The Best Cooling Fabrics for Summer Running
Sweat droplets are like little containers for your body's heat. Blood --> sweat glands --> sweat droplets on your skin --> evaporation. Other than staying hydrated, there's not much we can control about steps one through three. For a performance apparel designer, it's step four that gets interesting: that interplay between your skin and the environment. And in warm weather running, what can be done to cool you down?
Bottom line, there are three controllable factors: fabric content, fabric construction, and fabric weight.
Content: Most basic tech tops or entry level athletic apparel use inexpensive polyester knits that are hydrophobic (repel water), but don't do much more. Believe me, I've loved on a bunch of free or inexpensive tech tops over the years, but in my evolution as a runner and a designer, I realized that many of my tech tops were low tech. Think of it this way: by itself, polyester is like plastic wrap. Yes, it's 100% moisture repellant, it will absorb nothing, but neither will it promote evaporation. So many polyester garments just move moisture around on your skin.
That's where construction, weight, and even the right pockets/storage can take you further.
Pin hole construction for maximum air flow. Simply by creating a fabric where there's LESS FABRIC is a game changer. Less fabric = less weight. And less material to touch your skin. Even better, the pin hole construction maximizes airflow. Getting air to your skin is the most efficient way to promote evaporation. The cut of the Kara Tank is also designed to sit off the body, with a slight A line shape, to increase air flow even more. This is one of our hottest-not-hot tanks of the year.
Athletic mesh for the win. An ultralightweight fabric that is still strong enough to go the miles in a great pair of shorts. Athletic mesh is a ventilated knit, allowing for airflow and natural cooling. They're our best featherweight, I-forgot-I-had-them-on shorts. As Kara says, "I really like simplicity in my running clothes," and this style nails it.
Breeze Woven is a lightweight winner - for both sport and lifestyle. Wovens are often associated with button up shirts or traditional running shorts. This woven is as light as they come, with air flow you can see right through the fabric. Better yet, it has a bit of stretch to make the fit even comfier. Although these styles have a wear-everywhere vibe to them, they are performance winners too. Gym to dinner. Run to travel. Workout to wedding. Why not?
Sometimes dealing with heat is about being prepared. The Pocket Jogger Collection is all about having the right storage, in the right places, to improve your ability to move and run free. Fuel, cell phones, money for a cold beer, a bus pass, a woman needs what a woman needs - especially when it's hot!
Fabric weight lightens your load. New this season, Summer Lux is so light, it almost feels like touching air. But softer. These styles are a good example of how weight, or lack thereof, can create standout designs. At our recent road race, The Tenacious Ten, some of our friends from southern climates came up to thank me for finally coming out with a Lux they can wear. Heat is real! But soft and lightweight fabrics are for everyone.
It's true. Wearing less fabric will reduce your body temperature. Proceed "according to taste" as the cook books always say. If you do go for the minimal shorts, Aero is a good one, with a big new center back pocket to carry all your things.
Protect your eyes. Keep the sun's glare out of your eyes and off your face. It's one of the most simple and important things you can do to beat the heat as a runner. The Runner Trucker is great like that, with a full bill that's also not overwhelming. And with its foldable design, it's easy to tuck into a pocket, waistband, or bag. Its mesh top and sides create maximum airflow for cooling. The hat for the hot headed woman! ;)
Ingenius construction. That's our Flyout HoverFit. It's a 3D knit that, literally, hovers above your skin. That means that when you sweat, the water moves up the knit sections that touch your body and into the fabric cells above your skin. That's where wind and air takes over; allowing the water to evaporate faster while you stay cooler. Quite simply, this fabric is your secret weapon for summer running. Ultra lightweight construction at 115 g/sqm, designed to work hard, and as always, in beautiful, rich colors. A touch of Tencel is the icing, creating a super soft hand feel.
Yes, the temps are rising. But when the going gets hot, the hot get the right fabrics!