Here is Jay Rogers at the Cambridge Racquet and Fitness Club putting Under Armour Performance Gear to a multi-match tournament test.
The Under Armour shirt did a great job of wicking even as Jay is re-hydrating after winning the intermediate group championship at CRFC. Enamullah Khan, the CRFC squash coach conceived and ran a great tournament that was strong in both excitement and fun. Jay's first use comments are below.
The editors at Rainyday Magazine wanted a sweat hog and my soma type and metabolism fall into that dubious category. At a full sweat a damp cotton T-shirt transforms itself into a soaked cloak. Superman is never wringing out his gear so why should I?
Performance fabrics are not just for the denizens of Krypton anymore. Lets begin with a quick review of how synthetic fabrics steal king cotton’s crown in the realm of moisture management.
Nothing beats a fluffy cotton bath towel for drying off after a post-game shower. A dress shirt of Egyptian cotton has a feel that is smooth and superb. But in competition a cotton T-shirt can absorb up to 25 times its weight in water. That could be an extra 2 lbs of sweat spread out over my frame. In game 3 of a 5 game squash match that additional weight will cost you points.
Enter the specially engineered fibers to efficiently transport sweat to a fabric's surface. There it can evaporate, cooling you down without weighing you down (Coolmax and Gridworks are two such synthetics). There are also treatments applied to fabrics that enhance moisture elimination (Export and DryCore are two examples). For a longer discursive on performance fabrics see Dr. Keith Conover’s post.
You’re probably familiar with Under Armour’s compression styled HeatGear line. It’s a great accent for pros with 6-pack abs. Squash keeps me in two pack shape. That is a belly button equator dividing a modest northern and southern hemisphere. So Under Armour’s new, looser fitting Performance Polo’s with power stretch fabric are more my style . As it turned out the Celtic Green Under Armour polo I wore for the CRFC tournament was also my lucky charm.
At a full sweat it was up to the task of moisture and heat management. In addition, the grid pattern is comfortable, providing a bit of stretch to easily accommodate a squash or golf swing.
Here are some general tips on maintaining your performance fabrics. I recommend keeping them away from long dryer cycles and fabric softeners. Dryers produced some meltdowns with first generation polypropylene fabrics. Not as much of a problem with today’s synthetics but since they dry so quickly why waste the electricity. Fabric softeners can coat some fabrics and degrade their wicking properties so a straight detergent is preferable.
We should also note some performance fabrics have a very short half-life until they hit odoriferous highs. In the early tests our Under Armour did not give offense. We’ll let you know how the bouquet and moisture management hold up long term.