The Rise of Performance Fabrics
Athletes are under a lot of stress, both on and off the field. They must train hard and play even harder. When they’re uncomfortable, it becomes difficult for them to perform at the best of their ability. As such, many prominent athletic wear companies have created fabrics and technologies that improve overall comfort. Nike’s Dri-FIT technology is just one of many.
The First Glimpse of Today’s Athletic Wear
Although much of today’s athletic wear is incredibly high-tech, it all started with the Olympics. The first ever Olympic Games were held back in 1896, and this represented the first time that people wore clothing specifically designed to improve range of motion and performance. However, the fabrics of the time were quite heavy, and they did very little to keep athletes comfortable as they performed their events. Over the years, things began to change, and coaches saw that the more comfortable an athlete was, the better he or she could perform. Since that time, athletic wear has been evolving.
Back in the 1970s, the fitness revolution really began to take hold. This was the decade in which televised workout programs made their debut, and more people than ever sought comfortable clothing to wear as they exercised. Back then, though, modesty was still a factor, so performance shirts and clothing consisted of close-fit tees and shorts that were short, but not too short. Cotton and linen were still the fabrics of choice at this point, but technology was quite limited.
Changes in the 1990s
By the time the 1990s rolled around, things had changed quite a bit. The 1980s had come and gone, taking their brightly-colored Spandex and Lycra leotards with them. This is when performance shirts hit the market, too. Tops were cropped significantly and made with breathable fabric blends that were designed to help wick moisture away from the body and keep athletes cool.
The Development of Dri-FIT
Nike first released its Dri-FIT line of products to the general public in the early 2000s. The fabric is a microfiber polyester, which is designed specifically to move moisture from the skin to the outer layer of the fabric, allowing it to evaporate. This keeps athletes dry and comfortable in even the hottest temperatures. Although Dri-FIT was first introduced in shirts, Nike now uses the technology in gloves, hats, pants, socks, and even sleeves.
These days, athletic wear designed to keep people comfortable isn’t limited to just athletes. In fact, a number of companies offer up professional business wear that makes use of many of the same technologies that keep athletes dry and comfortable both on and off the field. With dress shirts and slacks that breathe, stretch, and wick moisture, it’s now possible to look sharp and feel great at the same time, both in and out of the office.
Performance shirts in sports have been around for decades, but the technologies used to create fabrics and fabric blends continue to evolve. After all, the more comfortable you are either in the gym, in the office, or on the field, the better you can perform in everything you do.