1. Thermal properties – The Sportswear Fabric needs to consider the thermal insulation properties of sports. In hot weather it should stay cool, while in cold weather it should stay slightly warm. In case the garment is unable to push sweat to the exterior, it results in increasing the body temperature of the sportsperson. Depending on the season, the properties of the fabrics can be altered to suit the requirements of the wearer. Eg. For summers the fabric is kept light and loose constructed, to allow better breathability. Whereas for Winters, the fabrics are brushed on the inside to provide better insulation through the air packets, that keeps you warm. This property is also useful during warm up session, so that the player is ready for the game quicker.
2. Moisture Wicking Properties – This is an essential feature that goes into sportswear. Moisture needs to pass through the fabric to the outer surface, allowing it to dry quickly. This ability is dependent on the construction of the fabric, and with the use of special chemicals the capillary movement of moisture is enhanced in the Sportswear fabrics. Like for Summers, the more airy the fabric the more comfortable it shall feel. As little as 15% moisture, can halve the airiness of the fabric. Hence a traditional Cotton fabric that has a long drying time, will feel comfortable at the beginning, but as soon as you start to sweat, the fabrics air flow will drop drastically. Now this function is very well accomplished in Polyester Quick Dry fabrics, which has a low moisture regain value of 0.4%, hence dries quickly, making it feel airy all through.
3. Lighter Weight – Sportswear is required to be smooth to the touch and light in weight. As Man-made fibers like polyester and Nylon are available in much more finer counts, so the overall fabric weight can be lighter. Eg. Just for comparison sake a 20D Poly yarn (meaning 20gm/9mtr yarn length), would be equivalent to 268’s count of Cotton, which is technically not possible to produce. The light weight and fineness of the yarn, enables better fabric construction, making it more light and comfortable for the end user. Every gram that is shed off the body of the athlete, would help him perform better, and that might just be the difference of split seconds between the 1st and the 2nd position.
4. Stretchability properties – Sportswear needs to be elastic so that it does not restrict movement. Stretch can be induced into Sportswear fabrics by using Spandex yarn or special Mechanical Stretch yarns. Imagine your movements being restricted due to the garment you are wearing, hence not being comfortable. The sportswear garments need to be able to withstand the strain of different forms of sport and activities. Various forms of sports require varying degrees of stretchability. Gymnasts, for example, require fabrics that are stretchable for smooth movement. Stretch fabrics are gaining more importance in Lifestyle as well, as it provides a better fit and shape, providing better comfort at the same time. Stretch properties are better in fabrics having a knitted construction, and for woven fabrics it can be achieved by using Spandex or Mechanical stretch yarns.