Active living brings with it the need for garments that are durable enough to last the distance. This is particularly so for garments that work the hardest, those located closest to the body. Performance underwear is an undergarment specifically designed to be worn while undertaking physical activities, such as high intensity sport. It provides support and comfort while helping to minimise irritation from over heating.
There are various styles of performance underwear depending on the needs of your activity. Tight-fitting performance tops for men are typically created from exceptionally thin fabric, enabling them to be worn beneath t-shirts and jerseys, whereas sports bras or tops for women has additional support across the chest area.
Underwear bottoms are short-legged and tight fitting, which helps prevent hot spots or rashes from friction. Some underwear is sport-specific; cycling singlets, for example, come with a deep scoop and longer body to comfortably sit beneath the cycling suit.
The most important detail, however, is the fabric itself, with natural fibres, such as Merino wool, becoming increasingly used by brands around the world.
Performance underwear made from Merino wool has the following essential benefits:
Comfort – because performance underwear is worn when the body is pushed to its limits, comfort is of primary importance. This includes a natural flexibility with little resistance but that retains its shape while providing support.
Breathability – Merino wool fibres can absorb large quantities of moisture vapour then move it away to evaporate into the air, so Merino wool clothing is extremely breathable and less prone to clamminess.
Odour resistant – In contrast to synthetics, Merino wool can absorb moisture vapour which means less sweat on your body. Merino wool even absorbs the odour molecules from sweat, which are only released upon washing.
Low maintenance – Merino wool performance underwear has the added bonus of being low maintenance. The incredibly resilient fabric is typically machine washable and has great shape retention due to a high, natural elasticity.
[Photo top] Credit: Casey Hill
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