You’ve seen those words countless times: Moisture-wicking. But what does it really mean? What’s in these fabrics? And does moisture-wicking fabric actually make a difference?
Do Moisture-Wicking Fabrics Really Matter?
Many athletic clothing companies boast about their moisture-wicking products, including us here at WodBottom. But is that simply because it’s a buzzword we are conditioned to expect? Or is moisture-wicking fabric truly something athletes need?
No surprise here: these fabrics are crucial to helping you perform your best.
Moisture-wicking matters for athletes and anyone else breaking a sweat. Your body sweats in order to cool you down. The longer that sweat stays on your skin, the longer it takes to lower your body’s temperature. Working out in non-wicking fabrics can cause you to overheat, which can potentially be dangerous.
Evaporation is your friend when you’re perspiring. Moisture-wicking fabrics help speed up the evaporation process, therefore cooling your body faster and keeping it cool longer.
What Does “Moisture-Wicking” Even Mean?
Moisture-wicking fabric’s job is to quickly pull moisture (AKA your sweaty nastiness) away from your skin, drawing it out from your body and to the fabric’s surface. The material is also designed to dry quickly to both keep you cool and prevent sweat stains.
How exactly does fabric wick away moisture? It’s a highly complex process of finding microscopic gremlins with very small towels that can be woven into the fabric. No, wait…that was a dream I had. Scratch that.
In reality, nearly all moisture-wicking fabrics are synthetic, meaning there is lots of brainy science behind it all. These fabrics are manufactured with tiny “capillaries” that allow air to flow through them while also encouraging the sweat to repel away from the skin and toward the surface. Then, the air and/or sunlight evaporates that moisture, leaving the capillaries free to bring even more sweat to the surface.
What Fabrics Are the Best for Wicking Away Moisture?
Not all fabrics are moisture-wicking. Even those that do wick away moisture vary in their effectiveness and breathability.
It’s really important to understand that moisture-wicking is not the same as moisture absorption. Some fabrics might absorb moisture, but then hold on to that moisture for a long time. These fabrics hold sweat against your skin, preventing you from cooling off. That’s obviously not ideal when you’re chasing a new PR on a 90-degree day.
Here are some common fabrics that we use at WodBottom, along with their moisture-wicking capability.
Polyester is the most moisture-wicking of all synthetic fabrics. It’s also super durable and wrinkle-resistant, making it an ideal material for athletic clothing. While it is incredibly effective at pulling sweat away from your skin and drying quickly, it can hold on to sweat stains and odor if you don’t wash it right away.
Rayon is a semi-synthetic fiber made from tree bark. Because it is partially organic, it tends to be breathable like cotton. But unlike cotton, rayon still wicks away moisture and dries relatively quickly. It’s not quite as moisture-wicking as polyester, but rayon is still an excellent option for workout clothing.
Viscose is another semi-synthetic fabric made from plant-based cellulose. Like rayon, it is highly breathable. It’s not quite as moisture-wicking as polyester, but viscose tends to repel odors and sweat stains better than polyester, making it a favorite for workout clothing.
There are pros and cons to spandex. Its main benefit is its stretch, making it one of the most popular fabrics in athletic wear. While it can bend, twist, and move with your body without losing its shape, spandex isn’t as breathable or moisture-wicking as the other synthetic fabrics on this list. It wicks away moisture moderately well, but blending it with polyester makes it even more effective.
Pro tip: most of our shorties and leggings are a polyester/spandex blend, making them both stretchy and moisture-wicking (the best of both worlds). The more the spandex content, the less moisture-wicking the fabric.
Cotton is a natural fabric, meaning it isn’t engineered to wick away moisture. Anything that is 100% cotton will soak up your sweat, but won’t have moisture-wicking capabilities. However, cotton is super breathable and will still keep you feeling cool – it just won’t dry as quickly.
Because cotton has such a soft and natural feel, many companies will use a cotton/synthetic blend. A blended fabric is an ideal situation, giving you the breathability and comfort of cotton while also incorporating the moisture-wicking capabilities of synthetic materials.
Many of our tops feature a synthetic blend or a cotton/synthetic blend designed to be both breathable and wicking.
WodBottom: We’re Hot (And You Are, Too!)
Here at WodBottom, we know all about getting hot and sweaty – and not in the way you might be thinking (keepin’ it PG here, people). We get literally hot and sweaty, pushing our bodies to the limits in our workouts and our everyday lives. That sweat isn’t pretty. And it smells even less pretty.
Confidence is a game-changer. Wearing the right outfit doesn’t always mean coordinating your colors (though we’re fond of that practice, too!). Confidence also comes from knowing that your workout gear can keep up when you work hard. It’s about knowing that you can give 110% to today’s lift sesh and still feeling good about giving a hug afterward.
We’re here to help you get your sweat on. But we make clothing designed to keep your sweat off. Our products are made from moisture-wicking and anti-microbial fibers, helping you stay cool and dry while slaying today’s training session.
Keep that bod looking great and feeling even better. Need to add some new sweat-wicking goodies to your workout wardrobe? Click here to find your new fave outfit.