An important physiological function of the human body is its ability to sweat; activity generates heat and the body cools itself down by the evaporation of the sweat on the skin. Working with this principle, active wear textiles can assist the wearer in maintaining a constant body temperature by facilitating the movement of moisture through the fabric to the outer surface as quickly as possible. This not only provides comfort in keeping the wearer dry but can, in extreme sports, assist survival.
The Power Suit vest (1) is made of Stomatex®, a biomimetic material that imitates the process of transpiration used by leaves. Made of a non-porous polyester, the membrane is patterned with dome shaped chambers, each with a tiny pore in the centre, which flex and stretch with the movement of the body. As a result, excess heat and sweat are pumped out of the pores and drier cooler air enters at a pace in keeping with that of activity, creating a constant micro-climate between the fabric and the skin.
The Lasting Sport TKO socks (2) are made predominantly from Outlast®, an intelligent, acrylic fibre which uses phase-change technology (originally developed by NASA) for optimum thermal comfort. Integrated micro-capsules, called Thermocules™, absorb, store and release heat: as the foot gets hots the heat is absorbed; as it cools the heat is released. As opposed to wicking technology which draws moisture away from the skin, Outlast® proactively manages excess body heat to prevent the production of moisture.
Water conducts heat away from the body 25 times faster than air so water sports clothing needs to provide protection from exposure to prevent discomfort and, potentially, hypothermia. The CSR hood (3) is designed to be worn with a wetsuit whilst surfing. It is made from Neoprene®, a synthetic rubber composed of small, closed cells filled with trapped air which act as a heat insulator. The hood is lined with heat-reflecting titanium and, due to the tight fit, any trapped water becomes heated up by the surfer’s body further helping to keep them at optimum temperature.