Inside the outdoor industry

Polartec bringing new Power Air tech to ISPO

Sheds five times less fibres than other premium ‘mid-layer’ weight fabrics

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Polartec has launched Polartec Power Air, which it claims is the first fabric technology engineered to reduce fibre shedding, encapsulating “lofted fibres within a multilayer, continuous yarn fabric construction”.

It means it offers “advanced thermal efficiency” that is proven to shed five times less than other premium ‘mid-layer’ weight fabrics. It will be a focal point for the brand at the upcoming ISPO Munich show.

Any exposed fibre is susceptible to shedding as a function of normal wear. The Polartec Power Air construction process mitigates it by encasing the insulating lofted fibres within the knitting process.

“By using the efficiency of encapsulated air to shelter lofted fibres, Polartec Power Air will drastically improve how fabrics perform over their lifetime with respect to versatility, comfort, and sustainability,” said Gary Smith, Polartec CEO. “We’re only beginning to realise the potential for this new type of fabric construction.”

The initial release features an internal grid structure on one side not unlike ‘fabric bubble wrap’ which simultaneously holds air and increases breathability, while the other side features a smooth, durable outer surface that resists pilling and minimises drag.

Shedding reduction

As the first fabric construction to encase air with a continuous yarn, Polartec Power Air is a foundational technology platform that will eventually provide shedding reduction to all existing apparel categories (including insulation, lightweight next to skin, and extreme weather protection). It has recently gained recognition from the World Textile Information Network with its Future Textile Award for Best Innovation: Sustainable Textiles.

“Polartec has never shied away from solving tough, intractable problems,” said Mike Rose, Polartec VP of Product Development. “Power Air has the potential to be our most significant development since pioneering the process to knit fabrics made of post-consumer plastic bottles.”

Power Air is the latest product of Polartec Eco-engineering, a process by which Polartec deploys recycled inputs, advanced production techniques, highly efficient logistics, and rigorous testing and certifications to create an unrivalled innovation pipeline devoted to producing sustainable fabrics with elite performance characteristics.

A whole new testing protocol had to be invented to measure shedding due to home laundering. The protocol simulates dozens of launderings in a single cycle to accurately capture any microfibres lost in a lifetime of use. The test then accurately determines the percentage of weight loss due to shedding.

The technology was publicly unveiled by Polartec CEO Gary Smith, at Performance Days in Munich Germany. The Polartec Power Air Hoody is now available from Adidas, with more brands including Houdini and Mammut set to release their own offerings in the coming months.

“Polartec Power Air is more than solving a problem and creating a new platform,” added Smith. “It’s a brand statement about the power of fabric.”

You can see the new tech in action at the year’s ISPO on Stand: B4 336

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