Types of Materials in Running Clothes – What is Best & Why?

Monday, September 05, 2016

When you get serious about running, you’ll probably be ready to invest in some technical running clothes.  Specially designed synthetic fabrics called ‘sweat-wicking fabrics’ transfer sweat away from skin to the outside of the garment, where it quickly evaporates. 

‘Sweat-wicking’ fabric is top of the list of best types of material in running clothes - because it keeps you dry and comfortable.

Here’s a run-through of the best types of materials used in running clothes:

  • Spandex and Lycra fabric is well ventilated and feels smooth and comfortable.
  • 80 % recycled polyester made from plastic bottles isn't crunchy and stiff anymore! The knit construction is well ventilated and dries fast. It's slightly heavier than some other fabrics, so good for cold running conditions.
  • Icefil treated fabric is good at sweat-wicking and reducing the skin’s surface temperature. It’s extremely light and silky and feels very soft and comfortable on your skin.
  • Anti-odour fabric with silver fibres helps cool you down and stops pungent sweat smells. It feels satin-soft and is very lightweight with good sweat-wicking.  Anti-microbial fabrics kill bacteria that grow on sweat and can be worn several times without needing to be washed!
  • Compression fabrics are popular and feel like you’re wearing a big compression sock for a shirt. Compression fabric wraps tightly around the shoulders and chest to improve posture and breathing – it should feel taut but not restrictive for the right fit.
  • Wear synthetic fabric socks which reduce friction and help prevent blisters.
  • Avoid 100% cotton because it retains moisture.

What runners need from running clothes:

  1. Sweat wicking - Polyester treated to be a sweat-wicking fabric that’s easy to wash and dry quickly.
  2. Chafe-free design - It’s worth paying more for clothes with flat or welded seams.  Completely seamless clothing is best, but it’s quite expensive.
  3. Anti-Odour fabric - Odour control fabrics containing silver or coconut particles and those with an anti-microbial finish reduce/kill the bacteria that cause a stink during long runs.
  4. Shape and cut - Sweat-wicking and odour killing materials work better in fitted clothing and close-fitting fine-knit running clothes also reduce chafing.
  5. Sun protection - Fair-skinned runners need clothing with a minimum UV protection factor of UPF 40.

It’s cheaper in the long-term to buy the best hi-tech running clothing you can afford!

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