|A first look at a fabric designed |
to use your sweat to cool you down.
But, what if you're Dakota Jones or Max King, running 42 miles from the South Rim to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and back, and taking your shirt off means frying under the hot Arizona sun? What if you're a construction worker stationed outdoors in the summer heat? What if you're just a normal girl who likes to play outside, but can't stand how uncomfortable it is to endure the sweltering, humid east coast summers?
A few days in advance of the official press release, Columbia announced the culmination of four years of research and development - Omni Freeze ZERO. Small blue rings, the color of cool, embedded in Omni-Freeze ZERO fabric are made of a special cooling polymer that is actually designed to cool you off while you sweat.
When exposed to moisture, the rings swell, creating an instant cooling sensation that lasts until the moisture evaporates. One single yard of fabric has 40,000 rings on it, but is still incredibly soft and comfortable next-to-skin. It's shaping up to be one of the most innovative advancements in technology the industry has ever seen.
|Half of the #OmniTen decked out in Omni-Freeze ZERO,|
all prepped for a day of testing.
Dan Hanson, Columbia's VP of Global Marketing, called sweat "the currency of the active," a currency that we typically waste by wicking it away, but that Columbia believes we can actually use to cool us down. It makes perfect sense - we sweat to control our skin's temperature, and by wicking it away using traditional polyester wicking materials, we're wasting the sweat. In their spring 2013 line, Columbia will be introducing a variety of products using Omni-Freeze ZERO - everything from shoes to shirts, even hats and neck gaiters.
But does it really work? As part of the #OmniTen team, I'm among a small group of "normal" people who got to test out Omni-Freeze ZERO in Sedona today on (what was to me, because it's been a while,) a long mountain bike outing in the stunning area surrounding Sedona, Arizona. (Trip report to follow!) It's just plain ridiculously hot here in the summer, which makes it a perfect place to try a technology like this.
|The site of my first day of testing, near Bell Rock in Sedona!|
I'll be putting the technology through its paces over the next few days and every chance I get to see if it holds up over time, and if it really makes a difference in how I feel about exerting myself in the heat. Next up, we're headed to Havasu Falls, and I'm excited to see if the technology makes a difference when we're out hiking in the Arizona heat all day. Stay tuned!
What do you think? Could this be a solution to a significant issue, a design flaw the industry has perpetuated? Or are you skeptical? Leave a comment!