Your Guide to Men’s Workout Gear Trends, Fall / Winter 2016:
Gone are the days when a guy can head to the gym in a pair of fleece sweatpants and a t-shirt. Today’s workout clothes are all about climate control, stink patrol, muscle support, and of course, showing off your hard body in the newest workout gear.
Textile Innovations: Body Climate
When you exercise, you sweat; a slew of problems arise when your clothes don’t wick the moisture away from your skin. Wet skin chafes against itself and creates a place for bacteria to congregate and grow. If sweat is held against the skin without evaporating, the body can’t cool itself. When fabric, such as cotton, absorbs wetness and doesn’t dry, it can feel clammy. Don’t try to cut corners buying cheap workout gear because you’ll pay the difference in how the clothing performs.
Clothing manufacturers now use a variety of fibers that wick moisture so that shirts, underwear, tights and shorts are more comfortable. Look for fabrics trademarked as Dri FIT®, DRYROAD®, TRANSPOR®, Coolmax®, ClimaCool®, and ClimaLite®. Adidas’® climachillTM uses aluminum silver dots for heat conduction away from the body, in addition to wicking fibers. Under Armour® CoolSwitchTM technology pulls heat away from the skin surface with a proprietary coating on the inside of the garment.
Fun in the Sun
Clothing designers also factor in the effects of the sun on temperature control. By reflecting sunlight with metallic fibers or strips, clothes keep the body cool. Nike Pro HyperCool Max-wear is lightweight, wicking and incorporates reflective zones across the shoulders and back. Also check out Adidas Supernova Running tee with similar properties. Under Armour® coldblack® technology reflects infrared and heat rays so even dark colors stay cool.
For the days when you find yourself outdoors for hours, fabrics with UV protective properties are a good choice. Look for a rating of UPF 30+ to 50, as found in Adidas’ Techfit Chill tee.
Let it Breathe
When sun exposure isn’t as much of a concern, mesh panel inserts are a terrific way to give sweaty skin access to air. Used mainly in the underarms and the back of shirts, and the crotch area of tights and shorts, mesh provides ventilation in high-heat areas.
The mesh panel holes are often laser-cut, as in the TW® Adaptive Fit pants or the LeBron James® Hyper Elite basketball shorts, which also have wipe zones in the pockets for sweaty hands. Under Armour makes the Heat Gear® Cool Switch Supervent shirtwhich has mesh Heat Gear fabric for ventilation and a breathable ArmourVent mesh back panel.
The Silver Secret
The secret to stink-control is silver chloride—an antibacterial silver salt that’s woven into the threads of a fabric. Whether it’s lululemon’s® X-STATIC in their T.H.E. Sock or Adidas’ polygieneTM fibers in their Techfit Chill tees, silver kills the funk by killing odor-causing bacteria.
Cold Weather Base-wear
Winter workout gear textiles also provide climate control with wicking properties, but there’s a delicate balance between keeping the skin dry and cool versus dry and warm during exercise. You might need to consider bulkiness over flexibility too, depending on your activity choices.
Nike Pro Hyper Warm apparel helps retain body heat and uses Dri FIT fabric to control moisture. The Under Armour Cold Gear Infrared Run Band, for use in 0-55°F,keeps your ears warm with a soft thermo-conductive inner coating that absorbs and retains body heat. It wicks moisture with the proprietary Transport SystemTM and the textile has anti-odor properties.
Look for long sleeved shirts that layer well. The Under Armour Cold Gear Armour Compression shirt comes with a neck gaiter that pulls up to become a balaclava-style hood. Its brushed interior is warm against the skin, while the slick exterior dries quickly. Four-way stretch fabric and mesh panels in high-heat areas provide flexibility along with breathability.
Baby, It’s Cold Outside
When the temperatures drop, but looking like the Michelin Man isn’t an option, try lightweight wool-synthetic blends or down-plus-fiber insulation. The Under Armour Storm Insulated Swacket is a water repellent slip-on jacket (a sweatshirt-jacket hybrid), with 60 grams of insulation in the body and warm, stretchy fleece sleeves and back. The zip at the hem makes it easy to remove and the adjustable hood keeps sightlines clear.
Style-conscious runners will look sharp in the Adidas Primeknit Wool half-zip sweatshirt, (which comes with thumbholes in the cuffs, zoned knit design in wool-blend for breathability, and a stand-up collar) or the Warm Flow FZ hoodie by Helly Hansen®, rated by Backpacker.com to be in the top nine for best insulated winter jackets. Its thin fleece/wool construction fared very well in the world’s toughest alpine conditions.
Winter-sports enthusiasts who travel should look for packability and warmth. The innovative Columbia® Diamond 890 TurbodownTM Hooded jacket fills the ticket, squishing down to “grapefruit size” and it’s cozy warm in sub-zero temperatures. The secret is in the hydrophobic goosedown layered over polyester fill, which is sandwiched between two sheets of silver dot-covered windproof Omni-HeatTM Thermal Reflective material.
Want to show off those muscles and get a soothing massage at the same time? Try compression-wear. The Nike Pro Hyperstrong Compression 4-Pad Football shirt sports impact-protection padding on the ribs and shoulders, without the bulk. And 4-way stretch fabric provides support without inhibiting movement.
Nike Pro Recovery Hypertights apply graduated pressure on the legs from the ankle to the hip to help venous return blood flow. Adidas uses POWERWEB® compression in their Techfit wear. You can even find compression socks, such as lululemon’s® Assert sock, which supports the lower extremity from foot to calf.
Fashion-Forward Workout Wear
If looking great while you exercise is as high a priority as finding workout-wear made from innovative materials, then here are a few pieces for your gym wardrobe that look as well as they function:
- From lululemon:
- Repetition shorts (with boxer-style liner)
- Sleeveless One Two hoodie
- Sea to Sky cycling bib shorts worn with the 3 Peaks zip-front jersey with back pouch pockets
- From Under Armour:
- From Nike:
- Tiger Woods TW Majors Storm Fit Vapor ½ zip jacket
- TW Velocity Max Swing knit stripe standard fit golf polo with blade collar
- Roger Federer Nikecourt x RF jogger pants with tapered leg, relaxed drop crotch, hidden hem zippers, zip fly
- From Patagonia: