Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Does performance wicking gear actually cause you harm?

I sweat when I run. I sweat a lot, as anyone who has seen Himself flinch and recoil when I come in from a run will testify.

So I was very interested in this review of
wicking gear from today's Slate, and surprised to read the following:

Is it possible that these shirts do their job too well? A small company called TR Gear thinks so. "Our extensive research shows that the high wicking fabrics currently used in the industry can actually increase the risk of injury, fatigue, overheating, and dehydration by not allowing sweat to affectively cool the body through evaporation against the skin," reads the company's Web site.

Mike Smoltz, the founder of TR Gear and the brother of Braves pitcher John Smoltz, told me that newfangled wicking shirts counteract the body's natural thermal regulation mechanism. By drawing sweat away from your skin as soon as it rises to the surface, he says, your body won't cool properly. That will make you sweat even more, which will lead in turn to dehydration and compromised muscle performance.

Hm. I wonder?


Lara said...

That is interesting. I remember (Chocolate) Jon asking that question awhile ago. I know it feels much more comfortable to me to run in wicking tops rather than cotton. I don't sweat much when I run but when I'm done, I purge buckets of sweat.

BTW, welcome back. Can't wait to see some Ireland pics!

jeanne said...

Oh i wish the scientists would make up their minds already! i sweat buckets and i love the wicking tops, but at the end of long runs i always get chills and i often wonder if it's bcs of this fabric.

welcome back! yeah Ireland!!

Scott in Washington said...

I can't see it being much of an issue if you have access to plenty of fluids and the temp.s are excessively high. I may have to take in more fluid as I go in order to avoid the soggy cotton tee. I usually set my runs up so that I run past my car or super secret water bottle hiding spot a regular basis anyway. We live in rich times to be so critical of cotton clothing.

Noames said...

I think they're asking the wrong question. They're acting as if the choice is between sweat-wicking or naked, because if you wear a cotton tee, it gets soaked with your sweat, and doesn't evaporate or cool you effectively at all. So I'm sticking with wicking.