Polartec has announced new fabric tech engineered to cut down on the microfibres our garments shed during their lifespan.

Power Air works by encapsulating lofted fibres with a “multilayer, continuous yarn fabric construction”. It’s claimed to offer advanced thermal efficiency that will shed five times less than other premium mid-layer fabrics.

Insulation that effectively regulates core body temperature has traditionally been achieved via lofted or high-pile knit structures that hold warm air. Although Polartec already manufactures resilient materials, it has recognised that any exposed fibre is susceptible to shedding as a function of normal wear. The Polartec Power Air construction process aims to reduce this by encasing the insulating lofted fibres within the knitting process.

“By using the efficiency of encapsulated air to shelter lofted fibres, Polartec Power Air will drastically improve how fabrics perform over their lifetime with respect to versatility, comfort, and sustainability,” says Gary Smith, Polartec CEO. “We’re only beginning to realize the potential for this new type of fabric construction.”

While creating a more environmentally sound construction was the initial inspiration for Power Air, the innovation also enables greater design versatility, with distinctive visual signatures. The initial release features an internal grid structure on one side (not unlike ‘fabric bubble wrap’) which simultaneously holds air and increases breathability, while the other side features a smooth, durable outer surface that resists pilling and minimises drag.

Polartec say that Power Air will eventually provide shedding reduction to all existing garment categories.

“Polartec has never shied away from solving tough, intractable problems,” says Mike Rose, Polartec VP of Product Development. “Power Air has the potential to be our most significant development since pioneering the process to knit fabrics made of post-consumer plastic bottles.”

Initially for apparel, Polartec Power Air technology was publicly unveiled by Polartec CEO Gary Smith on November 29 at Performance Days in Munich Germany. The Polartec Power Air Hoody is now available from Adidas, with more brands including Houdini and Mammut set to release their own offerings in the coming months.

“Polartec Power Air is more than solving a problem and creating a new platform,” says Gary Smith, Polartec CEO. “It’s a brand statement about the power of fabric.”