athletic tech, fabric tech, gear, elite athletes, fashion, technology, 3D printing

FABRIC TECH FOR FIT BODIES

How the gear for the pros translates for all athletes

Every athlete knows that education is a crucial part of performance. Sport and exercise research, insight from top trainers, science, and technology help you to better understand your body so you can craft a healthier lifestyle, workouts, and recovery plan.

In our daily news series, experts address some of the latest fitness research, nutrition, style, and health stories.


THE SCIENCE
Next-level fabric technology could soon trickle down to the everyday athlete. 

EXPERT INSIGHT
In a sport where winning comes down to a thousandth of a second, speed skaters wear gear made from high-tech fabric that has surface bumps to cut wind resistance. “The materials are not new; what’s new is the science behind them, like knowing where to place those bumps,” says Ajoy K. Sarkar, associate professor of textile development and marketing at Manhattan’s Fashion Institute of Technology. It’s easily transferable to other sports as well, he says, like cycling where it could help prevent aero-friction drag.

Other fabric advances include conductive inks that allow apparel to heat up, for exercising in colder climates. Moreover, “these thermo plastic materials can also be molded so they can all be 3D printed. In the near future, you’ll be able to have a garment made just for you in only a few hours,” says Sarkar.

THE BOTTOM LINE
From more aerodynamic clothing to garments that light up in the dark, soon you’ll be able to choose materials specifically for your workouts. This gives athletes an edge in both comfort and performance, says Sarkar.