Different Types of Breathable Materials That Will Actually
Cool You at Work
What you wear has a huge impact on how you experience hot weather. If you’re working all day in hot conditions, you really need to invest in good-quality clothing made from breathable material. But how do you sort the latest clothing fad from the truly effective new gear? Our advice: check the label. Only clothes made from these breathable materials can keep you cool as you work.
Great Breathable Materials to Work In
Simple organic cotton is the undisputed king of breathable fabrics. A natural fiber, cotton is an effective absorber, pulling moisture away from your body and helping to keep you cool. Cotton is lightweight so you can wear trousers and long-sleeved clothing in the summertime, an important factor in protecting your skin from the sun. Do bear in mind, though that cotton isn’t the best at hiding those sweat patches.
Chambray. Chambray is made from the same plant as cotton but is woven in a slightly different way. Chambray works like cotton but looks like denim so can be used to make more structured garments, great for more fashion-conscious workers!
Linen is another natural fiber that’s derived from the stalk of the flax plant. Linen is manufactured with a loose, flowing weave and was essentially invented for hot conditions.. While it’s known for creasing easily, linen will not stick to your body when you sweat, allowing air to circulate and cool you down.
Jersey. Jersey is the material used to make t-shirts and is a cost-effective choice for breathable work gear. Originally made from wool, most jersey material today is made from a combination of wool, cotton and synthetic fibers. Jersey is absorbent, super flexible and lightweight so is a great choice for work shirts.
The Future of Breathable Materials
Clothes made from the fabrics above can be found in most ordinary clothes stores. If you can, pay a little extra for garments made by using organic materials and ethical labor. Better made clothes last longer and help the fight against environmental damage caused by throwaway fashion.
Another way to reduce your garment waste is by investing in new adaptive fabric technology. Researchers at the University of Maryland have developed a new material that has the power to release heat from your body in hot conditions and trap heat in when its cool. Made from synthetic yarn with a carbon coating, researchers claim the fabric can automatically regulate the amount of heat that passes through it. The material is the first of its kind and if it can truly do what researchers believe it can, it may hold the answer to the perfect work shirt.
Other Ways to Stay Cool in the Summer
While we wait for carbon-coated, adaptive textiles to hit the mainstream market, here are a few more tips for staying cool in the summer.
Buy Work Boots Made From Breathable Materials
Hot, sweaty feet are incredibly uncomfortable. Aside from the swelling, chaffing and eventual odor, sweaty feet can actually affect your whole body temperature. Research has shown that when your feet are hot, so is the rest of your body. You need work boots that are strong and supportive but to keep your temperature down you also need to ensure they’re made from a breathable material for working. Boots with upper sections made from nylon mesh, like Goretex, are ideal for encouraging the circulation of air around the foot.
Wear a Hat
The idea that you lose the majority of your body heat through your head is a myth. Wearing a hat on a hot day is important as it will protect your head from the sun’s UV rays. Save your woolly hat for winter and go for a hat made from lightweight materials with vents and peak. A baseball cap with side vents made from mesh is a good investment but be sure to protect the back of your neck with a bandana. Douse the bandana in cold water whenever you can for extra refreshment!
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Staying hydrated is something many of us fail at. Standard advice is to drink at least two liters of water per day but if your work is physically demanding and affected by hot conditions, you should aim to drink at least three. Get yourself a water bottle with a straw or a hydration pack you can wear. We all constantly look for shortcuts and simply skipping the step of picking up a water bottle and unscrewing the cap will increase your water intake.