Moisture-wicking clothes move sweat away from your skin’s surface, helping you feel comfortably dry. These well-engineered fabrics are a mainstay of outdoor and workout apparel. Continue reading to learn how moisture-wicking material works.
1. Capillary Action
Moisture-wicking materials work because of capillary action, a phenomenon you’re familiar with in everyday life. Capillary action is the act of water moving throughout a porous material, such as moisture-wicking fabric, without force. If you place one corner of a paper towel into a cup of water, the water will move up the paper towel because it adheres to the fibers. Then, as if sensing more fibers to adhere to, the molecules continue their travels up the paper towel in a cohesive manner. This unification of liquid causes surface tension, allowing the gathered moisture to resist higher-density forces—like a mosquito floating in an abandoned cup of water.
Fabric in base layers and athleticwear has small spaces allowing capillary action. The geometry of the fabric yarns and the treatments applied to the fabric help it transfer sweat from your skin’s surface to the outermost surface of your clothing.
Another way that moisture-wicking materials work is by mimicking the concept of hydrophobia. Hydrophobia is an intense fear of water; therefore, hydrophobic fabrics resist water penetration. If the fabric wasn’t hydrophobic, it would soak up sweat and hold onto it, and you’d have wet clothes.
Fabrics such as cotton can become saturated with sweat and take a long time to dry. If you work up a sweat in a cotton shirt, it might not dry the entire time you wear it. A moisture-wicking layer resists saturation, so your clothes dry quickly.
3. Additional Benefits of Synthetics
Synthetic base layers are hydrophobic and enhance capillary action. They can come in various fabric densities, from lightweight to ultraweight, to enhance fabric breathability.
Synthetic moisture-wicking fabrics are also highly durable. You can wear them for extended periods and put them in the wash without any problem. Follow your garment’s care instructions to upkeep your apparel. Fabric softeners leave a waxy residue on clothes that interferes with the fabric’s moisture-wicking properties, so avoid using them on these garments.
Snow Angel’s moisture-wicking base layers help you stay dry and fresh. Wear our stylish, form-fitting clothing as activewear or as a first layer. Shop our selection of chic and functional apparel today!