Series: Sports Fabric, Part 2: Evolution

Nearly a century ago, sports and athletics took off. No longer a niche interest of a small slice of the population, sports became a more common interest among middle- and upper-class participants who could also afford to spend money on clothing and equipment.

They quickly found the fabrics to be lacking.

Women were relegated to long cotton or wool skirts for exercise, and a few bold women wore “knickers” that were like half-pants that buttoned just below the knee. Men wore baggy pants, socks, and sweaters.

athleisure, sports, sportswear, then vs now, sport
Credit: The New York Public Library, Digital Collections

Imagine going to yoga class in a wool skirt or playing a pick-up game of basketball in heavy cotton jerseys. Fabrics of the 1920s were very heavy, trapped heat and sweat and didn’t allow for much airflow.

Today, athletic fabrics and athleisure clothing have been transformed by technology, with new materials and advanced manufacturing methods that allow fabrics to wick away sweat, boost airflow and even cool our skin.

Fabric innovators and manufacturers have also made great progress in tailoring fabrics to specific activities, such as:

  • Sports fabrics. These tend to be much lighter and have greater wicking, which allows people to move more freely and perform better.
  • Yoga and athleisure clothes. These typically have more stretch, and fashion-forward design that transitions from the gym to running errands or everyday life.
  • Long-distance running apparel. There are usually fewer seams to reduce chafing, and more pockets to store energy gel, earbuds, and other race essentials.
  • Winter sports. These clothes tend to have lightweight insulation and are designed to be worn in layers for the athlete to add or remove clothes depending on their exertion.

Moisture wicking is a common feature across all sports fabrics because it helps regulate body temperature and increases comfort. These fabrics work by moving sweat away from the body to the fabric’s outer layer where it can evaporate faster. That’s a big leap from a century ago when cotton and wool trapped heat and wetness against the skin.

brrrº goes beyond moisture wicking. We integrate better airflow patterns and natural cooling minerals embedded right in the yarn to create a “Triple Chill Effect” that is instant permanent. brrr°’s cooling effects won’t ever fade or wash out because, unlike some brands that spray or coat their fabrics, our technology is in the fabric itself.

Find out how brrr° can keep you cool and comfortable so you can perform your best. You can reach us here.