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Winter Sports Apparel Glossary


Acrylic Fabric – synthetic textile fibers derived from acrylic acid.  When Acrylic is blended with wool fibers, it creates a non-itchy and more stable fabric.

Bonded – the process of gluing several fibers together to form a uniform sheet of fabric or material with no weave or seams, therefore reducing bulk and weight.

Breathable – refers to the moisture vapor transmission performance of a fabric, or more simply, the evaporation of sweat.  A breathability rating for a technical fabric measures the rate at which water or sweat vapor passes through from inside to outside, in grams of water vapor per square meter in a 24hr period.  This rating is typically abbreviated to “g” or “g/m2.”  The more breathable the garment, the more comfortable it is.

Cire - 100% Nylon Micorbier, down proof, water repellant, Teflon finish 5K WP 5K MVP DWR

Coated Fabric – fabric treated with an application or adhesive layer to impart technical properties, such as waterproof and windproof performance.  The coating is typically applied to the backside of the fabric and adds body and weight.

Down – the soft, light and fluffy feathers found under the tougher exterior feathers of duck, geese and other fowl.  Down feathers trap air, which helps insulate against heat loss and makes down a popular insulation material.  Down quality is rated according to the ratio of down feathers to other regular feathers in the insulation.  For example, 90/10 means the insulation is 90% down feathers and 10% other feathers.  Down insulation is rated by fill power.  The higher the fill power, the warmer and loftier the insulation. 

Down blend – modern insulation technology blends natural down with other synthetic fibers to create hybrid insulations that combine the best characteristics of down and synthetic insulation.  An example would be Primaloft Performance Blend, which combines down with Primaloft® for a warm and lofty insulation that dries more quickly than down and is more water-resistant.

DWR – Durable Water Repellent.  This is a chemical treatment applied to the exterior surface of the fabric so that water beads into drops and rolls off the fabric, rather than saturating the fabric itself.  Over time and many washes, the DWR treatment wears off and becomes less effective.  Wash-in and spray-on products are available to help restore the DWR of the garment.

Faux Fur – material made of synthetic fibers designed to resemble fur.  No real fur content in faux fur.

Intarsia – a knitting technique used to create patterns with multiple colors.

Jacquard – a knitting or weaving technique in which the design is incorporated into the knit rather than sewn or printed on.

Knit – textile formed by knitting one continuous thread, and characterized by more stretch in all directions compared to woven fabrics.  Knit fabrics are typically used for garments that are close to the body, like t-shirts, sweaters, undergarments, etc.

Laminated Fabric – fabric bonded with a polymer film for waterproof breathable function. A 2-layer "2L" fabric comprises a face fabric and lamination layer, while a 3-layer "3L" fabric has an additional layer to protect the laminate and allow the fabric to be used without lining. 

Lasercut – a technology using lasers to cut materials like fabric.  Cutting fabric with a laser results in very precise shapes and sealed seams that don’t fray.

Lycra® - a type of stretch fiber also known as spandex.  Adding spandex fibers to knit and woven fabrics makes them more stretchy and forgiving.

Merino Wool – refers to wool fibers from Merino sheep, which are regarded as having some of the finest and softest wool of any sheep.  The long and soft fibers of their wool means merino knit is less itchy than some other types of wool, but carries the same characteristics of natural breathability and wicking.

Metallic Rip Stop  - 100% Nylon Ripstop, waterproof, metallic coating, Teflon finish 10K WP 10K MVP DWR

Microfiber – fine synthetic yarn used in textiles for soft yet dense fabric

Power Stretch - 100% Polyester micro fleece, water repellant, face bonded to wicking fleece back

Nylon – Nylon is a synthetic polymer that can be used in woven or knit fabric.  Lightweight and easy to care for, nylon is known for its strength and durability.

Polyester – Polyester is a synthetic fiber used to weave or knit fabric.  Lightweight and easy to care for, polyester is known for its quick-drying and color dying characteristics.

Quick-Dry – fabrics, typically polyester based, designed to quickly  transport moisture to the surface where it evaporates.  The fabric stays drier and lighter on the body.

Seamless – a computer knitting technique where the entire garment or part of the garment (such as the body/torso or leg) is produced in one piece without any seams or sewing.  This is ideal for creating a more comfortable, chafe-free garment.

Spandex – alternative name for Lycra®. 

Stretch (Mechanical) – fabrics that have stretch properties but do not use spandex or other stretch yarns.  The stretch is created through the weaving and finishing process.  Mechanical stretch fabrics do not stretch as much as 4-way and spandex fabrics.

Stretch (4-way) – fabrics that contain Lycra® or spandex fibers to create exceptional stretch in 4 directions (up-down and side-to-side).  4-way stretch fabrics are ideal for closer-fitting garments where mobility is important, such as pants

Stretch Tech 2 Ply - Soft shell with 4-way stretch.  90% nylon microfiber/10% Spandex.  Waterproof Polyurethane stretch breathable membrane 10K WP 10K MVP DWR

Stretch Tech 3 Ply - Soft shell with 4-way stretch shell bonded to Polysester Microfiber fleece backing.  90% nylon microfiber/10% Spandex.  Waterproof Polyurethane stretch breathable membrane 10K WP 10K MVP and DWR

Thinsulate – This insulating material comes in various weights to maximize warmth and versatility, such as Y 100 grams, FX 40 grams, and FX 80 grams.  Used as and where needed for 'thin' unbotrusive warmth

Tricot – fabric material that has a unique weave that allows it to be smooth on one side and textured on the other.  Sturdy yet soft, tricot is ideal as a lining material.

Ventilation – dedicated vents or openings in the garment to accommodate airflow and temperature regulation. 

Waterproof – fabrics that are treated, typically by lamination or coating, to become resistant to water penetration.  Waterproof ratings are measured in millimeters (mm), and represent the height of water that can be placed in a 1” square tube over the fabric before water penetrates the fabric.  The higher the rating, the more waterproof the garment. 

Welded – a garment manufacturing technique that replaces traditional sewing with gluing.  The result is less bulk, lower weight and a smooth finish.

Wicking – fabric designed to pull moisture away from the body for better temperature regulation.

Woven – textile formed by weaving many threads in a crisscross pattern (warp and weft), and characterized by a crisp and dense appearance compared to knits. 

WR – Water Repellent.  Fabric that is inherently water resistant or treated in order to resist water on the surface of the fabric.