Sports clothing and functional textiles

Sports clothing and functional garments are often worn over extended periods of time. In addition, most of the products come into direct contact with the skin, sometimes across large areas. Sweating allows the damp skin to release unwanted substances from the textile fabric, possibly allowing absorption into the human body. The same applies to swimwear which is also worn directly on the skin and can release harmful substances when wet.

Regarding their specific functionality, particularly high requirements are placed on sports clothing and functional textiles. We mostly want materials that are soft and elastic. This sector, however, which is very lucrative for the manufacturers, particularly often offers innovative materials which mostly only work through the use of chemical substances. Examples are the by now wide-ranging attributes breathable, water-proof and wind-proof. Meanwhile there is also an increased number of products with textile UV protection or bioactive finishes (e.g. odour inhibiting, mosquito repellent).

For certification according to STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®, sports clothing and functional textiles worn close to the skin have to meet at least the requirements for product class II. Textiles worn away from the skin such as functional jackets have to meet at least the criteria of product class III. In addition the test places a special focus on allergenic substances. These include for example

  • Heavy metals such as nickel which can be found in press studs, zips and hooks/eyes.
  • Disperse dyestuffs which are used for dyeing synthetic fibres. Synthetic fibres are primarily used for sports clothing and functional textiles because of their functional benefits (lightweight, quick drying, easy care).
  • Formaldehyde which is used for finishing textiles to make these particularly stable and crease resistant.

The laboratory test also focuses specially on verifying the colour fastnesses. Determining resistance to rubbing, sweat and water for the test samples ensures that no unwanted substances can be released from the textile material even during intensive movements and on sweaty skin.