfy shirt you love to sleep in soaks through when wet, retaining
moisture like a sponge and trapping it next to your skin. Imagine hiking the Pacific Trail in
colder temps and a light rain. One mile in and you’re wet from the inside out and cold all over –
not to mention ready to hang up your hiking boots for a spot inside by a fire.
Yet if you swap out that cotton garb for tech clothes, the wicking material will pull perspiration
away from your skin as you sweat, keeping your core temperature regulated. Your outfit will dry
faster than its cotton competitor, and, despite the wet conditions, you’ll feel toasty, dry and
ready to hike for miles.
Fabrics designed with wicking material are also thinner and lighter than cotton, which means
you won’t have to layer up so much that you resemble the Marshmallow Man when you leave
your house; unless, of course, you want to resemble him. (We won’t judge.)
Just What Are Tech Clothes Made Of?
Most technical clothing is constructed of polyester or polypropylene. Both materials s