Performance Polo Shirt Fabrics
ProGolfShirts.com sells the best selection in high quality embroidered polo shirts available online. Most of our shirts are made of technical performance fabrics from the major brand names in the industry. There’s a lot of hype today about performance fabrics, but not a lot of explanation about what that really means. Fabrics can be engineered to meet a variety of performance characteristics from moisture wicking to flame resistance. For the purpose of this writing we are referencing fabrics used in high end polo shirts and sportswear to enhance comfort and wearability.
Most all performance fabrics are polyester or polyester blends, but not all polyester has performance characteristics. When I started in the apparel business over 30 years ago, polyester was a hard sell. So were some poly/cotton blends in many cases. The company I worked for had pioneered many fabric blends with what was some of the original moisture wicking technology. The sales force was sent out with a kit to demonstrate how our fabrics were designed to wick moisture away from the body. These were revolutionary fabrics that only lacked one essential ingredient: Comfort. The fabrics were heavy, stiff, hot, and uncomfortable to wear. As a sales person it tough to sell a superior product that nobody liked!
Advances in weaving technology allow polyester yarns today to be spun in small denier (diameter) with a softer hand (touch). The result is silk like fabrics in weight and feel. Polyester threads are naturally color fast and inherently strong. Polyester fibers are made from the same raw material as your plastic soda bottles, and by nature polyester hydrophobic (repels water), and doesn’t breathe. By modifying the weave of the fabric and adding a chemical finish, fabrics are created that actually wick water or moisture from one surface to the other. When you combine all of these advances of the last 30 years, today we have soft comfortable fabrics that wick moisture (sweat) away from your body. The wicking action creates a cooling effect that makes the fabric more comfortable to wear. If you have polyester that is soft and silky to the touch but still hot and uncomfortable to wear, it is not a performance fabric, it is just polyester. Because the wicking is largely a chemical finish in the fabric, poorly finished fabrics will lose this property over time with wear and laundering, and thus become less comfortable to wear.
Admittedly as an apparel distributor and decorator, we don’t test all the fabrics we sell. To make sure we are providing only quality products to our customers we are very particular about the brands and suppliers that we use. Nike, Under Armour, Calloway, Cutter and Buck, and the others have too much invested in brand marketing to allow any inferior products to infiltrate the corporate markets we serve. If you are looking for the least expensive shirt I wish you luck…there are lots of less expensive alternatives. Just be sure you are not sacrificing comfort for a good deal (bargain).
Finally, all this technology is great for shirts but not so much for embroidery and decoration. Lighter weight “silky” performance fabrics have presented new challenges for embroidery. Often you will see beautiful high end polo shirts with puckered sub-standard embroidery. Sort of defeats the purpose, huh? Rest assured that at ProGolfShirts.com we have taken care to provide you with quality embroidery, on quality shirts, all at a fair price.