Next-level Thermoregulation is Now
Aim to reimagine what’s possible from a climate control perspective with the latest innovations from structure to smart and eco insulation.
Consumer demand for weather-ready protection and versatile solutions is driving fabric development. Brands and innovative suppliers are putting their latest fabrics to the test in sports tech labs with sweating, thermal mannequins that can measure everything from thermal resistance (apparel’s ability to insulate against heat loss) to evaporative resistance (apparel’s ability to allow sweat to evaporate). The result is optimal temperature regulation for rest, play and everyday.
Nike’s Explore Team Sport Research Lab’s director, Barry Spiering explains it simply as
“Thermoregulation is the body’s version of a house’s central heating and cooling system”
He explains that when the thermostat is set to a certain temperature, say 72 degrees. Regardless of what’s going on outside, it will keep the house at a cool, comfortable 72degrees.
Through sweating to cool and shivering to create warmth, the body does everything it can to keep an optimal temperature but sometimes it needs a little help. That’s where the latest fabric developments come in, to support the body’s own impressive thermoregulation process. Alex Ingildsen, CCO at LTP Group states
“LTP are committed to bringing the latest innovations and developments via our bi-annual 360° Innovation book. Our team of specialists are excited by fabrics that can offer targeted skin cooling and thermoregulation in response to fluctuating body and external temperature changes”
Here Laura Didžiokienė, fabric sourcing and innovation specialist at LTP and designer/trend forecaster Chantell Fenton discuss the brands and suppliers pushing the boundaries to drive new and exciting product developments in the thermoregulation space.
Structure Plays an Integral for Added Heat Retention
The fabrics structure is the first port of call for thermal properties. The specially engineered structure of fibres minimises cold spots & clumping. The more “air” or “space” created between the layers (and more smartly constructed chambers], the more heat trapped inside.
German innovator IMBUT impress with a 3D honeycomb structure created on a jacquard loom via an old weave construction for optimal thermal properties. The fabric can also be tailored to the customer’s specific needs specifically with sustainable yarns in both the warp and weft.
Elsewhere structure plays an integral roll in Toray’s fabric with pre-engineered jacquard tunnels for stitch-free baffles. Toray I-Tube fabric is used in Mountain Hardwear's Super DS Climb Jacket which boasts fewer potential cold spots at the seams.
Smart Structure & Adaptable Thermoregulation are Commercialised
The development and introduction of intelligent insulation reimagines what is possible in the apparel market. A garment crafted from a ‘thinking' smart knit can adjust to changes in body temperature and environment in real-time.
Nike’s latest innovation, AeroAdapt is one-to-watch. The material’s moisture-reactive yarns works to release body heat and let air in, consequently cooling the wearer down as the body sweats. The wetter the fabric becomes, the more it opens. When dry, the material appears flat and the yarns are in straight, horizontal lines. When wet, the yarns contract to allow in-creased air flow. The fabric therefore appears crinkled and raised. As the moisture evaporates, the vents close to trap body heat. The technology is strategically placed in high sweat zones for optimal cooling.
Ralph Lauren showcase an innovative Opening Ceremony uniform for team USA which also utilises intelligent insulation. The temperature-responsive fabric comprised of two materials that expand and contract at different rates in response to temperature changes. The personal thermal management system essentially swells to become a puffer in the cold but flattens in warmer temperatures when the insulation is no longer needed. The technology developed by Skyscrape requires no need for batteries or wires.
Schoeller’s award-winning heated E-soft–shell is another exciting innovation in the space. The E-soft-shell is a laminate consisting of bi-elastic tissue, lined with a functional cork shell coating. The fabric can be cut to size without affecting the embedded technology. The heating technology is integrated with the fabric in a diamond-shaped geometrical pattern. It is based on metallic yarns, making it possible for the material to be evenly heated at standard voltages.
Kjus’s 7sphere Hydro_Bot ski jacket is widely acknowledged as an industry game-changer, winning the ISPO Gold Award 2019. The innovative brand commercialised the first garment to feature an electronic, user-controlled membrane called Hydro_Bot. The technology was developed over a 10 year period by Osmotex in collaboration with the Swiss research institute EMPA (the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology) and leading supplier Schoeller. Kjus’s 7sphere Hydro_Bot ski jacket works to actively pull sweat away from the inner garments and out of the jacket, using a process called electro-osmosis meaning the motion of liquid under the influence of an electric field. When a small electrical pulse is applied, the pores on the membrane turn into micro-pumps, actively pumping sweat away from the body and out of the jacket quickly and efficiently.
Another solution for intelligent heat management is Flying Textile’s iWarm 3.0 system, which lets the wearer enter their desired temperature via a smartphone app. The app monitors and controls the temperature by communicating with the integrated sensors and heating elements via Bluetooth. The textile only requires 10 seconds to reach the desired temperature.
A Sustainable Focus
Another area for investment is sustainable solutions. The category is exploring fibres that are naturally thermoregulating and recycled.
Supercharge nature by using patented Sorona (corn BIO-PDO) blended with wool for enhanced thermoregulation. The process to make Bio-PDO™ consumes 40 percent less total energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent versus petroleum-based propanediol. Sorona is soft and fluffy with excellent heat retention and a natural 3D structure.
Another option is the animal-free patented Ecodown Fibers Genius by Thermore which is made from 100% recycled PES, GRS certified, PeTA Vegan approved and microfibre-free. A hybrid between free fibers and rolled insulation, Ecodown Fibers Genius is easy to use and durable. The revolutionary construction a allows the fibres to intertwine creating an even and stable layer of insulation designed to minimise cold spots and clumping. Light, soft, puffy, warm: Ecodown Fibers are setting a new standard in their category of blown-in products and are designed to provide superior loft, warmth and recovery. Thermore claims it's the “only free fiber solution so durable that it becomes up to 10 percent warmer after washing”.
Natural compositions are becoming increasingly important. The vegan alternative to wool, Kapok is harvested from seed pods. It’s cruelty-free & renewable. Also free from toxic materials and a very good, super lightweight (8 times lighter than cotton) thermal insulator.
How to get your copy of LTP’s latest 360° Innovation book
The fourth edition of the innovation book called IB.04 highlights everything you need to know about textiles, trims and technologies, including the latest information on thermoregulation. To get your hands on a copy, all existing customer should contact Alex
The Innovation 360° book will become a place for suppliers to introduce their latest “super materials” and pioneering developments. If you’re an innovative supplier and wish to be featured in the next edition, please contact Alex at the LTP Group [firstname.lastname@example.org].
LTP is a Danish owned garment manufacturer for +60 premium brands within active sportswear, outdoor, athleisure and sustainable fashion. LTP was established in 1991, and is probably the biggest Sport & Outdoor garment manufacturer in Europe with bluesign & GOTS setups in Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Vietnam.
LTP consists of two divisions; LTP Garment and LTP Contract Furniture producing in ten fully-owned factories.
About Chantell Fenton
Chantell is an experienced performance sportswear designer and trend forecaster, with a passion for wellness, technology and function-first design. Chantell has an in-depth knowledge of how to spot and translate the must-have trends and macro shifts for the sports and outdoor industry. For more details visit www.chantellfenton.com