Thomas Alva Edison never donned an Under Armour HeatGear fitted short-sleeve crew. But the inventor, who famously said, “Genius is 1 percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration,” might as well have been talking about the Baltimore brand that started 16 years ago because founder Kevin Plank was sick of sweaty tees.
Since then, the world has recognized that shirts don’t have to soak. If they’re made with the right fabrics, they can carry moisture away from the skin, keeping the wearer drier and more comfortable. The discovery of these textile advances has completely changed how people view what they wear to exercise — and garden, run errands and even just hang out.
“When you go to dinner, you expect air conditioning. Now when you buy (athletic) clothes, you expect them to have wicking technology,” says Kevin Haley, senior vice president for innovation at Under Armour.
Walking around the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City this month, Doug Browning was impressed by how much sweat protection had seeped into every product people were wearing, from shoes to earbuds. “Everyone dresses as if they’re sweating,” says Browning, whose wife, Donna, invented Sweaty Bands. The customizable, no-slip hair accesory is on track to sell more than 6 million units this year.