Left: Tortoise Tank, Right: Rabbit Tank
When it comes to athletic apparel, we frequently hear the terms “performance” or “technical." But what does that mean?
The short answer is: it’s complicated. Climate, distance, pace, individuality (not all bodies do the same things when they exercise!) and more – all contribute to a complex set of needs when we run. At times, the goal is cooling. At times, it’s wind/rain shielding. At times, it’s insulation. And at times it’s all of the above – releasing water from your body while also resisting water and cold temps from the environment.
By and large, however, one of the biggest needs all runners have is simple: sweat management. When we run, our bodies heat up, and its genius self-cooling mechanism is to produce sweat which then reduces body temperature. While this is sufficient over short distances, running multiple – or many – miles, turns sweat into a problem.
Excessive moisture on the skin can be everything from uncomfortable (damp, cold) to painful (causing chafing). And so any tech fabric worth its salt is mostly aimed at helping move moisture away from your skin, through the fabric, and into the air.
The solution? Again, it’s complicated. There are hundreds of different types of technical fabrics. Everything from yarn type, to knit type, to finishing’s and additives that claim to solve for the issue of excessive moisture.
What we’ve seen, however, both through our own wear testing with runners of all paces, as well as via the labs of our fabric mills, is that the ideal solution is one where the moisture management is accomplished via the structural design of the fabric.
In other words, it’s not just a yarn type (such as polyester or nylon – which is hydrophobic, i.e. resists water) but also the way the yarn is knit. With the right knitting method, the structure acts as a kind of bridge for water. It gives the water somewhere to go, as it travels away from your skin, and up the complex yarn structures, out to the surface of the garment, and evaporates in the air.
This is a really long, textile nerd introduction to our newest fabric: Breeze Knit. Like all Oiselle fabrics, it is soft, it is durable, it doesn’t shrink or change in the wash, but it’s also “high performance” and “technical” in that it, by the nature of the design that you can see with your eyes, it moves moisture away from your skin, through its channels, and out into the world.
Along those same lines we're excited to bring back Flyout this season - in new colors! As the runner women will attest, Flyout is among the best in class in terms of dealing with sweat. We call it HoverFit™ because it literally hovers above the skin, helping with that heat and water transfer.
Oh yeah, and sometimes "performance" means you look and feel good - any time you wear it at all.
Left: Rabbit Dress
Breeze™ Knit (95% nylon, 5% spandex)
Breeze Knit is our new custom jacquard that offers sophisticated performance. Jacquard means the pattern is knit directly into the fabric, giving it a richness and depth with softness and lightweight. Slightly translucent, we pair Breeze Knit with a layer of Mio Mesh in some garments for opacity.