Wicking Fabrics Help People Stay Cool in the Heat
Wick – verb [trans.] absorb or draw off (liquid) by capillary action: this shirt wicks away the sweat making me feel cooler on this sweltering day.
I stumbled upon the benefits of fabrics that wick perspiration away from the body quite accidentally.
About 10 years ago, I was cross-country skiing in New Hampshire. I wore three layers of wicking fleece tops, mainly for warmth.
After skiing, the curls at the back of my neck were drenched with sweat. My very own sweat; sweat that had been wicked through three layers of clothing. Yet my skin, and the wicking shirts, were bone dry. The sweat was clinging to the non-wicking flannel lining of my windbreaker, instead of my skin.
Now, all of my workout clothing wicks, which helps me feel much cooler in the summer and stay dry in the winter.
So when Deb Vey wanted matching shirts for her family reunion/golf tournament I suggested wicking shirts. It was a bit like herding cats for her to get them all to agree, so she tabled the idea.
A few days before the tournament, which was forecast to be in the high ‘90s and humid, I gave her a sample wicking golf shirt to try out.
“When I got there, my cousin was already soaked before we even started, so I gave it to him,” Deb said. “He didn’t sweat the rest of the day.”
Actually he probably continued to sweat profusely. Because the shirt wicked the moisture away his shirt stayed dry and he felt cooler.
The following year, she ordered wicking shirts for everyone (see photo above). They had a cool, dry trip around 18 holes of golf in blazing heat.
Wicking fabrics are beneficial year round. Unlike regular polyester, they are specially constructed in ways more technical than I’m qualified to write about.
In the summer, they wick moisture away from your skin so you feel cooler. By wicking the moisture in cold weather, perspiration can’t cool off on your skin. Perspiration on skin in the winter can chill you very quickly. Without wicking, you could potentially develop hypothermia.
Since my skiing experience, the marketplace has exploded with wicking fabrics. There are countless types—polo shirts, tee-shirts, jackets, etc. Anyone who works or spends any amount of time outside—especially in extreme temperatures—would benefit from wearing them.
The main thing is that they keep you comfortable—no matter what the season—and they are not your grandmother’s polyester.