Traditional fleece insulates by trapping warm air in between all the little lofted fibers of the fabric. While this fabric technology works great, more and more we have begun to understand that every time we wash our fleece, tiny microfibers get flushed into the water and harm the ecosystem.
A few companies have come up with ways to try and cut down on this microfiber pollution, such as Guppy Friend and Cora Ball, but Polartec decided to attack it at the source. To do so, Polartec came up with a completely new fabric construction.
Polartec Power Air uses a multilayer, continuous yarn fabric that is knit into multiple chambers. These chambers fully encapsulate a bunch of lofted fibers that hold onto warm air just like a traditional fleece.
However, unlike fleece, Power Air’s fibers are not exposed to outside elements or abrasive surfaces so won’t shed as much — Polartec claims that Power Air sheds five times less than a normal midlayer-weight fleece.
As the first fabric construction to encase air with a continuous yarn, Polartec hopes that Power Air is a foundational technology platform that will eventually provide shedding reduction to all existing apparel categories (including insulation, lightweight next to skin, and extreme weather protection). The innovation has recently gained recognition from the World Textile Information Network with its Future Textile Award for Best Innovation: Sustainable Textiles.
Adidas will be one of the first to use Power Air in their hooded Power Air Fleece Jacket ($180), available now. Other brands including Houdini and Mammut get set to release their own offerings in the coming months.