Dealing with Velcro: A Guide
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 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. As such, there is also no denying that it will continue to be used for a long time to come.
Our 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: On top of all these velcro-related obstacles, Podiumwear (as well as any other custom clothing manufacturer) uses a process called sublimation to create our designs. In sublimation, the fabric starts off white and is sublimated a custom color. Because the back side of the fabric remains white, those fuzzy picks on the fabric's surface appear white ... and white fibers on colored fabric look even worse. Double Ouch!
What is Podiumwear doing to help you fight the battle against Velcro?
Well, it's pretty obvious that the best solution to this whole Velcro problem is simply to keep your ski suits and cycling kits AWAY from it. And yet, we recognize that this is not always possible. There are certain key areas of a ski suit, for example, that will always be at higher risk for contact with Velcro. These hot spots are the arm and leg cuffs that come in contact with velcro on gloves and boots as well as the hips and upper thighs that, depending on a skier's technique, may come in contact with the Velcro on some 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 this may change but until then, Podiumwear will continue to bring you the very latest in fabrics and technology to help you fight the Velcro battle.
We are very proud of this latest incarnation of the Gold Nordic Race Suit. We think it will not only be the most comfortable race suit you've ever worn, it will be the most durable.
Podiumwear Care Instructions:
- 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.