Innovation in fabric technologies in recent years have produced all manner of breakthroughs in trying to keep us cool and dry while we workout or cycle. Much of the development in this field has focused on moisture management, where fabric materials pulls sweat off the body to keeping clothes dry, but now products are appearing that specifically look to cool parts of the body for an athlete.
One such fabric material is Icefil, made commercially with a process owned by South Korean firm Ventex. Icefil lowers the body’s surface temperature using a food ingredient more commonly found in chewing gum as a sweetener.
Sweat turns into cooling energy
Xylitol, which is a is a natural ingredient found in white birch, is known to absorb and disperse perspiration but also has cooling properties when it reacts with saliva or sweat, hence its use in chewing gums where it cools down the mouth as you chew.
With Icefil, fibres in the fabric are laced with a Xylitol finish. When a cyclist or athlete sweats, the fibres react, converting the sweat into a refrigerant.
Icefil cooling technology is already being used in a number of products already out in the sports apparel market including compression athletic wear.
Louis Garneau Carbon Pro Team shoe
Icefil does not need direct sunlight to produce cooling results and it is this principle which has seen the fabric technology being used in the insoles of the new 2012 Carbon Pro Team cycling shoe made by cycling brand Louis Garneau.
Icefil is woven into the insole fabric and serves to moderate the moisture and temperature in the shoe and keep feet cool.
Along with Icefil’s dual purpose of moderating temperature and moisture, the fabric also has UVA- and UVB-blocking abilities and Louis Garneau is also using Icefil technology for its 76 Montreal Glove, a half-finger cycling glove, which cools hands while cycling. Something that would be highly welcome when cycling in blazing temperatures.
Team Europcar, which is the team of French cyclist Thomas Voeckler, who finished fourth in the Tour de France last year, are contracted to wear Louis Garneau products. They have been testing the Carbon Pro Team Shoes at their winter training camp.
The Carbon Pro Team Shoes will be available commercially in 2012. The price of the shoe is likely to be in the £200-£250 price bracket.
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