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Waterproof Sports Clothing

By Edited Dec 1, 2013 0 0

Wet Suits

Any true athlete knows the value of their waterproof sports clothing. It’s essential to maintain good hydration while exercising. However, you don’t want that hydration to stay stuck to your skin. Also, with many sports, you’re going to be in and around water most of the time. That’s why you need to take a look at some waterproof sports clothing. It’s worth the investment. Also, with some cheaper online resources, it may not cost as much as you think.

Waterproof Sports Clothing Technology

Water Retardant

First let’s take a minute to discuss what your waterproof sports clothing is actually doing for you, and how it works. These are generally either natural or synthetic fabric materials that are naturally water retardant. Some chemical processes have also been added to the fabric to enhance the water resistance. The most common fabric enhancers are fluoropolymers and silicone elastomer material.

The main goal of waterproof sports clothing is to expel liquid on the outer surface while still allowing water vapors to pass through. This lets the fabric breathe, and the sweat evaporates. Water that gets on the outer layers of the clothing will bead up and roll off, not touching the person’s skin underneath. Regardless of name brand or material, to be considered ‘waterproof’ it must withstand more than 1,000mm of water pressure without allowing any leaks.

Gore-tex

Gore-tex is one major component of waterproof sports clothing. It comes in many forms like Paclite, Performance Shell, and Pro Shell. Each type of waterproofing is specifically designed for certain sports. Paclite is great for walkers and hikers because there are fewer layers and breathability is at the highest. Performance Shell is geared more toward bikers and skaters because the 3 layers are bonded on the outer material and the inside is protected by a separate inner lining. Pro Shell is also 3 layers and is bonded specifically for tough weather and terrain conditions. This is the most durable waterproof material on the market.

Other brands on the market like MemBrain and PreCip also offer the same types of coverage as Gore-Tex. MemBrain is often used in sleeping bags and duffel bags. However, they’re starting to get into the clothing arena with their Strata line. It infuses non-organic material in the lining to still give a dry feel to the material, even if it’s wet. Also PreCip coating on materials increases the waterproof abilities of the fabric. This microporous polyurethan material has microscopic holes to allow the water vapors from sweat to escape, while maintaining the dry feel. PriCip Plus increases breathability using silicone dioxide particles.

What to Look for in Waterproof Sports Clothing

Waterproof sports clothing is usually made of a synthetic membrande which has been bonded to a waterproof fabric. This waterproof fabric can be all natural, but most are chemically altered to repel water. The synthetic membrane should be sandwiched between two other layers of fabric. Some manufacturers leave off one of these layers to save money, or add to the breathability of the fabric. Weight of the material is important and sometimes the 2nd layer is sacrificed to make the clothing light enough for major sports.

Wetsuit Seam

You also need to look for good workmanship along seams and joints of the garment. This is generally the weakest point, and if the material is going to leak, it will be along the seams where the panels of waterproof material are joined. Some stretch fabrics are coming out on the market with good waterproof capabilities. This may eliminate the leaks that are sometimes  occurring in the clothing on the market today.

Another important factor in your waterproof sports clothing doesn’t necessarily have to do with waterproof capabilities. Some general design features like sealable pockets for mp3 players and of course designs. You’re hopefully going to spend a lot of time in these clothes, so make sure you pick something you feel comfortable in, and that caters to your specific sport.

Where to Find Affordable Waterproof Sports Clothing

Wetsuit store

As with any other industry, online is where to go when you want anything. There are many online stores offering cheap waterproof sports clothing. It’s important to check the quality of the material against the information we’ve given you already in this article. If it doesn’t carry at least one of the ingredients or names that we’ve mentioned, then it’s probably not going to work as well.

Men and women don’t have the same needs when it comes to their waterproof sports clothing either. That’s why there are entire stores dedicated to selling specifically to each genre. Men’s stores push the rugged rough and tough waterproof materials like sleeping bags and jackets. However there are many sites selling biking clothes to men as well. Watches and other gadgets are also sold at these waterproof sports clothing stores.

Women’s stores are selling pretty much anything you can imagine that would need to be waterproof. Walking and cycling clothes tend to be the best sellers. The designs for these clothes are much more varied than those sold to men. You can find any color or pattern you can think of, and it will still work perfectly as a waterproof material. The best sellers for women are the t-shirts and shoes. It’s intersting to note that on the women’s sites there are many companies selling regular clothing with waterproof pockets sewn in.

Summary

Now that you know what goes into making waterproof sports clothing and what to look for when buying all you have left to do is go out there and buy. Remember we found some great deals online, as long as you keep an eye out for the cheap knockoffs. If you’re buying you clothing online, you’re probably already getting a great deal. So go for a huge discount on the good stuff, instead of paying for the ‘off-brand’ material and having it not work. Then when you’re finished buying all those clothes, go outside and do your best to get them filthy and soaking wet. Get your money’s worth out of them! It’s a great way to get some exercise as well!

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