Outdoor Retailer 2019
Polartec’s New Fleece Technology Will Make This Midlayer Your Favorite One Yet
Model: Power Air Houdi
Availability: As of January 31
Unique Features: Recycled fibers, high collar hood, two-way zipper and Bluesign certified fabric
Upshot: The Polartec Power Air is the first of many technologies that are built to help promote recycled materials and eliminate fiber shedding into the environment. It helps that the material is smooth and buttery soft. And, this is just the first step in the brand’s commitment to becoming 100 percent recycled and biodegradable. Sustainability has always been a critical focus for Polartec. Brands like Adidas, Houdini and Burton depend on technologies from Polartec to drive the development of new products, so it’s likely we’ll start to see this announcement change the future of apparel.
Who It’s For: Runners, climbers, hikers and anyone who loves getting outdoors will find this new fleece an important piece in their kit.
Insight: One of the most recent additions to the Polartec recycled family is Power Air. It’s an insulating fleece fabric that’s warm but won’t shed as is typical with fleece jackets and vests. The excess fibers shake out in the laundry, then draining into our rivers and oceans, which is a detriment to the marine life. Power Air is technology that will help eliminate the problem. Since it’s made from just one piece of fabric, it sheds five times less than other midlayers. As opposed to the fleece you typically think of when you envision puffy and soft vests and jackets, this fleece has a square bubble-like appearance. Throw this breathable jacket on over a base layer then hit the slopes, the trails or the road all year long.
While the brand has been using post-consumer recycled plastics since 1993, the materials company will now work with Unifi and Intrinsic Advanced Materials, two industry leaders in sustainability, to work towards 100 percent biodegradability. We saw PrimaLoft — another top-notch insulation company — announce the PrimaLoft Bio this winter, another fiber that claims 84 percent degradation after 400 days and Patagonia announce its 100 percent recycled push in popular products like the Black Hole Duffel. Polartec is on that train. Immediate goals are to develop the first fully recycled and biodegradable fleece as well as a variety of other knits and fills.