Fibre technology specialist DuPont has released its findings from recent research studies showing that DuPont Thermolite Base performance fabrics have proven physiological and performance benefits as well as superior wicking and drying rates.

The problem facing creators of cold weather training apparel is that for the athlete to perform at their optimum they must be kept warm. However, clothing can absorb, trap or reduce the movement of sweat, which will prevent the body from efficiently regulating a healthy temperature.

A drop in body temperature will cause the body to work harder placing an extra strain on the heartand creating higher levels of fatigue, dehydration, impaired physical performance and increased risk of hypothermia.

DuPont used the tests to compare the Thermolite Base to other leading cold weather materials including a treated polyester shirt and a performance polyester shirt.

Runners were monitored on treadmills and in a controlled chamber, with varia-bles such as sweat loss and hydration, fluid retention of the shirts, perceived and actual thermal load, relative exercise intensity, fuel selection, as well as perceived odor, wetness and comfort of the shirts being closely monitored.

The findings showed Thermolite Base outperformed the competition in four key areas:

1. Warmer Skin Temperatures - Infrared images taken of the athletes during testing showed that more heat escaped from the competitive shirts versus when they were wearing shirts made of Thermolite Base. And because Thermolite Base helps retain body heat, less heat was lost through the shirt and the athletes stayed warmer.

2. Lower Heart Rate - Athletes wearing Thermolite Base had lower heart rates versus all competing fabrics. Lower heart rates resulted in the athletes having more energy to perform.

3. Lower Rate of Perceived Exertion - Using the universally recognized Borg scale which measures perceived physical exertion or effort, the athletes rated Thermolite Base as the clear winner. When wearing Thermolite Base, the athletes felt that they did not have to exert as much energy to get the same workout as when wearing competing fabrics.

4. Better Comfort - 100 per cent of the test subjects rated the shirts made of Thermolite Base as the most comfortable of the competitive fabrics throughout all stages of the testing.

"The strength and awareness of the Thermolite brand name combined with these latest test results should provide us with the necessary tools to grow in our existing markets as well as explore other potential markets where there is a value for high performance, lightweight warmth," stated Jeff McGuire, activewear and outdoor marketing manager for DuPont.