How to Protect your Custom Apparel from Velcro Damage
How does Velcro damage high performance fabric? Let’s Break it Down.
The hook-and-loop fastening system known as Velcro is very well known to all of us in the sports industry. Two fabric strips - one with tiny hooks, the other with hairy little loops. Press them together and the hooks catch the loops and the two pieces bind temporarily.
Since it was first developed in the 1950’s, Velcro has been widely implemented in the gear we athletes use every day. As skiers and cyclists, we come across Velcro in ski poles, gloves, ski boots, cycling shoes, goggles, helmets, outerwear and straps for our gear. There is no denying that Velcro is something we rely on. It’s not going anywhere so we best know how to protect our hi-tech clothing from it.
The problem with Velcro is that its “hooks” easily grab onto articles of clothing that they were NOT intended for - especially, for example, knit fabrics used for nordic ski suits, and cycling kits. When the hooks brush against the synthetic fibers of polyester, they agitate and pull at them. Even very slight contact with Velcro causes yarn breakage or what we call fabric “picking” - a process that results in fiber ends that have pulled away from the fabric surface. Ouch!
Here’s the kicker: Custom apparel is even more susceptible to Velcro damage. Custom apparel manufacturers use a process called sublimation. With sublimation, the fabric starts off white and is then dyed a custom color or pattern. Because the back and under-side of the fabric remains white after sublimation, the fuzzy picks that Velcro pulls out will appear white ... and white fibers on colored fabric do not look good. Double Ouch!
What is Podiumwear doing to help you fight the battle against Velcro?
It’s obvious that the best solution to the Velcro problem to simply keep your ski suits and cycling kits AWAY from it. We recognize, however, that this is not always possible. For example, there are certain key areas of a ski suit that will always be at higher risk for contact with Velcro. These “hot spots” include the arm and leg cuffs that can come in contact with velcro on gloves and boots, as well as the outer hip/thigh area that can come in contact with velcro on ski poles with every stride.
To help you combat unsightly velcro picks, we’ve integrated a new abrasion-resistant fabric into these key areas of our Gold Line Nordic Race Suit. After testing this new fabric against ski poles with the most ruthless velcro on the market today, we saw a significant decrease in the amount of picking that occurred. This abrasion-resistant fabric has a high yarn tensile strength as well as a high denier (unit of measure used to describe the fiber thickness of individual thread or filament used in the creation of fabric). The higher the tensile strength and higher the denier of a fabric, the more its fibers will resist being pulled loose by Velcro or other abrasive materials.
This being said, we want to emphasize that ‘abrasion resistant’ does not mean ‘abrasion proof.’ All knit fabrics are vulnerable to abrasion. Some day new technologies may change this but until then, Podiumwear will continue to bring you the very latest in fabrics and technology to help you fight the velcro battle.
Tips for taking care of your Custom Apparel:
- Turn your garment inside out when washing.
- Fully zip the garment itself and any garments being washed with it.
- Always wash in cold water with mild soap on a gentle cycle.
- Don’t wash your garments with anything that has the slightest bit of Velcro or any other rough or heavy material (bulky snaps, unzipped zippers, outerwear, straps, toggles, beads, baubles, rhinestones, etc...). Items such as these should be washed by themselves or in a garment bag.
- Always line dry.
- Avoid fabric softeners, oils and solvents and do not leave wet for an extended period of time.
- When stowing your garment in a gear bag, turn it inside out and, if possible, store it in its own small bag.
- Keep the velcro on your gear fastened at all times when transporting.
- Take care to fully fasten the velcro on your ski poles, gloves and boots before skiing.
Podiumwear Custom Sports Apparel guarantees that the materials and workmanship in every product we make will stand up to the use for which it was designed. This guarantee does not cover damage caused by contact with velcro, over-exposure to a heat source, improper care, accidents or natural breakdown of materials over extended time and use. Products in question should be returned to us for evaluation and will be repaired or replaced at our discretion.
Velcro on gloves, pole straps and other gear causes severe damage to sublimated apparel, pulling out dyed strands of fabric and leaving behind white burrs. Velcro damage is not covered by our guarantee.