Performance Clothing Uses Athlete’s Own Sweat To Keep Them Cool

Columbia Sportswear’s new Omni-Freeze apparel and shoe line features special polymers that swell like goosebumps when exposed to perspiration.

On a hot summer day, the best shirt to be wearing during a long run is, well, not one at all. But since that isn’t really a legal option for roughly 50% of the population, activewear with moisture-wicking technology helps keep runners (and other athletes) cooler and drier by removing perspiration from their skin. The problem with moisture-wicking technology is that the more athletes sweat, the harder it becomes to keep them cool and dry- what if, instead, athletes could take advantage of their hard work and extra sweat and actually use their perspiration to cool themselves down?

Come Spring 2013, athletes will be able to harness the power of their sweat with Columbia Sportswear’s new Omni-Freeze ZERO gear, athletic apparel and shoes that will trap sweat (instead of wicking it away) to cool them down. The Omni-Freeze ZERO gear features visible, blue polymer rings that expand when exposed to moisture, swelling like ‘goose bumps’ to keep the wearer cool. The more the wearer sweats, the more the rings swell and work to keep them cool.

The Omni-Freeze ZERO line, which will include 40 styles of apparel and footwear, is the culmination of a four year effort from Columbia’s ‘Performance Innovation Team.’ Mick McCormick, Columbia Sportswear’s executive vice-president, speaks about the revolutionary new line of performance gear:

Historically, outdoor and athletic brands have looked at sweating as a problem…something to be wicked away with so-called ‘technical,’ decades-old polyester fabrics. Omni-Freeze ZERO is an entirely new approach, and unlike anything the industry has ever seen. We see sweat as a renewable resource that will allow athletes, outdoor enthusiasts or anyone that spends time in hot, humid conditions to sweat smarter, staying more comfortable.

Watch a video of the Omni-Freeze ZERO line being tested by a group of runners in Africa below:

Columbia Sportswear

 

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