What is Moisture Wicking Fabric?

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  • Written By: Diane Goettel
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 19 May 2020
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Moisture wicking fabric is a kind of fabric that is commonly used in workout clothing and sportswear because the material is designed to pull moisture away from the skin. As such, the fabric draws sweat and perspiration off of the skin and out to the exterior of the fabric. It is much easier for the moisture to evaporate on the surface of the fabric than when it is trapped between the garment and the skin. Moisture wicking fabric is popular for the construction of workout clothes because it keeps people comfortable while they are exercising. However, moisture wicking fabric is sometimes used in the construction of casual and business casual clothes for people who need to look professional and put-together even in hot and humid conditions.

In addition to keeping people comfortable while they are working out, moisture wicking fabric can also be important in the prevention of hypothermia. When people exercise outdoors in cold weather or participate in winter sports, they have to wear warm clothing, often in layers. Once they begin exercising, however, their bodies heat up and they may begin to perspire. In low temperatures, it can be dangerous for sweat to collect on the skin.

If, once the person begins to slow down, the sweat it cools or even freezes there on the skin, the person can become very cold very quickly. Imagine, for example, wearing a soaking wet undershirt in below-freezing temperatures. Not only would it be very uncomfortable, but it could also cause serious illness, even death. When moisture wicking fabric pulls the sweat to the surface of the material, this problem is largely avoided.

There are many different kinds of garments that are made out of moisture wicking fabric. There are even undergarments such as sports bras that are made out of moisture wicking fabric. Long-sleeved shirts, t-shirts, polo shirts, and undershirts can all be found in moisture wicking fabric. Pants such as running pants, trousers, and leggings area also made in moisture wicking fabrics. There are also pullovers, jackets, and fleeces that are made out of moisture wicking fabric.

These sorts of garments are often more expensive that garments made out of more common fabrics. This is because of the technology that goes in to creating fabric that can pull moisture away from the skin. However, they are not prohibitively expensive and are used by many people who enjoy fitness and the great outdoors.

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Post 6

1. How do manufacturers turn non-wicking, non-absorbent fabrics (like nylon and polyester) into wicking fabrics?

2. How does one know that a non-absorbent fabric wicks?

Post 5

Any comments on dual layer wicking fabric, SMART Tiers? They guarantee it improves performance and keeps you dry.

Post 2

Clothes made from this kind of fabric are also good for runners.

People don't realize it but the salt in sweat can rub your skin raw if you keep it next to your skin. It can cause a rash, or even, in long distance runners, scrape away the skin. Wicking clothing pulls the salt away from your skin as well as the moisture.

They can be much more expensive than ordinary fabrics though. Merino is particularly good because it's natural but has the same properties as synthetic materials.

Post 1

Moisture wicking pajamas are a godsend for folks bedridden with illness or age. One heavy night sweat can create a miserable situation in standard cotton PJs.

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