Because fleece has a footing in activewear, fleece fabrics need to perform. It’s a trend stoking the demand for fleece apparel. “Performance fleece is doing really well for us,” says Margaret Crow of S&S Activewear (asi/84358). “Particularly important in this category are 100% polyester styles in quarter-zip or hooded (full-zip or pullover) silhouettes.”
Look to athletic brands and cuts that go from place to place, like running errands and the golf course. “The Dri Duck Nano Fleece pullover (9397) has anti-static and anti-pill properties,” Crow says. “The construction is light and really soft. It comes in men’s and women’s styles, and is a great piece for corporate uniforms,” especially for teams that are going from indoors to out, such as car-rental companies and car dealerships.
Also note that fleece garments often have lots of nap, or a textured feel to the fabric, particularly with fleece jackets. This creates pilling, where it will come undone with wear and friction, creating balls of fibers on the surface. Anti-pilling properties keep the fleece fabric in place and are an essential for performance properties.
Take performance a step up with fleece outerwear. The right fabrication holds up to harsh conditions. “The adidas Golf Climawarm+ quarter-zip jacket (A201) is treated with a Hydrophilic finish,” Crow says. “It’s a lightweight and breathable insulation made of densely woven fibers. It’s designed to keep the wearer dry and comfortable with hollow fibers for lightweight yet efficient temperature regulation that blocks the cold weather elements while allowing sweat to evaporate.”
Vantage Apparel (asi/93390) also brings performance-enhanced fleece to the table. Take, for example, its Vansport micro-fleece pullover hoodie (3273), which is made from a lightweight 5½-oz. polyester fabric. With the moisture-management properties of its micro-mesh brushed back fleece, it’s versatile enough to work both as a casual or fashion piece as well as athletic and workout attire.
Fabric choice isn’t limited when it comes to fleece. While the majority of fleece garments (including Polar fleece) are made from 100% polyester, suppliers introduce fabric mixes for unexpected and comfortable results. Alternative Apparel (asi/34850; circle 80 on Free Info Card) offers the Rocky hoodie (9590), which is made from the company’s Eco-Fleece: 50% Polyester (6.25% Recycled), 46% Cotton (6.25% Organic) and 4% Rayon. “Our iconic bestseller is so popular that we repeated it in half a dozen variations,” says Cramel Edwards, sales operations assistant for Alternative Apparel. “Warm, thick and cozy – once you try it on, you won’t have to guess why.”
The Dri Duck Nano Fleece pullover (9397) from S&S Activewear (asi/84358; circle 76 on Free Info Card) offers robust performance properties, including an anti-static finish and an anti-pill exterior.
The Vansport micro-fleece pullover hoodie (3273) from Vantage Apparel (asi/93390; circle 79 on Free Info Card) is made from micro-mesh brushed back fleece that has moisture-management properties.