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How Cotton Activewear Works Harder for You
How Cotton Activewear Works Harder for You

The right workout gear and apparel also means the difference between feeling great or getting sick or simply feeling sticky and uncomfortable.

In selecting the right gear, you might not realize that a lot of activewear is comprised primarily of synthetic fibers, such as polyester and nylon. Synthetic fabrics hold odor and promote the growth of bacteria, according to the study Microbial Odor Profile of Polyester and Cotton Clothes after a Fitness Session.

This bacterial growth is problematic for two key reasons. First, it means you should remove synthetic activewear immediately following a workout to prevent skin and odor issues. Second, bacterial growth can continue even after you wash your clothes. This is the reason why many synthetic items hold odor over time, no matter how thoroughly you washed them.

There is a bright alternative though –innovations in cotton technology from Cotton Incorporated are giving consumers new choices when it comes to their athletic attire.

“The natural properties of cotton fiber such as softness, breathability and freshness already make it an incredible ingredient for activewear,” said Mike Shen, vice president and managing director, product development and implementation at Cotton Incorporated. “Research and innovation to make cotton perform even better are constantly top-of-mind for our team. We’re focused on giving consumers activewear that dries faster and keeps you cooler.”

The following are key innovations to look out for in performance activewear:

TransDRY® technology is a high-performance moisture management application making your activewear feel cooler and dry faster. When placing TransDRY® yarn in a fabric construction it enhances the wearability of cotton in exercise apparel by absorbing less and spreading moisture across the fabric for enhanced comfort, breathability, and faster drying.  TransDRY® treated cotton dries (up to) twice as fast as regular cotton.

WICKING WINDOWS™ technology is another moisture management application that moves sweat and moisture away from the skin. Based on a combination of innovative print technology and design, WICKING WINDOWS™ creates areas of cotton fabrics that stay dry against the skin while engineered absorbent “windows” to channel moisture to the surface of the fabric where it can evaporate.  This enables faster drying and reduced fabric cling.

STORM COTTON™ technology repels liquids while maintaining the natural breathability of cotton as a fabric and garment treatment. This means you can stay comfortable and dry when working out in the elements. Unlike other water-repellent treatments, STORM COTTON™ maintains cotton’s natural softness and breathability.


All moisture-management technologies from Cotton Incorporated mentioned above are available in C6, PFOA-free (perfluorooctanoic acid), formulations as well as durable non-fluorinated formulations. Non-fluorinated options offer comparable water repellency and durability with enhanced softness.  Some retailers are moving toward non-fluorinated finishes to avoid environmental and health concerns.