Active Fabrics For Active People

Athletes want to perform and win. The apparel they wear can affect their performance, and the fabrication of that apparel matters. Perhaps for that reason, industry suppliers are introducing new performance fabricated lines of athletic wear. Recently alphabroder (asi/34063) launched its Team 365 brand and SanMar (asi/84863) announced its OGIO Endurance collection.

Both have a place for polyester in their offerings. The fabric is the de facto standard for performance wear. "With its inherent lightness and moisture-wicking capabilities, polyester in a wide variety of fabric types – jerseys, piqués, warp knits, compression stretch, interlock, ribs, meshes, etc. – is the primary choice in fabrics for a base layer needed for training and competition," says Nadia Santoli, corporate communications manager at alphabroder.

Polyester is not the only game in town, however. Nylon is used in items like warm-up jackets and offers robust wind resistance. Spandex is often blended in small amounts with other fabrics to offer stretch and compression. "There is no one type of fabric that works for every sport, but all athletes train, compete and want to wear apparel that enhances that experience," Santoli says. "That may be keeping them warm, helping them stay cool, keeping them dry in bad weather, keeping their muscles warm, wicking moisture from their body – the list goes on."

Active garments come in multiple weights and layers. SanMar's OGIO Endurance collection was designed as fitness gear that performs in the most demanding conditions. Its 19 products include ultra-performance base, mid and outer layering pieces – T-shirts, quarter-zip pullovers and more. It's ideal for everything from health clubs to competitive events to corporate wellness programs. The Ladies Nexus V-Neck shirt (LOE330), for example, features different blends of poly/spandex for the body and panels that allow for wicking, stretch and odor control.

Also, be sure to consider climate. For example, is the sport indoors or outdoors? If athletes will be exposed to rain, wind or snow, a jacket is required. "Outerwear comes in a variety of performance fabrications," Santoli says. "Waterproof, breathable seam-sealed two-layer and three-layer shells are very popular for team, championship and coach or sideline jackets. Bonded and brushed performance fleece has gained popularity over traditional sweatshirt fleece for training, travel and warm-ups.

raditional and highly durable nylon with durable water repellent (DWR) coatings are still a popular choice. Polyester fleece makes an excellent team and campus jacket, and is perfect for fans and supporters as well."

The Team 365 Men's Dominator Waterproof Jacket (TT86) keeps athletes dry on rainy and windy days. Available from alphabroder (asi/34063; circle 87 on Free Info Card).

The OGIO Ladies Nexus V-neck (LOE330), part of the new OGIO Endurance collection from SanMar (asi/84863; circle 76 on Free Info Card), keeps participants cool and collected whether on a walk or in the marathon.