Base Layers: What Makes Them So Comfortable

No matter what sports you practise, it’s crucial to have outfits made of quality materials. Good base layers are one of the clothing essentials of dedicated sportsmen: lots of them don’t step onto the pitch without this item. But what makes the base layer so comfortable to wear? The article is your short guide to the materials used in the sportswear production.

Since sportsmen need to feel comfortable and have complete freedom of movement, their outfits should be made of breathable stretching materials. Many items for professional sportsmen are made from the combination of such materials as nylon, Lycra, polyester and cotton. Nylon used to make quality base layers was invented not long ago, in the 1930’s. In 1928 Wallace Carothers who specialised in organic chemistry was appointed the new director of the research centre of Du Pont Corporation, the American chemical company. The researcher had to focus on the development of artificial materials with their further industrial application. He conducted many tests with different chemicals until the new fibres were created. However, the fibres were rather weak so Carothers had to proceed with tests. Eventually, the process of polymerising brought the required results: the researcher managed to create fibres which were both durable and elastic. The new material was called nylon and now it’s used to produce base layers and other sports outfits. Nylon is both stretching but able to keep the original shape. Besides, it’s appreciated for high durability and light weight, which make it a good option for producing sports outfits.

Lycra was invented a few decades after the invention of nylon. The original goal of scientists was to receive materials, which could replace rubber in the clothing industry. The invention led to production of stretching and quick-drying garments, which provided a good fit. First, Lycra was used to create lightweight swimsuits instead of heavier ones, which took much longer to dry. Gradually, Lycra was incorporated by sportswear manufacturers who used it to make base layers, leggings, leotards and other items. Besides light weight, durability and stretching properties, the new material is appreciated for abrasion resistance and moisture absorption.

Polyester is popularly used in the clothing industry thanks to its quick-drying, easy-to-wash and damage resistance properties. The material is made from synthesised polymers and has many applications besides the clothing industry. But when it comes to outfits, it’s worth mentioning that polyester garments come at reasonable prices and are soft to the touch. Besides, it’s very easy to take care of polyester clothes: originally it was introduced as the material which didn’t require ironing.

Cotton is the natural material made from the cotton plant. It’s one of the oldest fabrics as it was used thousands of years ago. Sportswear manufacturers opt for cotton because it’s sweat absorptive and breathable, which makes base layers and other outfits comfortable for long wear. Cotton items shrink after the first washing but now customers can go for already pre-shrunk outfits.

Quality sportswear is very comfortable to wear thanks to materials it is made from: durable nylon, stretching Lycra, quick-drying polyester and breathable cotton.

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