Moisture Wicking vs. Dri Fit: What's the Difference?

Moisture Wicking vs. Dri Fit:  What's the Difference?

When you are shopping for workout gear, you want to look for outfits that offer quick-drying properties. Magical properties that draw sweat and moisture from your body so your clothes won’t feel weighed down when you are wearing them during a workout. Nothing is worse than when your socks are drenched because they got wet and won’t dry now for hours at least.

What Is Moisture Wicking

Moisture-wicking is the ability of a fabric to draw moisture (such as sweat) away from the skin to the fabric's surface, where it can evaporate, keeping the skin dry and comfortable.

Moisture-wicking technology works based on capillary action and fabric engineering. When you sweat, the moisture is quickly absorbed by the fabric. Capillary action, which is the ability of a liquid to flow in narrow spaces without the assistance of, or against, external forces like gravity, helps in spreading the moisture across a larger surface area within the fabric.

In essence, moisture-wicking technology combines the hydrophobic nature of synthetic fibers with specialized fabric structures, enabling the efficient transport of moisture away from the skin, thereby enhancing comfort and performance during physical activities.

What Is Moisture-Wicking Fabrics

Fabrics such as wool, polyester, spandex, nylon, and acrylic all boast moisture-fighting properties. By using wicking fabrics like a polyester blend, they are able to absorb only 0.4% of their weight in moisture. So, technically it is not really absorbing at all, but pushing the moisture back toward the surface and evaporating. This is all thanks to a process called capillary action.

Much like the capillaries in your body, these tiny pockets draw the sweat and moisture away from the skin and onto the fabric. This causes the moisture to evaporate on the surface of the material rather than the skin, making sure you aren’t feeling any discomfort from sweat.

Once that moisture reaches the surface of the fabric, it spreads out quickly and evaporates even quicker. This causes you to barely hang onto any moisture that your body creates or that comes from outside factors. It also means that you are not absorbing all of the bacteria that comes from your sweat and causes you to have the lingering scent of body odor.

Fabrics that wick away moisture are great because you can actually wear them again after you work out. Normal clothing (made of materials such as cotton) absorbs the moisture, which is where bacteria that cause odor begins to grow and stays on your clothing until you wash it. If your clothing isn’t holding onto moisture, you are erasing areas where that bacteria can grow and rest, so you won’t be carrying scents or moisture with you throughout the day. 

Moisture-Wicking Clothes Meaning

Moisture-wicking clothes contain materials such as Merino wool, which is a material thinner than a strand of hair. The shape of Merino wool is so unique which is what helps it fight away moisture when it comes into contact with the fabric. The shape makes it an inhospitable environment for water to be held. It pushes it to the surface and spreads it out so it evaporates quickly. 

Western Rise offers a ton of Merino wool clothes that have become fan favorites over time. Customers love our Merino options because they stand the test of time, keeping their original shape for the most part, and are insusceptible to odors and moisture. Essentially, Merino wool helps you have to do less laundry while still looking stylish and feeling comfortable. 

Moisture-wicking clothes use capillary action, exactly like the process our skin uses with sweat and bacteria. The tubes in the Merino wool that look like capillaries are what take the moisture that is trying to reach your skin and draw it to the surface, ultimately pushing it out. This process also helps regulate your body temperature. 

When you sweat, your body knows that your heart rate is elevated and you are working extra hard at the moment. Your body’s natural reaction is to try to cool your body temperature back down as quickly as possible through sweating, which then enters your clothing, and, thus, bacteria begins to work its way in. This is also why dead skin cells and other bacteria may clog your pores when you sweat and cause you to break out. 

Although these materials fight sweat and moisture, they are not waterproof. They are hydrophobic, which means they will not house the water and moisture you come into contact with and won’t try to absorb their weight in water. However, the material will still feel wet to the touch for a short period of time but will dry worlds faster than normal materials. 

Try any of Western Rise’s Merino products when you are working out, like the Merino wool socks. These socks are ideal for any situation because they are quick-drying and will not cause your feet to feel cold if you step in a puddle accidentally. They also resist holding onto odors, so you don’t need to keep your shoes on in front of people in worry your feet may smell. 

Western Rise also offers other clothing options for men that incorporate Merino wool without sacrificing your style. You don’t necessarily have to wear this while you work out, but to any event, that life may take you to. 

Now that you know how great materials are that fight away moisture and odors, you may notice that some clothing is Dri Fit, while others just say they are moisture-wicking. The difference may be important in regards to how you shop for exercise clothing in the future, so here are the main differences. 

What Does Dri Fit Mean

Many clothing brands that make athletic wear will boast Dri Fit properties, but many people don’t know what that really means. While there are many fabrics that have moisture-wicking properties within them, Dri Fit is usually a microfiber polyester blend that moves sweat quickly from your body to the exterior of your clothing. In general, Dri Fit is a term coined by Nike to describe the moisture-wicking properties that their clothing provides. 

With Dri Fit, there is a special technology used within the polyester blend that draws the sweat evenly among the surface. By having an evenly distributed amount of water on the surface, it makes the drying process go by even faster. It is supposed to work alongside your body’s natural cooling system, think capillary action, and cool your body simultaneously as you work out. 

If there is a product that boasts Dri Fit and cotton, it is made out of a cotton blend that is not 100% cotton. This helps add other materials in the mix that fight away moisture, otherwise, the cotton will just absorb up to 100% of its body weight in sweat and added moisture. Be sure to check the labels of your clothing when you go to buy it to see what materials are used and if they are the optimal materials to use when fighting away moisture and odors during exercise. 

Like other moisture-wicking fabrics, Dri Fit ensures that you are not being weighed down by added moisture and sweat. It makes it a great material to layer under your workout clothes if you are planning to work out in colder weather because it doesn’t overheat you and works constantly to regulate your body temperature. 

Moisture Wicking vs Dri-Fit: the Main Difference 

Overall, the difference between moisture-wicking and Dri Fit is the name. Dri Fit is just another name for a moisture-wicking polyester blend that has the same properties as materials like Merino wool. So if you love Dri Fit material but want to find a similar feel at a different place, research materials that wick away moisture so you can get the same benefits. 

Moisture-Wicking Clothes Pros

Moisture-wicking properties in fabrics are great in travel clothing and for people who lead active lifestyles or are prone to sweating a lot. This will help you not have to worry about things like sweat stains or how you smell when your life is constantly evolving. Instead, moisture-wicking materials are great for those who are on the go and don’t have a change of clothes. 

Temperature Regulation for Athletes
It is said that moisture-wicking clothing is the best for athletes and those with high activity levels, not just for the sweat resistance and odor-fighting properties, but also for the way that they regulate your body temperature for maximum comfort. There is nothing worse than overheating due to your clothing or even your socks because all of your body heat is being trapped inside.

All of this can be avoided thanks to the moisture-wicking properties in clothes because of the polyester that keeps sweat away from your body. By wicking sweat away, your clothes are quickly evaporating the heat and excessive moisture that would try and cling to your body during a workout. In situations where there is high heat or humidity, you are bound to be sweating more but with better ventilation. In moisture wicking clothes you are ensuring a faster evaporation rate as well.

It is especially essential to regulate your body temperature during exercise because your heart rate fluctuates so much. By having a ventilation system within your clothes, you are making sure that your heart rate is regulated by not overheating during your strenuous workout.

This also means that your clothes feel lighter on your body during your workout because of the high-quality polyester fabric, almost feeling like an open weave letting air filter through. By wicking away moisture, it isn’t holding it in and weighing the fabric down with all of the moisture. Western Rise offers a great line of athletic wear from head to toe that will keep you feeling ventilated throughout your entire workout.

Better for Your Skin
When you are working out often, you may notice that you are apt to acne breaking out on your body more. This could be because of the materials in your clothing that you are choosing to work out in. Since working out and producing sweat also means an increase in the number of bacteria produced, your shirt could be what is leading to the buildup of sweat in your pores that causes a breakout.

When you are wearing a fabric that absorbs moisture rather than expels it from the surface, the material is absorbing everything including sweat and bacteria that meets it. By holding onto all of this, it is breaking down your skin and allowing for the bacteria to settle back into your pores. By choosing moisture-wicking properties in your clothing, you are reducing the risk of breaking out or irritating your skin no matter what you are doing.

So, by wearing clothes that are ventilating and wicking away moisture, you are actually benefiting your skin. It is a great way to aid sensitive skin and fight pesky breakouts for those prone to body acne, which can be extremely tough to fight once it flares up. 

When it comes to moisture-wicking materials, Western Rise offers plenty of versatile clothing options that can be worn to the office, gym, travel or on a date. There are clothing options for every man that last the test of time and fight away odor and moisture as you go. 



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