Does Cooling Clothing Really Work?
Cooling clothing? It sounds like a contradiction in terms, and to a degree, it is. After all, any barrier over your skin will retain heat more than if you were wearing nothing at all. But we are not comparing cooling clothes against nudity. We're comparing it to other garments. So, if you were to choose a shirt for a hot day to help keep you cool, what would work best, an ordinary shirt or a performance shirt constructed with body-cooling fabric?
While that answer may be obvious, it helps to know what makes the two options different. More specifically, how cooling shirts work and why they reign supreme in hot and humid environments.
Do Cooling Shirts Work, and How?
The purpose of a skin-cooling shirt material is to counteract the effects of heat, repel UV rays, wick away sweat, and allow fresh air to move freely. If you know much about fabrics, you probably know the coolest materials have always been natural fabrics like cotton. But advanced cooling fabrics are not made of cotton. They are made of performance materials with modern (and much appreciated) cooling capabilities, like:
- Temperature Balance: focuses on 'wicking'
- Temperature Abatement: focuses on the transfer of heat
The concept of temperature balance is to remove sweat from the body, which is achieved by a process similar to the effect of wind on sweaty skin. When sweat evaporates due to the wind, it removes heat from the body, making it feel cooler. Even a warm breeze can feel refreshing when it passes over sweaty skin because the moisture it carries away takes some of the heat with it. This explains why sweating cools you down.
But what if the air can't hit your skin because you have a shirt on? Well, that's the problem that temperature-balance fabrics are meant to solve.
This cooling method seems a little more impressive on the surface. You will notice when touching this type of material that it actually feels cool. Instead of wicking away moisture, it directs heat away from the body through a heat-conductive material known as conductive polyethylene (PE).
PE is a nano-constructed material that conducts heat away from surfaces in the same way metals do. In fact, the creators of PE actually used metals as a model for how to create this remarkable material. To understand it, you would have to understand the way a molecule tends to move heat in one direction and not the other.
Admittedly, that's a bit out of our depth. Let it be sufficient to say that PE materials conduct heat away from the skin with or without the presence of moisture much in the same way as metals would. The natural benefit is that you automatically feel cool when wearing these materials, whether you have been sweating or not.
What About Ultraviolet Protection?
There is one more factor that neither moisture-wicking nor PE can account for, and that is UV protection.
Ordinary cotton is among the worst for keeping out UV rays, with an average UV protection rating of 5 (hint–that’s not enough to keep you safe from sunburn!). Meanwhile, most synthetic fabrics provide a protection level of UPF 30 or more—the minimum rating clothing needs to qualify for the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation. Even in the absence of special heat-reducing technology, synthetic fabrics tend to offer better UV protection than organic fabrics.
Now that we know how cooling shirt technology benefits you in warm weather, let’s talk about one of the best cool shirt materials made with Mobile Cooling® Technology.
Experience the Benefits of Mobile Cooling® Apparel
Men’s Cooling Clothing and Women’s Cooling Clothing designed with Mobile Cooling® Technology effortlessly wicks away moisture, allowing your body to get the maximum benefit from natural cooling. Plus, the powerful UV protection of these advanced materials will help bring temperatures down even further, allowing you to work harder, play harder, and have more fun without the effects of the sun slowing you down.
At Fieldsheer, you’ll find a tried-and-true selection of Mobile Cooling® apparel for men and women designed for everyday work, play, and adventure. Choose from short and long-sleeve cooling work shirts, tanks, hooded sun shirts, Hi-Vis Cooling Vests, and more.
Additionally, accessories like Mobile Cooling® face masks, Hydrologic Neckbands, and towels provide even more reprieve from heat and humidity to keep you safe and comfortable in any warm-weather climate.
Check out our entire collection of Mobile Cooling® apparel and enjoy every warm-weather adventure in unparalleled comfort to discover more.